Caring for Patients Nearing the End of Life
Providing end of life care is a duty for all registered medical practitioners. Many doctors and perhaps surgeons in particular find this care a difficult and
onerous duty. Instinctively we feel that we should be doing all in our power to preserve life.
Nevertheless, death is finally inevitable for us all and there comes a time when extending life through surgery or other therapeutic intervention is not in a patient’s best interests. Often attempts to prolong life can have a negative effect on its quality. Such considerations are relevant not only for older patients
nearing the end of their life. Even when the patient is a younger person, the quality of time they have left may be more important to them than prolonging their life.
What can I learn from this guide?
This document provides advice, guidance and support to surgeons and service providers on many important aspects of end of life care. Most importantly, it covers the steps surgeons can take to ensure that patients nearing the end of life experience a ‘dignified death’. It covers a framework for communication and decision making, the important care planning documents in use at the end of life and how to work together as a team to ensure high-quality end of life care.
Read the full guidance here.