6 December 2007
National care of the dying audit: “Patient choice is key to dignified death” says leading campaign group
Today, the Royal College of Physicians have released the first national care of the dying audit, measuring the care of the dying in hospitals against the standards of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying (LCP). The college states, “high quality personal care ….is essential for the patient to maintain dignity in dying.”
Dignity in Dying, the UK’s leading organisation campaigning for greater patient choice at the end of life, has provided the following statement on the audit.
Ashley Riley, Head of Campaigns and Communications at Dignity in Dying, said:
“The audit shows some promising results. It is clear that the physical needs of patients are being met in most cases, particularly in stopping non-essential medication for those who are dying.
“However, the audit has shown that we still have a long way to go in terms of meeting patients’ individual needs. Patient choice needs to be higher on the agenda. This includes achieving a high standard of communication between healthcare professionals and patients and the ability to attend to a patient’s (and their family’s) personal and spiritual needs.
“In addition, more awareness among hospital staff of the importance of advance decisions is vital to ensure that all patients have the most dignified and painless death. A pro-choice advance decision- in addition to enabling the patient to refuse treatment- gives patients the opportunity to state their personal and spiritual wishes for when they are dying.
“Dying with dignity should be a fundamental right for all. The results of the audit emphasise that achieving greater patient choice is key to securing this.”
About Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying is the leading organisation in the UK that advocates assisted dying for terminally ill patients.
The organisation is also the country’s leading provider in information on end-of-life issues.
Dignity in Dying has over 100,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
Opinion polls consistently show that at least 80% of the UK population support a change in the law on assisted dying.
An interview with Ashley Riley is available to download at <http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/aboutus/ >.
For all media enquiries, please contact Jessica Tomlin on 020 7479 7736 or 07725 433025 or on Jessica.Tomlin@dignityindying.org.uk