Caring for you

Nursing Care Home Worthing

Is there such a thing as a ‘good death’?

We are very proud at Melrose to have been awarded Beacon Status in our re-accreditation in the Gold Standards Framework in end of life care (GSF). This comes also with a Quality Hallmark from Help the Aged.  We are (certainly at time of going to press) the only nursing home in Worthing to have this accreditation AND have been awarded 3 star ‘excellent’ status by the commission for social care inspection.

What does it mean for our residents for us to have the GSF accreditation?

This means that the staff, led by the manager and her deputy, have undertaken and succeeded on a tough programme to improve the way we deal with end of life care. It’s about enabling more to die with dignity, where they want, how they want and with whom they want.  It shows that we have developed a culture in end of life care which builds on that which is already evident at Melrose - care that comes from the heart.

So, what is a good death?

Although everyone is different, most people thinking of what constitutes a ‘good death’ would probably say:

  • Being treated with dignity and respect
  • Being without pain or other unpleasant symptoms
  • Being in familiar surroundings
  • Being in the company of close family and friends

(Dept. of Health End of Life Care Strategy. 2008)

Some people die just like this, just as they wished, but many do not and suffer more distress than they need to.  Being through the programme means that we now achieve the 5 key themes of the GSF in care homes, which include

  • Pre-planning – involves advanced care planning, residents expressing their own end of life wishes, soon after they are admitted, so that all are prepared in a timely way. 
  • Improved communication – nurturing a culture of openness in discussing these often difficult issues, and taking care to document them so that individual’s wishes are known.
  • Improved team working with the wider health team (GPs, nurses, hospice specialists).  GPs and others in the primary care team also become involved in pre-emptive planning for pain and symptom relief for when the time comes, and no one has to wait for the out-of hour’s doctor who doesn’t know the patient.
  • Decreasing hospital admissions – avoiding inappropriate hospital admissions, enabling more residents to die at the Home, if that is their wish
  • High quality clinical care – with expert assessment, good management of symptoms can be achieved.

The work with specialists, GPs and others is crucial, but, the accreditation is awarded because of the culture and functioning of the care home itself.  It’s because the Team at Melrose have demonstrated that ‘gold standards’ thinking runs throughout the whole home.  

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