NEAS helps pioneer way of giving terminally ill patients more choice before dying
New initiative first in UK
The North East is pioneering an approach to make
sure people are cared for according to their wishes before their
The Deciding Right programme is being rolled out
across all NHS organisations in the North East, including NEAS.
Developed by NHS professionals, Deciding Right creates one
standard process to help people make shared healthcare
decisions ahead of their death. It will help
patients of all ages who do not have capacity to make their own
choices, or who may lose capacity for making choices in the
Crucially, for the very first time, Deciding
Right will provide common regional documentation which will be
easily recognisable by all health and social care professionals. It
wil also have the legal authority to ensure patients' wishes
are followed right at the very end of life.
Dr Claud Regnard, consultant in palliative care
at St Oswald's Hospice and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS
Foundation Trust has developed Deciding Right in the North
Dr Regnard said: "Deciding Right is about
putting patients, their families and carers at the very heart of
shared decisions about their future care, making sure they
understand the choices available and providing dignity in death by
making sure their wishes are followed.
"Often, people may have made decisions about their future care
but not written them down formally or told family members.
They may have actually made an advance care plan, but not shared it
with all the relevant agencies and people.
"Equally, because different organisations have their own
policies and procedures in place, patients' choices may not
recognised from one care setting to another and can sometimes be
disregarded by professionals in the heat of dealing with immediate
life and death situations."
To overcome these common issues, Deciding Right sets out clear
principles for all healthcare organisations and professionals in
the north east to follow, focusing decisions on individual patient
needs and wishes, rather than organisational policies and
Dr Elizabeth Kendrick, chair of the 'end of life' clinical
innovation team at NHS North East and a member of the 'Commission
on Dignity in Care for Older People', said: "Making sure that
individuals' wishes are followed right at the very end of life is
central to dignified care and through Deciding Right we hope to
make this a reality for North East people, whether they wish to die
at home, in a hospice or indeed a hospital setting.
"Today's launch marks a very important step in improving end of
life care across the north east and is the result of many years of
collaborative work. We are proud to be launching Deciding
Right at the Palliative Care Congress and in front of an
international audience of professionals."
Deciding Right follows the UK's first ever charter to talk about
death and dying, 'A Good Death', which was launched in the North
East in October 2009 and put the region on the map nationally for
its innovative work on end of life care.
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