Warning over palliative care in hospitals

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A FAILURE to discuss prognosis with patients nearing the end of their life is having a detrimental effect on their care according to experts from a Yorkshire University.

A ground-breaking study conducted by Sheffield University’s School of Nursing & Midwifery into palliative and end of life care at two hospitals in England, found a significant gap between NHS policy and current practice.

Researchers discovered a lack of communication between medical staff and patients and their families about their prognosis. The study says this severely limits patients’ ability to make important decisions about their care and treatment.

The report, published in the NIHR Journals Library, discovered many patients would like to hold such discussions.

Principal investigator, Christine Ingleton Professor of Palliative Care Nursing at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “The number of people requiring palliative care is increasing rapidly in the UK because of our ageing population. Most people want to make choices about the care and treatment they receive at the end of life.

However, our research shows that a failure on the part of health professionals to discuss prognosis and goals of care means that many are not given this opportunity.”