SCIE press release

End of Life Care – new films and briefings

30 May 2012

At the end you sort of go numb. And they (the staff) were there to do things, and let me be his daughter. And with their help and care and Dad having what he wanted, which was to die at home with his family, I think that, as a family, helped us all through it

Marie, whose father Edward’s story is told on Social Care TV.

Around 500,000 people die each year and, because of the ageing population, that number is predicted to rise over the next few years. Two briefings and three new films are launched today on Social Care TV which looks at various aspects of End of life care.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence SCIEsays it’s important that social care and health professionals who work with people at the end of life - and their families - have access to high quality resources and information so they can give the best care possible.

Briefings – End of life in care homes

The new Research Briefing and At a glance briefing provide summaries of the current research knowledge on End of life care in care home settings. They state that it is not always easy to tell when people with dementia, and other conditions, are approaching the end of life. This means such individuals sometimes do not receive the care they and their families may have wanted. SCIE also conclude that care staff may find it difficult to talk about End of life care, but training and support can help. It’s also important to keep carers informed, especially if they would like to be involved in making decisions. There are many other pieces of practical advice in the briefings for care home managers and staff, for family and other carers, and for people who need or want to make End of life care decisions.

Film one - Supporting people to die at home

Most people say they would like to die at home, but we know that only about 20% do so. In this film a palliative care social worker talks about the skills and understandings that are needed to make sure people can die with dignity and respect. It shows members of the support team in Lancashire discussing care preferences with a man at the end of life and then making sure the practical services that he needs are in place. The film also features the Majlish Home Care Service in East London, which provides culturally-appropriate services to people in the Bangladeshi and Bengali communities who choose to die at home.

Film two - Treating people with dignity and respect

This film looks at the meaning, and importance, of holistic assessment in ensuring people at the end of life are treated with dignity and respect. A palliative care specialist nurse from St Joseph’s Hospice, London, defines holistic assessment as an “on-going process involving the physical, social, psychological and spiritual care of a person at the end of life”. Holistic assessment is shown working in practice with an interview with a woman with a chronic health condition; we see how she is supported to develop a plan which states her wishes about her end of life care. This provides clarity for the family of the person as well as for her health and social care team.

Film three – Supporting the carers

This film looks at practical and emotional support, plus bereavement counselling for family members caring for people at the end of life. Leicestershire and Rutland Hospice runs a family support service for families and carers. Social workers and other workers help carers to have some time away from their caring responsibilities. Bereavement support and counselling is offered to those who have lost a loved one. The film introduces Benita, who looks after her mother, and who has regular support from a “sitter”. Also, Trevor, a bereaved man, explains how he was initially reluctant to have counselling but came to find it helpful and supportive in dealing with his grief.

SCIE’s Director of Adult Services, David Walden, says:

These briefings and films are a useful addition to our resources on End of Life care. The evidence tells us that people usually want to die in their own homes, that they and their families want and expect to be treated with dignity and respect, and that their carers need support. However, unfortunately, for many people, this is not their experience. The new SCIE resources show how staff can make a big difference by offering practical support to the person at the end of their life and to their families and carers

Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: media@scie.org.uk