|It is something we generally try to avoid thinking about|
Most of us would prefer not to be in hospital if we don’t need to, especially if we have a limited time left to live. The key phrase here is – ‘if we don’t need to’ – but need comes in so many different forms: treatment-related, symptom-related, care-related etc. Sometimes, that need can only be met – safely, efficiently & effectively – in hospital. When that happens, whether it’s a brief visit or at the very end of someone’s life, we need to be confident that our experience of treatment, care & support is as good as it can possibly be for us, as well as those who matter the most to us.
The notion that dying in hospital is always a poor outcome is too simplistic. So is the notion that dying in someone’s ‘usual place of residence’ is always a good thing. It is time to shift that focus. Wherever the person is, and at whatever the stage of illness, how can we make it as good as possible? This should be the focus.
There are many pockets of high quality care, and lots of people are working hard to improve things all the time. We need to hear more about what’s going well – not only to celebrate these successes, but also to learn, adopt and adapt, in a continuous cycle of improvement.