Wales first to provide 24/7 support for people at the end of their lives
Wales is the only country in the UK to provide round-the-clock support and advice for people approaching the end of their lives, a new report published recently shows.
The Welsh Government’s second annual report about palliative care in Wales, which reveals progress made in improving services, also highlights excellent feedback from patients and their loved ones about how services are making a difference to people’s quality of life in their final days.
Thanks to Welsh Government investment, Wales is the first UK country to provide 24/7 services to ensure a specialist is always available to give advice to professionals caring for patients in their homes, in hospices and in hospitals across Wales.
The annual report for the End-of-Life Care Delivery Plan shows:
- The percentage of people dying in hospital has fallen from 62.6% in 2008-09 to 56.2% in 2014-15;
- A 15.7% increase in the number of people registered on a primary care palliative register over the last 12 months;
- In the iWantGreatCare evaluation of people’s experience of services, the average Welsh score was 9.5 out of 10;
- 80% of specialist palliative care urgent referrals were assessed within the agreed timescale.
Deputy Minister for Health Vaughan Gething said:
“Wales is the only UK country to provide 24/7 support and advice to health professionals caring for people approaching the end of their lives. In partnership with the NHS, we are realising our ambition that people should have access to high-quality, compassionate care wherever they live and die, whatever their underlying disease or disability.
“This year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week showed enormous appetite for our work in Wales. However, this is only the start.
"Dying is one of life’s few certainties and planning ahead can help you to get on and make the most of life – don’t leave it too late to discuss your wishes."
Steve Ham, chair of the Welsh End-of-Life Care Implementation Board, said:
“It has been a pleasure to become chair during the year covered by this report and begin to work with the enthusiastic group who have been successfully taking forward the development of services for seven years.
“The scope and range of services now in place and some of the outcomes they deliver are set out in this report and I look forward to working with the group and the providers of the services in building on these successes in the future.”
Over the next 12 months, the Welsh Government, NHS Wales and other partners will be looking to make further progress in the following areas:
- More consistent early identification of people who may require palliative care support;
- More people to receive care and die in the place of their choice;
- Reducing unnecessary emergency and hospital admissions for those at the end of their lives;
- Through Byw Nawr, equip people with the information and knowledge needed to prepare end-of-life wishes.
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