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End-of-life care in Devon

​​People have been giving their views about end-of-life care
Important insights into the care people receive at the end of their life have been collected in a far-reaching NHS survey for Devon.

The survey was launched in October 2016, asking carers, relatives or friends of anyone who recently passed away to say whether they felt dignity, compassion and respect were used with patients.

One hundred and fifty-five responses were received, and that information has now been collated in a report, which makes a range of recommendations.

This includes exploring the viability of specific end-of-life training for all frontline staff in Devon.

It is also recommends that standardised Devon-wide literature is produced to set people’s expectations around what happens when someone dies, who to speak to if people have concerns, and that a list of frequently asked questions and answers is created.

Another proposal is for longer, more responsive opening hours and wider promotion of bereavement services, as well as the ability for people to access services online and via social media.

It is also suggested that ‘bereavement suites’ could be created in acute hospitals, providing a private space for unrushed, emotionally supportive environments for people.

The survey, which finished on 1 April 2017, was run by the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in South Devon and Torbay, and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon.

Dr Nick Roberts, chief clinical officer for South Devon and Torbay CCG, said: “I am very pleased that this survey will help us to understand more about people’s end-of-life experience and work to improve on some of the variation in care highlighted by the responses to this survey.”

The survey was made available on both CCG websites, with links to the survey on other organisations’ websites. Paper copies were provided to staff who visited patients at home, bereavement support organisations, GP surgeries and other key sites. 

People who wanted to share their experience but couldn’t complete the survey were interviewed privately, a social media campaign was undertaken, and there were a number of community meetings to promote the survey.

The survey’s recommendations have been given to the end-of-life strategic boards in Devon, and developments will be monitored by the CCGs’ patient experience teams. An update on the actions will be provided in January 2018.

*For further information and the End-of-Life Report, click here​.