UK End-Of-Life Protocol Dismaying, Says NICE

UK End-Of-Life Protocol Dismaying, Says NICEUK End-Of-Life Protocol Dismaying, Says NICE

Dying patients should be given “individual plans” rather than using a “tick-box” approach, according to new health guidelines in the UK.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said there is “no excuse” for medical professionals to make “snap” decisions about patients in their final days.

NICE released the updated advice in an attempt to move away from the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), a heavily criticized initiative which was phased out last year.

An expert review found the end-of-life protocol had cultivated a “tick-box” culture among some doctors and nurses - with affected families complaining that fluids, food and medication had been withheld from their loved ones, reports Sky News.

This led to some patients not being treated with the respect and compassion they deserved.

Sam Ahmedzai, a professor of palliative medicine at Sheffield University, chaired the independent committee which developed the guidelines.

He told Sky News that NICE hopes the updated advice will be a big difference from the LCP, which was often implemented with a blanket approach.

“We’re saying: make an individual plan, take into account the view of the patient and family, review that daily, and be aware that some people may recover or improve.”

The guidelines call for junior doctors to seek the expertise of more experienced staff when necessary, which should prevent them from having to make difficult decisions about a patient’s end-of-life care.

Staff should allow patients who can drink to do so, or use alternative methods to hydrate them and help relieve discomfort.