Dying Matters launches pioneering partnership with NHS Trust

29 November 2012
A pioneering programme of work aimed at improving the care people receive at the end of their lives has been launched by the Dying Matters Coalition in partnership with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands.

Dying Matters has announced plans to work with the Chief Nurse of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and her team on a three-year long compassionate care training programme. All 6,000 nurses at the Trust's three hospitals - Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull - as well as those in affiliated community services will undergo the training, which is aimed at better equipping them to care for and support people at the end of their lives.

Alongside this, Dying Matters and the Trust will also develop an improved compassionate employment programme aimed at supporting staff in the Trust who are affected by end of life issues. In addition, we’ll be working with carers and hospital staff to develop ways to support and empower unpaid, informal carers whose loved ones are nearing the end of life.

Heart of England NHS Trust is one of the largest foundation trusts in the country. It has more than 11,000 employees providing general and specialist hospital and community care for people in East Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and South Staffordshire.

Mandie Sunderland, Chief Nurse at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The delivery of high quality care to patients and their families at the end of life is of utmost importance to us. Compassion is a key quality of being a nurse and here at Heart of England we are committed to supporting our nurses to be the best they can possibly be.

"We are excited to be working with Dying Matters on this innovative project which will assist our staff in improving the support we provide for patients and their families.”

Since it was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care in 2009, Dying Matters has been at the forefront of trying to change attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement so that people are more likely to receive better care at the end of their lives and get their wishes met. Its work includes engaging with the public to encourage people to talk more openly about their end of life wishes, as well as work aimed at health and care professionals including training to support GPs in talking about end of life issues with their patients and to help with recording wises and future plans.

Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition, said: “We are delighted to be working in such an innovative way with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust to support compassionate care for people who are dying and their families.

"High quality compassionate nursing is critical at the end of life, both to the person who is dying and to their family, which is why this three-year programme is so important.

"It’s only by talking more openly about our wishes and the support that we will all need at the end of our their lives and by recording this that we will be successful in ensuring people get the compassionate care we all need, where and when we need it.”

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