Public health Pathfinders for end of life care sought

10 September 2014
Dying Matters' lead charity, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), together with Public Health England (PHE) have today announced an exciting new opportunity to apply to be one of six Pathfinder Communities to pioneer a public health approach to end of life care in England.

Applications for the initiative are being sought from organisations including local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health and Wellbeing Boards and NHS or voluntary sector providers of health and social care, and may be made either as an individual organisation or collabaratively.

The Pathfinders will implement the new Dying Well Community Charter, which is launched today. They will receive receive support to help their local community work together to improve their response to people who are dying and those who have been bereaved. The new Charter has been updated from 'What makes a good death? A North East Charter', produced by the NHS North East Strategic Health Authority in 2010. It incorporates the five Priorities for Care that came from the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People (LACDP) recommendations, as well as the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of General Practitioners’ 2011 End of Life Care Patient Charter.

Pathfinder applicants will be required to provide evidence of working in collaboration with a broad range of other organisations across their local sectors, as well as be able to confirm they have the resources to hold an event to launch the Charter locally, with advice and non-financial support from the NCPC and PHE.

The Dying Well Charter is being released in conjunction with the 'Public Health Approaches End of Life Care Toolkit', produced by Professor Allan Kellehear and Dr Aliki Karapliagkou at Middlesex University, London. This will be a useful resource for Pathfinders to use to complement the Charter.

Speaking today, Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care, said: "Despite being one of life’s few certainties, the needs of many people who are dying or who have been bereaved continue to be overlooked. That’s why we need a public health approach to end of life care, with a much greater focus on compassionate care and support. Together, the Charter and Toolkit have the potential to improve end of life care for everyone through the commitment of pathfinder Charter communities.”

Professor Julia Verne, Clinical Lead for the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network at Public Health England commented: "Every 70 seconds someone in England dies. It is a societal responsibility to ensure that people who are dying are cared for with dignity and that their family and loved ones are supported through their caring roles and during bereavement.

"One of the greatest sadnesses of our modern society is that many older adults spend their last days and hours alone with no close family or friends to care for them or give human comfort. They are totally dependent on the input of professional carers. The Dying Well Charter is a rallying call to society to improve the care of the dying and the ‘Public Health Approaches End of Life Care Toolkit’ will support Pathfinder Communities in mobilising local action.”

Professor Allan Kellehear, co-author of the toolkit, added: "Just as the promotion and maintenance of health and wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility so too is our health and wellbeing at the end of life. In this way, everyone has a role to play, however small, in end of life care in their own communities. Only by adopting this inclusive community approach can we adequately address the social epidemiology of dying, death, loss and care.”

Further information

  1. Download the Dying Well Community Charter
  2. Download the Invitation for Expressions of Interest
  3. Download the Expression of Interest form

For all media enquiries, please contact Joe Levenson, Director of Communications at the National Council for Palliative Care on 020 7697 1520 or 07795 158003.

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