Wareham Surgery wins award for Gold Standard end of life care

A Wareham GP practice which has increased more than fivefold the number of patients it supports to die in their preferred place has been recognised with a national award.

Dr Ann Marshall, who led the eight GP practice’s end of life care improvement programme, said that patients, their families and healthcare professionals had all benefited from the changes initiated by the GSF Primary Care Training Programme.

Dr Marshall added: “Patients are now receiving more proactive, better planned care in line with their wishes. That means we are supporting more people to stay at home and now only a third of our patients are dying in hospital. That’s better for patients and their families and satisfying for us as a practice.”

The award recognises the work the practice has done to improve end of life care, increasing significantly the number of people it identifies as approaching the end of life, particularly the number of frail elderly people among the 8,000 patients. By doing this, the practice team has been better able to fulfil people’s wishes at this important time. More than two thirds of Wareham Surgery’s patients now die in their preferred place and the number dying in hospital has fallen from over half (51%) to just over a third (36%).

Dr Marshall said that improved recognition of those patients that were approaching the end of life, had played a major part in improving their care. “As a team we know our patients well and so we can now proactively identify those frail ones that need increased levels of care and with whom we can discuss their needs and wishes. In turn that helps us care for them where and how they want.”

GSF gives outstanding training to all those providing end of life care to ensure better lives for people and recognised standards of care. It is the largest national programme to help improve care for patients approaching the end of life, helping health and social care professionals provide coordinated, personalised care for patients and their families and reduces hospital admissions.

Professor Keri Thomas, Clinical Director of the National GSF Centre, said: “The team at Wareham Surgery has demonstrated a real passion for providing quality care for all of their patients who are approaching the end of their lives. Most importantly they are helping these patients live their final months in the place and manner of their choosing, through better planning, communication and coordination.

“GSF provides the tools, framework and structural change to help family doctors provide ‘gold standard’ care for people nearing the end of life.”