03 Sep 2009

Putting Granny to Sleep in Britain

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Leftwing baby boomers will really have have something to look forward to under Obamacare, look at what Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice –You have to love the acronym!) is doing for patients there.

Telegraph
:

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away. …

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS. …

The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.

Developed by Marie Curie, the cancer charity, in a Liverpool hospice it was initially developed for cancer patients but now includes other life threatening conditions.

It was recommended as a model by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the Government’s health scrutiny body, in 2004.

It has been gradually adopted nationwide and more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England currently use the system.

Under the guidelines the decision to diagnose that a patient is close to death is made by the entire medical team treating them, including a senior doctor.

They look for signs that a patient is approaching their final hours, which can include if patients have lost consciousness or whether they are having difficulty swallowing medication.

However, doctors warn that these signs can point to other medical problems.

Patients can become semi-conscious and confused as a side effect of pain-killing drugs such as morphine if they are also dehydrated, for instance.

When a decision has been made to place a patient on the pathway doctors are then recommended to consider removing medication or invasive procedures, such as intravenous drips, which are no longer of benefit.

If a patient is judged to still be able to eat or drink food and water will still be offered to them, as this is considered nursing care rather than medical intervention.

Dr Hargreaves said that this depended, however, on constant assessment of a patient’s condition.

He added that some patients were being “wrongly” put on the pathway, which created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that they would die.

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One Feedback on "Putting Granny to Sleep in Britain"

Susan Skinner

My husband was taken off fluids and food for more than 24 hours when he could swallow.
The nurses said he could not they were lying. That is how thy deal with it. I was not told about the lcp. I would have had kittens.
My husband was dying naturally. I needed staff to support me emotionally but they could/did not. Lots of thimgs went wrong in the South England hospital. Dying should be at home.



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