Supporting someone at the end of their life is a privilege

14th May 2021

You are supporting someone at a really important part of their life. It is a real privilege.

It’s Dying Matters Awareness Week, and in February this year we launched new training to help prepare and support our staff when they are supporting someone at the end of their life.  In health and social care we call this “end of life care”,  as someone is close to dying, we support them, make sure they have everything they want, need and love around them, to make their final days, hours or weeks as special, and as comfortable, as possible. More than 700 of our staff have now completed the training. We spoke to FitzRoy head of quality, Kirsty, about why it is so important that we open up the conversations about end of life care.

“We decided to launch the end of life care training because there was a real need for it. It is a really difficult time for our staff when delivering end of life care and it can be daunting for someone new, so we wanted to make sure the training prepares staff for how to cope with everything from procedures to follow, to supporting relatives who are going through grief.

“When delivering end of life care, you are supporting someone at a really important part of their life. It is a real privilege, you get an opportunity to deliver personalised care and shaped around want the person needs and wants.

“Gary moved into our Nottingham service, Huws, with declining dementia. The team were brilliant and the way they cared for him was based around Gary’s personality and what he loves. They played his favourite music in his room, baked cakes and bread because he loved the smell, and made sure his friends were by his side until the end of his life.

“Staff made sure that they put Gary at the centre of his end of life care plan, both with the person centred care and with his medication by keeping in touch with his GP team and tailoring what it was he needed day to day. Our staff are brilliant at seeing the person in everything they do, the person they are supporting matters and their end of life care plan matters.

“The training we provide is there to show that end of life is not something to be worried about. It is a part of life and it’s also important that we get it right for that person. It’s also about getting the right people involved at the right time to put a plan in place.”

Carolyn, service manager at Northfields and Taylor Road registered care home in Norfolk, has completed the training along with the rest of her team. She said: “We have cared for quite a few people towards the end of their life at our service so our staff are quite familiar with the things to look out for and how to support someone during that time.

“The training has been really useful, we have some long standing staff members who know more about end of life care, but for newer staff it has been invaluable in giving them more of a concrete understanding.

“I personally find it really rewarding supporting somebody at that time and caring for them as best as you possibly can. It’s important to not forget who that person is when you are delivering that care – they are still the person they always were and they’re still living their life, so it is so important to make sure that they are put first in everything you do.”