Summary of the Lord-Lieutenant’s Summit on Palliative Care

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Community Action Norfolk are sharing this information from the Lord-Lieutenant's Summit on Palliative Care (held 9th May).  For more information or details on how to contact the Lord-Lieutenant, please click here

The Lord Lieutenant, Richard Jewson, welcomed over 70 people to the summit which took place as part of ‘Dying Matters – What can you do’.  The audience, which included a range of healthcare and social care professionals, volunteers, charity and third sector representatives, were provided with a thought provoking series of excellent presentations.  Some of the speakers included examples from their own life experiences as well as their professional lives.

Some of the highlights from the morning were:

  • The need for conversations to take place to help ensure ‘a good death’.  ‘How people die remains in the memory of those who live on’.
  • As life expectancy increases so does the need to ensure that service provision meets the needs of all.  Health and social care providers also need to be able to cope with the daily variation in the number of deaths.
  • It was suggested that whilst formal palliative care was originally designed for predictable deaths, a better model would be to look at providing palliative care and support much earlier, alongside treatment, and so provide a much more holistic approach.
  • A recent study provides evidence as to the significant effect of social networks – community, friends and neighbours – in helping to provide palliative care and end of life care (over and above that provided by ‘professionals’.  This approach would help to ensure that care is done with people and not to people.
  • It is vital that friends and family know the wishes of their loved ones at the end of life.  The ‘yellow folder’ provides a lot of practical help and the collaboration between Deaf Connexions and Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group is a good example of how to ensure everyone has access to such help.
  • In order to meet expectations successfully, the funding of any palliative and end of life care must be part of those discussions.  The Macmillan social workers (an excellent example of integrated care – working at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital but funded by Macmillan) explained how their second question after asking about where the patient would ideally like to be discharged, is ‘how will that be funded’?

The range of organisations involved in the provision of palliative and end of life care across Norfolk was evident in terms of the audience.  How then can we ensure that all those organisations are working together to make best use of the resources and provide an equitable service that is inclusive.  Baroness Finlay very eloquently described the successful delivery of palliative care in Wales brought about by ‘quashing egos and focussing on a 24/7 service’.

The commitment and enthusiasm of everyone present was reflected in the questions to the speakers. To keep things moving forward perhaps the next step is for all organisations to commit to 2 simple statements which will improve the quality of palliative and end of life care across Norfolk and to deliver the message that everyone has a part to play. 

Presentations from the event are attached below.