Southwest Leading On End Of Life Choice

More people in the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall are able to choose the place where they die – usually their own home – than in most areas in England.

That’s according to figures from the 2012 National End of Life Care Profiles, which show our area, one with a significantly higher than average numbers of over-65s, is leading the way on patient choice.

Adult Social Care Manager, Jonny Lawrence-Roberts, says moving a resident away from their home at the end of their life would be very traumatic for both them and their family and is often unnecessary. He said it was important to meet the needs and choices of patients and their families to die in their own home.

Jonny said, where it is possible, they ensure that the patient is comfortable and that GP’s and hospital nursing staff can deliver any medical input outside of a hospital environment.

And he felt people living on the Isles of Scilly are supported well with end of life care both in the hospital and in the community. In his experience, it is also quite common for Park House residents to be supported at the end of their life within the care home.

If a patient does need to leave the islands for a hospital on the mainland, the distance can often create difficulties for close relatives.

Aisling Hick from the Council told us the hospital League of Friends will often help people out with travelling to see loved ones on the mainland.

The Council’s also supporting the Steamship Company with a LAG bid to buy a stretcher kit which should improve the ability to get people home if they want to die here and they are allowed to travel.

Aisling added that some people also choose to die at the hospital here on the islands and the hospital’s clinical staff will support that if it is appropriate.

Everybody’s end of life is different, says Aisling, and for most, the district nursing team are able to go to any island and support people at home, based on what is safe and feasible.