GP guidance drawn up for end-of-life care

GPs involved with end-of-life care can now access detailed guidance on best practice to ensure the necessary actions are conducted safely and respectfully.

The advice highlights issues faced by GPs and other health professionals when an adult patient dies. It was created by the NHS National End of Life Care Programme with contributions from the RCGP and other medical organisations.

Lead author Jo Wilson, a member of a national palliative care nurse consultant group, said the advice would help ensure the deceased and their families were kept as the focus of care, with their privacy and dignity maintained.

'It shows how this can be achieved while ensuring that issues, such as tissue donation, coroner's requirements, and the health and safety of all staff are addressed,' she said.

The guidance covers advice on honouring the wishes of the deceased person and their family or carers. It includes respecting people's wishes for organ and tissue donation, and ensuring the health and safety of everyone who comes into contact with the deceased patient's body. It also covers issues about documentation so that GPs can be confident that correct certification procedures have been followed.

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