RCGP and Marie Curie urge GPs to adopt end of life care standards for care homes

Best practice standards to help GPs improve end of life care in care homes despite pressure from COVID-19 have been published by the RCGP in partnership with charity Marie Curie.

RCGP (Photo: Pete Hill)
RCGP (Photo: Pete Hill)

The new standards are built on the 'Daffodil Standards' launched last year by the RCGP and Marie Curie - a 'set of standards that GP practices can sign up to as a commitment to continuously improve the quality of palliative and end of life care they deliver for patients'.

One in six GP practices have now signed up to the original Daffodil Standards - and the college and Marie Curie has now set out new standards for care homes.

The new guidance - 'Daffodil Standards for older patients living in care homes' - has been developed with GPs and other health and care staff to offer support on two levels. The guidance covers current processes in place, and whether these processes deliver 'what patients and their families want and need'.

The standards were in devlopment before the pandemic and are not limited to care during the pandemic, but the college says they are 'designed to be as streamlined and supportive as possible' in light of ongoing pressure on practice teams.

End of life care

RCGP and Marie Curie national clinical champion for end of life care Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders said: 'All patients who require palliative and end of life care are vulnerable, but those who live in care homes are some of our most vulnerable, which is why Marie Curie and the RCGP have created a focus of the Daffodil Standards, tailored to their needs, and the needs of their family members.'

She said the standards aim to support practices and care homes to reduce variation in the end of life care patients receive.

Dr Millington-Sanders added: 'General practice plays a crucial role in delivering high quality end of life care to their patients in care homes. Prior to the pandemic, we planned to develop the Daffodil Standards to enable a focus on older patients in care homes and the pandemic has brought the importance of this work into sharp focus.'

Marie Curie director of community engagement Simon Jones said: 'We have always known how important care homes are in end of life care for very many people and that has been brought home to us even stronger this year.

'Care homes should not be places where people go to die but rather to squeeze every scrap of life out the time they have left. The role of the GP and their practice staff is central to care and support in care homes. These new Standards builds on the existing Daffodil Standards in a way that will help GPs and practice staff in a crucial part of their work.'

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