New strategy aims to enable more Islanders to die at home

Mike Palfreman, chief executive of Jersey Hospice Care, addressed the room at the end-of-life strategy launch. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (36766093)

A NEW end-of-life strategy care is designed to enable more terminally-ill Islanders to die at home should they wish to do so.

The strategy, which was developed through a partnership between Jersey Hospice Care and the Health Department, recognises that although 39% of Islanders said they wished to die at home, only 21% did.

Jersey’s ageing population, with the proportion of those aged 65 or above rising to one in five by 2036, is the primary factor behind the new strategy, which forecasts that the need for palliative care will double between 2016 and 2036.

Mike Palfreman, chief executive of Jersey Hospice Care, said that a key aim was to listen to the views of those who may be reaching the ends of their lives, and their families.

He said: “Most people say they would prefer to die at home, and part of this [strategy] is to reflect that in what is available for people who have made that choice.”

Mr Palfreman said that in implementing the strategy, Jersey Hospice Care would strive to work collaboratively with the many other agencies involved in the provision of care.

He added: “Jersey’s population is projected to grow and rapidly become older: the need and demand for palliative care services will increase significantly in line with this.

“Our vision is to ensure that all Islanders with a life-limiting illness will have access to, and informed choices about, the right care, by the right person, at the right time and in the right place.”

Health and Social Services Minister Karen Wilson said: “It was vital when designing the strategy that all organisations which deliver palliative and end-of-life care worked together, as they all have a role in delivering these services.

“This strategy will equip health and care professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality palliative care, ensuring comfort, dignity, and respect for every individual.”

Written by Jersey Hospice Care’s director of clinical strategy Gail Caddell, the newly-launched report emphasises the importance of early identification of individuals in need of palliative care, the integration of palliative care with chronic condition management, and the development of skills necessary to anticipate and provide quality end-of-life care.

The roles played by families and carers are also recognised, with a focus on the need to keep family members involved throughout the process.

Deputy Wilson and Mr Palfreman said it was important to ensure Islanders who required palliative and end-of-life care were treated as individuals, encouraged to make and share advance care plans and involved in decisions regarding their care.

The importance of education was also stressed as a key factor, along with creating a community where there were open discussions about death and dying.

The strategy focuses entirely on adults, with a separate strategy for children who have life-limiting conditions or terminal illnesses to be published in the future.

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