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A good death

A tear jerking new film by local clinical commissioning groups shows how one Berkshire family was able to ensure their beloved mother could die at home and with minimum pain. Commissioners are now asking families to ask their loved ones about their wishes and not to be afraid to discuss end of life plans with their doctor.

“Our job isn’t just about health and survival,” says Dr Barrie, Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network End of Life Lead. “This new film is a great example of what can be achieved through good, end of life care.”

Factors most important to people at the end of their life are often; having pain and other symptoms managed effectively, being surrounded by loved ones and being treated with dignity.

Dying in a preferred place is important too. In a recent survey only 3% of respondents stated that they wanted to die in hospital yet, nationally, 52% of deaths among those between 75-84 years old take place in hospital.

“The proportion of people dying at home or in care homes continues to increase, but there's more to be done" says Dr Barrie. "Early conversations with patients and their carers is vital.”

Local commissioners are working hard to ensure patients’ wishes are respected. Alongside encouraging early discussions, doctors in the area are using an 'electronic palliative care record'. This means that vital information about carer’s details, patient’s wishes on resuscitation and preferred location for death is available to every professional caring for someone at the end of their life.

The new film, available on YouTube, tells the story of Molly and the care team that surrounded her towards the end of her life.

“Molly got to die at home, her dignity preserved and with no unnecessary medical interventions. All families in Berkshire should expect the same level and quality of care shown in this film” concludes Dr Barrie.

A good death – Molly’s story can be seen here : http://www.nwreadingccg.nhs.uk/a-good-death-molly

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Editor’s notes

  • Dr Barrie is available for broadcast interviews. Please contact Steven Buckley (07789 933 276) or Sarah Rayner-Osbon (07917 183365) to arrange an interview.
  • The YouTube clip may be embedded on your own webpages with a credit to Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • A short extract from the film, suitable for use on your own social media channels, is available on request
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