EARLY project aims to improve end of life support


Katharine House

Under the scheme sudden changes and deteriorations in a person’s health is more likely to be managed smoothly

Care for people at the end of their life is set to benefit from a new project which will help them fully explore their options and make informed choices about their care and treatment.  

The EARLY project is funded by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group with direct input and collaboration from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.   Work is already underway at the Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury and Sobell House in Oxford, both of whom have provided direct input into the project’s development.

Project aims include supporting those working in GP surgeries to improve their skills in discussing patient wishes around end-of-life care and supporting patients who need help to develop their Advance Care Plans.

The project team, together with the Oxford Centre for Education and Research in Palliative Care, will run training days for healthcare staff from now until Summer 2022.

Robyn Wozny, a Project Lead for EARLY, said: “Advance care planning allows patients to have more control over their end-of-life care. It allows them to get their affairs in order and consider what care and treatment they would like to receive, including a preferred place of care – this is often really important for our patients. It can provide some peace of mind for the patient and their family and friends and planning what the patient wants can make a huge difference to the end of life care.”

Jessica Taylor, Project Lead for EARLY, added: “When patients and families have had the opportunity for their wishes to be discussed, documented, and shared across health services, sudden changes and deteriorations in their health are more likely to be managed smoothly, and importantly in line with their wishes.

“Advance care planning can also decrease the strain of urgent and unplanned encounters with health services.”

Mary Walding, Lead Specialist Nurse for Palliative care at Oxford University Hospitals Trust, said: “Getting end-of-life care right is extremely important. One of the key aims of the EARLY project is to get patients talking about what they want from their care – significant choices such as where they want to receive their care can make all the difference. Some people may want hospice care, others may prefer to be at home with their familiar comforts as they come to the end of their life. By having these conversations, we can help make this happen and plan ahead.”

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