Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

Archive for the ‘hospices’ Category

Advice – what to do to respond to historic abuse allegations

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20140920 historic abuseClaims of historic abuse get a lot of press coverage. How do you handle getting involved in a scandal? Many social workers and local government officials get mixed up in their local authority’s reaction, but increasingly social workers work for a private sector organisation, or a small organisation like a hospice that may not have the legal backing or the experience to react well to getting into such a situation.

Legal advice from an experienced law firm (link to the advice) suggests six things you should do, and I’ve added a bit of my own advice from experience, too:

  • as soon as you hear about the possibility of something coming up, get together as much information about what happened as you can find, so that you’re not on the tv news giving the impression you don’t know what’s what.
  • check your insurance; also my advice would be to  and check in with any potential supporters, such as committee members, trade unions, professional associations and personal friends who may be knowledgeable and experienced in such situations
  • make sure you have a consistent message, think about the damage to your reputation and be ready to say more than ‘no comment’; also my advice would be to have a message that is more than saying how good you try to be – say what you’ve actually done and achieved
  • information  requests about something in the past are often advance warning that something is about to hit you; be alive to that – make sure you know what you’re required to say (and not to say – confidentiality, but don’t invoke data protection unless you’re really sure it’s relevant, often it isn’t) and what you want to say; my advice again: use the opportunity of an early request for information to research things and plan any responses in advance, so you’re ready
  • information requests about deceased persons are still affected by confidentiality requirements – my advice: check the law and the information commissioner’s guidance on access to health and social care records before saying anything; another reason for being well-prepared
  • notify the relevant authorities of anything you should and keep a record of the notification – I always used to do it in writing and keep a note of what I said when people rang me up; I also used to grade my reports in levels of horrendousness, so that they couldn’t say that I hadn’t made it clear it was serious if it was, and so that I could not be accused of exaggerating something.

Written by Malcolm Payne

1 October 2014 at 11:31 am

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: review the constraints and get external reviews

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More on the recent Supreme Court decisions on Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards; this legal commentary provides helpful guidance to local authorities, care home providers, hospices, hospitals and the like on how they should review their practice and decisions.

The helpful point is: ‘focus on the constraints’, not on the overall circumstances that a patient is in. And get independent external reviews done of long-standing arrangements; it is easy to get seduced by continuing with arrangements that seem to be working well.

Deprivation of liberty safeguards: “A gilded cage is still a cage” | Kennedys.

Good nursing and care for relatives in the NHS

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Malvern Community Hospital sideAnd good care for dying people is not only available in big urban hospitals. Our uncle Don (aged 95) was recently cared for at the new Malvern Community Hospital in the last weeks of his life. It has 18 GP beds and a minor injuries unit. With her extensive experience of palliative care, Margaret says with appreciation that the nursing for patients and support for relatives was a good as any hospice.

Link to Malvern Community Hospital website

Written by Malcolm Payne

15 January 2014 at 12:15 pm

Good care for dying people in NHS hospitals is still possible

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140113 Death in hospA thoughtful article in the Guardian by Julie Myerson, who suggests that often in the NHS you can get wonderful care for dying people, even in the biggest urban hospitals and busy wards. It is a story of effective nursing and good communication with relatives in a busy London hospital. And, incidentally, the hospital that Cicely Saunders started out from in her experience as a social worker which eventually led to her contribution to the origins of the hospice movement. Good to see that the medical and nursing skills involved still exist.

Written by Malcolm Payne

14 January 2014 at 12:06 pm

Hospice volunteers’ experience adds bite to training role plays with doctors

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Role play 140111In an interesting article, a German researcher looks at volunteers from hospices who act as patients in role plays with trainee doctors. The volunteers rely on their experiences in working with patients to inform their acting; it gives added reality to the role plays. Hospice volunteers also have their own experiences to draw on, since many people volunteer in hospices because of a positive experience as carers of their own relatives. It sounds like a useful way of adding a little bite to what can bean undemanding way of learning.

Link to the article

Written by Malcolm Payne

13 January 2014 at 12:47 pm

Posted in carers, hospices, professionals

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Day in the life of a palliative care social worker article

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20130914 Pallcare swA recent Guardian website article follows a day in the life of a specialist palliative care social worker in Birmingham .

Link to Guardian Social Care article

Written by Malcolm Payne

14 September 2013 at 10:47 am

Photos of hospices in Curacao, the Czech Republic and Estonia

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIn the past few years, I have visited hospices in Tallinn, Estonia; Brno and Olomouc in the Czech Republic and Curacao, in the Caribbean. I have uploaded photos of these visits to Flickr.

This link takes you to the sets; click on the set to see the photos. You can download the photos and use them if you wish, but you cannot publish them (including using them in presentations) or alter them without my specific permission.

Link to sets of photos of visits to hospices in various countries.

Written by Malcolm Payne

2 August 2013 at 11:05 am

Posted in hospices, pictures