End of life care: The benefits
50. As treatment and care towards the end of life are delivered by multi-disciplinary teams often working across local health, social care and voluntary sector services, you must plan ahead as much as possible to ensure timely access to safe, effective care and continuity in its delivery to meet the patient’s needs.vi
51. The emotional distress and other pressures inherent in situations in which patients are approaching the end of their life sometimes lead to misunderstandings and conflict between doctors and patients and those close to them, or between members of the healthcare team. However, this can usually be avoided through early, sensitive discussion and planning about how best to manage the patient’s care.
vi There are various publications setting out the benefits of advance care planning, examples include: Joined up thinking. Joined up care. Increasing access to palliative care for people with life-threatening conditions other than cancer (Nov 2006) by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care. The four UK governments have published national strategies and action plans to improve access to end of life and palliative care which discuss the role of advance care planning. See the End of Life Care Strategy – Promoting High Quality Care for All Adults at the End of Life (2008) Department of Health, England; Living and Dying Well – A National Action Plan for End of Life Care in Scotland (2008) by the Scottish Government; Report to Minister for Health and Social Services on Palliative Care Services (2008); Living Matters. Dying Matters: A Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy for Adults in Northern Ireland (2010) DHSSPS.