NI ‘end of life care’ scheme announced

Health Minister Edwin Poots has revealed an “innovative” new programme intended to improve people’s experience of care towards the end of their life.

The Palliative and End of Life Care Learning and Development Programme and the Learning Development Programme were announced yesterday by Mr Poots as he spoke at the launch at the Northern Ireland Hospice.

Over £750,000 has been invested in the programme by the Health and Social Care Board, making it the first time a UK health authority has invested in a bespoke training and development programme aimed at nurses working in the independent sector.

The Minister said: “Palliative and end of life care is about what we as a society can do to support those people who require high quality, dignified and compassionate care through the last stages of their life.”

At the launch, Mr Poots paid tribute to the “enthusiasm of the Northern Ireland Hospice, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Royal College of Nursing which brought their collective expertise to design and develop the programme.”

Mr John Compton, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Board called the programme “essential training and development.”

He said: “We have 266 registered nursing homes in Northern Ireland with approximately 3-4,000 registered nurses and 9-10,000 health care assistants providing care in this sector. This investment reflects the Commissioners commitment to ensuring all the staff provide care with humanity and compassion, safely and effectively, and to support senior nurses to manage with confidence and respect.”

Mr Compton emphasised Northern Ireland’s ageing population and said that, in the future, nursing homes would have “a greater role to play in avoiding admissions for older people and for individuals who require enhanced support towards the end of their life.”