Anne-Maria Olphert, Director of Nursing, Allied Health Professionals and Quality at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, recently shared her expertise in end of life care provision at the international Nursing World Conference in Las Vegas.
Anne-Maria has had an interest in end of life care for a number of years, and has travelled to both the United States and New Zealand to learn from services delivering best practice, thanks to funding from the Winston Churchill Fellowship and the Florence Nightingale Leadership Award and Travel Scholarship.
The conference theme was ‘viable quality health care’ and Anne-Maria was one of only two UK nurses presenting to an audience from across the globe representing Japan, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand, China and more.
She said: “The organisers of the Nursing World Conference asked me to share the learning from my visits and subsequent research, which showed that in the UK there were still too many people dying in a place they hadn’t chosen and without their loved ones.
“In my presentation, ‘Live well, die gently’, I explained that one of the key areas we can work on is how we plan ahead to respect people’s wishes at their end of life and support their loved ones. This includes helping people die in the place of their choice.
“Research shows that in any given year, one per cent of the population will die. Health services need to do more to identify who the people entering their last 12 months of life are likely to be, as if we don’t know who they are, how can we can find out about and then respect their final wishes?
“At Lincolnshire Partnership we’re working hard to address this and we have a range of patients who are now benefitting from our extra efforts in this area, from our mental health patients to our older-adult hospital inpatients and those people we care for in the community, including dementia patients and their carers.
“We’re working across all our services to identify as early as possible those people who are approaching the end of their life, having more conversations with patients about their wishes – known as their ‘living wills’, working more closely with hospices and delivering services to the nationally recognised Gold Standards Framework for end of life care.
“It was wonderful to be able to not only share my experience at the international conference, thanks to financial support from the organisers, but also to learn from other delegates from around the world and to bring that back to the Trust.”