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Improving end-of-life care: Professional development for physicians

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18th April 2012

Royal College of Physicians produce report on end-of-life care

Report on end-of-life care

The Royal College of Physicians has produced a report called 'Improving end-of-life care: professional development for physicians.' The report recommends that all hospital doctors, not just specialists, should be supported to improve the care given to patients at the end of their lives. It provides suggestions and proposals for trusts to improve care at the end of life.

A quarter of a million people die in hospitals in England every year. This is a higher number than the combined total of those who die at home, hospitals and hospices. Many people who die in hospital do so under the care and help of doctors of all specialities, and may never receive the expert help of a palliative care team.

Some of the suggestions of the report highlight not just caring for patients in their last days or hours, but recognizing the needs of patients earlier on, speaking to them and their carers and letting them have time to make decisions about where they die and what treatment they receive.

The report also looks at the best methods for training and education in the context of a busy clinical practice and looks at evidence from physicians about the need for professional development. Direct feedback from patients, CPD and e-learning are all ways the report recommends as suitable learning opportunities.

The report is important reading for clinicians who see the complexities and intricacies of this important area of care, and for trust boards, training bodies and commissioners and those who support them.

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