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Over 85,000 people are currently being held in prisons across England and Wales (Ministry of Justice, 2011; Berman, 2012), and this figure is expected to rise to nearly approximately 95,000 by 2017 (Ministry of Justice, 2011). The number of older prisoners is therefore expected to increase and predictions indicate that this will lead to more deaths from natural causes in prisons (HM Inspectorate of Prisons, 2008). The twin requirements of custody and care are recognised within the HM Prison Service with initiatives underway to improve health outcomes for offenders. However, the above double imperative can prove particularly demanding when it comes to delivering end-of-life care (EoLC) in prisons.
Guidance for EoLC in prisons
The National End of Life Care Programme has recently published a good-practice tool to guide professionals working with people nearing the end of life in prison. The Route to Success in End of Life Care — Achieving Quality in Prisons and for Prisoners (National End of Life Care Programme, 2011) is part of a cross-government drive to improve offender health. The document, part of the National End of Life Care Programme’s ‘route to success’ series for improving EoLC, is intended as a practical guide for prison staff and health and social care professionals. The guide sets out how prison officers, managers and health/social care professionals can work to ensure that people …
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