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I have worked in social care for the past 36 years. I started my professional life working with children, before transferring to the adult world in 2000. In my new role I started to have frequent involvement with people who were dying. I became aware of the variable practice that existed within the social care profession in relation to supporting people's end-of-life experience. I also became aware of the accepted view that end-of-life care was solely the responsibility of the medical and nursing professions and that social care had very little to offer. That is clearly not the case. In fact, social care has a great deal to offer people, particularly in relation to facilitating their preferred place of care and death.
Social care practitioners are experts in the field of personalised care. The concept of ‘personalisation’ means recognising people as individuals who have strengths and preferences and putting them at the centre of their own care and support. It is based in the core values of social work—respect for the individual and self-determination (Social Care Institute for Excellence 2010). Putting People First (HM Government 2007) aimed to transform the way in which adult social care is delivered to people within the community. It is time that as social care practitioners we build on that success in relation to end-of-life planning and enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and place of death.
My journey in promoting end-of-life care within adult social services started 7 years ago when I was the main family carer for my dad George. George had clear views about how and where he wished to die when the time came. Unfortunately, he very nearly did not achieve his desire. Despite wanting to die in his flat, George was admitted to hospital when he became poorly …
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