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End of Life Care Strategy: a key milestone in care of the dying
  1. Helen Scott, Staff Nurse,
  2. Penny Hansford, Director of Nursing and
  3. Vicky Robinson, Consultant Nurse
  1. Helen Scott is Staff Nurse and Penny Hansford is Director of Nursing, St Christopher’s Hospice, London, and Vicky Robinson is Consultant Nurse in Palliative Care, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

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The long-awaited, first ever End of Life Care Strategy was launched in England last month (Department of Health (DH), 2008). It is a major, government-funded initiative that sets out a comprehensive framework for caring for people, with dignity and respect, at the end of their lives. It addresses end-of-life care (EoLC) in all settings — hospitals, the community and care homes — and recognises that most people would prefer to remain at home if possible. It emphasises the importance of good EoLC for every disease and for every individual, regardless of age or ethnicity. It highlights the important role that generalist healthcare professionals play in EoLC. It underlines the importance of workforce competency and skills-based training.

The impetus for the Strategy arose from the fact that, despite excellent examples of good practice, the …

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