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Supporting Care Home Residents During the Final Phase of Life
  1. Dr Bruno Bubna-Kasteliz
  1. Dr Bruno Bubna-Kasteliz was former Consultant Geriatrician, Royal United Hospital, Bath. He is currently Clinical Advisor to the Health Service Ombudsman, London. Email: bruno.bubna-kasteliz{at}ombudsman.org.uk

Abstract

Over 400,000 people of pensionable age in the UK live in care homes. Implementation of legislation over the last 10 years has led to changes in the regulation and monitoring of care homes. Legislation has also blurred the previously clear demarcation of different levels of care that exist in residential and nursing care homes. A decline in physical and mental function and increasing care needs are common experiences for care home residents. This article discusses strategies designed to enable care home staff members to listen empathetically to concerns regarding death and dying, expressed by care home residents. It highlights the need for surviving residents to grieve following the death of a fellow resident. Such need has historically been ignored. Support for those left behind, whether care staff members, family, friends or residents, has often not been provided. Although training programmes exist for all aspects of end-of-life care, the number of care staff members undertaking such programmes still falls below national standards. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Bereavement
  • End-of-life care
  • Care home staff
  • Education and training
  • Older care home residents

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