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Competence in end-of-life care does not need specialist skills
  1. Helen Scott
  1. Helen Scott is Editor, End of Life Care, and Staff Nurse, St Christopher’s Hospice, London: Email:

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The husband of a colleague died recently. He had been suffering from long-term chronic health problems and was physically disabled. He had been living quite happily in a care home for some months. When his condition suddenly deteriorated he was transferred to hospital where he was admitted to an acute assessment ward. He died a few days later. My colleague was telephoned and given this information. She hurried to the ward. When she arrived the curtains were around his bed. A nurse told my colleague to stay outside the curtains while she took out various lines and monitor leads. My colleague was left sitting on a chair for some time with just a curtain between her and her husband. The nurse eventually came outside and told her to go in. No word of support or comfort was uttered. The only other interaction my colleague had with the ward …

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