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Liverpool Care Pathway to be phased out

The Liverpool Care Pathway  is to be phased out following a government-commissioned review which heard that hospital staff wrongly interpreted its guidance for care of the dying.  "Caring for the dying must never again be practised as a tickbox exercise and each patient must be cared for according to their individual needs and preferences, with those of their relatives or carers being considered too," said Lady Neuberger, who headed the review.  "Ultimately it is the way the LCP has been misused and misunderstood that had led to such great problems."

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) started its life in hospices where it was usually used sensitively by fully trained staff to alleviate stress in those who were dying.  Its misuse in NHS hospitals is not the first time that a government has observed good practice and then has corrupted it through forcing in a system without proper preparation and training and devising ill-advised targets and financial incentives.

The Charity, Help the Hospices, commented, ““We understand why the LCP is being phased out. However, we have concerns that this risks leaving a void in terms of how patients facing the end of life are cared for. We hope the transition to personalised care plans will be managed carefully and swiftly.”

The Liverpool Care Pathway per se has not been the problem but its misuse has brought to light an underlying problem concerning care for the dying.  Lady Neuberger  stated,   "What we have also exposed in this review is a range of far wider, fundamental problems with care for the dying – a lack of care and compassion, unavailability of suitably trained staff, no access to proper palliative care advice outside of 9-5, Monday to Friday."  LCP was devised to try to extend the positive experiences of dying hospice patients into the hospital setting.  But in replacing it, the NHS must make care of the dying part of its core business, she said.

In January 2012 image printed an analysis of Liverpool Care Pathway that may be read at http://www.imagenet.org.uk/LCP.pdf


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