Extra care housing staff need more training in end-of-life care, a Housing 21 report published this week said.
The study was based on a six-month pilot project to enable tenants to die at home if they wished. It was run by the provider at three of its extra care services, together with the government’s National End of Life Care Programme.
The pilots – two in the North East and one in the East of England – showed that staff who had been trained in end of life care found it more “normal” to approach these issues with tenants. They also recognised the signs of deterioration earlier, felt better equipped to respond and knew more about how to access specialist services.
Staff became more proactive
The project also helped health, housing and social care professionals to become more proactive in working with extra care schemes to support end-of-life care.
Housing 21 recommended that extra care housing providers incorporate basic training in end-of-life issues in staff induction. This should cover the new arrangements under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and appropriate provision for people with dementia, it added.
Focus on end of life care
Report co-author Sarah Vallelly, research manager at Housing 21, said: “The combination of the growth of extra care housing and the personalisation agenda brings the need for appropriate end of life care into very sharp focus.
“Death and dying is a complex and difficult area but older do think about it a lot. Choice should not be eclipsed just because someone is terminally ill.”
• Report from www.housing21.co.uk