Wards 6 and 9 at Airedale Hospital have received a prestigious award, the Gold Standards Framework (GSF), recognising their commitment to delivering excellent end of life care.
The GSF is a national scheme encouraging healthcare professionals to initiate advance care planning conversations with patients who have irreversible, life-limiting health conditions. This includes diseases such as advanced cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure, and is also relevant for patients with advanced dementia and frailty.
Laura Brady, senior sister on ward 9, says “The GSF means so much to staff, our patients, and their families. It offers support when the future seems quite bleak. We explore what is important to patients and families and, with their permission, share their needs and wishes around end of life care with other health professionals to deliver care in the right place at the right time.”
Katie Widdop senior sister on ward 6, adds, “The GSF promotes open and honest conversations with patients, families and health professionals about what is important to them when restorative treatment is no longer an option. Approached sensitively this can help patients make choices that support them to live the best quality of life possible, especially for those with advanced dementia or great frailty. We only have one chance to get it right and the GSF helps to coordinate services, both in and out of hospital. We are proud to have our hard work recognised.”
Feedback from patients and families about the benefits of being a GSF patient is positive, welcoming an initiative that tackles sensitive issues such as advanced decisions to refuse treatment and resuscitation. GSF patients also have access to the Gold Line, the 24 hour telemedicine service based at Airedale Hospital for patients nearing the end of their lives. Cross boundary working between professional teams particularly through shared electronic records supports patients further.
Fiona Widdowson, end of life care facilitator, says “Going forward, there are plans to extend GSF accreditation to include the newly re-opened Castleberg Hospital at Settle.
“Suffice to say we are committed to delivering excellent end of life care across the district, whether in hospital or at home, and we’re proud to have two wards fully accredited to this great scheme.”