A guide produced by BU’s National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice (NCPQSW) has been distributed by NHS England to provide guidance and best practice for advanced care planning.
Advanced care planning is an important aspect in the provision of health and social care for patients, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. It’s fundamentally about understanding what a person’s wishes are for their future care needs and plans, should they not be able to advocate for themselves due to a deterioration in their health.
This new guide, the fourth in a series by the NCPQSW, provides direction to care providers covering the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act for individuals who, either do not have or have reduced capacity to consent to decisions regarding their treatment and care. It explains the legal framework that care providers must adhere to.
As a result of Covid-19, many health and social care professionals are facing an increase in the number of clinical decisions they need to make where capacity and consent for treatment and care are significant issues. This is especially the case in residential care homes where currently we are seeing a huge rise in the number of deaths.
This issue was highlighted by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and Baroness Grey-Thompson in a letter, titled ‘Disability Concerns’ in May 1 issue of The Times.
In the letter, they address the issues faced by care providers who may, under pressure, dictate end of life decisions, without having previously established the wishes of the person under their care.
Professor Keith Brown, who wrote the guidance with Karen Grimshaw, Visiting Fellow, and Michael Lyne, MCA Programme Lead, said, “We are seeing a documented rise in care home deaths, and we know Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting those in later life, or those with other health conditions, therefore advanced care planning is more vital than ever for all residents in care homes.
Professor Brown continued, “Advanced care planning is there for those times when we are unable to speak for ourselves, and we should all be talking to our loved ones about their wishes for end of life care, and indeed talking about our own wishes.
“These guidelines put the patient back at the centre of our care system, ensuring that health and social care workers respect individual wishes and work to create advanced care planning documents that support people when they need it most.”
For more information about the NSPQSW, including links to the guides created, visit www.ncpqsw.com.