BY LINDA FORT
A Pangbourne GP has made a film about the experiences of a family dealing with the death of a loved-one to help others in the same situation
A tearful new film shows how one Berkshire daughter was able to ensure her mother could die at home and with minimum pain.
The film is called A Good Death and features a daughter Judy speaking of the death of her mother Molly who lived for many years in Pangbourne and died in June in her own home.
Health service commissioners in Berkshire West are now asking families to ask their loved ones about their wishes and not to be afraid to discuss end-of-life plans with their doctor.
Pangbourne GP and Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network End of Life lead Dr Barbara Barrie said: “Our job isn’t just about health and survival.
“This new film is a great example of what can be achieved through good end-of-life care.”
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Factors most important to people at the end of their life often include having pain and other symptoms managed effectively, being surrounded by loved ones and being treated with dignity.
Dying in a preferred place is important too. In a recent survey only three per cent of respondents said that they wanted to die in hospital yet, nationally, 52 per cent of deaths among those between 75 and 84 take place in hospital.
Dr Barrie said: “The proportion of people dying at home or in care homes continues to increase, but there’s more to be done.
“Early conversations with patients and their carers is vital.”
Local health commissioners are working to ensure patients’ wishes are respected.
Electronic palliative care record
Alongside encouraging early discussions, doctors in the area are using an ‘electronic palliative care record’.
This means that vital information about carer’s details, patient’s wishes on resuscitation and preferred location for death is available to every professional caring for someone at the end of their life.
The new film, available on YouTube, tells the story of Molly and the care team that surrounded her towards the end of her life.
Dr Barrie said: “Molly got to die at home, her dignity preserved and with no unnecessary medical interventions. All families in Berkshire should expect the same level and quality of care shown in this film.”
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