End-of-life care regime to be phased out
An end-of-life care regime, known as the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), is to be phased out within the next year, the government has said, following the findings of an expert independent review.
The LCP is designed to be used at hospitals and care homes to help patients to have peaceful, pain-free deaths, and in some cases allows for the withdrawal of treatment, food and water from sedated patients.
While the review found that, implemented correctly, the LCP could achieve its goals, there were too many cases of it being applied incorrectly and that it has been used as “an excuse for poor-quality care”. The review suggests that the LCP has been used as a 'tick box' exercise, rather than taking into consideration the individual needs of patients.
The review recommends that the LCP should be replaced with a personalised end-of-life care plan on a patient-by-patient basis. The government has asked hospitals to carry out an immediate review of their practices and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been asked to make end-of-life care a more important part of its inspection process.