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Nurses should provide 24-hour care to terminally ill children at home

Friday 28th April 2017
NICE states that specialist nurses should provide round-the-clock care to terminally ill children in their own homes. Image: ilona75 via iStock
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    More specialist end-of-life nurses should be on hand to provide care to terminally ill children in their own homes in their final days.

    This is according to a new draft standard from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which states that children with incurable illnesses should be cared for at home rather than in hospital when there is nothing more that can be done for them.

    Recent research carried out by Dying Matters led to the discovery that one in three people would prefer to die at home, but around half actually spend their last days in hospital.

    What's more, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of families would prefer to have their child at home throughout the entirety of their illness, with this rising to 80 per cent when the child is given only a month to live.

    With this in mind, NICE believes more terminally ill children should be able to die surrounded by their loved ones in their own home to bring them added comfort and the best quality of life possible in their final days.

    However, for this to be feasible, more end-of-life care nurses will need to be working in communities rather than just in hospitals, with care available 24 hours a day.

    Figures from NICE suggest there are almost 40,000 terminally ill children in England at present, so introducing the option of round-the-clock care from specialist nurses in their own homes could have benefits for thousands of people.

    Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE, commented: "A hospital is not always the best place for a dying child. We need to make sure families have the support they need. Children should be able to access the right care in the right place for them.

    "The final moments we spend with loved ones can form some of the strongest memories. We have to get it right."

    Written by James Puckle

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