Dignity pledge for patients and carers

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A COMMITMENT to provide dignified care to Northumberland residents at the end of their life has been pledged in a new charter.

Northumberland County Council has adopted the Good Death Charter and Statement of Commitment to Carers to ensure good practice when dealing with patients, carers and their families.

The documents were signed following a review of care, which included research, events and visits to local palliative care facilities and hospices.

Stakeholders worked together to explore the current levels of need, spending and resources and to seek the views of the community.

Council Chairman Jim Smith said: “Northumberland County Council’s overall aim is for this work to form the basis for building a compassionate community to help people retain control, privacy, dignity and choice until the end of their lives.

“By working together we found out how people in our community want to be supported at the end of their life.”

The principle behind the charter is to acknowledge that every individual has the right to a dignified death, where they are valued and, if necessary, supported in a caring, compassionate way.

It has been developed across the North East in partnership with residents, health and social care providers and voluntary organisations.

The charter recognises the need to respect the individual, give time to plan, deliver sensitive care and provide ongoing assistance to people who are dying and their loved ones, extending into bereavement support.

Chairman of the North East Regional Advisory Group for a ‘Good Death,’ Professor Edwin Pugh, who has helped to develop the charter to deal with the sensitive issue of death, said: “It is a privilege for me to be part of the council’s initiative to adopt and create the principles of the Good Death charter.

“The charter has ben developed in the North East of England in partnership and with endorsement of the public we serve.

“I believe Northumberland County Council is, by adopting the charter, leading the way in the UK in pioneering a public health approach to improve public wellbeing and quality of life in an area which affects us all, dying and death.”

The charter was signed at County Hall by Coun Smith, Prof Pugh, Chairman of the council’s Scrutiny Working Group Eileen Armstrong and representatives from the health, social care and voluntary organisations who were involved in the review.