Dr Paul Perkins, Chief Medical Director at Sue Ryder and Consultant in Palliative Medicine, talks about the refreshed Ambitions Framework for Palliative and End of Life Care, why the core principles of flexible, person-centred care are so crucial for those at the end of their life and how these are embodied in the expert support we provide at Sue Ryder.
Truly person-focused care
We at Sue Ryder are really proud to have been part of the development of the Ambitions Framework for Palliative and End of Life Care. We know that the principles behind it are just as important today as they were when the Ambitions Partnership was created and these principles form the foundation of our approach to palliative care.
As a specialist palliative provider, our approach is underpinned by genuine person-focused care: we see the person, not the disease. Whoever you are, wherever you are, it is your right to have access to the best possible care that meets your needs and wishes, delivered in the best possible way to support you. Patient ambitions are our ambitions and we always do everything we can to make these a reality.
The first ambition, ‘that each person is seen as an individual’, is therefore woven through everything we do. The end of life is completely unique to each person and therefore understanding what is important to each person is essential when providing palliative care.
But too often the conversation starts too late. “I realised it was important to have the difficult conversations with my own parents after seeing someone close to me die”. This statement was made by someone who experienced a loved one die without having had the chance or made the time to have conversations about what they wanted at the end of their life. This is exactly why we promote A Better Death through having conversations and planning ahead.
The end of life is unique for everyone
It is so important to provide choice to a person approaching the end of life on how and where they want to receive care. For some people, being cared for at home is really important, but for others being cared for in a hospice is the right thing. This can mean day care and therapies in a hospice, or at the very end of life it might mean staying there, or it can mean hospice at home, so people receive a similar level of care, but in their own home.
Offering flexibility, continually discussing the options and having honest conversations means the person at the end of life doesn’t have to make the decision alone, and people can change their minds. Indeed, this is often the case as unexpected things can happen.
And this is exactly why we do what we do: we recognise that everyone’s experience and wishes for the end of life is unique to them, and we are there to support the individual and their families every step of the way.
It is so important that not only specialist providers such as Sue Ryder, but every professional and service provider involved in people’s end of life care do all they can to embed the Ambitions principles in all that they do.
We see the person, not the disease
The renewed Ambitions Framework for Palliative and End of Life Care outlines six key principles which are embedded in Sue Ryder's person-focused, expert end of life care.