London housing and care provider Octavia and St Christopher’s Hospice is launching a bespoke resource aid for care teams working in extra care housing on Tuesday 8 March, to promote a better quality of life for people towards and at the end of their life.
The ‘Better Lives, Better Endings’ resource utilises a suite of tools, to help extra care teams provide better outcomes for residents during the last years of their life, including at the end of life.
It was co-designed by Octavia and St Christopher’s and guides care teams through the application of a number of available resources, enabling them to be more confident with dealing with end-of-life care and with supporting residents to ensure their wishes and preferences are met. It also helps address challenges extra care providers face with communicating, understanding, sharing, documenting and advocating for individuals’ wishes about how they want to live their later years, in addition to death, dying and loss.
The resources suite will be launched at an online event hosted by the Housing Learning and Improvement Network, ‘Approaching the end of life in extra care housing: innovating and learning together’ on Tuesday 8 March.
There is a recognised need for care teams to adapt to be more involved in supporting high levels of care right up to the end of life, in order to provide the best outcomes for people.
Extra care housing, where residents live independently in their own home but with the option of support from on-site care, is increasingly being chosen as a home for life. For many residents, their home is the place where they want to die. Care workers can enjoy close relationships with these residents and their families and can be well informed about how they want to live out their life.
The Better Lives, Better Endings resource suite supports staff and organisations to be better equipped to meet this growing need. It aids care colleagues to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to be more involved in ensuring residents’ wishes are captured, listened to and acted on in decisions about living through their older years and their end-of-life care.
Through its involvement in developing the resource, Octavia’s Care team is already putting into practice a number of new initiatives across its extra care schemes. These include:
- developing End of Life Champions in schemes
- strengthening relationships with GPs, local hospices and other parts of the health and care system and informing them of people’s wishes
- developing a ‘traffic light’ system linked to care plans, to more systematically identify residents with increasing levels of need, and
- in one scheme, at the suggestion of residents, opening a memorial garden for quiet reflection and to remember former residents who have died.
Octavia is now embedding the Better Lives, Better Endings learning with all care colleagues across its extra care schemes.
Octavia Assistant Director for Care and Support, Neil McCarthy said: “Octavia residents often live in their extra care home for many years, developing close relationships with their carers and increasingly choosing to make this their home for the rest of their life. We want them to live well through to the end of their life and this means ensuring people’s wishes about how they want to live, where they would like to die, and what specific plans and preparations they want to make, are met. This resource helps give care colleagues confidence to have these important conversations with residents, capture wishes and preferences, and work with families, loved ones and health partners, to see them fulfilled.”
Liz Bryan, Senior Associate of St Christopher’s CARE, added: “We are incredibly proud to launch the Better Lives, Better Endings suite of resources in partnership with Octavia. With more and more people choosing to remain at home for their last few days, months or years, it’s become increasingly important to empower them to make choices about the care they receive and what they want from their life and death. It is therefore equally as important to ensure that care providers are able to explain and facilitate these choices to the best of their abilities. This suite of resources is intended to help those providers be prepared to have difficult conversations and enable people to make decisions that they wholly understand and are comfortable with, leading to an increased quality of life up to and including at the end of life.”
To find out more about the Better Lives, Better Endings resource suite, book a place for the Housing Learning and Improvement Network event: ‘Approaching the end of life in extra care housing: innovating and learning together’