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Caring for adults
Caring for adults

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4 Common core principles

Skills for Care [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and Skills for Health are two organisations that offer development and workforce learning in the health and social care sector under the umbrella of Skills for Care & Development. The other organisations are:

Children and early years employers should contact Skills for Care & Development

These organisations acknowledge that while people nearing the end of their life often need specialist care and support, non-specialists who participate in social care and health care increasingly find themselves working with people who are dying. For instance, family carers and caregivers in residential homes for older people might care for people at the end of their lives.

You might have noted that palliative and end-of-life care encompass some important principles: being person-centred and holistic, for example. In the next activity you study the seven core principles (Skills for Health and Skills for Care, 2014) that underpin end-of-life care. These principles provide a framework for practitioners who deliver end-of-life care. Completing the activity will equip you with the necessary knowledge to understand the processes affecting people who are at the end of their lives.

Activity 4

Timing: Allow about 25 minutes

Read the seven common core principles below.

When you have finished, make a brief note of how each principle might affect end-of-life care for an individual.

Principle 1

Care and support is planned and delivered in a person-centred way with the person’s priorities, including spiritual, emotional and cultural needs, guiding all decisions and actions.

Principle 2

Communication is straightforward, appropriate and timely and is delivered sensitively, taking account of the circumstances, needs and abilities of the person and their carers. Communication reflects an understanding of, and respect for, the person’s cultural and spiritual needs.

Principle 3

End-of-life care is provided through integrated working, with practitioners collaborating to ensure seamless care and support at the point of delivery. Needs are met in ways that are appropriate to the person, rather than being service-led. Workers maintain ongoing communication so that care and support is properly coordinated and responsive to changing circumstances and priorities.

Principle 4

Good, clear and straightforward information is provided to people and their carers.

Principle 5

Regular reviews and effective communication ensure that care and support is responsive to the needs and changing circumstances of people, and their carers.

Forward planning, including advance care planning, facilitates well-coordinated, organised and delivered care and support.

Principle 6

The needs and rights of carers are recognised and acted upon. Carers are offered support both while caring and during bereavement. Employers recognise the ways in which workers are affected while caring for someone who is dying, and provide appropriate guidance and support.

Principle 7

Employers provide appropriate learning and development opportunities for workers to ensure that they are properly equipped to deal with people at the end-of-life. Workers are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.

(Source: Skills for Health & Skills for Care, 2014)
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Briefly, the principles are:

  1. person-centred care
  2. communication
  3. integrated working
  4. information provision
  5. planning and evaluation
  6. rights for carers
  7. proper preparation.

These principles reflect the skills that will enable you to provide care for the dying person that contributes to a good death.

So, how did you get on with identifying how the principles might affect the end-of-life care of an individual? Here are some brief notes that are possible answers to the activity question.

  • Principle 1: The cared-for person chooses where to die – at home or in a hospital or hospice.
  • Principle 2: The cared-for person is listened to carefully to find out their wishes and preferences.
  • Principle 3: All the paid and unpaid carers talk to each other.
  • Principle 4: Carers are open and honest with each other and the cared-for person.
  • Principle 5: As needs change so does the care in response.
  • Principle 6: Carers are cared for as well.
  • Principle 7: Carers are trained and supported.