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Identifying people who may be in their last year of life

Identifying people who may be in their last year of life is a crucial first step and must be done before the practicalities of end of life care can be put in place. It is difficult to do but a number of factors can help:
  • What the person thinks about their health – often the people suffering the illness notice changes first but may be too frightened to say anything
  • Age of person
  • The illness the person suffers from
  • Other new medical problems e.g. recent heart attack, stroke or new diagnosis of cancer
  • Severe infection
  • Recent or multiple admissions to hospital
  • Weight loss
  • Increasing frailty
  • Reduced mobility
Very often health care professionals are not surprised when their patients die but it can be difficult to pin point exactly what it is that makes them think that person’s death was to be expected. Asking the ‘surprise question’ can be useful in identifying patients in their last year of life – ‘would you be surprised if this patient died in the next 12 months?’.

End of Life Care
Downloads   End of Life Care Strategy:PDF 
Downloads   Best Interests at end of life:PDF
Downloads   Advance Care Planning:PDF
Downloads   Preferred Priorities for CarePDF
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