If an elderly member of your family or maybe a close friend has a terminal illness, or is taken into hospital because they are unwell, you might be told that they are very close to death. You may hear (if they decide to talk to you) mention of the words “Palliative care”. ‘Palliative’ simply means to ease pain usually through the use of drugs. It seems to be mainly used now when patients are at the end of their life or there are no options left to cure an illness.
However it is possible that the patient is not dying but that they are seen as being a candidate for the LIVERPOOL CARE PATHWAY (LCP) because the hospital has decided that this is how some elderly people, (and in some cases not so elderly, so be careful) are to die. At the present time some 20,000 people with dementia have been placed on the LCP.
You should also be aware that doctors have been asked to identify the one in every hundred of their patients who are likely (only likely) going to die over the next 12 months. We believe that the patients suggested for this are put on a list that finds its way to hospitals and is used to single out people for so called ‘end of life care.’ This fits in with the Gold Care Standard 2005 promoted by the Department of Health and set to save the government more than £1 billion a year.
Of the 450,000 people who die in Britain each year under NHS care around 29 per cent – 130,000 are patients who were put on the LCP.