End of life care is fundamental to both the care of the person at the end of life, and their family.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in all normal care home visits being suspended. However, this rule has been relaxed for residents who are in the active dying phase.
If you are a nurse in charge of care for such a resident, please make sure to understand the care home’s policy here, and whether relatives are being actively encouraged to be with their loved ones at the end of life.
If this is the case, please follow the points below to ensure best practice for care and visitation.
Similarly, if you are in charge of a care home and need to inform relatives that a person is dying or has died, please follow these points for coordinating visits.
Managing end of life visits
1. Limit the number of visiting next of kin or significant others to one or two immediate household or close family contacts.
2. Visit coordination should be undertaken by the nurse in charge of the resident, or the home manager if possible.
3. Use appropriate protective equipment (PPE) for the visitors and ensure hand hygiene practices are followed.
4. Avoid relatives using communal areas. Where possible, they should remain with the relative to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.
5. Provide a detailed description of the setting and what to expect when visitors see their loved one. This will help to minimise further distress at this time. Provide clear instructions related to wearing personal protective equipment and cleaning hands.
6. Ensure visitors have clear guidance and support when they leave the building particularly around the recognition of symptoms.
7. Relatives who visit with symptoms should wear a face mask before they enter the home and this should not be removed until they have left the home.
8. For visitors; gloves are not required for hand contact, although strict hand washing must be adhered to, this will enable them to feel comfortable holding the hand of their loved one.
Taken from the British Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Infection Prevention Society April 2020.
Our policy for you
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time, and we appreciate the incredible work you’re doing every day on the frontline of this crisis.
Florence is working to keep you, residents and care homes protected from the spread of infection. If you are unsure, please see our guidelines on what we are doing to help all Florence users, as well as see our policy for nurses and carers to follow during this time.