Approaching the last phase of life, or being a family member or carer for someone in that position, can be a very hard time for everyone. Feeling confident that the person is receiving the right care, in the right place, at the right time, all the time, undoubtedly helps ease any concerns. So ensuring that those who care for you are aware of the GSF’s proactive approach, though early recognition, anticipating likely needs, discussing your thoughts and preferences with you and initiating support early, is important in the provision of good care in the last phase of life.
GSF helps this happen in practice - enabling all frontline care providers in any setting to give care that is proactive, personalised and well-coordinated. You might like to check whether your GP practice, hospital or other care providers are aware of GSF, if they are GSF trained, or are already accredited with the GSF Quality Hallmark Award - see examples GSF Accredited Care Homes in your area here, or other GSF Accredited teams here.
Encouraging conversations - advance care planning. Ensuring that a person’s thoughts, concerns and wishes are listened to and discussed is crucial. Proactively planning care in line with wishes, well in advance, can make a huge difference. The brief GSF animated video ‘5 Steps to Advance Care Planning’ provides a simple introduction to what we mean by advance care planning, with examples of how this can help in practice. Click here for more information.
What the The National Gold Standards Framework Centre (GSF) does:
GSF helps doctors, nurses and care workers provide the highest possible standard of care for all patients who may be in the last years of life. It does this by providing key health and social care professionals with the training they need to provide co-ordinated, joined up care, so that no matter what stage of their illness the person is at, or where they are being cared for, everyone involved in their care knows about their wishes and is best prepared to ensure they are fulfilled. GSF helps link together all of the people who provide this care and enables them to ensure that the care is “cross-boundary”, preventing people from falling through the cracks, reducing crisis calls and reducing time in hospital, ensuring more people live and later die at home or in their care home, if that is their wish.
How GSF works:
Thousands of healthcare teams in GP practices hospitals, or those providing care in care homes, retirement villages or at home, have completed the GSF training, with many progressing to GSF accreditation, demonstrating quality end of life care. Most people prefer to be cared for at home, or in their care home, and GSF accredited teams are twice as likely to care for people in the home up until the end.
Time and time again we hear that these frontline health workers feel a huge sense of job satisfaction, with increased confidence to communicate with those they care for, about their wishes and then to coordinate their care accordingly, ensuring they live well with a good quality of life right to the end.
GSF has helped to transform the provision of end of life care in our country. GSF helps put national policy into practice on the ground, encouraging early identification, assessment of needs and wishes and helping to plan both living well and dying well, when the time comes - the three pillars of GSF: Identify, Assess and Plan. The Government’s NHS Long Term Plan for England (January 2019) and NICE Guidance in Service Delivery all have recommended this more proactive, personalised approach to end of life care, also mirrored by the requirements of the regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The principles of GSF are now being mainstreamed across the country, with many GSF Accredited Frontrunner teams being recognised nationally (see our Frontrunners in Care Homes), though there’s always more still to do.
Patients nearing the end of their life deserve the best care - the 'gold standard' of care. That means high quality, reliable and consistent support provided by frontline teams, as well as those that specialise in this area.
Many GP practices, hospitals, care homes or wider areas use GSF to mean ‘gold standard care’ and have adopted the term ‘Gold patients’, signifying the increased level of support they need, and the priority treatment they are given. Gold patients are more likely to have an advance care plan and subsequently to achieve their wishes when it comes to the care they want.
Having your say
We have used the views and ideas of patients and carers to develop the Gold Standards Framework and will continue to do this. Although we cannot comment on any specific provisions of care, we do welcome your thoughts and feedback.
The National GSF Centre does not offer direct help to individual patients and families, but we recommend contacting your own GP surgery, district nurse, care home manager hospital or local community to find out where you can get help locally.
The National GSF Centre Statement on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide
Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending a person's life to relieve suffering and, in line with the position of the British Government and the NHS, both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal under English law: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/euthanasia-and-assisted-suicide/
The National GSF Centre in End of Life Care affirms that its position and policy is to oppose euthanasia and assisted dying in all its forms and to support the current legal framework, which allows for compassionate and ethical care for the dying. Any other position on this subject taken by an organisation that is GSF trained, accredited or uses some of the principles or tools of GSF, both in the UK and internationally, must state that these are their own personal views and are not representative of the views of The GSF Centre.