A PROJECT that has improved end-of-life care for patients in Gwent has scooped an NHS Wales Award.

Called I Want To Go Home, the project aims to respect patients’ right to die where they wish, and has received recognition as a gold standard service, winning an award for Improving Quality Through Better Use of Resources.

“I am delighted the hard work of the team has been recognised and that we have made a lasting change that allows people to die in their preferred place of care,” said Tanya Strange, senior nurse, care home governance with Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

“I Want To Go Home has made better use of resources to introduce a fast track service to ensure patients whose preferred place of death was at home achieved their wish.”

A study of end-of-life care within the health board had indicated that only 38 per cent of patients who expressed a wish to die at home did so.

The time it took to assess needs and arrange care meant the average patient spent 43 per cent of their remaining lifespan waiting for the process to be completed.

The fast track process developed by staff was brought in for patients with a life expectancy of less than seven days.

A six-hour target from receiving the assessment to securing care was set, with a 48-hour target on other terminal cases.

More than 95 per cent of patients whose preferred place of death was home have achieved their wish since I Want To Go Home was introduced, against a national average of 20 per cent.

“This excellent initiative demonstrated team working which placed the patient and their family at the centre of the care provided,” said Sian Bolton, of NLIAH (National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare).

“The staff involved were totally committed to providing the best service for the patient and enabling them to die in their preferred location.

“This is the level of care all patients deserve and should have access to.”

NHS Wales Awards are presented to organisations that show innovation, best practice and achievement to improve care and services to patients.