Six steps to better care for older people

Older people living in care homes in Oldham can be assured of receiving the very best care during the last few months of their life.

A second cohort of care home staff have successfully completed a dedicated education package, called the Six Steps Programme, which aims to support care home staff to effectively care for older people in the last 12 months of their life.

This increases the chances of residents being able to end their life in familiar surroundings, cared for by people they know, rather than having to be admitted to hospital.

As the title suggests, the programme is based around six steps that are vital in improving end of life care. These cover a range of important issues, including making sure the wishes of the person and their loved ones are known; planning and delivering co-ordinated care that meets the person’s needs; and offering support to the family after the person has died.

The programme aims to support care home staff to feel more confident and empowered and enable them to identify any health risks early on so appropriate care can be provided before any problems can escalate. This reduces the risk of people having to be urgently admitted to hospital.

The programme is run by end of life care experts from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with other health professionals, such as district nurses, and local GPs. Valuable input has also been provided by other professionals, including out of hours providers and funeral directors.

The initiative is supported by NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group. Four care homes have recently completed the programme – these are Ashbourne House on, Lees New Road, Neville House in Chadderton, and Royton-based Roselands and Royley House. They will celebrate their success at a special event on 18 March. These join Anbridge House, Park Hills and Treetops care homes, which completed the first programme in 2013.

Bev Melia, End of Life Care Lead for Pennine Care, said: “The Six Steps programme is growing from strength to strength and we’re very pleased to see a second cohort of care homes achieve success. The commitment and dedication shown by the care home staff has been outstanding.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure people across Oldham receive the very best end of life care. Being able to work in partnership with care home staff is hugely important, as they are responsible for the care of a significant percentage of older people in the borough. “We’re looking forward to building on these successes and rolling out the programme to every care home in the borough.”

Another programme is already underway, with eight care homes and nursing homes on board.