RCN signs statement on Liverpool Care Pathway
Published: 25 September 2012
The Royal College of Nursing has joined other royal colleges and patient organisations in signing a consensus statement designed to provide clarity about the Liverpool Care Pathway.
Since the late 1990s, the pathway has been used to spread elements of the hospice model of care into other health care settings, including care homes and patients’ own homes. But there have been accusations that the pathway has been used as a means of withholding treatment, including hydration and nutrition.
The consensus statement provides clarity about what the Liverpool Care Pathway is – and is not. It says that staff should ensure all decisions to either continue or to stop a treatment are taken in the best interests of each patient. However, the statement reminds those providing care that the pathway does not replace clinical judgement and is a framework for good practice rather than a treatment.
Amanda Cheesley, RCN Long-term Conditions Adviser, said the RCN and other signatories to the consensus statement support the appropriate use of the Liverpool Care Pathway. “However, we want to make it clear that it is not in any way about ending life but about supporting the delivery of the best possible end-of-life care.”