I am trying to persuade the Royal College of General Practitioners to change what it writes about relatives when patients are dying

mike stone 18/07/22 Dignity Champions forum

I'm trying to persuade the Royal College of General Practitioners to change what it writes about how family-carers, relatives and friends are involved when someone is 'end of life'.

The PDF, contains the 'nerdy arguments' - why what we family and friends are currently being told by clinical organisations is legally incorrect, and why in a wider 'logical sense' it doesn't stand up.

If I don't dig into the 'legal stuff', I can express the problem as follows. While clinicians and the BMA, etc, write all sorts of correct and sensible things about family-carers and clinicians needing to work as a team to support the dying loved-one/patient, they also assert what amounts to '... but in the end, the doctor makes and is responsible for the decisions about treatments'. That looks very like 'once we are involved, 'your loved-one has become our patient'' - it rather looks as if we relatives have 'handed over all of the important decision-making about our loved-one's care to the doctors'. I don't think, most family-carers and relatives are happy to accept that - we don't suddenly 'stop caring about how our loved-one is treated' simply because we want HELP FROM doctors and nurses.

I think, we - patients and/or family-carers - 'invite the clinicians to help' while our loved-one is dying. I don't think we 'invite the clinicians to take control'.

There are particular issues with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the decision-making around CPR/DNACPR, which readers who have read my pieces here on Dignity in Care about CPR will be familiar with. The PDF you can download here, is in effect an elaboration of a BMJ rapid response which I wrote in 2017:


Now, 5 years after I wrote that short rapid response, I am able to elaborate on it.

As usual, comments welcomed.

Associated files and links: