Digital urgent care plan will respect patients’ wishes

Katherine Johnston (18 December, 2020)

'Helping patients across London to better express their wishes about their care is very important at this time'

10241Image: Stock

A £200,000 plan to digitalise patients’ urgent care plans across the NHS is being rolled out in London.

The initiative, led by the Southwark-based Health Innovation Network, will mean health and social care professionals including paramedics, emergency doctors and nurses, 111 operators and out of hours GPs are kept up to date with patients’ wishes.

Named ‘Coordinate My Care’, the digital system gives patients the opportunity to make it clear how they wish to be cared for, including whether they want to stay at home, be hospitalised, and if they want to be resuscitated. The most up to date information is then shared between professionals.

Gloria Goldring created her own CMC care plan after a stressful end of life experience when her husband David was critically ill at a care home.

He suffered from dementia and despite both agreeing that he did not wish to be resuscitated in a critical emergency, Gloria was told by paramedics that without paperwork to prove his end of life wishes, they would resuscitate David in the ambulance if needed.

“It was a big shock to me because this was something David and I had discussed many years ago and I just felt completely at a loss’, she explained.

During the short trip to hospital David did not deteriorate and after Gloria explained to hospital staff that David had said he did not want to be resuscitated, this wish was accepted.

“So when CMC was introduced as a way to be able to flag this up I thought this was absolutely an essential for people to understand,” she continued.

“I think there is no doubt if we had a plan it would have been flagged up. This would have lessened the stress that I was under because I was in a very terrible state.”

Zoe Lelliott, chief executive of the Health Innovation Network, said: “Helping patients across London to better express their wishes about their care is very important at this time.

“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to work with Coordinate My Care and our NHS and care system colleagues to not only improve the quality of digital urgent care records but speed up the adoption and spread of this technology.

“Health Innovation Network seeks to speed up spread and adoption, so where innovations like digital urgent care records have been shown to be effective, we believe that it’s important to work with our NHS and care colleagues to adopt this technology to better meet patients’ needs.”

Professor Julia Riley, Coordinate My Care’s founder and clinical lead, said the project was even more important given the impact of COVID-19.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we are hearing that many patients and families are talking about difficult futures, challenging decisions and appropriate treatments,” she said.

“This partnership with the Health Innovation Network means that health care services across the community will be supported to encourage increasing numbers of patients to have a digital CMC record, to ensure their wishes are recorded, to better their outcomes and to support the urgent care services.”

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