New ‘End of Life Care in Frailty’ guidelines have been published by the British Geriatrics Society to help doctors, nurses and allied health professionals provide high-quality, person-centred care for older people approaching the end of their lives, both during the pandemic and in the future.

The guidelines aim to improve end-of-life care for all older people with frailty, not just those diagnosed with Covid-19. The planning and delivery of good end of life care, magnified as a key issue for healthcare professionals caring for older patients during the pandemic, is explored in depth in the new guidelines.

A key aim of this new guidance is to prompt and support timely discussions about preferences for care with the older person themselves and their family. The guidelines also cover the unique considerations in specific settings such as urgent care, care homes and prisons.

Dr Eileen Burns, co-editor of the guidelines, commented: “Too often the clinical response to an acute deterioration in a frail older person is protocol or pathway driven, especially during this crisis. This can sometimes lead to distressing treatments without pausing to reflect on the values and wishes of the older person who’s being cared for.”

Prof Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, said that the document, which is the first of its kind, will be of enormous value to the multidisciplinary teams who support older people with frailty at the end of their lives.

“It will help healthcare professionals to navigate older people and their families through this difficult time, providing care, comfort and relief.”

The British Geriatrics Society is the professional association of doctors practising geriatric medicine, nurses, therapists, researchers, GPs and psychiatrists engaged in the specialist care of older people. With over 4,000 members, it’s the only society in the UK offering specialist medical expertise in the wide range of healthcare needs of older people. 

Click here for more information on the guidelines.