Patients and staff to benefit from funding programme to improve end-of-life care

The NHS needs to pay more attention to dying patients and their relatives by improving the places where they are looked after.

That was the message from The King's Fund today as it launched a new pilot scheme to help transform the physical environments in hospitals and hospices.

Six hospitals and two hospices will benefit from the programme with funding to provide teams with the skills to transform end-of-life care surroundings used by patients, relatives and carers.

The programme is to be jointly funded by NHS Trusts and their associated charities and The King's Fund. Each project will be run by a multi-disciplinary team, working with patients and relatives. The King's Fund will provide a training programme for nurses, chaplains, estates staff and patients to develop their leadership skills and give them the practical knowledge they will need to make their project a success.

The new end-of-life programme was announced at an event in St James' Palace to celebrate the first five years of the Fund's Enhancing the Healing Environment programme which has now reached more than 120 hospitals and other health facilities.

Speaking at the event, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'We know from the successful projects already completed that the environment where you are cared for makes a huge difference to how you feel.

'I am pleased to announce the extension of this hugely successful programme to the often neglected field of end-of-life care. We believe that the programme will make a real difference to patients, relatives and also to the staff who work there. We also hope that it will help change the mind-set throughout the health care system to place greater value on the impact that surroundings can play, especially when patients and their relatives are deeply distressed.'

Announcing the publication of the evaluation of the first phase of the extension of the Enhancing the Healing Environment programme, Health Minister Jane Kennedy MP said:

'People who are approaching the end of their life deserve good, well-designed healthcare environments which are vital to the positive experience of patients who use them, their friends and relatives, and the people who work in them.

'I am pleased to announce the publication of Celebrating Achievement: Enhancing the Healing Environment. This evaluation of the pilot so far illustrates some of the stunning transformations that the scheme has triggered and highlights how pleasant, welcoming environments can positively affect patient and staff well-being.

'I hope that this document will inspire people across the NHS to continue the good work and further enhance their own environments.'

The pilot project is the latest initiative of the EHE scheme which has already had a dramatic impact on patients and professionals since it started in London in 2001.

Find out more about the Enhancing the Healing Environment programme

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. An executive summary of Celebrating Achievement: Enhancing the Healing Environment Programme is available on the Department of Health website. For a hard copy of the full report, contact The Stationery Office Publications Centre - Tel: 0870 600 5522 or visit the DH Estates and Facilities Knowledge and Information Portal.
  3. The following hospitals and hospices are taking part in the scheme:
    Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust
    Christie Hospital NHS Trust
    Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
    King's College Hospital NHS Trust
    Marie Curie Hospice - Hampstead
    Marie Curie Hospice - Glasgow
    Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust
    United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust
  4. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.