Life after the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP)

The LCP was widely used with an aim to improve communication and care for dying individuals and their relatives. However, widespread media criticism prompted a review, which resulted in the discontinuation of the LCP across U.K. clinical settings.1 Three key themes emerged: 1) “lessons learned”; 2) “uncertainties and ambivalences”; and, 3) “the future.” Critical care practitioners reported life after the LCP … often involved various clinical ambivalences, uncertainties and inconsistencies in the delivery of end-of-life care (EOLC), especially for less experienced practitioners. They had “become accustomed” to the components of the LCP, which still guide them in principle to ensure quality EOLC. The LCP’s format was perceived to be a useful clinical tool, but was criticized as a “tick-box exercise,” and for lacking family involvement. Despite experienced practitioners being able to deliver quality EOLC without using the LCP, junior nursing and medical staff need clear guidelines and support from experienced mentors in practice. Evidence-based guidelines related to family involvement in EOLC planning in critical care settings are needed to avoid future controversies.

Reference: Life after the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP): A qualitative study of critical care practitioners delivering end-of-life care  JOURNAL OF ADVANCED NURSING | Online – 13 May 2015

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