Drink and Drugs News End of Life Care_Supplement_FINAL

DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS – SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT END OF LIFE CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH PROBLEMATIC SUBSTANCE USE AND THEIR FAMILIES People with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems, and their families, deserve the same respect and dignity at the end of their lives as people without AOD problems. They deserve care that is based on their needs, care that is delivered without judgement, and care that offers them the best possible choices in the final months, weeks and days of their lives. Our unique research project at Manchester Metropolitan University explored whether or not this was the case. It sought the views of a range of people including people with experience of AOD use and end of life care needs, their families, friends and carers, and the professionals and experts who supported them. It also examined existing evidence to find out what we know and where the gaps are in our knowledge. Our partners included two substance use agencies, ADS (Oldham and Bury) and Aquarius (Midlands); three hospices (St John’s in Lancaster, St Catherine’s in Preston and Trinity in Blackpool), and a Manchester- based community enterprise partner, VoiceBox Inc. The project was funded by the The National Lottery Community Fund. CASE STUDY – PEOPLE WITH EXPERIENCE RICHARD, AGED 67 Richard used heroin for many years, but stopped eight years ago. He describes never being trusted by workers and being asked to wait outside the chemist’s when trying to pick up his methadone prescrip - tion, while they served other www.drinkanddrugsnews.com people before him. He has been living with cancer for three years and was recently told that there are no further treatment options. He and his wife are now thinking about his end of life care needs and planning for a funeral with little money. Having CASE STUDY – FAMILY MEMBER experienced poor healthcare treatment in the past, which he largely attributes to being a drug user, Richard and his wife want to remain as independ - ent as possible, but recognise that they may soon have to accept help from the comm - unity palliative care team. DEBBIE, AGED 61 Debbie’s son had a longstanding alcohol problem and she felt he would die young. He was getting alcohol treatment but eventually died in hospital from alcohol- related liver disease after a period on life support. Debbie described her son’s death as a ‘good death’– surrounded by family and with compassionate care for both him and the family. However, there were no specific con versa tions about end of life care and Debbie felt that her grief was complicated by her son’s death being associated with alcohol. End of life care for people with problematic substance use and their families | DDN | 1