Benefits of using the Liverpool Care Pathway in end of life care
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Benefits of using the Liverpool Care Pathway in end of life care

Annie Anderson Staff nurse, Critical care unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, South London Healthcare NHS Trust
Irena Chojnacka Professional lead for acute and continuing care, University of Greenwich, London

The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is an integrated care pathway used to manage terminally ill patients in their final days or hours of life. It was developed by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool to incorporate ‘gold standard’ care associated with the hospice setting into mainstream healthcare. The LCP has been advocated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Department of Health for use in the care of dying patients. A literature review was undertaken to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that the LCP represents best practice in end of life care and whether patients cared for using the LCP receive better end of life care. Eight research articles were selected for inclusion in the review. The key themes of symptom management, communication and documentation were identified, and the research surrounding these themes was analysed. The analysis showed that use of the LCP promotes better care for patients in the terminal stage of illness; however, some weaknesses in the research were identified and recommendations have been made for further research and future practice.

Nursing Standard. 26, 34, 42-50. doi: 10.7748/ns2012.

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This article has been subject to double blind peer review

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