Hospital managers and directors are to get new guidance on improving end of life care.

The document is entitled Transforming End of Life Care in Acute Hospitals: the route to success ‘how to’ guide.

It is designed to help more patients become involved in planning their own treatment and allow them to die in their chosen setting.

The ‘how-to’ guide brings together two key improvement programmes, developed by the National End of Life Care Programme (NEoLCP) and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

The first is NEoLCP’s The Route to Success in End of Life Care - achieving quality in acute hospitals, published in 2010.

The new document also uses guidelines contained in the Institute’s Productive Ward: Releasing Time to Care, which forms part of the Productive Series being implemented by trusts across England.

The 23 trusts involved in the Acute Hospitals End of Life Care Initiative will be among the first to use the new guide, which emphasises that health trusts and their partners must work together to improve end of life care.

Under the new guidelines, boards will be encouraged to develop a trust-level end of life care plan alongside education and training programmes and a rapid discharge process for patients who choose to die at home.

NEoLCP deputy director Anita Hayes said: “This initiative gives all staff an opportunity to change end of life care for the better so that people are treated with dignity and have a voice in the planning and delivery of their own care.”

Maggie Morgan-Cooke, head of relationships at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, said: “Actively involving staff, patients, carers and other stakeholders, backed by visible executive support from a nominated board member and steering group, will help embed the cultural change that is needed to sustain improvement.

“That change will mean more people have a ‘good death’ in the setting of their choice and help acute trusts make best use of their resources in line with the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention challenge.”