Letter: Nursing homes do accept death

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The Independent Online
Sir: Mrs D E Cartman (Letters, 24 April) is wrong to suggest that there is no suitable palliative care outside the hospice movement. The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA), in conjunction with the Cancer Relief MacMillan Fund, is currently training nursing home staff in palliative care nursing. Nursing homes do of course nurse their residents to the end, not "striving officiously to keep alive", but accepting death as the natural end of a relationship with both patient and family, which may have lasted several years.

Unlike patients in the National Health Service, our patients are also our customers, and customers are free to go elsewhere. Private sector homes providing the kind of care described by your correspondents would go out of business, and the sooner the better.

Dare we hope that the same would be true of incompetent hospital wards? Perhaps there is something to be said for market forces after all.

ANDREW MAKIN

Yorkshire Branch Secretary

Registered Nursing Home Association

Keighley, West Yorkshire

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