CRISTAL (Criteria for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate Alternative Care) is a test which has been developed to identify elderly hospital patients who are likely to die within 30 days by looking at 29 indicators of health.
Joanne Atkinson, Director of Programmes in the Department of Public Health and Wellbeing at Northumbria University, Newcastle, is the North East representative for the National Council of Palliative Care and is in the final year of a Professional Doctorate examining The Philosophy of End of Life Care and How Media Influences It. Joanne worked as a Macmillan Palliative Care Nurse Specialist before moving into education and teaching in her respective disciplines. Here, she offers her view on this approach to end-of-life care.
Joanne said: “It is of course very important to be able to recognise advancing disease so we allow people choice of where they wish to die when they reach the end of their lives.
“The truth is that discussion around patient choice should be earlier in a disease trajectory and not at the very end of life.
“Patients and their families report that this helps them through such a difficult time, no tool will be conclusive in this area of practice, the main priority should be, a patient focus and sensitive communication.
“In light of the demise and public dismantling of the Liverpool Care Pathway we should be cautious about standardising care in this sphere of practice.”