Community pharmacies across the UK can now sign up to new quality improvement standards for palliative and end of life care.

The Daffodil Standards, born from a partnership between the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and charity Marie Curie, set out areas of good practice and hope to help improve the care provided to patients approaching the end of their life.

As part of the initiative, community pharmacies will be able to display the ‘daffodil mark’ – which is also the iconic symbol of the Marie Curie charity – as a sign of their commitment to working towards the individual standards.

The eight Daffodil Standards relate to:

  1. Professional and competent staff
  2. Early identification of patients and their carers
  3. Carer support, before and after death
  4. Seamless, planned, coordinated care
  5. Assessment of the unique needs of each patient
  6. Quality care during the last days of life
  7. Bereavement care after death
  8. Pharmacies as hubs within Compassionate Communities

Those pharmacies that adopt the standards will commit to making improvements in at least three of the eight areas every year, with the aim of having reviewed all of them after three years.

Professor Claire Anderson, RPS president, said: ‘Community pharmacies already make a huge impact on how patients and families experience end of life care as patients trust and value the easy access to expertise that they provide.

‘We’re delighted to be able to launch these quality improvement standards with Marie Curie and hope they provide positive support to community pharmacy teams and their patients at a challenging time.’

Meanwhile, Darrell Baker, RPS project lead for the Daffodil Standards, highlighted the ‘crucial role’ community pharmacists play in supporting patients at their end of life.

‘The Daffodil Standards provide a roadmap to help community pharmacy teams deliver the best possible care on a range of issues, including symptom management, communication with patients and their carers, and collaboration with other healthcare professionals.’

In addition, Dr Sarah Holmes, Marie Curie chief medical officer and palliative care consultant said: ‘With an ageing population and more people experiencing complex needs requiring palliative care support, it is important that we work together to continually improve the quality of care and support provided to people at the end of life and those important to them, regardless of who they are, where they live, or where they go for professional advice.’

The Daffodil Standards for community pharmacy were launched earlier this month and sit alongside similar standards for GPs.

They were developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders, including pharmacists, patients, and other healthcare professionals.