Improving palliative and end of life care

Improving palliative and end of life care

Posted on 8 March 2016 by Gabrielle Coyle

The Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of life Care (2016-2021) was recently launched by the Scottish Government.

Reinforcing the Government’s commitment to ensure that everyone in Scotland who needs palliative care will have access to it by 2021, the framework will drive improvement, support training and education and promote a new culture of openness about death, dying and bereavement.  It also highlights commitments to working with organisations to ensure people experience an integrated health and social care system that fully takes into account their end of life care preferences.

The framework identified three main palliative and end of life care aims:

  • Access to palliative and end of life care is available to all who can benefit from it, regardless of age, gender, diagnosis, social group or location.
  • People, their families and carers have timely and focussed conversations with appropriately skilled professionals to plan their care and support towards the end of life, and to ensure this meets with their needs and preferences.
  • Communities, groups and organisations of many kinds understand the importance of good palliative and end of life care to the well-being of society.

It also suggests these aims will be achieved by:

  • Improved identification of people who may benefit from palliative and end of life care.
  • An enhanced contribution of a wider range of health and care staff in providing palliative care.
  • A sense among staff of feeling adequately trained and supported to provide palliative and end of life care.
  • A greater openness about death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.
  • Recognition of the wider sources of support within communities that enable people to live and die well.
  • Greater emphasis in strategic plans, research activities and improvement support programmes on enhanced access to and quality of palliative and end of life care.

It is reassuring to note that the new framework complements many of our own, recently launched hospice strategic priorities for 2015-18.  The framework will also assist us, as members of the pan-Ayrshire Palliative Care Network, where it will be referred to regularly to inform key decision making.