Meeting the end of life care needs of remote communities

Categories: Care.

A number of new services and projects have been launched this week as part of the new Delivering Choice Programme, developed by Marie Curie Cancer Care and Argyll & Bute Community Health Partnership with other local partners.

There are more than 800 people with a palliative care and end of life care need in Argyll & Bute. However, meeting these needs for a population based in remote rural areas poses a number of significant challenges.

The programme aims to not only improve the delivery of palliative and end of life care in Argyll & Bute, but to inform the debate around meeting the end of life care needs of remote communities across Scotland by providing examples of best practice.

The programme started in August 2012 with a high-level needs analysis of palliative care provision in Argyll & Bute. Stakeholder workshops were subsequently held to identifying options for improving palliative care in the region.

The services and initiatives announced this week mark the start of Phase 3 and include:

  • A new model of Marie Curie palliative care nursing service, providing a mix of short and long visits to patients’ homes during the day, evening and overnight.
  • Improvements to carers’ information and training, through working with Macmillan and carer organisations to enhance the information available on palliative and end of life care.
  • A series of events and roadshows for communities raising awareness of death, dying and bereavement and the support and care available through local services.
  • Supporting palliative care in care homes, other community settings and in the home, developing a framework of best practice, including improved networks for those delivering generalist and specialist palliative care and guidance on using remote rural transport for patients.

Launching the programme at an event held on Monday in Loch Fyne Hotel in Inverary, Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: “With so many communities based in remote rural areas, it is vital that the end of life care needs for Argyll & Bute are developed and delivered to meet the specific needs of those communities. This programme will make a huge difference to those patients and families with a palliative care need. It’s an excellent example of local care providers working together to create local sustainable solutions to address challenging problems in the design and delivery of effective healthcare.”

Jennifer Layden, Project Manager for the Argyll & Bute Delivering Choice Programme, said: “The programme is taking a big picture view of the way that palliative and end of life care is delivered in Argyll & Bute. Using this approach, we have been able to focus on developing local and sustainable solutions that address issues and barriers across the entire system of service delivery for end of life care. We know, for example, that carers can feel isolated or lack support or knowledge of palliative care issues. As a result, we are developing a carer’s training module specifically covering end of life care issues, which will be delivered along with local carer organisations.”

Jennifer has written a blog post on the new initiatives. You can access this, along with further information about the Argyll and Bute Delivering Choice Programme, on the Marie Curie website.

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