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End of life guidance released in Scotland

Yesterday Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care (SPPC) released new guidelines to improve the care provided to patients nearing the end of their life.

The aim of the Care for older people in acute hospitals report is to improve quality of care and introduce greater clarity.

Ellen Hudson, Associate director at the Royal College of Nursing, Scotland said:

“The Royal College of Nursing has been involved throughout in the development ofthese new guidelines to improve the care of those at the end of life. The care of dying people is an extremely sensitive subject and we fully support the need to have clear guidance for staff on good practice in supporting people in the last days and hours of life.

“They will also ensure that decisions are communicated in a timely and sensitive way and that the wellbeing of relatives or carers is fully considered.”

The guidelines are based of four key principles of the Socttish Government's interim guidance and were developed in light of criticisms of the Liverpool Care Pathway which had become discredited through a lack of training and inappropriate use in a small number of cases.

Sandra Campbell, a MacMillan Lead Cancer Nurse Consultant at NHS Forth Valley welcomes these guidelines that will provide staff with extra support enable them to provide the best level of palliative care possible.

She believes that they will be able to address the  “sensitive issues of communication around nutrition and hydration at the very end of life.”

Speaking as a board member for the National Advisory Group for Living and Dying Well she added that “The value of including the public in this process has enriched the guidelines and made them accessible for all those involved.”