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12 new projects to improve palliative care in acute hospitals

The SPPC is pleased to be supporting 12 new local projects aimed at improving palliative care in acute hospitals in Scotland. The projects have been funded as part of Building on the Best, a joint project by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, NHS Boards and Macmillan.

Since March 2020, palliative care teams have been living and working in unprecedented times. New and emerging models of care were implemented at pace, teams reconfigured and practice having to be adapted based on limited and emerging data.

In June, SPPC asked the members of the Scottish Network of Acute Palliative Care (SNAPC) members for their views on priorities for funding following phase 1 of the pandemic. The results showed people wanted the ability to run local projects that could then feed into national workstreams to share learning and build a national profile of acute palliative care services.

They also wanted to focus on the following key areas:

  • Anticipatory Care Planning
  • Patient and family experience
  • Visiting
  • Bereavement

Following a grants application process, in October six grants of up to £1000 have been awarded for small scale quality Improvement projects, with six larger grants of up to £10,000 being awarded for larger-scale quality improvement projects. The projects will take place in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, NHS Western Isles, NHS Tayside, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Dumfries & Galloway and NHS Lothian.

Small Quality Improvement (QI) Projects (up to £1,000):


Project Lead: Elizabeth Anderson (NHS GG&C)

Project Aim: To improve the anticipatory care planning and promote good conversations for patients in Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

Patient Belonging Bereavement Bags

Project Lead: Gail Allan (NHS Western Isles)

Project Aim: To improve the experiences of families and carers, following the bereavement of a loved one in hospital, with all in-patient areas using dignified and respectful bags/boxes to return patients valuables and belongings to families and carers.

Guidance At the End of Life (GAEL)

Project Lead: Jackie Wright (NHS GG&C)

Project Aim: To improve the care experience for patients, relatives and carers during the last few days of life in the acute setting.

Senses Trolley

Project Lead: Douglas High/Lynsey Fielden (NHS Forth Valley)

Project Aim: To improve the quality of end of life care delivered on the ward by promoting and enabling a far more person centred experience by using a senses trolley.

Champions for Change

Project Lead: Steven McDonald/Evelyn Patterson (NHS Forth Valley)

Project Aim: To improve equity of palliative care access across mental health services within Forth Valley.

The Final Journey

Project Lead: Patricia O’Gorman (NHS GG&C)

Project Aim: To improve the family and staff experience when transitioning of a deceased patient from the ward to the mortuary.

Large QI Projects (up to £10,000)


Project Lead: Gail Allan (NHS Western Isles)

Aim: To improve the communication and use of ACP across all clinical services to improve the care experience of people living in the Western Isles.

Mouth Care Matters

Project Lead: Laura Lennox (NHS Dumfries & Galloway)

Aim: To use the Mouth Care Matters programme (HEE, 2019) to improve the mouth care of all in-patients in Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary.

ICU Bereavement

Project Lead: Janine Wilson (NHS Lothian)

Aim: To improve the quality of bereavement care experienced by family members who experience the death of a loved one in critical care/intensive care.

Vascular Palliative EOLC

Project Lead: Dr Deans Buchanan & Dr Graeme Guthrie (NHS Tayside)

Aim: To build an integrated Vascular Surgical and Palliative Medicine approach to the management of people with complex vascular disease.

Shared Decision Making & Treatment Escalation Planning

Project Lead: Dr Shobhan Thakore (NHS Tayside)

Aim: By Jan 2022, 80% of patients (with their families if appropriate) admitted to unscheduled acute care in Tayside with palliative or end of life care needs will be involved in decisions regarding their care using a structured Treatment Escalation Plan.

Palliative Care for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Project Lead: Dr Andrew Goudie (NHS Tayside)

Aim: To improve the palliative care delivery for patients hospitalised with an acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Winner of the Derek Doyle Poster Prize announced

Each year, the Derek Doyle Poster Prize is awarded to the poster that gets the most public votes in the SPPC poster exhibition.

As many people will know Derek was a key figure in Scotland, the UK and globally in the development of palliative care – instrumental in establishing palliative medicine as a speciality, first chair of the Association for Palliative Medicine, first Vice-Chairman of the European Association for Palliative Care and a founding member of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care.

This years winners were:

1st place: Parlez-vous prognostic indicators? How health and social care occupational therapists in Fife are driving integrated system-wide change in palliative care services by Claire Howie and Alison Watt, NHS Fife/ Fife HSCP

2nd place: Your service, your way: Breaking down barriers and developing reciprocal links between the hospice and multiple ethnic minority communities in Govanhill, Glasgow using Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) by Christina Inglis and Janette McGarvey, Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

3rd place: Anticipatory Care Planning in care and nursing homes in Inverclyde by David Lynch, Ardgowan Hospice.

Scotland's Palliative Care Poster Parade

Get ready for Scotland's first virtual Poster Parade. This online poster exhibition gathers together interesting palliative care projects from across Scotland, and presents them online for people to view, share and vote on.

The Poster Parade will take place over Twitter this week #SPPCPosterParade, and culminate in an event on 29 October when a selection of exhibitors will give brief presentations of their work and take part in a Q&A via Zoom.

Over the next two weeks, we invite you to vote for your favourite poster - the poster with the most votes will win the prestigious Derek Doyle Poster Prize.

Shaping the future of palliative and end of life care

Five years on from the publication of the Scottish Government Strategic Framework for Action for Palliative and End of Life Care, it is important to take stock and consider what is next for palliative and end of life care in Scotland.

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care is currently gathering evidence, experience and ideas to help shape the future strategic direction of palliative and end of life care, serious illness, dying and bereavement in Scotland.

Read more about this here...

Grants available for Quality Improvement Projects in Acute Hospitals

A grants scheme has been launched to support improvements to palliative care in Acute Hospitals in Scotland. The grants scheme is part of the Building on the Best Project, which aims to improve palliative and end of life care on hospital wards in Scotland and in turn improve the experiences and outcomes of patients and their families.

Originally launched in January, the grants process was paused due to covid and has now been relaunched with a new closing date of Mon 14 September 2020. Grant applications are invited from any acute clinical area that can demonstrate a need for improvement in the care being offered to patients who are experiencing a deterioration in their health and facing an uncertain outcome.

More information about the grants scheme is available here: Building on the Best grants

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