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Submission to Independent Review of Targets & Indicators

The SPPC has submitted a response to inform the Independent Review of Targets & Indicators being led by Sir Harry Burns.

The paper explores some of the challenges and complexities involved in measuring the quality of patient and carer experiences towards the end of life. It proposes a two-tiered approach to future measurement of this area:

  • The introduction of a single, system-wide national survey of bereaved informal carers.

This Independent Review represents an opportunity to move on from using process indicators as proxies for quality. The SPPC therefore propose the introduction of a Scottish National Survey of Bereaved Informal Carers, using the VOICES (Views of Informal Carers - Evaluation of Services) tool.

  • IJBs should be expected to use appropriate approaches at local level

During the development of this paper many examples of different approaches being used locally to measure the quality of palliative and end of life care were identified, for example data from complaints; Patient Opinion; real time feedback from patients and family; measures developed by the Outcomes Assessment Complexity Collaborative (OACC); local analysis of process and activity data that may be available via the LIST resource, including KIS; case note reviews; significant event reviews.

The paper recommends that IJBs should be expected and supported to use such approaches locally, and to share learning.

This paper is the product of consultation with the range of stakeholders involved in the SPPC, with particular thanks to the SPPC Council for the considered contribution of expertise and experience from such a wide range of perspectives.

The full report can be accessed here: Measuring improvement: people’s experiences of deteriorating health, death, dying and bereavement.

SPPC consults on new 3-year strategy

The SPPC is currently in the final stages of developing its organisational strategy for the next three years. Comments are welcome until 12pm on Friday 3rd March.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, via our online survey and discussions at constituency group meetings or elsewhere. An analysis of our online survey is available here: SPPC stakeholder survey analysis.

The draft strategy for comment can be viewed here: Draft SPPC Strategy.

Scottish Hospices: working to address the challenges facing health and social care

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and all Scottish Independent Voluntary Hospices have worked together to publish a new report which explores the many ways in which Scottish Independent Voluntary Hospices support the Scottish health and social care system.

Scottish Hospices: working to address the challenges facing health and social care in Scotland addresses questions such as:

  • What is a hospice?
  • Who benefits from hospices?
  • What services do hospices provide?
  • How do hospices support the wider health and social care system in Scotland?
  • How do hospices help address current challenges facing health and social care in Scotland?

The report makes it clear that Scottish hospices have an essential role to play in improving care for individuals, families and communities in Scotland. By working closely with Integrated Joint Boards, hospices can bring leadership, expertise and patient-driven solutions to deliver greater value.

The Full Report and Summary Report are available to download below:

Summary Report: Scottish Hospices: working to address the challenges facing health and social care in Scotland

Full Report: Scottish Hospices: working to address the challenges facing health and social care in Scotland

Building on the Best

A joint project by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and Macmillan, Building on the Best is a new programme which aims to bring health professionals, patients, carers and families together to improve how hospitals support people who may be approaching the end of their life.

Around half of people who die in Scotland die in hospital. This means that it is important that hospitals are places where people receive good care at the end of their life. Hospitals also have an important role in caring for people who may eventually die elsewhere, since an admission to hospital sometimes prompts patients, carers and families to discuss and plan for their future care.

There are many challenges to delivering good palliative care and end-of-life care in busy hospital wards. One central challenge is that, whilst declining health is easy to spot, it is difficult for doctors be certain when a person is going to die. “Will the patient get well enough to leave hospital this time?” can be a hard question to answer.

This means that doctors, nurses patients and families are all dealing with great uncertainty. In these circumstances it can be helpful to think about different future scenarios. What if my health continues to decline? What if I go home but I get unwell again in a few months? What are my priorities in life now that my good health is so uncertain? In a high-pressure hospital environment it can be difficult for doctors and nurses to find the right opportunity to talk sensitively with people about these sorts of issues.

Patients and families may be unprepared or unwilling to discuss these matters at such a distressing time, and find it difficult to cope with the uncertainty that declining health can bring. A particular focus of this project will therefore be to enable good communication between patients, families and staff so that shared decision-making can take place.

Initial work is being undertaken in one site and the project aim is to work in three locations eventually. Staff, patients, carers and families will be asked about their experiences of end-of-life care and communication in hospital, what is good and where improvements can be made. These insights will inform the development and testing of practical improvements. The hope is that the lessons learned from this work can improve patient experiences in hospitals across the country.

Annual Conference 2016

Over 220 people attended the SPPC Annual Conference on 22 September, and film footage of plenary speakers is now available to view online.

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care Annual Conference took place on Thursday 22 September, at the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.

The full programme for the day can be viewed here.

A summary of some highlights from the day is available in this article on ehospice by Caroline May.

Footage of plenary speakers can be viewed here.

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