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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).

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