Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care: Update

Welcome to Update, a monthly round-up of news relevant to palliative care in Scotland, brought to you by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

SPPC Autumn Season

Instead of our usual Annual Conference, this year we bring you the SPPC Autumn Season.

The Autumn Season will consist of four bite-sized virtual events, together with a poster display and competition done in a very different way.

We can’t give you the neo-classical Georgian splendour of the Royal College of Physicians. However, we can invite you to join from your bedroom or busy office, without the need to travel or give up a whole day. Random cats and kids are welcome too. Read on for details of the programme...

Display your poster in the virtual poster display and exhibition

The Autumn Season will include a virtual poster display and exhibition. If you are interested in displaying your work, please get in touch - the closing date for receipt of abstracts is 11 September and more information is available here: Virtual poster display and competition.

Steps to Better Bereavement

30th September, 10.30 – 1pm

Usually around 240 000 people are bereaved in Scotland each year. To this COVID-19 has added scale, and created new and cruel circumstances of loss.

Bringing a variety of international and professional perspectives, confirmed speakers include:

  • Lauren Breen, Associate Professor, School of Psychology, Curtin University, Western Australia
  • Orla Keegan, Head of Education and Bereavement Services, Irish Hospice Foundation
  • Alison Penny, Director, Childhood Bereavement Network, and Coordinator, National Bereavement Alliance.

Small group discussions will then focus on how Scotland can improve people’s experience of bereavement. The outputs of those discussions will feed into the new strategy SPPC is developing for the sector. You can register for this virtual event here: Steps to better bereavement registration

Shaping the Future, Sharing Ideas

8th October, 10.30 – 1pm

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 look forward to 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 inform future strategy development relating to palliative and end of life care, serious illness, dying and bereavement.

This interactive workshop is an opportunity to inform this work. More details will follow, and you can register here: Shaping the future, sharing ideas

Arts Symposium

20th October 2020

The arts team at St Columba's Hospice Care is organising an online symposium bringing together arts therapists, community artists and other arts practitioners to explore the role of the arts in palliative and bereavement care. The symposium will also feature an online arts exhibition showcasing examples of creative arts projects and work that is happening in hospices across Scotland. More details to follow. To register to this free virtual event please email:

SPPC Poster Parade

29 October 2020, 3.00pm – 5.00pm

This event will showcase new and innovative work form across Scotland (and perhaps beyond) in a series of rapid-fire presentations with Q&A. Featuring a selection of posters from the SPPC virtual poster exhibition the event will also announce the winner of the Derek Doyle poster prize. You can register for the event here: SPPC Poster Parade

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Life after death: supporting carers after bereavement

Marie Curie, Sue Ryder and Reform Scotland have produced a new report - ‘Life After Death: Supporting carers after bereavement’, which calls for major changes in the support offered to carers after the person they have cared for dies. The report sets out four policy proposals:

  1. A new Carers (Bereavement Support) (Scotland) Bill early in the next Parliament to provide information and a plan to support carers following the end of their caring role.
  2. A new fund to support training and education for carers returning to work/seeking employment.
  3. A new Post-Caring Support Payment to help carers struggling financially following the end of their caring role.
  4. To extend eligibility for the Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Allowance Supplement for up to 6 months after the person’s caring role comes to an end (from the current 8 weeks).

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NHS Lothian Care homes ACPs & MDTs Planning Toolkit

This toolkit aims to provide a quality improvement (QI) perspective for practices to understand their own Care Home context to identify opportunities for improvement. It provides an overview of a broad variety of QI tools and brings together many pre-existing relevant national resources and guidelines into one document for ease of use. The toolkit has been generated using the experience and learning from Lothian teams who have undertaken Care Home improvement work to share and spread tested effective approaches to Anticipatory Care Planning and MDT Team Reviews.

Sharing current Scottish Practice

Each month our blog focuses on a few of the posters displayed at previous SPPC Annual Conferences. This month we look at the following posters from the 2019 conference:

Sharing your practice

The SPPC hosts a blog as a platform for people to share examples of current Scottish palliative care practice that might be of interest to the palliative care community more widely. If you know of work underway that might be relevant for sharing on our website, please email:

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Academic and Research

Call for posters - SPPC Autumn Season

Are you involved in an interesting project or in an area of work that you would like to promote and showcase? Why not present your work at the SPPC Autumn Season virtual poster exhibition? This is a great opportunity to share your learning and tell others about your work. The call for posters is now open and the closing date is 11 September 2020.

Survey of the role and response of primary healthcare services in the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care during COVID-19

A research team from the Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge, Warwick and Edinburgh are working to explore and capture learning of GPs and community nurses who have had recent experience of caring for dying patients in the community through the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes care of dying patients in care homes. They intend to use the results to make recommendations to service managers and commissioners about how to support general practice and community nursing services, alongside specialist services, through the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future. The survey takes around 15-20 minutes to complete.

Interviewees sought for research into end of life care decision making

Researchers from Imperial College London are looking to interview people who have cared for or supported someone in their last year of life who had dementia, lung cancer or pulmonary fibrosis. More information is available here: Research into how and why patients and their loved ones make decisions about end of life care.

Research study needs volunteers:

A digital storytelling project being carried out by Marie Curie and the University of Glasgow is looking for carers to share their experiences of caring for someone experiencing financial hardship and serious advanced illness. For more information, please contact:

The grief experiences and support needs of people bereaved during the COVID-19 pandemic

Researchers at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol are conducting a research study which is looking at the grief and bereavement experiences and support needs of people bereaved during COVID-19. A link to the survey is available here: grief and support needs survey or e-mail to be sent further information about the study.

Understanding the impact of social distancing and behavioural changes on families of care home residents in Scotland

The University of Edinburgh is looking for family members and close friends of people living in a care home in Scotland to take part in an online survey. The purpose of this study is to understand how social distancing and other measures implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic have affected family members of people living in care homes.

The impact of bereavement support on wellbeing: a comparative study between Australia and Ireland

This study by Samar M Aoun et al aimed to:

  • compare the self-reported physical, mental, and financial impact of the most recent bereavement in the last 2 years from the date of the survey in Australia and Ireland
  • determine who provides bereavement support in the community in the two countries.
  • determine the extent to which the support was perceived sufficient to meet the needs of the bereaved.
  • identify what sources of support were perceived to be the most or least helpful.

Advance care planning in the community in the context of COVID-19

This review by Lucy Selman et al set out to:

  • present what is known about ACP in community settings, considering relevance to people with COVID-19
  • report on the feasibility, acceptability, challenges/barriers and facilitators/enablers of ACP in the context of COVID-19, where the need for infection control measures can prevent face-to-face ACP discussions
  • summarise emerging evidence and clinical guidelines relevant to ACP in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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

Strategy Development

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. Thanks to the many people who responded to the recent survey seeking views on this topic. We are analysing the survey and will share content soon. To make sure that this work is grounded in real life experiences and expert opinion we are now running a series of interactive workshops. Some of these will be with existing SPPC groups. We are also organising several additional engagement events which are open to all. We aim to have a draft available for further input in November with publication in December. This is a stretching and ambitious timetable born of the pandemic and the electoral cycle.

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Other News

Reviewers sought for palliative care course manual

Reviewers are being sought for the Enhanced Palliative Care for Generalists course manual to ensure that the material is clinically accurate before publication. The manual has been written by teams of colleagues from the palliative care community across Scotland. It will be the core text for an interactive one day course aimed at nurses, paramedics, and doctors wanting to improve their palliative care skills. If you are able to review one or more chapters of the manual, or would like to know more about what is involved, please contact Lianne Sherlock from Class Professional Publishing at for more details. Dr Neil Pryde is the clinical lead for the project, and would be happy to answer any questions. He can be contacted on 07770 574467, or at

New support service for Care Home and Care at Home staff

Faith in Older People has partnered with colleagues who are experienced in listening and pastoral support to offer care home and care at home staff access to a confidential and free listening service.

Queen's Nursing Programme 2020

Are you a change maker, making a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing? Do you know someone who is? Are you passionate about social justice, looking to amplify the nursing voice in addressing the social determinants of health? The Queen’s Nurse title is awarded each year to 20 nursing and midwifery pioneers who complete a nine-month ‘journey of discovery’. Nominations for 2021 are now being invited from health boards and other employers. The deadline for receipt of nominations is noon on 14 September 2020.

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SPPC Autumn Season

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative is replacing its Annual Conference with the SPPC Autumn Season, a series of bite-sized virtual events, together with a poster display and competition. More details below.

CHAS webinar: Reaching every child with palliative care needs

3 September 2020, 4pm. More information is available here: weblink.

Managing bereavement in the workplace

15 September 2020, 5pm online. Organised by NHS Education Scotland, more information is available here: weblink.

Steps to Better Bereavement

30th September, 10.30 – 1pm, online. Part of the SPPC Autumn Season, more information and registration is available here: SPPC Autumn Season.

Shaping the Future, Sharing Ideas

8th October, 10.30 – 1pm, online. Part of the SPPC Autumn Season, more information and registration is available here: SPPC Autumn Season.

Arts Symposium

20th October 2020, online. Organised by the arts team at St Columba's Hospice Care this event is part of the SPPC Autumn Season, more information and registration is available here: SPPC Autumn Season.

SPPC Poster Parade

29 October 2020, 3.00pm – 5.00pm, online. Part of the SPPC Autumn Season, more information and registration is available here: SPPC Autumn Season.

To Absent Friends, a people's festival of storytelling and remembrance

Taking place across Scotland from 1-7 November, the To Absent Friends festival is a collection of grass roots events providing communities with opportunities to celebrate and remember people who have died. More information is available here: To Absent Friends.

Public Health Research in Palliative Care: Towards Solutions for Global Challenges

This seminar will take place online on 17 and 18 November 2020, and be an opportunity to focus on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Registration fee:€55 More information is available here: weblink

Healthcare Conferences UK

Healthcare Conferences UK have a programme of online conferences and virtual online training courses relevant to palliative and end of life care.

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