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.


Visiting Guidance for Care Homes

The Scottish Government has published new guidance, Open with Care: supporting meaningful contact in care homes, designed to support meaningful contact to resume between care home residents and their loved ones from early March 2021. The guidance recommends that care homes can now resume indoor visiting for up to two visits per resident per week (and up to two designated visitors). One person should visit at a time. Care homes will first need to make arrangements to do this and meet a set of safety conditions.

Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland

The Scottish Government has published and Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland.

Regular covid testing for hospice staff

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed in her parliamentary statement on 2nd February that from mid-February, regular covid testing will be available to all staff who work directly with patients in hospices.

Parliamentary Questions

Monica Lennon MSP asked a series of parliamentary questions relevant to palliative care:

  • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to support the Palliative Care Research Forum, established under the Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care. (S5W-34277)
  • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government, in light of recent research by the University of Edinburgh, funded by Marie Curie and the Chief Scientist Office for Scotland, Unscheduled and out-of-hours care for people in their last year of life: a retrospective cohort analysis of national datasets, and further research by Marie Curie, University of Edinburgh and Kings College London, which projects that two thirds of people will be dying in community settings by 2040, what plans it has to invest in community-based unscheduled care support for people living with a terminal illness and with palliative care needs. (S5W-34278)
  • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making toward its ambition that everyone who needs a Key Information Summary will have one, as set out in the Health and Social Care Delivery Plan. (S5W-34279)
  • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government how many people who died in each of the last five years had a Key Information Summary on death, also broken down by NHS board. (S5W-34280)
  • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government, in light of National Records of Scotland data that reportedly shows that there have been 4,000 more deaths at home in 2020 than in "normal" years as a result of the pandemic, what plans it has to explore end of life experiences in community settings in this year. (S5W-34281)
  • Monica Lennon (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has (a) for a new palliative and end of life care strategy and (b) to appoint a new national clinical lead for palliative and end of life care. (S5W-34282)

The answers to these questions can be viewed here: Parliamentary Questions 29 January 2020

Petition on bereavement education

The Scottish Government has published its response to a parliamentary petition calling for compulsory bereavement education in Scottish schools.

Scottish Parliament Manifestos

Several national charities have launched manifestos for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections, including:

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No recourse to public funds toolkit

St Christopher's Hospice in London has published the No recourse to public funds toolkit. The toolkit aims to enable professionals working across the whole palliative care sector to better equip themselves to support people in their role as family carers helping someone to die well while facing the additional challenge of having no access to the welfare safety net, due to restrictions placed on them as part of their immigration status.

End-of-life care in the acute care setting

RCP London have published End-of-life care in the acute care setting, a resource is designed to support acute and general physicians in the care and choices they provide to patients in the acute care setting who are approaching or at the end of their life.

Sharing current Scottish Practice

The SPPC Autumn Season 2020 featured an online poster exihibition of 64 posters, sharing work and research underway across Scotland. Each month, our blog focuses on the content of a few of these posters. This month, we focus on:

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

Study of Anticipatory Prescribing local policies and guidance: Call for documents

A group from the University of Cambridge is undertaking a UK-wide study of policies and guidance concerning: anticipatory prescribing and syringe drivers; end of life medicines repurposing in care homes; and family carer administration of end of life care drugs. They are keen to hear from people with relevant documents for consideration - more information is available here: weblink.

The challenges of caring for people dying from COVID-19: a multinational, observational study (CovPall)

Authors: Adejoke O. Oluyase, Mevhibe Hocaoglu, Rachel L. Cripps, Katherine E. Sleeman, Irene J. Higginson on behalf of the CovPall study team.

The aim of this study was to understand the response of and challenges faced by palliative care services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and identify associated factors.

Bereavement during the covid-19 pandemic: national survey of bereavement support services

A survey is being undertaken as part of an ESRC funded study led by Dr Emily Harrop and Dr Lucy Selman to investigate bereavement experiences and support during the COVID pandemic. The survey can be completed here: National survey of bereavement support services.

Healthcare use and costs in the last year of life: a national population data linkage study

Authors: Katharina Diernberger, Xhyljeta Luta, Joanna Bowden, Marie Fallon, Joanne Droney, Eizabeth Lemmon, Ewan Gray, Joachim Marti and Peter Hall.

This study aimed to describe the pattern, trajectory and drivers of secondary care use and cost by people in Scotland in their last year of life.

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Demystifying Death Week

Each May, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief run an Scottish awareness week to coincide with Dying Matters Week in England. Previous themes have included Compassionate Communities Week and Good Death Week.

This year, we bring you...

Demystifying Death Week

Bringing dying into the limelight
10-16 May 2021

Demystifying Death Week is about shining a light on death, dying and bereavement in Scotland.


People usually want to do the right thing when someone they know is caring, dying or grieving. But often they can feel awkward offering help, or worry about making things worse.

People often have questions about serious illness or death. But often they don't know who to ask.

Making plans when you’re healthy means there is less to think about when you’re ill. But often people put off making plans until it is too late.

Demystifying Death Week is about giving people knowledge, skills and opportunities to plan and support each other through death, dying, loss and care.

Get involved

Since the first death awareness week back in 2013, each May, people across Scotland organise local events giving people the chance to talk about death, dying and bereavement.

Organising face-to-face events has become impossible for a while, but the need for opportunities to discuss death, dying and bereavement is more relevant than ever.

This year, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is offering people support to bring their events online - find out more here: holding an online event.

Photo credit: Remi Skatulski

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Development of SPPC Position Paper on future improvement of people's experiences of death, dying and bereavement

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to the development of this paper. In April a draft version will be shared widely for final input before publication.

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Other News

National day of reflection

A National Day of Reflection is taking place on 23rd March to reflect on our collective loss, support those who've been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.

New resource - 'Looking after ourselves and each other'

Macmillan has developed a 15-minute video and presentation with information and tips to help health and care professionals look after themselves and others.

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Shining the light on women working in palliative care in 2020

An International Women's Day event by the Cicely Saunders Institute. 8th March, 1pm-2.30pm. More information is available here: weblink.

Making charity applications for individuals

Organised by Down to Earth. 10 March 2021, online. More information is available here: weblink.

Suffering, Death and Palliative Care

Organised by IQ Healthcare. 16-19 March 2021, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. More information is available here: weblink.

Scottish Parliament Election Dying, Death and Bereavement Hustings

Organised by Marie Curie and CHAS. 17 March 2021, 9:30 – 11:00. More information is available here: weblink

Focused Webinar on 'What Matters to You' and multidisciplinary care planning

Organised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. 25 March 2021, 1pm-2pm. More information is available here: weblink.

Good Grief Festival

27-28 March 2021. 40 free events and 70+ speakers, with the aim is of providing a space where people can talk, think and learn about grief and perhaps find some support and healing in the process. More information is available here: weblink.

The National Wellbeing Hub

National Wellbeing Hub is putting on a number of webinar sessions for health and social care staff, with a focus on wellbeing.

Healthcare Conferences UK

HC-UK are running various online conferences during April and May, with subjects including Reducing & Managing Pressure Ulcers at the End of Life; Effective Non Medical Prescribing in End of Life Care; End of Life Care for People with Dementia during Covid-19; Improving End of Life Care for people with Cardiovascular Disease & Heart Failure; Improving the Care of Dying Adults in the last days of life: Improving care and support during Covid-19. More information is available here: weblink

Child Bereavement UK webinars

A full programme is available on the Child Bereavement UK website.

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