Today (Thursday 12 October 2017), a suite of publications will be launched relating to the end of life care delivered to Scotland’s older people.

They include a new report, which shows that:

  • 66% of independent sector social care services have increased the amount of palliative and end of life care they deliver over the past year
  • 81% of people supported by the independent sector have multiple morbidities
  • 85% of care staff are involved in the delivery of palliative and end of life care

 However the report also highlights that over a quarter of organisations believe they aren’t able to offer the level of care and support they would like to at the end of someone’s life, and over half believe current staff training is insufficient to equip them to deliver this care.  This, social care providers believe, is due to a lack of value placed on independent care services and care workers, as well as insufficient funding and not enough opportunities to work with other agencies in delivering this support.

The report will be launched at an event on palliative and end of life care, entitled ‘Supporting Solace’ which will see over 100 individuals from across the care sector, including front line workers, come together to discuss the positives as well as the challenges of delivering this support.

The event is being hosted by Scottish Care, the representative body for independent sector care services.  CEO Dr Donald Macaskill said:

“Bringing comfort is the essence of all good care but is especially the case when someone is receiving palliative care and at the end of their life.  A significant majority of those supported to die at home or in a care home are supported by staff from the independent care sector. 

“The Supporting Solace conference is about celebrating and highlighting the amazing work which happens around the country.  The report which Scottish Care launches today speaks of the very real and immediate challenges faced by front line social care workers and the organisations that employ them.  The strategic aims of the Scottish Government’s Palliative Care Framework have little chance of success unless all partners recognise the critical contribution of homecare and care home services and staff.  To do so we have to prioritise and adequately resource and train those who are the comfort and solace givers to vulnerable Scots at the point of their death. Dying well costs on so many levels and we need to ensure that those who care are supported and adequately trained. At the moment we are failing workers and therefore failing those they care for.”

The event will also see the launch of a resource aimed at providing comfort to care workers and families who are dealing with the loss of an older person.  Dr Macaskill explained:

“I am also delighted to welcome the publication today of 'This Speaks To Me' - this is a booklet which is full of deeply moving readings and poems which tell the story of the dedicated care and support given by frontline care staff and nurses in care homes and in people’s own homes up and down the country.  If you ever doubt the intensity of commitment that care staff offer then simply read this.  It is beautiful, appealing and inspiring."