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An exploration of palliative care provision in Scottish care homes

Reid, Lorna; Snowden, Austyn; Kydd, Angela


Lorna Reid

Angela Kydd


This paper suggests that there is an imbalance between the ideal and the actual palliative care provision for some older people living and dying in care homes in Scotland. Successive studies demonstrate that care home residents are increasingly frail and disabled. Many experience challenging physical and psychosocial symptoms which could benefit from a palliative approach to alleviate suffering and promote comfort. However, palliative needs for people with non-malignant conditions, such as dementia, can be complex, and not easily identified or managed. A range of challenging factors currently impact palliative care provision for care home residents in Scotland including: the insufficiency of robust NHS healthcare support, the skill mix of the care home workforce, and the promotion of palliative tools as the primary means of improving the quality of palliative care in non specialist settings. Issues highlighted in this paper give cause for concern on a number of levels, particularly as the demand for palliative care in care homes is likely to increase in the near future. Therefore, sustained collaborative effort from leaders in the health, social and care home sectors is recommended if practical solutions are to be found for this vulnerable population.


Reid, L., Snowden, A., & Kydd, A. (2012). An exploration of palliative care provision in Scottish care homes. British Journal of Nursing, 21, 8-15.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date Aug 19, 2015
Print ISSN 0966-0461
Publisher Mark Allen Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Pages 8-15
Keywords Palliative care; Care home; Non-malignant disease; End-stage dementia; Advance care planning; Palliative care tools; NHS support;
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