Alzheimer Scotland Palliative Care Initiative (2009/10)


This exciting, year long initiative was a partnership project between Alzheimer Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway NHS and The University of the West of Scotland funded by the Scottish Government.

Alzheimer Scotland’s previous work in palliative care

It builds on Alzheimer Scotland’s previous work in raising the profile and understanding of the need of people with dementia in the later stages of the illness and their relatives.

Firstly through the Lighting up Lives report (2004 -2006) which identified the unmet palliative care needs of people in this stages of the illness living in Dumfries and Galloway and secondly through the Beyond Barriers Project (2007- 2009). The aim of this project was to develop current care practice by supporting staff and relatives to meet the palliative care needs of people in the later stages of dementia living in care homes and recognised that this process may be protracted and last up to two years.

Outcomes of this work have been:

  • the development of workbooks linked to knowledge evidence requirements for Health and Social Care SVQ
  • a greater understanding or the importance of involving relatives in such a programme of education
  • the importance of providing supported learning to enable change in practice to occur

Aim of the Alzheimer Scotland Palliative Care Initiative

The aim of the Alzheimer Scotland Palliative Care Initiative will be to develop knowledge and understanding of a palliative care approach to care for people with dementia and their families to a much wider audience including health care and social service professionals.

The Review of palliative care services in Scotland August 2008 identified that -

specialist palliative care should be available to patients with complex needs while general provision should be available to all.

One of the key messages from the report identified

that most palliative care is provided by generalist staff in hospitals, care homes or in-patient's own homes. But palliative care needs are not always recognised or well supported. Generalists need increased skills, confidence and support from specialists to improve the palliative care they give to patients and their families

The Initiative will therefore:

  • develop the workbooks to meet the wider needs of health and social care professionals
  • gain SVQ accreditation for the workbooks
  • publish the workbooks for as wide a distribution as possible
  • create a data base of staff providing education within NHS and Social Care settings
  • provide a free one-day course for up to 60 trainers, to provide them with the knowledge and skills to deliver the course and a further free day of supported learning.
  • following a small pilot phase The courses will be rolled out throughout Scotland and will be delivered by experienced members of the Alzheimer Scotland Learning Development team
  • there will also be the opportunity for the trainers to participate in an Action Learning Set this will be optional as there will be a cost involved.

The University of the West of Scotland will externally evaluate the Initiative.

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