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Call Over Support for the Dying


BBC News


April 16, 2009




More than 40% of Scottish care homes for the elderly need to improve their palliative and end-of-life support, a watchdog report has said. 

Care Commission inspectors found 43% of homes they visited were not aware such care should be given to residents with conditions such as cancer and dementia. 

In total, 1,036 inspections and three investigations were carried out between 2007 and 2008 to compile the report. 

The commission made 546 recommendations for improvement in specific care homes. 

The report said more than half of the homes failed to adequately train staff on how to deal with sensitive issues surrounding death or dying, such as discussing whether the residents know they are dying and their last wishes. 

'Specialist care' 

"Staff members found it hard to talk to residents and their relatives and carers about how living with a life-limiting illness affected them," the commission said. 

It said it was disappointed with the findings and called for better training for staff. 

Susan Brimelow, the watchdog's director of healthcare regulation, said: "It's disappointing that the palliative care needs of residents in 43% of care homes in Scotland are not always recognised or well supported by staff. 

"Care home providers and managers must recognise the need for increased knowledge, skills and educational support to ensure residents, families and carers receive high quality palliative and end-of-life care. 

"Improved access to this specialist care for everyone who needs it is vital." 

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