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Health watchdog says care homes in Scotland must improve end-of-life care

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A health watchdog has said care homes in Scotland need to improve their treatment of life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life care.

According to a report by Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care, 43% of the 449 homes they visited did not have accessible palliative care and staff were not adequately trained.

The recommendation is made in the Better Care Every Step of the Way report published by Scotland’s care watchdog.

The commission also found that more than half of the care homes had not trained staff how to deal with sensitive issues surrounding death or dying, with many staff members finding it hard to talk about the subject with residents and their relatives and how living with a terminal illness affected them.

Susan Brimelow, the commission’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.’

Among the care regulator’s 546 recommendations for improvement are calls for better training of staff and improved access to specialist care for everyone who needs it.

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