How we meet the challenge of delivering care to remote communities

by Jennifer Layden Project Manager, Argyll and Bute Delivering Choice Programme argyll_blog

Every area Marie Curie works in is different – services that work well in one part of the UK may not be appropriate or feasible elsewhere. So understanding the local context is vital to make sure people are getting the support they need to be cared for in a community setting.
Today we’ve launched a number of new initiatives in Argyll and Bute   to address some of the unique aspects of life in a remote rural part of Scotland.

Rural areas

Providing specialist care, reliable transportation and out-of-hours support is particularly challenging when around 83% of the region’s population live in remote rural areas, including on 26 islands. Other issues we found included the geographical and social isolation of patients and carers. Argyll and Bute also has a higher than the Scottish national average of people aged 65 and over, and based on mortality data from 2012, around 800 people will need palliative and end of life care each year. This means increased pressures on local health and social care services, now and in the coming years.

New initiatives now underway

Over the summer, we have been working closely with local stakeholders to discuss the challenges in delivering good end of life care in Argyll and Bute, and identify the best ways to address them. Involving a range of local stakeholders is extremely important when developing our services, as this helps ensure that any initiatives we implement are appropriate for the local communities and are sustainable for the long term. Our new initiatives in Argyll and Bute include:

  • a new model of Marie Curie Nursing Service for patients cared for at home, providing short or long visits, any time of the day. This flexible service model will enable Marie Curie to work jointly with local community care teams to provide assessments and care coordination.

  • improvements to information and training for carers, particularly on palliative and end of life care.

  • a series of events and roadshows to raise awareness around the subjects of death, dying and bereavement, as well as the services that are available.

  • a best practice framework to provide further support to care homes staff in delivering palliative care alongside local community care teams.

  • best practice guidance on transport provision to reach patients with end of life care needs who are living in remote rural areas.

I would like to thank all our programme partners for being so generous with their knowledge, expertise and ideas. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with them to deliver these new initiatives so that more people in Argyll and Bute have the care and support they need to spend the end of their lives at home. Find out more about the Argyll and Bute Delivering Choice Programme