Scotland launches world's first national atlas of palliative care

September 23, 2016
Scotland launches world’s first national atlas of palliative care
Credit: University of Glasgow

The first Scottish Atlas of Palliative Care has been by University of Glasgow academics at a major palliative care conference in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Atlas of Palliative Care contains previously-unavailable data on the availability of services across Scotland. Until now, Scottish data has been encompassed within UK data.

It is the first example of a national atlas of palliative care to be produced anywhere in the world.

The Scottish Atlas of Palliative Care was produced by the Reverend Dr Hamilton Inbadas and Dr Michelle Gilles in a programme led by Professor David Clark of the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group, based at the University of Glasgow's Dumfries campus.

In a colourful and attractive design, the Atlas contains maps, tables, lists and diagrams, illustrating which services are available in Scotland, at what level, and where.

Reverend Dr Inbadas, Research Associate in the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group and lead author of the Atlas, said: "The Scottish Atlas of Palliative Care presents a picture of the levels of specialist palliative care provided through different types of services, categorised by each health board area. It also offers a useful list of key documents and milestones that capture the development of Scottish palliative care in the areas of policy, education and socio-cultural attitudes."

This document responds to a commitment in the Scottish Government's 2016 Strategic Framework for Action in Palliative and End of Life Care, which in turn was a response to the World Health Assembly resolution in 2014 which requires all governments to recognise palliative care and to make provision for it in their national health policies.

Craig White, Divisional Clinical Lead at the Scottish Government's Healthcare Quality and Strategy Directorate, said: "The Scottish Government has committed to support improvements in the collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of data and evidence relating to needs, provision, activity, indicators and outcomes in respect of palliative and end of life care."

He added: "The Scottish Atlas of Palliative Care will support a range of work in progress to contribute towards our vision that by 2021, everyone in Scotland who needs palliative care will have access to it."

Definitions of the terms used and the layout of the document are based on those of the existing European Atlas of Palliative Care, making the Scottish data comparable with European data for the first time.

Professor Clark said: "Scotland is not visible in the European Atlas of Palliative Care, and this is something which we wanted to put right. We hope it will inspire other nations to do the same."

"The Scottish Atlas will be a vital resource for policy-makers, decision-makers and thought leaders across Scotland," he continued.

Mark Hazelwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, welcomed the document: "The Atlas will be useful to anyone who wants to understand more about the pattern of services likely to be available to people who are faced with the reality of deteriorating health and death in Scotland today.

"It is nearly 10 years since the previous attempt to describe systematically specialist in Scotland. The background sections, including historic and policy contexts, are a valuable synopsis."

Dr Gillies, Clinical Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Glasgow, managed the data collection which involved identifying and interviewing service providers and then extracting quantitative data from these narratives.

"This is an opportune moment to reflect on the challenges and opportunities in collecting, collating and disseminating timely, accurate, accessible data on palliative and end of life care provision in Scotland, and to develop a sustainable approach through co-production," she said.

The team will now analyse the Scottish data and compare it with data from the European Atlas of Palliative Care, to outline gaps and areas for improvement in Scotland's palliative care provision.

Explore further: Some cancer center staff uncertain of services offered

More information:

Related Stories

Some cancer center staff uncertain of services offered

September 21, 2016
(HealthDay)—Staff members at nearly one in 10 major U.S. cancer centers—all of which provide palliative care services—weren't certain such symptom-management and supportive care was actually available there, according ...

Atlas of palliative care across Europe unveiled

May 30, 2013
The standard of palliative care provided for those approaching the end of their lives varies greatly, according to the first comprehensive European overview of the service.

Study finds podcasts can help global discussion of palliative care

September 21, 2016
A new study conducted by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool (MCPCIL) shows the positive impact and reach podcasts can have on palliative care globally.

Major changes needed to improve palliative care in Canada

August 22, 2016
Canada's approach to palliative care must be broadened to offer support to people with serious chronic illnesses other than cancer, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

'Mystery shopper' study finds barriers to palliative care at major cancer centers

September 7, 2016
A team of researchers, using a novel approach, found that while many cancer centers offer palliative and supportive care services, patients may face challenges when trying to access them. The study showed that expanding awareness ...

Early palliative care improves coping, quality of life for patients with incurable cancers

September 7, 2016
A randomized clinical trial found that introducing palliative care shortly after a diagnosis of certain metastatic cancers greatly increases a patient's coping abilities, as well as overall quality of life. Researchers also ...

Recommended for you

Exercise can make cells healthier, promoting longer life, study finds

September 22, 2017
Whether it's running, walking, cycling, swimming or rowing, it's been well-known since ancient times that doing some form of aerobic exercise is essential to good health and well-being. You can lose weight, sleep better, ...

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.