Approximately 4000 people die each year in Fife, with more than half receiving end-of-life care in hospital. It is known, however, that most people with deteriorating health prefer to be cared for in their own homes, provided that sufficient support is available to them and their families. Over recent years there have been efforts to provide a greater balance of palliative care in Fife’s communities, rather than a hospital setting.

The vast majority of palliative care delivered in Fife, as elsewhere, is provided by district nurses, GPs and social care teams. These local professionals are supported by the Fife Specialist Palliative Care Service , which provides local generalised healthcare professionals with expert advice 7 days per week, as well as providing guidance and training in providing good quality palliative and end-of-life care.  

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the long-held ambition to provide a greater level of palliative care for people at home was realised. The Fife Specialist Palliative Care Community Outreach Team was established in April 2020, comprising specialist nurses, healthcare support workers, an occupational therapist and medical staff, caring for patients 7-day-a-week in all settings (home, care home, hospitals). Macmillan Cancer Support funded a new Occupational Therapy post for the community, to help patients and families at home to manage their day to day lives as best they can.

Fife Specialist Palliative Care Community Outreach Team

This service is now firmly embedded in Fife’s communities, providing flexible specialist care and support across the Kingdom for patients with complex needs who require more intensive palliative care, alongside the palliative care that their GPs, District Nurses and others are providing.