The pandemic saw a 40% spike in the number of Scots dying at home last year, according to an end of life charity – which is concerned terminally ill people have not had access to vital care due to Covid.
Following a reduction in the number of non-Covid hospital admissions, the Marie Curie charity – named after the pioneering scientist and which has two Scottish hospices, in Edinburgh and Glasgow – said there were about 6,000 more deaths at home in Scotland, a 40% rise on the previous year.
In total, more than 63,000 people died in Scotland in 2020-21 – most of whom needed some palliative care, it added.
Palliative care is a medical approach which makes the terminally ill as comfortable as possible in their final months and weeks of life by optimising quality of life.
The charity said its health teams looked after more than 9,000 dying Scots throughout 2020-21 – the highest number since it was established in 1948.
Richard Meade, the charity’s head of policy said staff have “worked tirelessly to ensure as many people as possible had an end of life experience which reflected what was most important to them”.
But he said it was “extremely worrying” that some people may have missed out on care and support.
“With such an increase in the number of people dying at home during the pandemic, and despite the best efforts of health and social care teams, we are concerned that many people may not have received some or all of the care and support they needed in their final hours, days, weeks and months of life.”
The Scottish government has said it plans to produce a new strategy for end-of-life and palliative care during this parliamentary term.
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