Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital visiting

Enabling family support for people in hospital in Scotland.

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End of life care

People nearing the end of life should be supported to spend meaningful time with their loved ones in the final days, weeks and months of their life. There are no restrictions on time or the number of people who can provide support for loved ones as they start to reach the end of life.

It can often be difficult to identify when someone is nearing the end of life and interpretations of ‘end of life’ may differ across clinical settings. It is not appropriate to define a set time period for ‘end of life’ care in this context. Clinical teams should adopt as compassionate and broad an approach as possible.

“End of life” is not expected to be defined only as the last hours of a person’s life or when someone has become unconscious. Likewise, if someone is identified as at the end of their life but then improves, support from family or carers should not be stopped suddenly. It should be carefully and sensitively transitioned so that support can still continue as described elsewhere in this guidance.

We endorse the principles set out by the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Clinicians may find these helpful when considering how best to support visiting for people nearing the end of life.



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