A SERVICE that aims to ensure terminally-ill patients in Forth Valley can die at home has received high praise from inspectors.

Strathcarron's Hospice at Home service has been awarded the highest ratings of “excellent” across all areas following a short-notice visit by the Care Inspectorate.

The specialist service provides palliative and end of life care in the community, free of charge to the people of Forth Valley and North Lanarkshire.

It was initially launched thanks to a successful Big Lottery Fund bid with grant funding ending in 2019 and the service is continuing thanks to the generosity of the community it serves.

Irene McKie, chief executive at Strathcarron Hospice, said: “This is the fifth consecutive Care Inspectorate report that has graded us as excellent.

“As a charity, the NHS only funds a third of our hospice services, but this doesn’t include Hospice at Home at all.

“The local community walk, run, cycle, jump, bake and go to many other amazing efforts to keep what the Care Inspectorate called an ‘excellent, sector-leading’ service is remarkable.

“If it wasn’t for local supporters and fundraisers, Hospice at Home just couldn’t keep going.

“The report highlighted that our Hospice at Home team spoke of ‘feeling privileged’ to be able to support people to die with dignity and respect at home, as is their wish.

“This is testament to the compassion and professionalism of our skilled team.

“They build meaningful relationships – at the worst times in the lives – of the people and their loved ones that they’re caring for."

Inspectors, who visited the service on January 31 and February 1, praised the service's “outstanding high quality” and said people were respected and listened to because their wishes and preferences shaped how they were supported.

The report continued: “Management continually evaluated the person they were supporting and any family or friends experiences to ensure that, as far as possible, they were providing the right care and support to enable them to remain at home to die and avoid hospital admission where this was their choice.

“This included excellent post bereavement contact and support.”

Strathcarron Hospice has to raise £14,632 daily to provide the specialist end of life care and services to individuals and their families across its communities.

Hospice at Home costs £474,000 per year and saves an average of six beds days per patient.

The cost to care for a Hospice at Home patient, based on an average six days is £1,437.