A CARE scheme that has helped hundreds of seriously ill patients to remain at home while receiving treatment is being extended.

Patients suffering from advanced heart failure have access to support and hospice day services and have a dedicated care manager.

The Caring Together scheme is a partnership between Marie Curie Cancer Care, British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

More than 230 patients and their families have benefitted from the scheme, which is now being extended by a further 18 months to June 2015 and aims to cut unnecessary hospital admissions.

It was launched to improve the quality and access to palliative care for any patients in the advanced stages of heart failure.

During the extension the programme will be evaluated for effectiveness.

Iain Armstrong, Marie Curie's Caring Together programme manager, said: "This is a fantastic example of what can be done to improve end-of-life care.

"Working in partnership with BHF Scotland and the NHS, this programme has already made a huge difference to the lives of those patients and their families who have benefited from these services.

Marjory Burns, Director of BHF Scotland, added: "Caring Together is an innovative programme for patients with advanced heart failure that supports the Scottish Government's action plan for palliative care services, Living and Dying Well, which calls for a more equitable provision of end of life care services for patients with any advanced, progressive or incurable condition across all care settings."