New analysis published by Hospice UK has found that nationally one in four families of people who require end of life care, including hospice care, are not getting the support they need.
We’ve joined the campaign to help raise awareness of the breadth of support hospices can provide, and to help open up specialist care provision to even more people.
We provide wide-ranging support for people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, which includes medical care, spiritual and emotional support and also complementary therapies to promote wellbeing. We also provide families with practical and emotional care, such as bereavement counselling.
There are a number of reasons why people are not referred for hospice, or other end of life care.
People with a non-cancer diagnosis are often referred in smaller numbers and at a later stage than people with a cancer diagnosis for end of life care. This is often because of low awareness among some healthcare professionals about options such as hospice care.
Also, studies have shown that people from economically deprived areas, BAME (black and minority ethnic) and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people experience barriers to accessing end of life care services.
The Open Up Hospice Care campaign seeks to raise awareness among the public about the fact that hospice care is available to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability or illness.
Eamonn O’Neal, Chief Executive of St Ann’s, said: “We believe passionately that the specialist care hospices provide to people who are at their most vulnerable, should be available to everyone who needs it.
“We work closely with healthcare professionals across Greater Manchester to ensure as many people as possible can access our care, and we have also been working hard in recent months to widen our reach to local community groups that wouldn’t necessarily previously have thought hospice care was for them.
“For example, we’ve been working with members of the Manchester LGBT community to spread the word about the services we offer, and have also been piloting a special programme to help those people working with homeless communities in the city to support those with palliative care needs. We also train care home staff to help them to provide specialist support to their residents who may require specialist end of life or palliative care.
“In addition, we’ve also recently added a new Health and Wellbeing Hub drop in service which has been going out and about around Salford to help as many people as possible to find out how hospice care might benefit them.
“There’s a lot more to be done, but we’re hoping this latest campaign will help shine a light on the fact that St Ann’s is here to help anyone with a life-limiting illness who might benefit from our care – whether that’s as an inpatient here, or via day care or complementary therapy services. We welcome enquiries from anyone from across Greater Manchester, and are always happy to look at ways we can support local people.”
Hospice UK and hospices are working to widen access to hospice care in a number of ways. For example, Hospice UK is investing in new technology to foster collaboration between hospices and other practitioners, such as care homes and hospitals.
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK said: “The chances are you know someone who needs hospice care. Sadly, many families of people with terminal and life-limiting conditions are missing out on the vital care they need for their loved ones, as well as the emotional and psychological support available to help them cope.
“Hospices offer compassionate care which can play a vital role in easing people’s suffering, providing comfort and relieving considerable pressures faced by families.
“Hospices are committed to extending the reach of their services but this work needs to be part of a wider effort involving all healthcare providers, if we are to tackle current inequities and ensure that everyone gets the expert care they need at the end of life.”
Can you help us by supporting the Open Up Hospice Care Campaign, making a donation, or helping us to raise awareness of the benefits of hospice care?
To find out more, or to make a donation, visit www.sah.org.uk/openup