Sadly, for many reasons, there are lots of people from local communities that historically haven’t had access to the same levels of health care as they deserve.
There are lots of reasons for this, but at St Ann’s we believe that everyone, whatever their background and whoever they are, deserves the same high quality care at the end of their life as they do when they’re born.
Sometimes palliative or end of life care can be seen as less of a priority, but ensuring people access to specialists and other experts, are listened to, and that their wishes are met as fully as possible as they near the end of life is so incredibly important – and it also helps those closest to them. After all, we don’t stop being ourselves when we are nearing the end of our life; we still have things which are important to us, that we want to do and share, and goals we want to achieve.
A recent announcement that hopefully palliative care is to be specifically recognised within health legislation for the first time in England, with a possible amendment to the Health and Care Bill, is a significant step forward in the statutory footing of palliative and end of life care. This recognises the importance of these services, and also highlights the need for proper funding for the care of patients with palliative and end of life needs. We are hoping this will lead to an even greater focus on the importance of specialist care for local people and will be watching developments closely – being loud and proud about the importance of that care.
When it comes to hospices, there are many communities that historically haven’t always thought of us as a place that might be able to support them or their loved ones. Whether that’s because of religious beliefs – many presume we are a Christian organisation because of our name, when actually it’s because our first hospice site is situated on St Ann’s Road North in Heald Green – cultural, or other individual reasons, we’re really keen to break-down barriers and reach as many members of our local community as possible.
We’ve been doing lots of projects to spread the word about our care, and how it can benefit people right from the point of diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, right through their treatment and beyond. We’ve been developing services too, aimed at reaching into a variety of communities at the heart of our city to improve access to specialist hospice care for anyone who needs it.
For example, our award-winning homeless palliative care service is there to support people without a home who have a life-limiting illness, acting as a vital cog to join together various spokes of social and health care across the city. Those we’ve worked with have given their appreciation, whether that’s for supporting them through their illness, helping them to get their affairs in order, reconnecting them with loved ones, or supporting those who have suffered a bereavement.
We’ve also been reaching out to members of the LGBT+ community to help improve access to our services, as well as people in prison, and individuals with learning disabilities.
We know that while there’s a huge amount of work going on in this area, there’s still lots to be done, but we’re really proud of the work we’ve been doing to improve the lives of local people.
We’re always keen to spread the word and improve access to care for all, so do get in touch if you’d like to know more.