Today St Christopher’s is joining forces with national charity Hospice UK and other hospices across the country to launch a new campaign aimed at widening access to end of life care.
New analysis published today 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.
Hospices provide wide-ranging support for terminally ill people, which includes medical care, spiritual and emotional support and also complementary therapies to promote wellbeing. Hospices also provide their families with practical and emotional support, 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 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.
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.”
St Christopher’s is calling on the public to support the Open Up Hospice Care Campaign, by donating and also helping raise awareness about the benefits of hospice care.
Find out more about the Open Up Hospice Care campaign