Ashgate Hospicecare champions campaign to widen access to care

Ashgate Hospicecare is joining forces with other hospices across the UK to support a new campaign aimed at widening access to the vital support they provide for people with life-limiting conditions and those who care for them.

The Open Up Hospice Care campaign – which launches today (4 March) and is led by national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK- highlights how hospice care is available beyond hospice in-patient units, including in people’s homes. One in four people in the UK miss out on the care they need according to earlier research by the national charity – due to a range of reasons including: late or a lack of referrals to hospice services and low levels of awareness about hospice care and where and when this support is available.

Also, studies have shown that people from economically deprived areas, BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) communities and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people can experience barriers to accessing end of life care services.

Paul Whitehouse, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “We are working with communities to engage in conversations to discuss barriers to access and engagement for the above groups. We are acutely aware that there are health inequalities for these groups and we must foster relationships in which to meet and manage the future health needs and reduce inequalities in standards of care and health outcomes”

Hospice UK and local hospices are working to tackle this through initiatives to extend care to more people, such as expanding community services and reaching out to the different groups of people who have been missing out on vital support, including those caring for their loved ones at home.

Hospices provide wide-ranging support for both people with life-limiting conditions and their families, including: counselling, bereavement support and respite care.

Today Hospice UK publishes the findings of a new survey by ComRes which found that seven in ten UK adults (72 per cent) say that support from a local hospice would make them feel more confident in supporting a loved one with a terminal condition at home.

And more than eight in ten (82 per cent) UK adults surveyed say the role of hospices will become more important in the next decade. Eight in ten (83%) of those who think this, say it is due to the growing care needs of the UK’s ageing population.

The ComRes survey also showed that half of UK adults surveyed (48%) are aware that hospices receive the majority of their funding from fundraising and donations (e.g. via charity shops,

communities, lotteries). Nearly a fifth of those surveyed (17%) incorrectly think that hospices receive the majority of their funding from the NHS.

Barbara-Anne Walker, Chief Executive of Ashgate Hospicecare said: “Ashgate Hospicecare is proud to be involved in a national campaign which aims to raise awareness of Hospices and the vital role they play in in supporting people facing life limiting illnesses, 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 care they need at the end of life.

“This year has seen a heightened demand for Ashgate Hospicecare’s services; heightened demand in terms of patient numbers but also in increased acuity and complexity of care needs, a trend which looks set to continue in future years, so to be involved in a campaign which aims to tackle all these challenges on a national level is fundamental.”.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: “For some, hospice care can seem a remote reality but we are all living longer, often with complex health conditions, and more of us will need this care in the future ourselves, or will be caring for a loved one who does.

“As our survey shows, the British public clearly values the role of hospices and recognises they will become more important in future given the seismic shift in our rapidly ageing society and with the increasing strain on the NHS. However despite this, many people find out about hospice care far too late.

“With its focus on comfort not cure and promoting quality of life and what matters most to people, hospice care can help them live well until the end of life and support their loved ones and it is available in more places than most people realise.

“We want to share the benefits of hospice care more widely so that everyone is able to get this vital support and wherever they want.”

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