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Ashgate Hospicecare on lack of awareness of hospice services

Author: Hayley Wardle
05 September 2017

The recent Quality Health survey commissioned by Ashgate Hospicecare in Chesterfield, North Derbyshire, revealed a lack of awareness of the availability of hospice services in the region. Hayley Wardle, Director of Patient and Quality Care at the hospice writes about these findings and how they are tackling the issue.

The level of support provided for the dying varies massively from area to area across the UK. In many areas of the country palliative care is not considered as a core service by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and although there are national initiatives in place now to monitor how services are developed and reviewed, they are not consistently utilised by all. The types of services provided across the country also vary widely.

At Ashgate Hospicecare we are very proud to provide specialist palliative and end of life care, alongside a wide range of both in-patient and community-based care and support services for people with life-limiting conditions and their families across the whole of North Derbyshire. Core to this however is the awareness of what we do, as well of course  as the financial support to make it happen. We believe passionately that everyone who needs the specialist care that we offer should be able to access it, but sadly at the moment due to stretched resources, this is an ambition and not a reality.

Earlier this year we commissioned Quality Health, the UK’s largest provider of patient and employee surveys and related consultancy to the NHS in England, to carry out a report on our behalf regarding our services.

The findings from the survey of around 6,000 local households indicated a general lack of knowledge about the availability and range of hospice services, as well as limited understanding as to how to access hospice care in north Derbyshire. While over 90 per cent of respondents had heard of Ashgate Hospicecare, the survey reported that only one third of those questioned associated the hospice with the provision of day care and care in people’s homes.

Not least given the current political and economic backdrop, we need to shine a light on the full extent of hospice services and how to access information about referrals and the services we provide, and hospice care itself, needs to be improved.

The recent survey results have only made us too aware that hundreds across the region and indeed the UK are missing the expert, compassionate support they need to gain hospice care, whether this is in their own homes (including care homes) or within the hospice itself. It has made us more determined, now more than ever, that we need to work together to raise awareness and indeed the funding for this to happen.

We are very proud that our hospice services are free at the point of access but it costs an average of £5,000 to care for each patient and their family. Later this year we will be launching our ‘Hospice at Home’ campaign to further raise awareness of our services and to help us raise the extra funds that we will need to provide the extra care to meet the needs of those we currently and sadly cannot reach across our community .

For more information visit Ashgate Hospicecare

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