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Introducing the notion of age-attuned hospice care

Author: Heather Richardson
14 May 2018

Dr Heather Richardson, Joint Chief Executive at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, writes about caring for people in late older age.

Last week saw the finishing touches to a new depiction of care for people in late older age. St Christopher’s has been grappling for a while with the important question of how it should adapt its provision to respond to their needs. The impetus for posing this question is a rise in the number of referrals to the hospice for people aged 85 years plus, the vast majority of whom present multiple conditions, a high level of dependence and symptoms, the severity of which is similar to the patient population that we have served in the past. Most other hospices will face a similar situation given the demographic shifts occurring across the UK.

The emerging model of care is one that draws on real patient stories, a small but growing evidence base and the experience of practitioners engaged in supporting people who have survived into their 80s and 90s. Its depiction of Age-Attuned Hospice Care identifies three levels of intervention on the part of hospices. An overview of the model is provided below. We believe that hospices are ideally placed to enact it.

We will be exploring its detail at a one-day event in London on Thursday 14 June. Heavily subsidised, the programme offers insights into the rationale behind the model, explores some of the evidence that has shaped it and considers changes in practice that would support its roll out. We welcome people who are curious about how to care for people who have lived into late old age, or to develop services that reflects their needs and also their capabilities. The speakers span those with lived experience as well as professionals and others interested to think differently about this contemporary issue. A publication which includes details of the model, a description of optimal care, outcomes that could be expected and how best to implement it will be available on the day to all delegates.

For more information visit Living and Dying in Late Old Age

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