Hospices in Wales should be recognised for the diverse community-based support they provide beyond medical care in hospice in-patient units - including home-based care and bereavement services - according to a new report launched today by the charity Hospice UK.
It highlights the vital contribution made by the 15 independent hospices in Wales in supporting people with terminal and life-limiting conditions. In 2016/17 they provided care to more than 10,500 people across the country - 44 per cent of all people estimated to need this care.
The report - The role of hospice care in Wales - calls on Public Service Boards, local health boards and local authorities in Wales to view hospices as community assets and recognise the full range of services they provide. This includes community specialist nurses, carer and support groups and bereavement services which can all help improve wellbeing in local communities and support people’s health and care needs.
For example, 93 per cent of Welsh hospices provide bereavement services and all hospices in Wales offer day hospice services. In addition to medical care day services provide an extensive range of support including counselling, complementary therapies such as aromatherapy, music and art therapy.
The report also highlighted the high level of home-based support provided by Welsh hospices. In Wales around three times as many people receive care in their own home than are cared for in in-patient hospice units. As well as providing care in line with people’s choices, home-based hospice care can also help reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and enable families and carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities.
The report’s other recommendations included the need for better intelligence and robust data and analysis on death and dying across the health and care system to drive improvements in end of life care and help shape the future design of services.
It also emphasised the need for more open conversations about death, dying and bereavement among the wider public. Also, that doctors and other health professionals must be supported to understand more about the needs of people with terminal and life-limiting conditions and it recommended they make better use of the hospice network of care for this.
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said:
“Hospice care is often commonly associated with clinical care provided in hospice beds but in fact hospices provide an incredibly diverse range of community-based services to support the different needs of people with terminal and life-limiting conditions and also their families.
“It is a sad fact that many people are missing out on the support offered by hospices that could make such a positive difference to their health and wellbeing. There needs to be greater recognition among health and care decision-makers and providers across Wales about what hospices can offer so that more people are able to receive the vital care they need.”
Trystan Pritchard, Chair, Hospices Cymru and Chief Executive, St David’s Hospice, said:
“Hospices in Wales take an holistic approach to maintaining the wellbeing of the people and communities we support, offering everything from pre-bereavement support to befriending services.
“To better meet our communities’ needs and plan services effectively we need robust data about the populations we serve. Currently there is a distinct lack of evidence and assessment about population needs, both at a local and national level. Hospices and statutory partners must work together to collect meaningful data to inform service development and to identify unmet need in our communities.”
Notes to editors
- A copy of The role of hospice care in Wales report will be available on the briefings and consultations section of Hospice UK’s website
- There are 15 independent hospices in Wales – 13 hospice services for adults and two hospice services for children and young people.
- Last year Welsh hospices spent more than £33million on caring for patients, their carers and families.
- Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and palliative care.
- For further information about hospice care visit our website www.hospiceuk.org or follow us on Twitter @hospiceukPA.
- Get all the latest news from the hospice and palliative care sector, as well as patient stories, on ehospice UK at: www.ehospice.com/uk This service is managed by Hospice UK. You can also follow ehospice news on Twitter at @ehospicenews
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