Hospice UK launches new programme to create more compassionate workplaces and better support employees

Nov 06, 2019

A pioneering programme aimed at helping employers to improve support for staff who are living with a life-limiting or terminal illness, caring for someone with one, or experiencing bereavement is launched today by the national charity Hospice UK.

Experiencing terminal illness, having caring responsibilities or dealing with bereavement can create considerable emotional stress and uncertainty for employees, leading to feelings of shock, sadness and confusion.

Often people do not know where to turn to get the support they need and employers are not always equipped to help their staff deal with these experiences.

Hospice UK’s Compassionate Employers programme offers practical guidance and support to companies, helping them to create a more caring workplace so they can support their employees during some of the most difficult times they will ever face.

The programme officially launches today at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which takes place from 6-7 November.

Compassionate Employers offers guidance for employees, line managers and HR teams. Its package includes: unlimited access for all employees to an online members’ area with advice and resources (such as practical guides), as well as training workshops on topics such as ‘understanding bereavement’ and ‘handling difficult conversations’.

There is a strong business case for employers to improve the support they offer their employees dealing with the life experiences covered by the Compassionate Employers programme.

Research shows that living with a terminal illness or bereavement can have a significant negative impact on businesses, affecting staff morale and absenteeism and can mean that companies risk losing skilled staff.

For example, the majority of people (56%) said they would consider leaving their job if their employer did not provide proper support if someone close to them died.

Also earlier research estimates that demand for palliative care is expected to rise by up to 40 per cent by 2040, meaning there are likely to be more people in the workplace with a life-limiting or terminal illness, or caring for someone who has one.

Enabling companies to improve support for staff living with a life-limiting or terminal illness, caring for someone with one, or experiencing bereavement, will benefit employers, helping them to better recruit and retain staff and ensure their employees feel more valued and supported.

Anita Hayes, Head of Learning and Workforce at Hospice UK, said:

“Having a terminal illness, caring for a loved one or coping with bereavement will affect most people at some stage in their lives and companies need to be better prepared to support their staff though these challenging experiences. This is especially important given the stark demographic changes facing our society with more people living and working for longer than in previous generations and often having to cope with illness and caring responsibilities. 

“The Compassionate Employers programme will help ensure that employers are better equipped to support their staff and has the potential to transform workplace culture.

“Enabling employers to offer a genuinely more compassionate environment for staff will have multiple positive benefits, such as on staff morale, retention and workplace cohesion, and ultimately will prove to be a worthwhile long-term investment.”

Notes to editors

  • More information about the Compassionate Employers programme is available here on Hospice UK’s website.
  • Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice and end of life care. It supports more than 200 hospices across the UK which care for over 200,000 adults and children every year
  • Hospice UK is exhibiting the Compassionate Employers programme at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition in Manchester Central, 6-7 November 2019

For media enquiries contact:

Suzanne Stevenson on 0207 520 8296 or by email at s.stevenson@hospiceuk.org

For out of hours media enquiries please call 07881 940 318.






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