Frequently asked questions

How does hospice care benefit patients and families?

Hospice care supports individuals to deal with issues such as pain and emotional distress that can come with adjusting to, and living with a terminal illness. Hospice care also supports their carers, family members and friends through services such as counselling, respite care and bereavement support services.

This expert, compassionate and free care that hospices provide, plays a vital role in easing suffering and relieving pressure on families and the NHS.

What is the Open Up Hospice Care campaign? 

This is a new Hospice UK fundraising and awareness-raising campaign for the month of July 2017. The campaign will run for several years and aims to broaden access to hospice care so that more people who need expert end of life care and support such as bereavement counselling are able to get it.

How do you know that 1 in 4 families don’t get hospice care? 

The 1 in 4 figure comes from new analysis by Hospice UK and will vary across the UK. Details of the methodology behind this new analysis are outlined in our new briefing paper. We applied the methodology from a government funding review to UK-wide mortality statistics. Using this formula, we calculated that 455,000 people could benefit from expert end of life care and, of these, 118,000 could be missing out on expert end of life care, including hospice care – ie, 1 in 4.

Who misses out on hospice care and how can we change that?

We know that:

  • people with terminal conditions other than cancer access hospice care in fewer numbers and later in their illness than others;
  • people from economically deprived areas, BAME (black and minority ethnic) and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people are not seen in palliative and expert end of life care services as often as expected;
  • people who live alone at end of life also tend to have barrier to accessing expert end of life care.

The Open Up campaign seeks to change this by raising awareness among the public about the fact that hospice care is available to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability or illness.

What is Hospice UK doing to open up hospice care?

There are a number of other ways in which Hospice UK and hospices are working to widen access to hospice care. For example we are:

  • investing in new technology to foster collaboration between hospices and other practitioners, such as GPs, care homes and hospitals. This will help to ensure that hospice care is available in other settings;
  • working with local hospices to identify and support those who may be missing out on hospice care in their catchment areas. Filling those gaps in our knowledge is critical to reducing the inequalities in care that we know exist;
  • showcasing excellent local community engagement programmes that reach out to specific groups that are currently missing out on hospice care. Through events, training and resources, best practice is being shared.

Other players can also help to open up hospice. For example, Hospice UK is calling on healthcare professionals this briefing document [LINK].to understand more about the benefits of hospice care for people with terminal and life-limiting conditions and their families, and to refer them for this as early as possible.

What can I do to support the Open Up campaign?

Members of the public -- as well as hospice staff, volunteers and supporters -- can play a vital role in extending the reach of hospice care. You can support the campaign by:

Where will my Open Up donation go?

Donations will go towards supporting Hospice UK’s work to open up hospice care. 

As the national charity for hospice care, Hospice UK advocates for and supports the work of more than 200 member organisations, which provide hospice care to around 200,000 people across the UK each year. This support helps hospices to deliver the highest quality of care, and your donation can help ensure they continue to deliver their vital services in future and can find and test new ways of working to open up hospice care to everyone who needs it.

Where do I go to get hospice care for someone I know?

The first step is to speak to your GP or consultant. Getting a referral via a healthcare professional can mean that all relevant information is provided to hospices at the appropriate time and can speed up the process. You can also use Hospice UK’s find a hospice service to locate and get in touch with your local hospice.
Find your nearest local hospice >

What does hospice care mean to you?