We were deeply saddened to read Tracey’s story but we were not surprised because this is something that is replicated across the UK.
It’s a fact that Palliative and End of Life Care services are not equitable and too many people, approximately 30% in fact, do not get access to the care they need.
We are just one hospice, across three sites, but here in Coventry and Warwickshire, where we operate, we are determined to be part of the solution to changing this.
Research shows that in terms of having pain controlled at the end of life a Hospice is the best place to die and yet on average only 5% of End of Life patients will die in a Hospice bed.
Myton has increased that figure to nearer 10% in our area but there is still more work to do both in terms of providing more beds and taking Hospice services out into people’s homes; where 66% of people say they would prefer to end their life – compared to 22% that do.
With this in mind as well as working hard to increase the number of our Inpatient beds we have strengthened our Myton at Home service by introducing Clinical Nurse Practitioners and by collaborating with other providers to ensure equity in Hospice at Home provision.
The impact of Hospice at Home in terms of avoiding emergency hospital admissions is startling: 43% of terminally ill patients in Coventry and Warwickshire being cared for at home with no Hospice at Home support will be admitted to hospital where they will typically die, when Hospice at Home services are provided this figure drops to 6%.
We know that reaching people earlier in their illness is key and we need to continue to develop our services in the community.
This includes expanding the number of support and information Hubs that we have recently introduced because we know that people are more likely to receive the services they need if they have easy access to them.
A big part of our strategy is about investing in services to help people live as well and independently as possible with a terminal illness and it is therefore incredulous to us that 47% of patients that are living longer than expected are having their statutory Continuing Health Care Funding withdrawn.
We fund the majority of the work that we do via voluntary income and we remain ever grateful to people who continue to support us even in difficult times but we strongly believe that the government should increase the funding for End of Life and Palliative Care across the UK via organisations like hospices to demonstrate that as a society we value the last part of someone’s life.
We, like many, are facing another very tough period ahead, but our commitment to providing the very best Palliative and End of Life Care for the people of Coventry and Warwickshire will not falter.
We have ambitious plans and we will not waver from our goal to support more people in our local communities so that they don’t have to go through what Tracey and her father experienced.