The findings of the University of Leeds and Hospice UK’s research study about palliative care referrals are reflected at The Myton Hospices; many people are not accessing our services as early as they could and a high proportion of our patients have a cancer diagnosis.
It is high on our agenda to reach out to people earlier in their illness and to ensure equity of access for everyone who could benefit from our services. One of the ways we are addressing this is through the work of our Community Engagement Manager, Olivia Bowskill.
Having read the media release published by Hospice UK following the research study Olivia commented:
Palliative care is commonly perceived as something people only need at the very end of their life, and hospice services are often incorrectly regarded as primarily for patients who have a cancer diagnosis.
At Myton we are dedicated to being accessible to everyone aged 18 years and over with life limiting and terminal illnesses and to reach out to them much earlier. A big part of my role is to educate healthcare professionals, the public and support groups, to improve their knowledge of the wide range of Myton services available – all of which are provided free of charge to patients and their families. It is important to convey that Myton provides symptom control and respite as well as pastoral, spiritual and psychological support to help people to live well for longer.
It is a common misconception that hospices are only for terminal care after active treatment is no longer an option. Contrary to widespread belief, we provide support from the point of diagnosis, meaning people can benefit from our services over a period of years or months rather than weeks or days, helping them to adapt to their situation and manage their symptoms, as well as encouraging them to talk about the effect their diagnosis has on them and their family, and enabling them to plan for the future.
Two examples of Myton working to meet people’s needs earlier on in their illness are the Living Well Project and the Fatigue & Breathlessness (FAB) Programme; both are six week courses currently running at Coventry Myton Hospice but extending to our hospices in Rugby and Warwick soon. The Living Well Project aims to help people identify their most significant concerns and priorities, and provides a range of support to help them manage the changes in their life and to enable them to do the things that are important to them. The FAB programme gives people techniques to manage their fatigue and breathlessness to reduce their frustration and increase confidence and resilience. Both services provide people with the tools and skills to be able to cope better with their illness at home and to reduce their need to access other medical interventions.
We are committed to expanding our provisions and continuing our work with other organisations and healthcare professionals to raise awareness of our services and increase the number of timely referrals to Myton, so that we can be there for more people when they need us most.
You can find out more about the services we offer here.