Together for Short Lives publishes report on the future of hospice care

Categories: Research.

The event, called The Future of Hospice Care: Implications for the children’s hospice and palliative care sector was attended by 70 representatives. These included CEOs and senior professionals working in children’s hospices and children’s palliative care voluntary agencies; together with leading doctors and nurses consultants, colleagues from Help the Hospices, and Together for Short Lives staff and trustees and President, Professor Sir Alan Craft.

The event’s aims were to:

  1. Raise awareness of the emerging findings of the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care.
  2. Stimulate discussion about the future of children’s hospices and other services within the children’s palliative care sector.
  3. Consider what the future looks like for children’s hospices and the wider sector, and identify challenges and opportunities.
  4. Identify what actions are required by children’s hospice services at Board and Senior Management Team level, working in the context of the wider children’s palliative care sector.
  5. Identify actions for Together for Short Lives and other national bodies. The day sought full participation of all delegates. A cabaret style venue enabled delegates to work in small groups and their discussion and emerging thoughts were captured on iPads. This data was collated and channelled into later plenary sessions.

Speakers and a panel discussion provided delegates with thought provoking presentations that challenged conventions, encouraged debate and a diversity of opinion about the challenges being faced by the children’s hospice and palliative care sector.

Barbara Gelb, Together for Short Lives CEO, opened the day, urging delegates to treat the event as an opportunity to consider whether their organisation was indeed viable for the future, in the light of changing demographics, a new economic landscape and evolving thinking about models of children’s palliative care.

“Everyone working in children’s hospices and the wider palliative care sector must take the opportunity to think about what needs to be done in their organisation and as leaders to ensure their organisation is viable into the future.”

The day’s discussion, findings and recommendations for the future are recorded in this report. It is structured around the event’s programme and includes highlights from each plenary session and a summary of the issues addressed by the panel. It also includes outline priorities for children’s hospice and palliative care services reflected in feedback from group discussions and via iPads. This is organised around six themes:

• The core service offer
• Workforce development
• Partnership working and integration
• Volunteers and community
• Developing an evidence base
• The role of national organisations.

This report is intended to act as a key resource to support and encourage the Boards and executive teams of individual children’s hospice and palliative care services to attend to the strategic challenges and opportunities that the sector now faces as it seeks to be sustainable and viable into the future.

The report can be downloaded directly from the Together for Short Lives website