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The programme aimed to highlight how hospices could help with the “bed crisis” in NHS hospitals, through expanding the specialist services delivered in people’s homes, care homes and hospitals.
For the feature, BBC presenter Justin Webb spoke to patients and staff from the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, where Dr Ros Taylor is hospice director, as well as Hospice UK’s Chair Lord Howard.
The programme highlighted how modern hospices provide care in a range of settings beyond hospice buildings and how they support people with life-limiting conditions throughout – and not just at the end – of their lives.
“People come and go throughout our service, we’re not just for the last days of life any more,” explained Dr Ros, who is also national director for hospice care at Hospice UK.
Ros also highlighted how “environment is key to feeling well” and how the hospice, like a number of others around the country, is working with its local hospital to improve end of life care there.
Justin spoke to Steve, who has MND and receives support from St Francis at home. He explained how the hospice helps him and his wife Chris with their social as well as medical needs, and how the hospice is helping arrange a service for them this weekend so they can renew their wedding vows.
Later in the programme, Lord Howard highlighted Hospice UK’s ambition to reduce the number of people who spend their last days of life in hospital: “For very may people there is no need for them to die in hospital,” Lord Howard explains.
Adding: “The fastest growing area of hospice is hospice at home, and increasingly we are looking after people who are not necessarily at the end of their lives.”
The main feature ran at 7.30am on Tuesday 10 February and can be heard via the Today programme website.
The interview with Lord Howard was on later, at around 8.40, and can also be heard via BBC iPlayer.