Hospice Care Week – raising the profile of hospice care

Categories: Community Engagement.

This year’s Hospice Care Week will focus on the growing need for hospice care and awareness raising events will take place across the UK from the 7-13 October 2013.

The theme highlights findings by the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care, which show that demand and need for hospice care will rise rapidly in the coming years.

A new report by Cicely Saunders International refers to projections by the Office for National Statistics, which predict “a dramatic increase in the number of older people in the UK, with the number of deaths also increasing by around 2015.”

This is also backed up by the collaborative research of  Marie Curie Cancer Care with Together for Short Lives, which concludes that this huge increase will be accompanied by “a rising number of people with complex health and social care needs, as well as young people living for longer with life-limiting conditions.”

Get involved

During Hospice Care Week there will be two strong campaign messages – ‘get local’ and ‘get national’ – to highlight the issue of growing demand and to make hospice care both a local and national priority.

A recent Local Government Information Unit report revealed concerns that Health and Wellbeing Boards are not prioritising end of life care.

The Coalition Government has committed to introducing a new ‘per patient’ funding system for hospice and palliative care providers in England by 2015. However, it is thought that not enough is being done to support hospices during the long transition to the new system.

Locally, people can get involved by contacting the chair of their local Health and Wellbeing Boards, or the equivalent in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to help make end of life care a local priority. To raise awareness on a national level, people can also write to their local MP to put hospice care on the national political agenda.

David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, wants Hospice Care Week to be used as an opportunity for people to speak out and support their hospices:

“This Hospice Care Week we hope to raise greater awareness about the vital role that local hospices play in meeting this increasing demand. We are asking people to help by speaking out about the important role their local hospice plays and making sure that hospices have the support they need to reach more people,” he said.

Help the Hospices is also encouraging supporters to take a ‘count me in!’ pledge. Pledgers fulfil their promise by telling five new people about why hospice care counts. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook will also be utilised to share the ‘Count me in!’ message.

The hospice movement

The hospice movement has advocated for exceptional palliative and end of life for more than 40 years and hospices across the UK now care for around 360,000 people each year.

The harsh economic climate in combination with the increasing demand for hospice care has left the hospice movement facing some of its biggest ever challenges.

Hospice Care Week will highlight the need for local hospice funding in order to secure a sustainable future; encouraging regular donations from the local community, however small.

But a message for local communities to donate time to their hospice, as well as money, will emerge as an equally important theme. 

Over 100,000 people volunteer in hospices across the UK, either working directly with families, in an administrative role or helping to raise money. Without volunteers, hospices simply could not continue to function.

Find out more

Hospice Care Week will coincide with a global hospice awareness day on 12 October (World Hospice and Palliative Care Day). To find out more information about Hospice Care Week and access support materials, visit the website: www.hospicecareweek.org.uk

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