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Rise in level of community-based support from hospices

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The level of community-based support from hospices has risen year-on-year, a new report shows.

The number of people supported in community settings by charitable hospices – including their own homes – has risen significantly since last year according to new research.

“We need more comprehensive UK-wide data in order to tackle inequalities in end of life care”

Tracey Bleakley

Last year 159,000 people received hospice care in the community. This year it has risen to 179,000 people according to the report Hospice care in the UK 2017.

The report, published by national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK, was launched today at the charity’s national conference in Liverpool.

It showed that more than one million community and home visits were made by hospice services during 2016-17.

The number of people in the UK who received hospice care has also risen since last year, up from 200,000 to 212,000, according to the report.

In addition, it showed that charitable hospices provided bereavement support to 46,000 people across the UK, including adults and children.

Such support services are provided in different ways by hospices, including in one-to-one counselling with a therapist, group support sessions or through more general social support and information.

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said: “The vast majority of hospice care is provided in the community, including people’s own homes, and hospices are reaching more people in this way since last year.

Hospice UK

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Tracey Bleakley

“Our research also provides some valuable insights into the myriad of ways that hospices support people with life-limiting conditions and their families and the impressive scope of this, especially for areas such as bereavement support,” she said.

“However, we need more comprehensive UK-wide data in order to tackle inequalities in end of life care,” added Ms Bleakley.

She said: “Better intelligence on the need for palliative and end of life care at local and national levels has the potential to transform access to care and help ensure that the 118,000 people each year, who do not currently receive the support they need, are able to get this in future.”

To help tackle this, Hospice UK said it was developing a UK-wide patient level data set for hospice care, aimed at enabling services to make better use of data to tackle inequalities in access to care.

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