Hospice services are still misunderstood by the general public

Nearly a third of UK adults (31 per cent) think hospice care is only available in a hospice building, according to a recent survey.

And fewer than half of adults in the UK (45 per cent) know that hospice care is also made available at home by organisations like The Rosemary Foundation. In fact only a small percentage of hospice care (14 per cent) is provided in hospice in-patient units.

The cost of hospice support in the UK

The report was commissioned by Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice and palliative care. It also revealed that less than three in five UK adults are aware that services provided by hospices are generally free to those receiving them.

The Rosemary Foundation provides its services completely free of charge to people with terminal and life-limiting conditions. We cover the costs of providing our ‘Hospice at Home’ service through a mixture of charitable fundraising, legacies and donations. Some hospices also receive some statutory funding but The Rosemary Foundation, which serves Petersfield and surrounding communities, receives no public money at all.

Hospices enjoy public support

On a positive note, the survey also highlights considerable public goodwill towards hospice services and a keen appetite to engage more in their work. More than a third of those surveyed  say they would be willing to volunteer for a hospice and one in seven say they would be “very willing” to work in a hospice.

The Rosemary Foundation has always been fortunate that we can rely on a dedicated band of volunteers who help with our fundraising, office administration and also volunteering to provide a non-medical visiting service, spending time with our patients so that their carers can get some respite.

The report also found that more than nine in ten people believed hospice services are an important asset to their community and more than eight in ten of those surveyed  agree that hospice care is the best way to help people die peacefully and with dignity.
More than half of those surveyed have interacted with a hospice service in some way, whether visiting a hospice or donating money to help support hospice care.

Lack of awareness about what hospices do

However, the survey found other gaps in the public’s knowledge about the care provided.

  • 20 per cent think hospice care is only for people in their last days of life, unaware that it’s also available to people with terminal and life-limiting conditions from diagnosis until their dying moments.
  • Most people (87 per cent) are aware that hospices currently provide medical care. However there is lower awareness about the wider support hospices provide including emotional support such as the practical help and support offered by our team of visitors and ongoing bereavement counselling.

The survey findings were released during Hospice Care Week (9-15 October) when hospices across the UK hold events to celebrate our staff, volunteers and supporters.

How you can help support the Rosemary Foundation

More information about where hospice care is provided is available in the Hospice Care in the UK 2016 report.

If you would like to help support The Rosemary Foundation as a volunteer , which can be on a regular or irregular basis to suit, please speak to Jeremy in our office: 01730 266329 or email info@rosemary-foundation.org.uk

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