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Hospiscare featured in national report for equality in end-of-life care

Our local hospice charity has been praised for our work on LGBTQ+ inclusivity in a national report

Hospiscare’s work focussing on the needs of LGBTQ+ people, and the specific needs of their carers, was featured in the 2021 Hospice UK Equality in Hospice and End-of-life Care report.

Hospice UK, the national charity working for those experiencing dying, death and bereavement, published their report in June as a springboard for those within the end-of-life care sector to tackle inequality.

In the foreword of the report, Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK explains, “Everyone has the right to high quality care and support at the end of life. Inequalities of access and standards of care are particularly felt by those who have already encountered unfairness and discrimination throughout their lives.

“Hospices and other end-of-life care providers equally have a responsibility to ensure that everyone who needs it can access the care they want and need in a way that reflects who they are.”

Although the report found that the UK ranked top of 40 countries in a ‘quality of death’ index, it is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people are not able to access the end-of-life care and services they need.

Hospiscare’s LGBTQ+ Carer’s Project is just one step that our local charity is taking to explore the needs of LGBTQ+ people and their carers. The report recognised the training that Hospiscare staff and volunteers have undertaken in order to understand the specific issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, including what LGBTQ+ carers need from the hospice in order to feel safe and supported at a time of vulnerability.

A group of people gathered around a rainbow banner

Hospiscare staff attending the last Exeter Pride in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition, new training around issues of gender and equality and diversity has been embedded into our organisation, enabling frontline staff and volunteers to have the confidence to open up conversations with LGBTQ+ people and so address their individual needs and concerns. This has all been put into place with the ultimate aim of giving the best end-of-life care that is respectful of gender identity, sexual orientation and relationships.

Our local hospice charity has been a Stonewall Diversity Champion organisation for two years and an external review of our policies, teaching and environment is planned for later in 2021 as part of this.

Maggie Draper, Assistant Director for Quality and Learning & Development lead has been at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ Carers Project and explains, “This project has fundamentally changed how Hospiscare treats all carers, not only those from the LGBTQ+ community. We have now developed a new Carer’s Strategy which means that carers will have their own individual care pathway to help us deliver person-centred care.”

The full equality report from Hospice UK is available to download here.