The need for end-of-life care is increasing nationally, but the hospice sector has been hit hard by the pandemic and our local hospice is struggling to keep its vital services running.
At Hospiscare, we provide specialist end-of-life care to people living with a terminal illness and their families. After losing vital income during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hospiscare launched an emergency Save our Services Appeal on 1 November to raise an additional £1 million by March 2022.
Last year, our hospice saw a significant increase in demand for services with a 15% rise in patients. Our charity is now caring for more people than ever before and this increase in demand is predicted to continue.
Current estimates suggest that approximately 75% of people approaching the end of life may benefit from palliative care. By 2040, people requiring specialist end-of-life care is projected to increase by 42%.
Devon’s needs are particularly acute and, due to the county’s popularity as a retirement destination, its population of over 65’s currently stands at 25.4% – 7% higher than the national average. This, coupled with the closure of community hospitals and the rural challenges of the area, means that caring in the heart of Devon poses many complexities to local people living with terminal illnesses.
Hospiscare is one of just 200 hospice charities in the UK that has the specialist staff and resources to provide end-of-life care. Research into palliative care provision found that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were increased concerns over the ability of the charitable sector to continue to raise the funds required to meet current and future demand.
With just 18% of Hospiscare’s funding coming from the NHS, our charity has struggled to generate income during the pandemic, with many of our fundraising events cancelled, our charity shops closed and fewer people leaving gifts to Hospiscare in their Wills.
If we are unsuccessful in raising an additional £1 million by March 2022, Hospiscare will be forced to close four beds on our specialist ward and reduce our weekend nursing care in patients’ homes. This reduction in services would have a drastic impact on the community we serve, resulting in turning away over 140 patients per year and losing weekend support for nearly 2,000 patients.
Andrew Welch’s wife, Emma, spent the last weeks of her life on Hospiscare’s specialist ward in 2019. Andrew explains, “Emma probably had six or seven additional weeks of life because of the care that this hospice provided. It made a phenomenal difference to her life.
“Hospiscare gives those who are dying time, dignity and certainly in my wife’s case, confidence, and they do so in a very dignified and loving atmosphere, which makes a huge difference to everyone involved.”
Those who would like to make a donation to help secure the hospice’s services can do so by clicking here or calling 01392 688020.