Isabel Hospice bucks the trend highlighted in ‘No Regrets’ report
Macmillan Cancer Support has just published No Regrets, a report which highlights society’s unwillingness to talk more openly about death; a reluctance which has an adverse impact on the wishes of people with life limiting illnesses.
The report discovered that over a third of cancer patients (35%) do not share their wishes with anyone, and only 8% talk to their healthcare team about their death. Researchers discovered that, whilst 64% of people with cancer say they would like to die at home, only 30% currently do. Similarly, only 1% say they would like to die in hospital, but 38% do.
At Isabel Hospice, we know from talking to our patients, that the majority of them would prefer to die at home, which is why we introduced our Hospice at Home Service nearly 20 years ago, in 1998. In the last six months we have piloted an Enhanced Hospice at Home Service (EHH) which provides up to four visits a day from an Isabel Hospice registered nurse, who works with the support of a nursing assistant, alongside district nurses and GPs. We are also able to support patients with extra visits if needed. As an indication of its success, last month, of the 76% of our patients who identified a preferred place of death, we have been able to help them achieve that in 98% of cases. This is an increase from 76% 6 months ago – and is largely attributable to the Enhanced Hospice at Home service supplementing the Hospice at Home team.
Elizabeth Paske, our Director of Clinical Services said: “Our Enhanced Hospice at Home is proving to be a successful part of our extensive end-of-life care provision. We have been able to care for more patients at home, as is their wish, and have seen referrals continue at the same level. Feedback has been extremely positive from patients and their families. Patients are seen regularly by one of our doctors and visited by our physios and occupational and complementary therapists. It really is a ‘joined up service’ in the patient’s own home. We see this as a fantastically positive step forwards in Hospice care.”
To continue to provide our free, specialist end of life care, Isabel Hospice must raise over £3 million each year. To support the Hospice or to find out more about their services, go to www.isabelhospice.org.uk