Care service minister Paul Burstow has announced that hospices in England are to benefit from up to £60 million of funding to help improve the quality of care for people nearing the end of their lives.
The cash will help improve care for patients and families by enhancing the hospice environment, as well as supporting the care hospices provide to people in their own homes.
Hospices will be able to apply for funding for a range of projects, including:
- Improvements to day-therapy facilities, including providing transport services
- Developing or improving out-reach services to support people in their own homes
- Refurbishment of inpatient and visitor areas, including improvements to bedrooms and bathrooms and providing overnight facilities for families
- Improvements to mortuary and bereavement facilities, and
- Improvements to gardens and outside spaces so patients can spend time outdoors.
The bidders must demonstrate that the projects deliver improvements that directly benefit patients, “have a tangible impact on the physical environment and provide value for money”.
Visiting St Christopher’s Hospice, in Sydenham, South London, yesterday to see the major refurbishments the hospice was able to carry out after receiving funding through the capital grants scheme. Mr Burstow, said: “Our surroundings at the end of our lives play a critical role in our wellbeing.
“This money will help hospices all over the country make improvements such as redesigning rooms or putting in place facilities to help people remain independent.
“We are making this investment because we want hospices to be able to provide dignified, compassionate, high quality care and support to people and their families at what is a difficult time in their lives.”
St Christopher’s chief executive, Dame Barbara Monroe, said:
“A Department of Health grant gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the ground floor to create a light-filled multipurpose space with exceptional facilities for patients and families.
“The new social space known as The Anniversary Centre also houses a full programme of activities to encourage the public into the hospice for concerts, Sunday lunch and a community choir as well as our Schools Project which has now worked with over 40 schools.
“If everyone is to get good end of life care it is vital that we all learn to confront our fears about death and have opportunities to talk to one another about what we want at the end of our lives.”
Welcoming the announcement, David Praill, Chief Executive of Help the Hospices, said:
“In these challenging times, investment in hospices is vital so they can modernise and expand in order to meet the growing needs of the communities they serve.
“This new grant programme will make a huge difference to the quality of care that hospices provide to people with terminal and life-limiting illnesses at home and in hospices.
“Developing physical hospice environments as well as outreach services to support people at home will mean that that people nearing the end of life can have greater choice over where and how they are cared for, allowing them greater dignity and more independence.”
Details on how and when hospices can apply for the capital grant scheme will be announced shortly.