Widening participation in West Hertfordshire Hospices: enhancing access and diversity
Introduction Hospices have an established goal to meet the needs of local communities. These communities are increasingly diverse and provide important sources of goodwill and financial support. However, previous research has indicated that negative perceptions may also be associated with hospices; with Christian values being promoted and death being the primary focus.
Aims The aims of this research were to help understand access issues to hospice services in West Hertfordshire and to identify barriers that may prevent marginal community groups, including the Gypsy Traveller community, from using these services. Actions were identified to help reduce access barriers in the future.
Methods A mixed method design, including a literature review, was implemented and 44 individuals shared their views about hospice care. Data collection tools included semi structured interviews, focus groups and email surveys.
Findings Key findings confirmed existing negative attitudes towards hospice services. There was a perception that some professionals would not refer those who did not fit the ‘typical’ patient profile (ie, limited prognosis and no cultural mismatch). Practical concerns included lack of appropriate food, caring practices and environment. This presentation will concentrate on the Gypsy Traveller community as exemplar case.
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