Introduction Providing outstanding palliative and end of life care, and bereavement support, is the ongoing mission of Dorothy House Hospice Care. With demand for these services expected to rise significantly in the coming years, Dorothy House considers it vital to collect insights from the local community to meet evolving needs
Aims The aim of this project was to understand the perceptions and needs of the communities served by Dorothy House. Palliative, end of life and bereavement services were examined, with respondents encouraged to express hopes and preferences for how care should be delivered.
Method In September 2021, an online survey was disseminated via social media (a printed version was also available). It included multiple choice (allowing more than one answer) and free text questions.
Results Responses were received from 102 participants residing in Wiltshire (n=58), Bath & Northeast Somerset (n=35), and Somerset (n=9). 92 respondents (91%) were age 45+, 93% were female and 97% white British.
Respondents reported a desire for face-to-face delivery of palliative and end of life care at home (91%) or in clinical environments (78%). Most also wanted face-to-face provision of bereavement services at, or local to, home (83% and 52% respectively). However, half of all respondents (50%) indicated a wish for telephone support for bereavement.
Qualitative data generated compelling evidence for the importance of emotional support, both for patients at end of life, and for families pre- and post-bereavement. Providing a compassionate listening ear, whenever it is needed, was highlighted as fundamental to excellent care.
Conclusion The ambition for providers of palliative and end of life care services should be the delivery of community-focused care, including mental health support for patients and their families.
Impact Survey findings will directly inform ongoing development of care at Dorothy House, helping to shape service provision in a more localised, tailored and needs-led way.
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