Background There are ongoing inequalities in access to hospice services. Our hospice recognised a need to understand and address barriers to its services amongst under-represented groups, facilitated by funding from Hospice UK and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Aims This project aimed to investigate uptake of services by diverse communities served by our hospice; and identify opportunities for improving equity of access for those with protected characteristics.
Methods The project comprised four work packages comprising: an audit of hospice structures, policies and procedures relevant to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI); audits of public data on the diversity of local communities, and of service user data collected by the hospice; engagement with referrers to hospice services; and interviews with hospice staff, and within local organisations providing support to individuals with protected characteristics.
Results The project generated recommendations to: embed EDI-related considerations within strategic and operational procedures; and strengthen the production and accessibility of information on the diversity of communities within our catchment area, and of its service users; to ensure data is available to staff developing, implementing and evaluating initiatives to enhance equity of access/care, and those involved in service delivery. Further recommendations build on opportunities identified with: referrers to hospice services; and staff across the hospice and local community organisations with insights based on their experience of supporting equitable access/care by service users and communities’ possessing protected characteristics.
Conclusions The project re-energised efforts to address EDI at all levels within the hospice and sets the stage for an enduring programme of deliberation, engagement, consultation, systemic review and renewal to drive the hospice’s commitment to EDI in the short, medium and longer term.
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