Woking and Sam Beare Hospices provide specialist palliative care services to North West Surrey; an ethnically diverse population. With a substantial Muslim community, 10.1% of people in Woking report English as second language. Supporting an aging population, there was an 18% increase in people over 60 between 2001 and 2011 (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, 2018). There are 36 000 carers; with incidence of dementia expected to rise by 25% by 2025. The catchment area has two prisons, with homelessness estimated to have quadrupled in the last five years.
With this in mind and the launch of a new five year hospice strategy, an Equalities Steering Group was established to promote an improved organisation-wide approach to understanding the cultural and societal differences in accepting and accessing hospice care, plus identify and remove barriers to supporting our community.
Aims (i) Establish closer working relationships through hospice representation and involvement with local community groups, agencies and organisations (ii) Raise awareness of hospice services to under-represented groups and enhance access to care.
Method Over three years the programme of work identifies priority areas, exploring the intersectionality between groups and embedding the approach into practice. Year 1 focused on dementia, learning disability and carers; Year 2 – LGBTQ+, Gypsy Romany Traveller Community and BAME; Year 3 – Homelessness, Prisoners and Ex-offenders.
Initial actions identified hospice champions to promote awareness among staff and sit on local action groups (Dementia Action Alliance, Action for Carers Surrey and Learning Disabilities partnership board).
Delivered programme of events with national awareness weeks, including in-house training, access to e-learning and social media publications.
Expected results Year 1 will culminate in an ‘equality’ themed conference; hospice teams and stakeholders will come together to share progress, identify further needs and celebrate successes, establishing the foundations upon which future events will be held, opening up hospice services for all.
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