With advances in anti-cancer treatments, for some, cancer is becoming a chronic disease. As life expectancy increases many are living longer with a higher burden of morbidity. Consequently, there is a higher demand for specialist in-patient Palliative Care services. In order to meet the requirements for the future, how does in-patient Hospice Care need to evolve?
Data regarding Hospice in-patient services was collected from Hospice Care in the UK (Hospice UK, 2017). Data regarding population forecasts was collected from the Office for National Statistics (Office for National Statistics, 2018). From this, the data was extrapolated to make forecasts about how in-patient Palliative Care will need to grow in order to satisfy the growing population.
In 2017 there were 2760 in-patient hospice beds in the UK with 71% of service users over the age of 65. This served a population of 66.4 million of whom 18.2% (12,084,800) were over 65 (Office for National Statistics, 2018). By 2040 the UK population is forecasted to increase by 9.1% to 72.7 million, with the over 65 population increasing to 25% (18,172,063) (Office for National Statistics, 2018).
This suggests the number of in-patient Palliative beds will need to increase by 36% to 3749 by 2040 in order to meet the requirements of both a growing and aging population.
The demand for specialist in-patient Palliative Care services is set to increase exponentially, therefore the number of in-patient hospice beds will need to increase dramatically. However, this will not be sufficient in isolation, with the need for the development of other Palliative services as part of a longer-term strategy to support this increased demand.
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