A WEST Cumbrian charity is joining forces with hospices across the country to widen awareness of support available for people with life-limiting conditions.

Hospice at Home West Cumbria is taking part in the Open Up Hospice Care campaign led by national hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK.

The charity says recent research show that one in four people in the UK miss out on the care they need according due to reasons including late or a lack of referrals to hospice services and low levels of awareness about availability of hospice care.

Studies also show people from economically deprived areas, BAME communities and LGBT people can experience barriers to accessing end of life care services.

Hospice UK and local hospices are working to tackle this through initiatives to extend care to more people, such as expanding community services and reaching out to the different groups of people who have been missing out on vital support, including those caring for their loved ones at home.

Over the last 32 years Hospice at Home West Cumbria has cared for thousands of patients and their families. It provides nursing support on a one-to-one basis to any adult with a life limiting illness in the patient’s home.

The charity also provides patient, family and bereavement support services and lymphoedema care.

Last year Hospice at Home has provided 9,000 hours of skilled nursing care during the day and overnight. Its family and bereavement team supported 245 people, helping those caring for someone with a life limiting illness or struggling to come to terms with bereavement. It also provided specialist Lymphoedema management for 275 patients.

Hospice UK has published the findings of a new survey by ComRes which found that: -

Dr Rob Walker, chair of trustees for Hospice at Home West Cumbria said: "We need to raise £1.2M each year to continue to deliver our valued and vital service to our community from Maryport to Millom. With only a fifth of our funding coming from statutory partners we are reliant on fundraising, donations, regular giving and legacies to meet the gap in our funding each year.

"We believe all people in West Cumbria have a realistic choice and timely access to personalised high quality palliative and end of life care. The recent closure of a Hospice in the North East means we are only too aware the current economic climate is challenging for hospices across the country which, like us, are operating in a very tough fundraising environment. We also recognise that a growing older population and increased pressures on the wider healthcare system mean our services will become even more vital to our local community."

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said: "With its focus on comfort, not cure and promoting quality of life and what matters most to people, hospice care can help them live well until the end of life and support their loved ones and it is available in more places than most people realise.

"We want to share the benefits of hospice care more widely so that everyone is able to get this vital support and wherever they want."