Patient Experiences Required to Shape Future Palliative Care in Essex

Havens Hospices in Southend, Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford, Saint Francis Hospice Havering-atte-Bower and St. Luke’s Hospice in Basildon are joining forces on an all-age survey across Mid and South Essex to gather lived experiences of people living with conditions which require palliative care, either as an adult, young person or child, or as their carer.

Palliative care is treatment, care and support for someone with a life-limiting illness and those at the end of their life. It focuses on the quality of someone’s life, managing physical symptoms, offering emotional and practical support to the patient, their family and friends. Palliative care can take place in the home, hospital, care home or a hospice.

The survey is being run by Healthwatch Essex, an independent charity which uses feedback and experiences from local people to improve health and care in the county. The survey is open to anyone who has experienced care from a hospital, hospice or community service. The aim is to find out what was wanted and needed during this time, and if there were any barriers from accessing these.

Samantha Glover, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex, said: “The point of this survey is not to ask about people’s experience of one particular service, but to understand their journey following diagnosis with an incurable illness, with all of the complexity that often involves.

“Too often, health and care feels fragmented to the people who are accessing it and this is about getting a better and more holistic understanding of what is working well and what could be better.

“It is only by hearing these experiences that we can really support organisations to deliver care which is driven by what people receiving palliative care in Essex really need and want.”

Ellie Miller is Director of Care at Havens Hospices, which includes Fair Havens in Southend and Little Havens, which supports children from across Essex. She says, “Local people need and want quality, compassionate palliative care after they’ve been diagnosed with a condition for which there is no cure. Not only adults, but children and young people too.

“This could take place within a hospice, but there’s also other settings and providers who are involved in that patient or carer’s experience. This survey is aiming to get a broad range of views and experiences from people of all ages, backgrounds and conditions so all of our healthcare network can shape and improve services for people at the end of their life.

“Patient views drive the best healthcare services so please so take five minutes to respond. Your views will shape how this care wraps around you and your family.”

Eileen Marshall, Chief Executive at St. Luke’s Hospice says, “This project provides a vital opportunity and a platform for everyone in Mid and South Essex to share their experiences, opinions, expectations and hopes for palliative and end of life care. I am confident that by working together we will develop a truly needs led service. I encourage everyone to please take a few moments to complete the survey; enable us to learn how to best to serve you and our communities.”

Alison Stevens, Chief Executive Officer at Farleigh Hospice, says, “Over the last two years, the landscape for providing end of life and palliative care has changed both at a national and local level and as an organisation, we are continuously asking ourselves, ‘what do we need to continue to provide and what do we need to change to meet the needs of our population.

“We recognise that proactively listening to the views, wishes and needs of local people and learning from their lived experiences of care is a vital part of this process and is key to shaping our services and ensuring we provide person-centred, quality, palliative care both now and in the future.

“We would encourage local people of all ages to share their views and personal experiences via the Healthwatch survey as this will directly influence the way we approach the delivery of care across Mid and South Essex.”

To take part in the survey, visit the Healthwatch Essex website.

You can also contact Healthwatch Essex on 0300 500 1895 if you need to access the survey in a different way.

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