£60m fund to revamp hospices across England

Refurbishments to improve end-of-life care for children and adults

Hospices across the UK will be refurbished inside and out as part of a £60m boost for end-of-life care in England.

Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow, this week announced the funding as part of a drive to improve the quality of care for adults and children nearing the end of their lives.

Available to hospices across the country, the money will go towards enhancing the environment and improving care pathways for patients and their families.

Among the projects that will be funded are improvements to day therapy facilities, including providing transport services; developing or improving outreach services to support people in their own homes; the refurbishment of inpatient and visitor areas, including improvements to bedrooms and bathrooms and providing overnight facilities for families; improvements to mortuary and bereavement facilities; and improvements to gardens and outside spaces so patients can spend time outdoors.

We are making this investment because we want hospices to be able to provide dignified, compassionate, high-quality care and support to people and their families at what is a difficult time in their lives

The principal requirements for funding are that projects deliver improvements that directly benefit patients, have a tangible impact on the physical environment, and provide value for money. <.p>

Burstow said: “Our surroundings at the end of our lives play a critical role in our wellbeing. This money will help hospices all over the country to make improvements such as redesigning rooms or putting in place facilities to help people remain independent.

"We are making this investment because we want hospices to be able to provide dignified, compassionate, high-quality care and support to people and their families at what is a difficult time in their lives."

He announced the cash fund while visiting St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, which has recently undergone a major refurbishment as a result of a Department of Health capital grant.

Dame Barbara Monroe, chief executive of St Christoper’s Hospice in London, said: “The grant gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the ground floor to create a light-filled multi-purpose space with exceptional facilities for patients and families.

“The new social space known as The Anniversary Centre also houses a full programme of activities to encourage the public into the hospice for concerts, Sunday lunch and a community choir, as well as our schools project which has now worked with more than 40 schools.

Developing physical hospice environments will mean that people nearing the end of their lives can have greater choice over where and how they are cared for, allowing them greater dignity and more independence

“If everyone is to get good end-of-life care it is vital that we all learn to confront our fears about death and have opportunities to talk to one another about what we want at the end of our lives.”

Welcoming the extra £60m investment, David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, told BBH : “In these challenging times, investment in hospices is vital so they can modernise and expand in order to meet the growing needs of the communities they serve.

“This new grant programme will make a huge difference to the quality of care that hospices provide to people with terminal and life-limiting illnesses at home and in hospices.

“Developing physical hospice environments as well as outreach services to support people at home will mean that people nearing the end of their lives can have greater choice over where and how they are cared for, allowing them greater dignity and more independence.”

And Barbara Gelb, chief executive of the charity, Together for Short Lives, said improvements to children’s hospices were vital, adding: “We are delighted that England's children’s hospice services will have the chance to benefit from this funding to enhance the lives of the thousands of children and families who need their support.

“We will work with the Department of Health and the hospices to help make sure that the money is used to make the greatest impact.”

Details on how and when hospices can apply for the capital grant scheme will be announced shortly.

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