Changing demographic of hospice users

The communities hospices serve are changing and the public and government will expect public service providers to meet the needs of users from very diverse range of backgrounds and lifestyles. Increasingly statutory agencies may expect VCS providers like hospices to provide evidence that minority groups in their communities are accessing their services and that hospices have given due regard to potential barriers.  Attention needs to be paid to what the figures demonstrate about access and equality – e.g. not just about numbers of referrals but whether individuals and minority groups are able to access the full range of services once they have been referred.  For instance, people with learning disabilities rarely access in patient care and even more rarely access complimentary therapies or counselling and psycho-social services. Most vulnerable groups of people are least likely to die in their place of choice.  Evidence suggests that women, the elderly and people from BME communities are the groups most likely to die in hospital.


  • Funders will increasingly expect hospices to develop and demonstrate new and/or appropriate methods of user engagement to ensure that the needs of all groups in communities are being properly assessed and met.
  • In areas of significant population movement organisations will be need to be increasingly flexible to meet the needs of transient populations.
  • There will more expectation on organisations to form partnerships with organisations who have expertise on diversity.

Moving forward

  • Does your organisation need to think about how it attracts and maintains the support of a super diverse community? What kinds of messages need to go out and to whom?
  • How will you ensure that all sections of your workforce are aware of local need?
  • How will your organisation demonstrate that you are meeting local need to users and funders? What organisations, locally or nationally could you gain support and advice from?
  • Does the organisation need to think about adapting its workforce to reflect any local diversity? How might you use their knowledge to develop new and existing services?
Last updated at 09:37 Fri 25/Sep/09.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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