Patients missing out on care that could improve quality of life because of outdated perceptions

Compton Care is urging people diagnosed with and caring for those with incurable conditions to get in touch to find out how its services could improve their lives.

Outdated and incorrect misconceptions about what Compton does means that people are missing out on care and support which could improve their quality of life.

Compton Care CEO, Rachel Overfield, said: “Compton, like hundreds of other hospices around the world, provides quality care at the end of a person’s life, but that’s not all we do. What many people still don’t realise, is that as well as being there at the end, our support is available from the moment a person’s illness becomes incurable. This can be for months or even years. This is called palliative care and includes interventions such as pain management, symptom control, financial and emotional support, all of which focus on helping the person to live well with their condition. The earlier people access care, the more they benefit, and the greater quality of life.”

Studies of palliative care programs in different countries have shown that palliative care offers multiple benefits and can greatly improve both patient and carer outcomes. Yet despite its well documented benefits, many people do not receive any palliative care services at all or receive services only in the last phase of their illness.

A 2017 study entitled ‘Barriers to Accessing Palliative Care’* sited the following common reasons for lack of engagement with palliative care services:

  • Not knowing that support exists;
  • Ignorance regarding what palliative care is;
  • Reluctance to refer (from healthcare professionals);
  • Reluctance of patient and/or family to be referred;

Keen to ensure local people get the care and support they need and deserve, Compton is taking a number of steps encourage earlier referrals to services this Hospice Care Week (4th to 8th October).

Ms Overfield explained “Whilst many people know of Compton Care, not everyone knows of the breadth of services we offer. It’s so important that we spread the message that earlier referrals to our services mean a great quality of life for patients. We’re reaching out to every local media channel and outlet to help us spread the word.

“Our own 2018 perceptions study found that healthcare professionals were reluctant to refer to Compton for fear that it felt like ‘giving up’ on their patients. We’re keen to spread the word that a referral to Compton services is not a bad thing, and instead is a positive way of enhancing quality of life. We’ve approached and written to every GP surgery in Wolverhampton to remind them of the free care available to their patients and encourage them to begin conversations about palliative care much sooner.”

“We’ll also be sharing the stories and experiences of our Compton patients on our social media pages throughout the week, highlighting the benefits they are experiencing as a result of accessing palliative care.

“Last, and certainly be no means least, we want to encourage anyone who has just been diagnosed with or is caring for someone with an incurable condition to reach out to us. We’d welcome the opportunity to have a friendly and information talk with you, find out about your needs and let you know about the care and support that is free and available to you (whether its through Compton or another palliative care provider). We understand that first step may seem daunting, but we want people to know that they don’t have to go it alone.”

Those wanting to know more about our services can call 01902 774570 or click here.

Speak to Compton in person, call us on 0300 323 0250