Should more help be given to help people die at home?

Dr. Mike Sharp.
Dr. Mike Sharp.

AS MYTON Hospice announces the return of its Hospice at Home service later this year, a man who’s used the service has said not enough is being done by the Government to support patients who wish to die at home,

Dr Mike Sharp, of Hillmorton, relied on help from the Hospice at Home service to help care for his terminally ill wife, Pauline, who died two years ago.

He said that patients who want to die at home should be given the support they need to do so.

Myton Hospice’s Hospice at Home service was suspended in August 2009 due to the recession affecting the charity’s finance. It is due to be relaunched in September.

Dr Sharp, who said the previous service had “made all the difference in the world” to him and his wife, said: “Governments over the years have been encouraging the elderly to manage at home, rather than blocking up hospital beds, or taking up places in residential or nursing homes.

“This is sold to us as being in the patients’ best interests but really it is to save money and because our care of the elderly is in chaos.”

He added: “Perhaps the biggest con of all is that it’s considered reasonable for palliative care and emergency helicopter services and the like to be provided by charities raising money from a cash-strapped public, or for an individual to have to sell his hard-won home and use their savings to spend their last months in dubiously run private residential and nursing homes.”

Dr Sharp said the Hospice at Home service came to his attention only when his terminally ill wife said she was determined to die in her own home.

“As if by magic a series of wonderful ladies would appear to deal with the patient’s personal needs.”

Kate Lee, the Myton Hospices chief executive, said the new service to be introduced would be “broader” and be available to service users 24 hours a day.

“Sadly our Hospice at Home service was suspended in August 2009. This decision was not taken lightly.

“It was in part due to finances as the recession affected our income across the board. 

“We cut our staffing across the Myton group to the minimum needed to protect our high quality services and offered our Hospice at Home staff the opportunity to be redeployed into our inpatient unit.

“We have taken a huge amount of feedback on how to make it even better, with 24 hour care to be offered seven days a week, and have worked with NHS partners to ensure we have a more sustainable way of funding it with the support of our amazing donors.”