The reaction to our announcement shows just how much the local community cares about Pilgrims and we can assure you that we all share that passion. While we have been able to provide this support for many, it is still only a small proportion of those who need it. The majority, almost 90%, die in hospital, care homes or their own home. In many cases the need for support develops rapidly and in a way that means the person has become too poorly to be moved to a hospice bed, and for others their choice is to remain at home.
In fact, studies have shown while almost 70% of people would prefer to die at home, sadly only around 20% achieve that aim. We need to be responsive to these needs and change the way in which we deliver care to ensure, while we have enough hospice beds to serve east Kent, we also provide a greater level of hospice care out into the community. That is the challenge which Pilgrims is taking up — to deliver the same care that a patient would receive in a hospice bed, but out to a number of locations across when and where it is required. It is not that our services would be diminished. On the contrary, they would be increased by bringing support to more patients and their families where they want it and, most importantly, at the time they need it, which is vital. In that way we can widen the choice for patients, reach more people and give more options for how our care is provided.
We recognise change can be difficult to contemplate which is why Pilgrims is setting up a series of public meetings where we can discuss our plans, listen to your concerns and ensure everyone has a good understanding of what has been proposed. We want to work with our supporters to ensure that we deliver the best care for all who need it across east Kent.
Chief executive, Pilgrims Hospices, London Road, Canterbury
Herne Bay Gazette, May 15th 2014