The findings presented in the CSI report present a challenging future for hospices. The number of people dying is likely to rise dramatically, most notably amongst the over 85's who are likely to suffer from chronic conditions and co-morbidities. The demand for end of life care will increase significantly and the nature of the demand for care will be more complex than it is currently. However, amongst these challenges are also significant opportunities that hospices should embrace if they are to succeed and survive in this future landscape. To do so, some honest and sharp thinking is required. One speaker made a clear call that there should be 'no sacred cows' when it comes to the future of hospice care. Furthermore, models of care must be scrutinised and improved upon if they are to continue to meet patients needs and preferences.
- According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK population is expected to increase by 17.5% between 2010 and 2035; by which time over 65s will represent a quarter of the population. The oldest group of over 85's will reach 3.5 million and will represent almost half of all deaths.
- This aging population will present a different and higher set of care demands with multiple co-morbidities and chronic conditions,including increasing numbers of cases of cancers and dementia, which arguably will result in a higher demand for hospice care.
- By 2050, one in three people will die with dementia.
- As people live longer with chronic conditions, hospices arguably need to be able to manage the provision of care over a longer period.
- As average family size shrinks, and more people become employed, there will be fewer people able to provide full time care.
- Hospices have historically struggled to provide evidence regarding the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the care they provide. While there is a body of evidence concerning the benefits of symptom control provided by hospices, there is a lack of evidence about their impact on other domains of care and on which models of hospice care work best.