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BLOG: Caroline Hamblett, Weldmar CEO, on increased demand on services

The cost of care is rising, and we need your help.

The term inflation is something that we’ve all become very familiar with other the past few years. The cost of everything is increasing. For us at Weldmar Hospicecare, that includes the cost of advanced medication, specialised equipment and ultimately, the overall cost of care.

But inflation for us also means something else. We have identified that there has been on average an increased demand on our services, year on year, by 4.5%. This year looks to be no different. That means that by 2024, there could be nearly 25% more people in our community who will be calling on us for end of life care and support throughout Dorset.

Last year, we were here for 2,833 patients and their loved ones throughout our county. This care was given at our inpatient unit in Dorchester, across our five Day Services locations, provided by our Weldmar Community Nurses, or indeed bereavement support for the family by our team or trained professionals. This year alone, we believe that number will increase by an additional 128 more people who will need supporting through one of life’s most difficult journeys.

Nurse and Patient at Joseph Weld Hospice

We want to be here for everyone who needs us, now and in the future. But we face many challenges ahead of us.

I refer back to my earlier point about the cost of everything increasing. But what is becoming more uncertain each and every day, is how we are going to financially meet the demand of this additional care.

To provide care to the additional 128 people this year will cost us an estimated £254,873, that’s on top of the £18,000 that we need to raise each day to keep our doors open.

Within the next five years, if the demand for our services continues to increase, we will need to raise an additional £1.27M in 2024 (that’s £3,500 more each day increasing our daily fundraising target to £21,500).

82% of our care and support is currently given in the community, with this number also looking to increase over the coming years as more people choose to, and are able to, be cared for and die in the comfort of their own homes.

Weldmar Community Nurse

There has been increased exposure in the news recently about other hospices across the UK who have been left with no other option but to significantly reduce or completely close all of their services due to increased demand and lack of funding, with the most recent announcement coming earlier today from Forget me not Children’s Hospice. This is incredibly sad to witness and understandably devastating for their local communities who, in the matter of a short space of time, no longer have access to vital Hospicecare. This is not something that we want to see anymore of across the UK, especially here in Dorset. Hospice UK have recently reported that 82% of all hospices are operating deficit budgets, which is not a sustainable position for the hospice movement to be in.

One thing I do know about Dorset, is that we have a fantastic community. You have supported us for well over 25 years and your continued support never ceases to amaze me. But now, more than ever before, we need the security that we will be able to continue providing vital end of life care to those who need us most. Fundraising is becoming much more challenging, we have felt that over the past few years. Government funding across the UK is becoming much more unpredictable, there’s much less of it than there ever has been. And therefore, our hope sits with the people of Dorset once again.

We want to continue providing ‘outstanding’ end of life care to everyone in Dorset who needs us. But we need the people of Dorset to keep supporting us so we can be here in the future.
So, on behalf of everyone at Weldmar Hospicecare I would like to first say thank you. Thank you for allowing us to provide care and support to over 2,800 people last year who without us, may have been facing their difficult journey on their own. Thank you for your support and for enabling us to provide end of life care throughout Dorset for 25 years to over 20,000 people. And in advance, thank you for your continued support in the future. With you by our side, we are able to continue caring for Dorset.

Caroline Hamblett, CEO

Find out about the increased demand in your area here

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