Trinity Hospice is taking part in a major study looking at how people with a history of substance misuse access end of life care. The hospice is one of three to team up with Manchester Metropolitan University in a bid to fill a ‘gap in knowledge’ on how people with drug or alcohol dependency obtain palliative care.
Face to face interviews will be conducted by the university and Trinity’s palliative care researcher Anita Griggs is currently looking for patients, families and carers to be part of the study.
She says: ‘There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that shows people with drug and alcohol problems are slipping through the net when it comes to palliative care. There’s a real gap in knowledge, which is why Trinity is keen to be involved in this research.
‘As a teaching hospice we are always pro-active in research opportunities such as this. If a group in our local community is not getting access to the symptom control, pain relief and dignity in dying that are key parts of palliative care, then we need to know why.’
Over recent years Trinity Hospice has taken part in a wide range of academic studies. The hospice has a mission that by 2020 everyone living on the Fylde Coast should have access to excellent end of life care – but there are some groups across the community who are ‘hard to reach’ and those with a history of substance abuse are one.
Dr Susan Salt, Medical Director at Trinity says: ‘’Blackpool, like many coastal towns, has higher incidences of substance misuse, and we sadly do see cases of people whose history of addiction makes it hard for them to access the appropriate palliative and end of life care. Very often they have no local family unit, no stable home, no one to advocate for them and a complex medical history. But hospice care should be for all who need it and hospices should do everything they can to ensure they reach the vulnerable groups in our community.’
The Manchester Met team is going to Denmark and Spain later this year to present the study to international audiences.