Caring about dying: palliative care and support for the terminally ill: a guide for donors and grant-makers

Document type
Sandford, Sarah; Joy, Iona
New Philanthropy Capital
Date of publication
1 April 2004
Health Services, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Social welfare
Material type

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This report provides a guide to grant-makers and donors seeking to understand and address the problem of care for the dying in the UK. The research in this report is based on a survey of the subject together with examination of organisations working on the ground. It shows how well-placed philanthropy can have a significant impact on quality of life in a person’s final days. There are around 600,000 deaths in the UK each year, of which 25% are from cancer. Patients typically experience pain, uncomfortable symptoms and psychological distress in the last year of life; palliative care has a well established role in alleviating this. 80% would like to die at home or in a hospice, yet only 24% of deaths take place in these settings. Most deaths take place in hospitals and nursing homes where palliative care is not well applied. The sector costs over £600m a year, over half of which is provided by the voluntary sector. Increased funding and support for good practice indicate more commitment from the government but the contribution of the voluntary sector remains essential. Palliative care originated in the voluntary sector, and trail-blazing and innovation remain the sector’s strengths. Funders have a range of options. There is a continued need for the £370m pa that individuals, charity trading, corporates and grant-makers contribute to the direct delivery of palliative care. Alternatively, a funder can make a strategic donation, for instance to address weaknesses and inefficiencies in the sector; explore a particular area of unmet need; support the education of key professionals; or fund research, which could influence government funding in the future.