How Does a Population Residing in a UK Town Perceive Hospice Care Provision? A Qualitative Study of Milton Keynes and its Hospice

Bayley, Zana Pauline (2022). How Does a Population Residing in a UK Town Perceive Hospice Care Provision? A Qualitative Study of Milton Keynes and its Hospice. PhD thesis The Open University.



Hospice care in the UK is a complex service delivered through different streams of provision, managed and funded by independent charities within specific geographical catchment areas. These different service providers provide their own forms of care and support to meet the needs of their local populations. It is known though that hospice care is inequitable. Local and national population demographics including ethnicity and socio-economic background are not reflected in patient statistics. There are gaps in provision for minority groups such as those with learning disabilities, the homeless and those who are incarcerated, and there is a far higher proportion of people with cancer receiving hospice care, compared to those with non-malignant life-limiting conditions. While there has been research attempting to understand and address some of these inequities, there has not been a study which considers this holistically within one local area served by one hospice provider.

This research aimed to uncover how one population perceives and defines hospice care, and how perceptions within that population could influence who they believe should access and receive hospice care. Multiple perspectives have been collated from both patients and non-patients receiving hospice care at the end of their life, organisational staff, and the potential patients of the future – the general public. This combination of data has never been studied collectively from one area before giving a unique insight into the perceived identity of a hospice and the care it provides.

The research found perceptions were highly influenced by the stigma and labelling related to the term hospice as well as of hospice care. Hospice care was confused with the physicality of the hospice building, and there were conflicting views of it being homely and caring, providing an expertise in terms of care but also of being a place of death that was to be avoided. There was significant misunderstanding around when hospice care should be provided, who was eligible for hospice care, and how patients accessed that care and support. This thesis demonstrates the importance of educating not just professionals and patients in understanding hospice care, but also the wider population to help eradicate the stigmatisation and improve knowledge of hospice care to influence people’s perceptions and potential use of hospice care in the future.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions