Hospices in the UK must meet the challenge of an ageing Muslim population by overcoming barriers that deter Britain’s largest faith minority from using their services, ensuring that language, cultural and religious needs are met.
The UK hospice network should see a significant increase in Muslim patients in coming years as a result of rising numbers of elderly Muslims combined with changes to traditional family structures, a new report says.
But only a handful of more than 200 adult and children’s hospices in the UK have Muslim patients, reflecting “a perception that hospices aren’t really for us”, said Sughra Ahmed, programmes manager in the centre for policy and public education at the Woolf Institute. The instituteproduced the report on behalf of Hospice UK and Together for Short Lives, a charity for children with life-limiting conditions.
Unless existing hospices take positive steps to be inclusive, Muslims are likely to set up parallel institutions with implications for social cohesion and integration, said Ahmed.
We must now die in the multiculturally approved manner?
And don’t we rather think that people tottering off to meet their maker might prefer to do so in places that cater to their religious practices? As with Jews possibly preferring a hospice that keeps kosher, Muslims might prefer one that is halal? Maybe?