A West Midlands-based charity has dropped "hospice" from its name because negative perceptions of the word had prevented people from accessing its services.
Compton Hospice, which runs a home in Wolverhampton and provides care and support for people with incurable conditions in the surrounding area, has changed its name to Compton Care from today.
The charity said extensive research carried out among patients, their families and other stakeholders showed that people considered a hospice as "a place you go to die".
It said this had contributed to people becoming fearful of accessing care from the charity and healthcare professionals making referrals to it only in the final weeks or days of a person’s life.
Compton Care said it was one of the first such charities to do away with the word "hospice" from its identity "with the aim of removing fear, challenging misconceptions and ensuring more patients and their relatives get the care needed to live better lives, earlier on".
The charity, which was registered in 1982 and had an income of £9.3m in the year to the end of March 2017, has also today set out a new strategy to ensure patients are referred to its services earlier on.
The new strategy includes a £2.5m investment in a care coordination centre.
Claire Marshall, chief executive of Compton Care, said: "Our research with patients, families and supporters highlighted key challenges surrounding access to hospice care – namely fear about who we are and what being referred to us means.
"We’re on a mission to remove this fear and break down barriers to service access to ensure more patients get referred to us earlier, so we can treat them sooner and help them live better lives."
A spokeswoman for the charity declined to reveal the cost of the name change.