Only around half of nurses and other frontline clinicians delivering care for people with terminal illnesses believe patients’ needs are being adequately met, according to a new survey.
Staff’s lack of time was cited as one of the major barriers to meeting patient needs by 67% of the 500 frontline clinicians taking part in the survey.
“It is undeniable that many people do not get the care and support they need”
Dr Jane Collins
Commissioned by palliative care charity Marie Curie, the Ipsos MORI survey also revealed more than two thirds of respondents felt lack of coordination between teams, insufficient funding for services and difficulty accessing social care were causing problems for delivering care.
More than half (56%) said a shortage of specialist palliative care services was a barrier to providing care.
Meanwhile, the survey also revealed stark differences between the levels of care provided across different settings.
Just 15% of respondents – who included oncology nurses , hospital-based physicians and clinicians working in general practice and hospices – said accident and emergency and out-of-hours social care services were adequately meeting the needs of patients with terminal illnesses.
Fewer than half (45%) believed hospital in-patients received satisfactory care, but 91% believed care delivered in hospices was able to meet patient needs.
Improved co-ordination between health and social care services, and between acute and community providers were highlighted by respondents as key priorities for improving the quality of care provision.
“[In the future] the challenge of extending palliative care to people with chronic long-term conditions and multiple comorbidities will be even greater”
London School of Economics and Political Science
Another report published today – also commissioned by Marie Curie – from London School of Economics and Political Science found “considerable under-provision and service gaps,” which the organisation warned would grow as the UK population ages.
“There will be more need for end of life care and the challenge of extending palliative care to people with non-cancer diagnoses, chronic long-term conditions and multiple comorbidities will be even greater. It is therefore imperative to use available resources efficiently,” states the report, called Equity in the Provision of Palliative Care in the UK: Review of Evidence.
Marie Curie has called for a “radical” and “urgent” re think in the way end of life care is delivered to ensure the same quality and access of care is provided across settings.
Charity chief executive Dr Jane Collins said: “It is undeniable that many people do not get the care and support they need and everyone from medical professionals, researchers, policy-makers and those affected by terminal illness understand this.
She added: “There is a need for alternative models of care and capacity building – particularly in the community – to address the inequities of the current system and to meet the projected demands of the post-war, baby-boomer generation in the years to come.