A range of studies that look into the patterns of death in England have been pulled together into one report.
The report marks a moment of progress in the Department of Health’s 2008 End of Life Care Strategy, which says we need more knowledge of the care people are given towards the end of their life.
A wide range of surveys and studies are brought together in the ‘What do we know now that we didn’t know a year ago? New intelligence on end of life care in England’ report.
It highlights concern about care at the end of life, and finds that most people’s preferred place to die is in the place they live, whether that be home, a care home or a hospice. But over 50% of people still die in hospital.
The report says people have an average of two emergency admissions to hospital in the last year of their life, but there is a crucial sub-group of people who are taken to hospital numerous times in their final year. Some of them are admitted more than 10 times.
If the number of emergency hospital admissions was reduced, it would not only lead to better quality and experience of care, but also more cost effective care when the patient does not clinically need to be in hospital.
According to the report, the majority of people who benefit from specialist care services at the end of their life have been diagnosed with cancer, which presents an inequality as more than seven in 10 deaths are not due to the disease.