A large-scale survey released today by the Office of National Statistics on the quality of end-of-life care has found that the majority of people are receiving a good standard of care at the end of their lives.
Over 22,000 bereaved carers returned a questionnaire asking about their experience of the death of the person they cared for. 75% of respondents rated quality of care in the last three months of life as outstanding to good.
However, being treated with dignity and respect was reported as being much higher in hospices than in hospitals.
One fifth of those who responded cared for people with dementia, and the quality of care reported for these people was similar to those who did not have dementia.
The majority of patients (85%) were involved in decisions about their care and over two-thirds of respondents reported that no decisions had been made about care which the patient would not have wanted.
For those who expressed a preference, the majority preferred to die at home (71%), although the most commonly recorded place of death was a hospital (53%). Only 40% of healthcare staff had a record of where the patient would like to die.
Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying said:
“The results of this survey are very encouraging in the most part. The majority of patients are experiencing good care at the end of their lives, regardless of their condition.
“There is still a long way to go to ensure that people are dying in their preferred place of care, and that care and treatment at home is as good as care in hospital and hospice.
“The other area of end of life care which needs more work and investment is the involvement of patients in the decisions made about their care, and the recording of those decisions. Many patients know what choices they would make at the end of life, and it is crucial that those wishes are recorded and respected, particularly through the use of legally-binding Advance Decisions.”
Notes to editor:
About the survey:
For more information go to: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_269914.pdf
Dignity in Dying:
- Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
- Dignity in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
For all Dignity in Dying media enquiries please contact Jo Cartwright on 020 7479 7737 / 07725433025 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.