Half of people in England are still dying in hospital and not always receiving the health and social care support they need to allow them to die at home, according to new research released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).1
New stats supports previous research by Macmillan Cancer Support which showed that with the right support 73% of people with cancer would prefer to die in their own home, yet only 27% currently do.2
Worryingly the survey of 22,292 bereaved relatives revealed that cancer patients are not receiving the round the clock nursing care they need at home in the last few months of life. Nearly half (46%) of cancer patients received partial or no pain relief whatsoever 2 and one in three (32%) said that out of hours care was only fair or poor.3
Furthermore 43% people caring for cancer patients reported that they did not receive enough support from health and social care services during the last three months of their loved one’s life.4
Gus Baldwin, Head of Public Affairs at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“This new research shows that the current system is not providing the vital support cancer patients in the last months of life and their families need, such as social care services and 24/7 nursing care.
“It is vital that the Government uses the opportunity of the forthcoming social care reforms to ensure that people are supported to die at home if they wish to do so. Scrapping the social care means-test for those in the final months of life, as recommended by the Independent Palliative Care Funding Review, would help more people to be discharged from hospital quickly and cared for at home.
“Providing all cancer patients at the end of life with 24/7 community nursing would ensure they have the support they need, at all times day and night, and prevent expensive and unnecessary hospital admissions.”
Macmillan Cancer Support is calling for the Social Care White Paper to support the principle of free social care for all patients who are on an end of life care register.