In a report published today (Sunday 15 March), the Health Select Committee reviewed the state of end of life care since the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway, chaired by Baroness Neuberger. It makes a number of recommendations for improvement, including a recommendation that social care should be free at the end of life.
The health committee report, based on evidence from clinicians, charities and palliative care experts, found ‘great variation in quality and practice across both acute and community settings’ in England.
End-of-life care is defined as people expected to die within 12 months, most of whom will have incurable or progressive illnesses like dementia. Care minister Norman Lamb said that the government was looking carefully at a policy of free end-of-life care.
George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘Dementia is all too often overlooked as a being a terminal illness and as a consequence, there are unacceptable failures to prepare and plan for end of life care. People with dementia are also being forced to pay a dementia tax of thousands of pounds for essential care, especially towards the end of their life.
‘Many people with dementia die in hospital and are not given the choice or consulted about their care wishes. End of life care planning needs to be better. While we welcome the call for free social care but our health and social care system needs to be person-centred, not system focused.’