Research by the London School of Economics on behalf of Marie Curie Cancer Care suggests that over 100,000 people a year who could benefit from palliative care fail to receive it. Patients sometimes lack suitable pain relief and respite, and undergo unnecessary hospital admissions. Sections of the community most disadvantaged in this respect include:
- The oldest old (aged 85 and over).
- People who live alone.
- People who live in deprived areas.
- Black, Asian and ethnic minorities.
Palliative care is currently received by cancer patients mostly, although these account for less than a third of deaths. People without cancer receive only a fifth of referrals to specialist end-of-life services.
The provision of palliative care to more people who need it would improve the quality of life for these patients, and save NHS funds by preventing avoidable and distressing hospital admissions. The net potential savings of extending palliative care to people currently under-served are estimated to exceed £30 million in England, £2 million in Wales, £1 million in Northern Ireland and £4 million in Scotland.
Roberts, M. (2015). End-of-life care for terminally ill ‘needs major overhaul’. London: BBC Health News, April 8th 2015.
This relates to:
Dixon, J. King, D. [and] Matosevic, T. [et al] (2015). Equity in the provision of palliative care in the UK: review of evidence. London: London School of Economics and Political Science; Personal Social Services Research Unit, April 2015.
There is also an Executive Summary.
Possibly also of interest:
Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Dempsey, L. Dowling, M. Larkin, P. [and] Murphy, K. (2015). The unmet palliative care needs of those dying with dementia. International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 21(3), 126-133.