One in ten patients will die during their hospital stay, according to fresh analysis.
Almost one in three will be dead within a year, according to a study which suggests palliative care ought to be higher on the NHS agenda.
Health chiefs are currently considering a replacement for the Liverpool Care Pathway, which was scrapped after a report found patients were left thirsty and suffering because of widespread abuse of the end-of-life protocol. Researchers say the findings highlight the urgent need to plan for the many thousands of elderly hospital patients who are in their last days and months of life.
A team at Glasgow University looked at data on more than 10,000 inpatients in 25 Scottish hospitals in a single day in 2010. Three per cent had died within a week, nine per cent within 30 days, 21 per cent by six months and 29 per cent by a year. Death rates rose with age and most male patients over 85 were dead within 12 months, compared to 12 per cent of women under 60.
“Almost 1 in 10 patients in teaching or general hospitals at any given time will die during that admission. Almost 1 in 3 patients will have died a year later, rising to nearly 1 in 2 for the oldest groups,” they write in the journal Palliative Care. “We contend that the culture and organisation of hospitals need to become more attuned to the high proportion of inpatients in imminent need of end-of-life care.”
Professor David Clark, who led the study, said: “Until now there has been a dearth of information on the proportion of the hospital population at any one time that is in the last year of life and therefore on how hospital policies and services can be oriented to their needs. We were able to link hospital records to death registrations to get an exact figure. One striking result was that 9 per cent of patients in hospital at any one time will die on that admission.”…
Palliative care should be fully funded. It is more important to have equality in the way we are treated when we die, than to have free prescriptions or treatment for nits… In a “cradle to grave” health service it is anomalous that birth is fully funded, but death is not. I find it hard to explain the reason why and the ethics are beyond me – as NHSreality has said before: “Dead people don’t vote” (or complain).
The Sunday Times 9th June 2013: “Many patients are kept alive by unwanted care.” Clover Stroud, whose mother has brain damage, tells of a new vision helping families plan a better end.
Update 10th June 2014: 22nd May 2014: Ceredigion palliative cancer care ‘set back 10 years’
This shows the tragic truth/; that in rural areas hospice and palliative care is not funded properly, and the state rations it out of it’s core budget. Reliance on charities in poor and remote areas is covert rationing. So much for “cradle to grave”….