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Demand for end-of-life care

07 March 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 5

When thinking about the end of life, many people would prefer to die at home. However, half of deaths occur in hospital. This is often due to a lack of in-home and community-based support. The provision of palliative care to provide comfort and improve quality of life frequently happens at a late stage in the process because the mechanisms to ensure timely access are not in place.

There has been a significant rise in demand for end-of-life care due to a variety of factors, including a rapidly ageing population and an increase in the number of people living with multiple, complex, long-term conditions. The UK's population is ageing and it is estimated that, by 2050, one in four people will be aged 65 years or over (Morgan, 2019).

In order to meet this demand, the total cost of hospice provision of palliative care services in England will average £947 million per year over the next 10 years (Sue Ryder, 2021). If current trends continue, then hospital-based palliative care costs may reach £4.8 billion by 2043 (Thomas, 2021). Care homes are likely to become an increasingly important setting for palliative care.

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