A person’s preferred place to die often goes unrecorded in their notesSeptember 12, 2016 // No Comments
The NHS recently reported that a person’s preferred place to die often goes unrecorded in their notes. Most people say they do not want to die in hospital, but most people do die there. Where wishes are recorded, care is usually better. The preference was not thought to have been recorded for over 80% of people towards the end of life, in the study which is a secondary analysis of data from the National Survey of Bereaved People.
People whose family knew they had a preferred place of death recorded by healthcare staff in England were more likely to avoid dying in hospital. They also had better home care support, quality of life and pain relief during the last three months of their lives. A recorded preferred place of death meant patients were over six times more likely to die in their own home than in hospital. Those living in a care home were more than twice as likely to die there if their wishes were recorded.
Despite these benefits, only 10 to 15% of this nationally representative group had a preferred place of death recorded, suggesting end of life care planning in England is incomplete for most. National policy supports and recommends advanced end of life care planning, including documenting a person’s preferred place of death. This NIHR-funded study suggests implementation is falling short.