The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has released data highlighting the hospice sector’s role in providing the UK’s best care for people at the end of life.
The National Survey of Bereaved People 2013, which this year was commissioned by NHS England, asked bereaved people about the quality of care provided for their loved ones during the last three months of their life.
The quality of care provided by hospices is significantly higher than that provided in hospitals and other care settings. Of respondents who rated care provided by hospices, 77 per cent rated it as excellent.
Being shown dignity and respect by staff in the last three months of life was rated highest in hospices- 89% for hospice doctors and 86% for hospice nurses.
Commenting on the survey, Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Help the Hospices, said:
“This research shows the highest ratings yet for hospice staff over the survey’s last three years, demonstrating yet again how hospices provide excellent end of life care which is tailored to the needs of terminally ill people and their families.
“Sadly, hospitals are still lagging behind when it comes to providing quality end of life care. It is vital they invest in more training and support for doctors and other healthcare professionals to tackle this, particularly if they are to improve the way they support people approaching the end of life and their families, in line with the new Priorities for Care.
“Many hospices are working in partnership with hospitals through educational initiatives such as the QELCA programme to help raise standards of end of life care. Hospices are keen to work with other hospitals to share their expertise in supporting terminally ill people and their families more widely.
“The survey also shows that only a third of people who wish to die at home actually are able to do so. Hospices provide support in a wide range of settings, including people’s homes and can help increase choice for people who prefer to die at home.”