Thursday 20th June 2013
Two in three cancer patients in England who died in hospital, wanted to die at home.
These figures come from research1 that was highlighted by Macmillan in March, as a cross-party committee of MPs and Lords strongly recommended that the UK government introduce free social care for people at the end of life. The committee recommended that this should happen ‘at the earliest opportunity’, to enable more people to die in the place of their choice.2
Dorothy died in hospital from colon cancer in 2012 aged 48. Her husband Alex, from Lancashire, says, ’Dorothy was in hospital for six weeks at the end of life and was admitted eight or nine times in that last year. During all this time, no one told her she was at the end of life or asked her about what she wanted. No one offered us social care support. I believe it could have made a big difference because caring for someone can be so tiring and stressful; you never get to clock off. My biggest regret was not getting her home to die. I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.’
Macmillan is urging the government to make social care free for everyone in the last weeks of life before the end of this Parliament in 2015.
1. Office for National Statistics. Additional analysis from the National Bereavement Survey (VOICES) [PDF]. 2011.
2. House of Commons and House of Lords Joint Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill. Draft Care and Support Bill report. 2013