22 April 2016
Responding to new findings from the National Survey of Bereaved People[i], Dr Fran Woodard, Executive Director of Policy and Impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“These latest results from the National Survey of Bereaved People make for very sobering reading. This survey shows really basic failings in how people with cancer are spending their final days; at least one in ten people with cancer are being left hungry, thirsty or in pain[ii]. Shockingly, almost one in eight people with cancer are not given enough help with personal needs, such as washing or going to the toilet[iii]. Dying people and their families should never be left in such terrible distress in this day and age.
“Looking after someone at the end of life can be incredibly stressful and all-consuming for families and carers. No family should be left alone to care for someone at the end of life without the right advice and support. Anybody in need of advice in such a difficult situation can speak to trained experts on Macmillan’s Support Line. Most people dying of cancer would prefer to be at home, but too often badly needed help is simply unavailable, and people have to go to hospital against their wishes.
“It is disgraceful that almost one in four carers felt that someone dying of cancer did not get good care overall in their last three months of life. It is also really concerning that nearly a third of dying people experienced disjointed care after their hospital stay, where GPs and community services were not well coordinated in giving them the care they so desperately need.
“These results cast an unforgiving eye on end of life care in England, and highlight how vital it is for immediate action to be taken to improve the experience of dying people. People must be properly supported to die with dignity in a place of their choice. That is why the government must fully fund recommendations such as better access to out of hours community nursing as outlined in an independent review of choice at the end of life published last year.”
For further information, please contact:
Patrick Pringle, Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 840 4891 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200
today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00
(Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk