How hospices can save hospitals

Below text is from The Daily Telegraph, 20 January 2015

In January the health select committee began taking evidence for a new inquiry into end-of-life care. This comes after considerable public concern about the quality of care that people receive as they die, and six months after the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway for the terminally ill was officially withdrawn from use in the NHS. The truth is that many frail elderly and terminally ill people are in hospital unnecessarily after being admitted via Accident & Emergency.

Often, they would be far better cared for elsewhere. But in many instances, patients head to their local casualty department simply because alternative – and, in many cases, more appropriate – care is not available. NHS community services are in short supply, health care professionals are frequently unaware that other measures, such as hospice care, could help, and planning to discharge patients from hospitals to community services is complex and difficult.

This means that of the 500,000 people who die in England each year, about half do so in hospital, even though many have no clinical need to be there and very few want to die there. The vast majority (80%) say that they would like to be cared for and die at home or in a hospice. Since the Sixties, hospices have been at the forefront of providing high-quality care for people approaching the end of life.

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