The number of people who will die from dementia could almost quadruple over the next 20 years, suggests a study published in BMC Medicine | Story via OnMedica
Researchers analysed mortality statistics for England and Wales from 2006 to 2014 to estimate the prevalence of palliative care need in the population.
By using explicit assumptions about change in disease prevalence over time and official mortality forecasts, they modelled palliative care need up to 2040 as well as making projections for dementia, cancer and organ failure.
They calculated that by 2040, annual deaths in England and Wales could rise by at least 25.4% from 501,424 in 2014 to 628,659 in 2040. If age and sex-specific percentages with palliative care needs remained the same as in 2014, the number of people requiring palliative care could grow by 25% from 375,398 to 469,305 people a year.
However, if the upward trend observed from 2006 to 2014 continued, they said, the increase could be as much as 47% more people needing palliative care by 2040 in England and Wales.
In addition, disease-specific projections showed that dementia (increasing from 59,199 to 219,409 deaths/year by 2040) and cancer (increase from 143,638 to 208,636 deaths by 2040) would be the main drivers of the growing need.
The authors concluded: ‘Our analysis indicates that palliative care need will grow far more over the next 25 years than previously expected’.
Full reference: Etkind, S. N et al. How many people will need palliative care in 2040? Past trends, future projections and implications for services. BMC Medicine 2017 15:102.