Exploring the cost of care at the end of life

Nuffield Trust
Publication year:
Place of publication:

An analysis of the hospital and non-hospital costs for people in the last 90 days of life, using anonymised person-level datasets relating to GP contacts, community nursing, local authority-funded social care, hospice and hospital care. The study demonstrated that hospital costs were by far the largest cost elements of end-of-life care – care in the final three months of life averaged over £4,500 per person who died. The bulk of this cost was due to emergency hospital admissions. Hospital costs increased rapidly in the last few weeks of life. The research also explores whether reduced hospital activity and costs at the end of life were likely to be offset by increased care costs in other health and social care settings using the Marie Curie home-based palliative care nursing service. The results suggest that cost savings might be achievable if community-based support were made more widely available to help people to die in their own homes, where that was their preference. Given the finite resources available for health care, it is important that there is an understanding of the costs of end-of-life care. The report recognises that acquiring good-quality data surrounding costs for palliative care is challenging, especially as care services for those at the end of life are fragmented across many different providers. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
costs, economic evaluation, end of life care, community care, hospitals, hospital admission, palliative care, home care, cost effectiveness;
Content type:
United Kingdom
Register/Log in to view this resource

Key to icons

  • Free resource Free resource
  • Journal article Journal article
  • Book Book
  • Digital media Digital media
  • Journal Journal

Give us your feedback

Social Care Online continues to be developed in response to user feedback.

Contact us with your comments and for any problems using the website.

Sign up/login for more

Register/login to access resource links, advanced search and email alerts