Understanding patterns of health and social care at the end of life: research summary

GEORGHIOU Theo, et al
Nuffield Trust
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Care at the end of life is an important national priority in England. Survey results show that many people with a terminal illness would prefer to die with the appropriate support at home rather than in hospital. This means developing a range of support services at the end of life, spanning both health and social care. This research summary highlights the key findings from a study of over 73,000 people in England which investigated how often these individuals received social care services during the last 12 months of their lives. It draws on health and local authority social care records from 7 different local authority areas across England. Using this data, an analysis was conducted to link social care and NHS records at person level to identify the use and associated costs of NHS and social care services. The findings show that the use of social care at the end of life varies between conditions (for example people with dementia, falls and stroke used considerably more than those with cancer) and between local authorities, even when adjusted for age and sex. The findings suggest that social care may help prevent hospital admission; individuals with the highest social care costs tended to have low average hospital costs.

Subject terms:
hospitals, social care, social care provision, terminal illness, costs, end of life care, health care;
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