Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Dying at home



Excess non-Covid-19 deaths at home in England still seem to be persistently high. Reasons do not seem to be entirely clear, although back in June this King's Fund piece suggested a number of fairly obvious possibilities.

However, very little is known about the circumstances of these deaths, for example, whether those who were dying had a choice about place of death. It’s widely reported that most people prefer to die at home, but the evidence on this isn’t entirely clear as reported preferences often exclude the views of those with no preference or not asked; the preferences of the general public, family members, caregivers and the dying can differ; and preferences depend on timing and can change. During the pandemic fear of infection or visiting restrictions may have deterred some people with a terminal illness, or their family or caregivers, from going to hospital. Alternatively, Covid-19-related pressures on acute health care services, in particular, may have precluded a choice for some.

A fear of hospitals in terminally ill people sounds likely to me. Presumably this trend has increased GP workload although our GP surgery doesn't say much about it. It certainly sounds like a question which should be answered though. Whether it will be answered is not so certain.   


Sackerson said...

Useful site link.

DiscoveredJoys said...

My parents' generation, born before the NHS (it's only 73 years old) believed that going to hospital meant you would die and not come out. There's a couple of reasons why this view wasn't foolish... firstly you had to be really ill to go to hospital at all and so were more likely to die, secondly there is always the risk of medical mistakes.

Back in 2018 it was estimated that there were 23,000 drug errors causing death, so even now there is a reluctance to undergo hospital treatment. That and the COVID fear machine make our parents' views still relevant.

Scrobs. said...

Old Jolyon died in his garden!

What a way to go!

A K Haart said...

Sackers - yes, lots of interesting information out there.

DJ - my parents were like that too. To some extent so am I, it's always a risk going to hospital as your drug error stat demonstrates.

Scrobs - yes, a good way to go.