News story

Increase in the number of people dying with dementia

The proportion of people dying with a recorded dementia diagnosis has more than doubled since 2001.

Older people sitting on a bench in a garden

Today (29 September 2016) Public Health England (PHE) launches a range of products which examine the deaths of people recorded with dementia between 2012 and 2014.

Figures show the number of deaths with a mention of dementia was:

  • 6.6% of all deaths in 2001
  • 15.8% of deaths in 2014

This is most likely due to an increase in awareness and recording of dementia.

The new reports were produced by the Dementia Intelligence Network (DIN) in collaboration with the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network (NEoLCIN) and draw on national data to see if there have been changes in dementia deaths over time, who the people dying with dementia are, where they die and the cause of their death.

The findings suggest that people who live in more deprived areas die with dementia at a younger age than those who live in more affluent areas.

There are also considerable differences between the place of death for people who have dementia and the general population. People with dementia are considerably more likely to die in hospitals and care homes and less likely to die at home or in end of life care settings such as hospices.

Professor Julia Verne, head of clinical epidemiology, at PHE, said:

We hope that these products can be used to help the NHS and its partners to commission and deliver high quality end of life care in a way that makes the most efficient use of resources and responds to the wishes of dying people and their families.

Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia for NHS England and chair of the PHE’s DIN leadership group said:

High quality end of life care is a key aspect of the quality of dementia services. This report highlights some important measures of end of life in people with dementia and is helpful in raising the profile of this crucial aspect of dementia care.

Professor Louise Robinson, Director Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, said:

In order to improve the quality of end of life care we need to accurately know where people with dementia die and under what circumstances and these new PHE reports significantly help improve this understanding.

Service commissioners and service providers now need to critically examine current care provision for people with dementia, especially their access to existing community and specialist end of life services, with a view to introducing better systems to facilitate preferred place of care and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and care transitions in the last year of life.

The DIN and NEoLCIN Data Analysis Report and Intelligence briefing, as well as other resources can be found here.

Published 29 September 2016