Press release

New report from PHE shows improvements in end of life care

Around 24,000 more people died at home or in care homes in 2012 compared to 4 years ago, reflecting desires to stay at home to die.

The proportion of people dying at home or in care homes increased from 38% in 2008 to 44% in 2012, according to a new report on end of life care, ‘What We Know Now’, from Public Health England’s National End of Life Care Intelligence Network (NEoLCIN).

This evidence suggests that around 24,000 more people died at home or in care homes in 2012 compared to 4 years ago, reflecting the desires of many people to stay at home to die.

However, the report also found there were large variations in the proportion of deaths in hospital between 2009 to 2011. Local authorities with highest and lowest rates ranged from 69% in some areas to 38% in others, although the reasons for this are complex.

The report brings together research during the past year from a wide range of research organisations and charities. It looks at the influence of marital status and ethnicity on place of death, patient experience, the role of community and palliative care and many other factors.

Professor Julia Verne, Clinical Lead at PHE’s National End of Life Care Intelligence Network said:

This is the second annual report summarising research across the country on where people die and what influences this. This year has seen another leap forward in our understanding and the statistics reflect progress by the NHS and the voluntary sector in supporting more patients to die in their place of choice. However, we cannot be complacent, the report highlights some aspects of patient experience which must improve, especially the care of the dying in hospital.

Professor John Newton, Chief Knowledge Officer at Public Health England said:

Three years ago we knew very little about how and where people died in England. The National End of Life Care Intelligence Network has made a huge difference and the new knowledge is being put rapidly into action to enable people to have a better death.

Notes for editors

  • About PHE’s National End of Life Care Intelligence Network: ‘What We Know Now’ is a compilation of new research by the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, Universities and Charities. It supports the National End of Life Care Strategy.

  • The End of Life Care Strategy sets out the direction of travel to provide all adults nearing the end of life, regardless of diagnosis, access to high quality care and supporting more people to realise their choices and preferences for care. Survey data suggests that many people would, given the choice, prefer to die at home and few wish to die in hospital.

  • Deaths in usual place of residence (DIUPR): Proportion of deaths in usual place of residence (DIUPR) by Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is available from the NEoLCIN website.

  • The proportion of deaths in the usual place of residence (DIUPR, deaths in own home or a care home) continues to increase and correspondingly the proportion of deaths in hospital is falling. The DIUPR figure for England was 43.7% in 2012, up from 37.9% in 2008.

  • Local Authority information and statistics are available from the NEoLCIN website.

  • Proportion of deaths in hospital by Local Authority can be found on page 14 of the report.

  • Latest ONS mortality and place of death figures (published 22 October 2012) can be found in tables 12 and 13 on the ONS website.

  • Full ‘What We Know Now’ report available online from the National End of Life Network.

About Public Health England: Public Health England’s mission is to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health.

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