Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dying at Home in the UK

Britain's Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has announced that more people should be allowed to die at home, a phrasing that gets at the challenges of end of life care, from The Telegraph:

Speaking at the International Carers Conference in Leeds, he said: “Having a terminal illness is a very distressing time for individuals and their families. People should be able to choose where they are cared for – most would choose to be cared for at home, surrounded by their friends and family – and be certain that the care they receive will be of the highest quality.

“This review will look at how we better deploy the money we spend on palliative care – so those in need are better supported. We intend that whatever care patients choose will meet their needs and wishes.”

In the U.S., as I've written before, about 80% wish to die at home but only about 20% do. I've been interested to see how attention to end of life care changes when the issue of assisted suicide (in all it's nomenclature) is discussed. Britain has been in the midst of a public discussion of end of life care, assisted suicide and the legal challenges of such laws thanks to the Purdy case last summer. I wonder if this elevated level of awareness there has had any effect on Lansley and the proposed study?

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