Better care at the end of life

Three in four people say they would prefer to die at home. Yet more than half of all deaths happen in hospital.

Most people don’t like talking about death and this makes it hard to plan the end of life that we really want. Only one in ten of us has talked to anyone about how or where we’d like to die.

Over 80% of residents in care homes and 30% of people in hospital are in their last year of life. However, very few of them will have discussed their wishes with loved ones and the professionals caring for them. Even when end of life care plans are put in place, they are not always known by people who have to take decisions in an emergency.

Making it possible for more people to die outside of hospital if they wish would not only offer better care. It would also mean a much better use of healthcare resources, as fewer ambulance journeys and hospital beds would be taken by people who would rather be elsewhere.

Health and care services across Sussex and East Surrey are working to improve care for people at the end of life, making sure they have every chance to spend their last moments where and how they want. To achieve this, we are focusing on:

  • Better identification and proactive support for people who may be in their last year of life.
  • A helpline for people and carers to get advice and support.
  • Tackling the stigma of talking about death, so people can have open, positive conversations about their wishes.
  • Expanding the teams that care for people in their homes or in care homes, so they can avoid being taken to hospital in their final days.

Find out more and make your wishes known

Talking about death doesn’t bring death closer. It’s about planning for life, helping you make the most of the time that you have. Talk to your loved ones and your health professionals about the end of life care plans that you would want.

You can also visit the NHS guide for people who want to plan their end of life care or who are caring for someone nearing the end of life at www.nhs.uk/planners/end-of-life-care.

There is a wealth of information for everyone, whatever their situation, on the Dying Matters website including leaflets on making plans, writing wills, bereavement, talking to children about death and avoiding misconceptions about dying.

Tell us your experience

We want to hear the experiences of people who have cared for someone who has died to help us improve care for people at the end of life.

There are a number of ways to get involved. To find out more, please contact project officer Mary Buckingham, mary.buckingham1@nhs.net.

A recent bereavement may be very fresh in your mind and we would not want this experience to be a negative one for you. There is some research to suggest it is better if approximately two years have passed since a bereavement before discussing it, as any earlier can interfere with your own grieving, but you will be the best judge of this.

 

End of life care guide

NHS guide for people who want to plan their end of life care or who are caring for someone nearing the end of life

Information and resources

Information and support, including leaflets on making plans, writing wills, bereavement, talking to children about death and avoiding misconceptions about dying on the Dying Matters website