The National Bereavement Survey 2012, which was commissioned by the Department of Health, asked bereaved people about the quality of care provided for their loved ones during the last three months of their life.
Hospice care was rated the most positively for quality of care. Being shown dignity and respect by staff was also highest in hospices, with 84 per cent 'all the time' for hospice doctors and 82 per cent for hospice nurses.
Commenting on the survey, Jonathan Ellis, Director of Public Policy and Parliamentary Affairs for Help the Hospices, said:
"Today’s findings show hospice staff lead the way in ensuring people at the end of life and their families are cared for with the utmost dignity and respect – values which lie at the heart of hospice care.
"However, there is still too much variation in the care that dying people receive, with too many people still not getting the care they need and this has to change. Most people currently die in hospital and the continuing low ratings for end of life hospital care are deeply concerning and must be tackled.
"Hospices can play a vital role in helping to drive up the quality of care and are committed to working with other parts of the care system, from hospitals to care homes, to share their expertise and make sure that more people get the best care possible. It is imperative that hospitals prioritise improvements in the care of the dying and work with local hospices to achieve this.
“We only have one chance to get end of life care right. That is why commissioners and providers of care need to act on these findings immediately, so that everyone can receive dignified, personalised care, regardless of where they are cared for."
Notes to editors
The National Bereavement Survey (VOICES) 2012 was commissioned by the Department of Health and administered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The surveys findings are available to view on the ONS website.
Being shown dignity and respect by staff was highest in hospices (84% ‘always’ for hospice doctors, down from 87% in 2011) and 82% (up from 80% in 2011 for hospice nurses) and lowest in hospitals (59% ‘always’ for hospital doctors and 52% for hospital nurses).
The ‘Quality End of Life Care for All’ (QELCA) programme is an innovation in end of life care education for generalist nurses. Designed by St Christopher’s Hospice, South London, it seeks to enable and empower teams of clinical nurse managers from acute or community settings to lead on the delivery of high quality care to patients and families at the end of life.
NHS England in its call to action published today highlighted the need for greater partnership between healthcare organisations at local level.
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