Home a com­fort in dy­ing

The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

THE “very old” are much more likely to die com­fort­ably if they are at home rather than in hos­pi­tal, UK re­search shows.

Just one in 10 of the “old­est old” — those aged over 79 — in the study died at home. But those who did, or who were in a care home, were four times more likely to be com­fort­able than those in hos­pi­tal.

Cam­bridge Univer­sity re­searchers say it shows more needs to be done to im­prove end-of-life care. The team spoke to the fam­i­lies of 180 peo­ple who had died aged 79 to 107.

The rel­a­tives’ in­ter­views re­vealed 69 per cent of those who died in hos­pi­tal were com­fort­able. That rose to 89 per cent for those in their home and 91 per cent for those in long-term care such as a nursing home.

The re­searchers ad­justed the fig­ures to re­flect the fact that fewer peo­ple died in hos­pi­tal. The study also found that just one in 10 died with­out re­port­ing any symp­toms.

Nearly half of the de­ceased ex­pe­ri­enced at least three symp­toms in their fi­nal days.

The most com­mon were pain and distress, with other symp­toms in­clud­ing pres­sure sores, de­pres­sion, con­fu­sion or loss of con­scious­ness.

Most felt pain, but only half were treated suc­cess­fully for it.

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