Home a comfort in dying
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.