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Patients At End Of Life Need Better Emotional Support, Study Suggests

Patients approaching the end of life often do not receive adequate care for their emotional needs, according to a study.

Most people who die from illnesses other than cancer never have a conversation with medical staff about how they might be cared for in their last months, researchers found.

The team from the University of Edinburgh says this lack of planning and support can place unnecessary stress on the patients’ families.

Researchers interviewed patients and about their experiences of care in the year before they died and asked patients’ families to track all their dealings with the NHS.

They found that although 80 per cent of patients with advanced illnesses are likely to have two or three medical conditions simultaneously, there is often a failure to co-ordinate patients’ and to prepare them for likely events.

Researchers found that the absence of care plans can lead to unnecessary hospital admissions and may prevent patients from dying at home as many would wish to do.

The findings highlight the need for GPs to sensitively identify patients who may be approaching the last year of their lives, and to discuss with them how they would like to be cared for.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research & Delivery Research (NIHR HS&DR) Programme and involved researchers from the , Warwick, Cambridge and Kings College London.

Professor Scott Murray, St Columba’s Hospice Chair of Primary Palliative Care at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This study shows that patients with a number of who appeared to be approaching the end of their lives had the most need for coordinated, joined-up . Yet they were usually the least likely to receive it.

“If patients and doctors felt more able to talk together and discuss their wishes, then health services could be much better coordinated and responsive to patients’ choices.”


Source:University of Edinburgh