Marie Curie Briefing: Community settings to replace hospital as most common place to die by 2040?

Scottish Care welcomes the important research which has today been published by Marie Curie in association with the Universities of Edinburgh and Kings College, London.

Together with Marie Curie we call upon the Scottish Government and Integrated Joint Boards to give a much greater priority than they currently do to enable people to die where they want to end their lives – in their normal place of residence.

The report states that if current Scottish trends continue the need for end-of-life care will rise over the next 20 years, particularly in home and care home settings. It goes on to add that by 2040 community settings could account for two-thirds of all deaths. Scottish Care believes it is a fundamental human right that a citizen should be supported to die where they would want to.

However, we share the concern of the Report’s authors that the reduction in hospital deaths (even at a much slower rate than in England) is a ‘scenario [which] is very unlikely to happen, if community support and capacity is not radically increased.’

Providers in the independent care sector in Scotland know the reality of the loss of care homes and care home beds and the considerable impact of reduced real-terms funding for homecare organisations. At the very time that we are asking even greater skills from our care staff we are reducing their support and stripping out essential training and learning.

Dr Donald Macaskill, Scottish Care CEO commented:

“I warmly welcome this Report. It tells it as it is – namely that if we as Scots are to be supported to end our lives with dignity in the places of our choice, the place we call home, then we need to get much better at supporting our care homes and homecare organisations to be places of palliative care excellence. This simply cannot be done on a wish and a prayer. A good death does not just happen it is nurtured, supported and enabled. It is time for national and local Government to give our frontline carers the tools and resources to do the best they can. At the moment with care homes closing and homecare organisations going to the wall with weekly regularity that is simply not happening.”

Marie Curie Briefing - Where will people die in Scotland in 2040

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