The DEMOS report, Dying for Change, finds that two out of three Britishers would prefer to die at home, but actually 60% of them die in hospital today. And that is in a country in which the concept of palliative care was born and bred and which is in the forefront in the international palliative care scene.
The report mentions that UK needs 500 billion pounds a year to provide sufficient support at home. Is that not a lot of money? It sure is, but think of the huge amount of money it will save from needless hospital costs!
The UK should be able to provide people with better ways to die. The pamphlet argues for improvements to existing services: making end of life advance care plans the norm; training more in the medical profession in palliative care; and more greatly integrating the care services provided by the public, private and voluntary sectors. It also suggests radical innovations: a new infrastructure of home hospices, the creation of a compassionate care benefit and a properly trained volunteer support network providing palliative care – a perfect opportunity for the Big Society. The challenge is to help people to achieve what is most important to them at the end of life. Dying for Change describes how that challenge can be overcome.
When we consider developing countries like India, even if the health care system does not care about the feelings of dying people and their families, it should at least consider the reduction in health care costs!