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Palliative care for dementia patients under scrutiny

New research supported by Sue Ryder shows that end of life care for the terminally ill – especially those with dementia – can be dependent on “arbitrary” factors, such as age, ethnicity and location.

The report, curated by think-tank Demos, showed that terminally ill patients with dementia were at a particularly high risk of being hospitalised rather than being cared for at home, as a lack of support in the community is leaving family carers unable to cope.

As a remedy to the issue of “hit-and-miss” palliative care, the report recommends better partnership between GPs, elderly care services and specialist geriatricians – especially where the care of elderly people with complicated conditions like dementia is concerned.

Claudia Wood, Deputy Director of Demos, commented, “These widespread and unacceptable inequalities show how accessing good quality end of life care is often hit or miss. But this is a lottery we can’t allow to continue.”

“Everyone should have access to the personalised and compassionate care that they want,” added Paul Woodward of Sue Ryder Care. “It is a fundamental right for everybody to have choice and control over their care … the inequalities revealed in this report represent a ‘wake up’ call that cannot be ignored.”