Solihull’s NHS end of life care services and cancer support charity Macmillan are helping more people to be cared for in the place of their choosing.
Dr Anand Chitnis, Chair of Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a GP in Castle Bromwich, said: “Many people find it difficult to talk about dying.
“However, we know that most patients would prefer to die at home rather than in hospital. To enable this to happen, their care needs to be planned.
“Solihull has an excellent community team who work alongside GPs to help patients, often with complex palliative care needs, to plan their care in advance. It is very encouraging that the number of people who die in the place of their choosing continues to rise.”
Figures from Solihull Public Health show that over the past five years, the number of people receiving end of life care who died in hospital has reduced by ten per cent, from 58 per cent to 48 per cent. This is ten per cent better than the average for England.
In total, 2,113 people who were registered with a Solihull GP and received end of life care died between April 2013 and March 2014. Twenty per cent (416) died at home, 23 per cent (479) at a care home and nine per cent (186) at a hospice.
Of the 421 patients supported by the Macmillan palliative care team in Solihull, 92 per cent died in their preferred place of care and only 15 per cent died in hospital.
Solihull CCG, which commissions healthcare services across the borough, is working in partnership with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Macmillan to support more people to die in their place of choice.
They have developed a number of initiatives, including a ‘just in case’ box which patients keep at home for use if they need urgent pain relief outside GP opening hours.
Vanessa Wort, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s Head Nurse, said: “It is encouraging to hear these figures and to see that more and more people are being allowed to die in their place of choice. This is what the partnership between ourselves, Solihull CCG and Macmillan aims to achieve.
“We are always working to make sure that, where appropriate, patients are able to be treated in the community. This is particularly relevant for palliative care as we understand from what patients and their families have told us, the ability to receive care and support in their own home or a community setting is really important to individuals and their family members.”
Fiona Taylor, Macmillan Development Manager in Birmingham, said: “It’s fantastic that the work we have done so far with local NHS end of life care services is resulting in more people in Solihull being given the opportunity to die in the place of their choosing. The number of people living with cancer is growing every day. Often, treatment is successful, but for some, this is unfortunately not the case.
“The choices you make at the end of your life might be the most important ones you ever have to make and we want to ensure everyone is able to get the support and care they need to make the choices that are right for them. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Solihull CCG and the Heart of England Foundation Trust to ensure people affected by cancer have access to the best quality services and care.”