This report provides evidence on what is known and still needs to be known about patients' and families' needs for hospice care towards the end of life. We focus on crucial factors for hospice care planning for the future in the UK, including the most recent data on actual and projected number of deaths in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is followed by evidence on people's preferences for place of care and place of death. Finally, we present available evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of hospice care and discuss the need for further research. Evidence-based recommendations are provided throughout the report.
- In 2010, 1.4 million people were aged 85 or older and deaths in this group represented 36% of all deaths. By 2035, this figure will be 3.5 million and deaths in the over-85 group will represent half of all deaths in the UK.
- The number of deaths caused by cancer is expected to increase by 30% for men and 12% for women and in eight years the number of people living with dementia will rise to over a million.
- Older people and people with non-malignant conditions are less likely to receive timely referrals to palliative care.
- The UK population is expected to escalate in the future. Since people are living longer, it is likely this will translate into a much higher demand for hospice care and long-term care in settings such as care homes.
- Current statistics on hospice care capacity and usage are limited; this affects the ability to plan future hospice care provision to meet demand.
- It is crucial to investigate why inequalities in place of death persist despite efforts to invert the situation, especially regarding non-cancer patients and the oldest old.