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Major concerns over quality of care for those dying at home

PUBLISHED

A lack of face-to-face appointments during the coronavirus pandemic has significantly worsened the palliative care being provided to people at the end of their life, according to a survey of specialists.

The research, which the Association of Palliative Medicine and end of life charity Marie Curie shared exclusively with HSJ, found 95% of respondents said their ability to provide good quality end-of-life care had been affected because patients had not received their “usual contact” such as visits from GPs or social care staff. Three-quarters said this had a “great” or “massive” impact.

Significantly higher numbers of people have died at home since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, compared to previous years.

Two-thirds of respondents said health professionals had missed opportunities to refer patients into palliative care and, once they had done, four fifths thought they had not done so in a “timely manner.”

Dr Iain Lawrie, president of APM, said a lack of face-to-face appointments meant “red flags” about patients’ conditions were missed, as these clues are easier to gather in person.

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Source: HSJ, 16 December 2020

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