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Covid: Unpaid carers 'struggled to get pain relief' for terminally ill

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Unpaid carers looking after terminally ill friends and relatives during the pandemic struggled to access pain relief, with some patients dying in unnecessary pain, a survey has found.

The survey of 995 unpaid carers by Marie Curie also found people had difficulties getting personal care and respite nursing for loved ones.

Figures show the number of people dying at home rose by 42% in the past year.

Nearly two-thirds of carers surveyed by the charity said their loved one did not get all the pain relief they needed when they were dying.

Susan Lowe, from Solihull, cared for her mother Sheila before she died with bowel cancer in April last year, aged 74.

She said caring for her mum during lockdown was hard as "the system was just under so much pressure that we had to manage largely on our own".

The public health worker says she struggled to get the right pain relief medication for her mother in her final weeks and spent hours travelling to different chemists.

Susan, 50, told the BBC: "My biggest regret is that my mum died in pain - more pain than she needed to be. She really wanted to be comfortable at the end. She knew she was dying."

"What she really wanted - and this is what she was assured would happen - was to be comfortable. She was told she would get the drugs that she needed for it to be as bearable as possible... I remember breaking down in tears a couple of times in the pharmacy when I was told the medication mum needed wasn't in stock."

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Source: BBC News, 8 April 2021

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