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Most people willing to give injections to improve quality of life of a dying person

Author: Leila Hawkins
09 May 2017

New research says most people would be willing to give injections to improve the quality of life of a dying person.

A study by Dying Matters has found that 39 per cent of British adults would feel comfortable giving a pain-relief injection to someone who was dying and wanted to stay home, after receiving some training. This figure rises to 61 per cent if there is a doctor or nurse supervising the first few times.

Additionally, 70 per cent disagreed that caring for the dying is a matter for professional health and social care workers only, and the majority (74 per cent) would be willing to offer practical help and support people who are dying. Only 16 per cent believe there is currently enough support for people dealing with death, dying and bereavement.

Most people who express a preference say they would rather be at home when they die, yet almost half of all deaths happen in hospital. The lack of access to pain and symptom relief around the clock can result in emergency admissions and prevent people from leaving the hospital instead of being at home.

78 per cent think that caring for someone dying at home would be easier if family, friends and neighbours offered practical help.

Commenting on the study, Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), said:

“When you are caring for someone who wants to be at home when they die, small things can make a huge difference. We know that an offer to walk the dog, mow the lawn or give someone a lift can make caring for a loved one as they die so much easier.”

“This survey shows that people are willing to do more than that, and are even willing to get involved in providing pain relief, if they are given training and support. It is always hard to lose someone close to us, but dying in the familiar surroundings of home can make it less upsetting for everyone.”

“A combination of professional medical and social care, services like hospice at home, and people’s willingness to help can provide the end of life care we all need, as we get one chance to get this right.”
 
Dying Matters is calling for a new approach to supporting end of life care. This week is Dying Matters Awareness Week, with the theme “What Can You Do?” to encourage people to think about planning for the end of life.  Henry said:

 “Dying, death and bereavement are everybody’s business. With numbers of people dying each year predicted to grow by nearly 15 per cent over the next 18 years, we need a new approach which doesn’t just rely solely on health and care services but recognises and empowers carers and communities to provide the care they want to.”

“We can all do something to help, and shouldn’t be worried about asking: ‘What can I do?’” 

The study was carried out by ComRes last month. 

Commenting on the research findings, Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of national hospice care charity Hospice UK, said:

“The findings of this Dying Matters survey reveals a hearteningly high degree of willingness among the British public to offer practical support to people approaching the end of life and those experiencing bereavement.

“The majority of people say they would prefer to die at home, instead of a hospital, so caring for the dying should not only be a matter for healthcare professionals but something that everyone can help support, as part of a community-wide response.

“Hospice at home services are a vital part of the wider support available to dying people, as are hospice volunteers who support people in the community, but many more people can play their part to make sure people get the right support at the end of life and which honours their final wishes.”

Dying Matters Awareness Week runs till Sunday 14. For more information visit Dying Matters

See more articles in Research

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