A new report from Public Health England highlights a “shameful inequality” between people dying with dementia and those dying without the condition, according to Alzheimer’s Society. Health and social care services are not equipped to help people with dementia to die at home – where many people would want to end their lives.

Two-thirds of the general population says they would prefer to die at home. However, only eight per cent of people who die with dementia pass away at home, compared to 21 per cent of the general population aged over 65.

The majority (58%) of deaths of people with dementia over the age of 65 occurred in a care home. By comparison, a quarter (25%) of all deaths in the general population aged over 65 happen in a care home setting.

Martina Kane, senior policy officer at Alzheimer’s Society said: “Dementia is still being overlooked as a terminal illness. Consequently, we continue to see the sustained failure to prepare and plan for end of life care for people with the condition. Everyone has the right to a dignified death in a place of their choosing, yet this report shows people with dementia are shamefully being treated as second-class citizens.”

More advanced care planning is needed, with a greater understanding of people's wishes towards the end of life, and the provision of more services in the community, “allowing people remain where they want to be, at home, when possible,” she said.

Public Health England’s recommendations include focusing on dementia-specific palliative services, improving the adoption and quality of advanced care planning, and advocating GP-led holistic reviews for more co-ordinated care.

View the report

 

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