Kings Health Partners: the future of end of life care

14th September 2020

Nick Sarson, Communications Manager at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South London has written a blog for the King’s Health Partners website about the effect of the pandemic on the future of palliative and end of life care.

Nick highlights the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on older people, those with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, and on people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. Improving the quality – and availability – of palliative and end of life care services is a local and national priority for health and care services, commissioners and the NHS. It is also the focus for the ARC’s palliative and end of life care research over the next five years.

Professor Irene Higginson, Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute:

“We have ageing populations, living with multiple chronic conditions. In the long term, we’re going to see a big increase in the number of deaths, and we know that we don’t have enough service capacity currently. There’s a big question about how we respond to this.”

In relation to the more immediate challenges from COVID-19, Professor Higginson says:

“It is very clear that we need a more concerted effort to gather more data in real time, to inform the response now and in the future. This is a new disease, and we know so little about it. Current guidance is using the best evidence from a different situation. This is urgent. The number of people who have been severely ill has been very high, and although the situation in hospitals and care homes is easing now, this disease will be with us for some time.”

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