Date: 29 August 2017
The number of people with dementia who go to A&E is on the rise, with new research showing that more than three quarters visit at least once during the last year of their life.
The research, supported by the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, also found that A&E attendance was more common the closer people with dementia were to death. Just under half of nearly 5,000 people included in the study attended A&E in the last month of their life, and a fifth in the last week of their life.
The number of people with dementia who die in hospital has been on the decline, which has widely been thought to reflect better end-of-life care. However, place of death does not provide information about the care a person received during the last weeks and months of their life.
These results show “a worrying increase in the reliance on emergency care” for people with dementia nearing the end of their life, said lead author Dr Katherine Sleeman, an NIHR Clinician Scientist at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College London. “Policy makers need to consider a broader range of indicators of the quality of end-of-life care alongside the place of death,” she added.
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