Report recommends free social care for terminally-ill people
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A report published by the Health Select Committee published in mid-March has reviewed the state of end of life care, making a number of recommendations for improvement, including that social care should be free at the end of life.
Based on evidence from clinicians, charities and palliative care experts, the report found ‘great variation in quality and practice across both acute and community settings’ in England.
End-of-life care is defined as people expected to die within 12 months, most of whom will have incurable or progressive illnesses like dementia. Care minister Norman Lamb has said that the Government is looking carefully at a policy of free end-of-life care.
George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society, said people with dementia were currently obliged to pay a “dementia tax” of thousands of pounds for essential care, especially towards the end of their life.
“Dementia is all too often overlooked as a being a terminal illness and as a consequence, there are unacceptable failures to prepare and plan for end of life care,” said Mr McNamara.
“Many people with dementia die in hospital and are not given the choice or consulted about their care wishes. End of life care planning needs to be better. We welcome the call for free social care but our health and social care system needs to be person-centred, not system focused.”