Office for National Statistics. 2019.

Public Health England. 2019.

The profile of place of death

02 March 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 3

Although the wishes of patients to be cared for and die in preferred places are well documented, it is not always clear what characteristics are used to classify the place of death. According to the National End-of-Life Care Intelligence Network (NEoLCIN), a good indicator of the quality of end-of-life care is when the place of death and preferred placed of death are the same (Public Health England (PHE), 2019). Therefore, patients' quality of life is arguably a precursor to a dignified death. The profile of a place of death includes a number of locations with specific definitions. The place of death is recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which examines death certificates data and lists patients' own homes, hospitals, hospices and care homes as the main places in which patients die. However, the description of own home only considers where the person usually spends most of their life and, therefore, often excludes nursing and care homes or other institutions where people live communally (Office for National Statistics, 2019). Hospitals include both NHS-based and private ones, as well as acute and community health and care trusts. Deaths recorded in care homes include both residential and nursing homes, which are run privately or through the NHS and local authorities. However, there is no real specification of length of stay in order for this location to be considered as the place of death. Although the NEoLCIN includes hospices as places of death, this definition is broader than that of traditional hospices, to include the many independently funded charities such as Sue Ryder, Marie Curie and other specialist caring centres. Although these are independent institutions, patients can move from across these to NHS hospitals and vice versa, creating a challenge for defining the patient's place of death. Further, it is also not clear how places of death are recorded, given that hospices are now also providing care in the community, hospitals and nursing/care homes.

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