Better End of Life is a review of dying, death and bereavement during COVID-19 and highlights valuable lessons for the long-term future of palliative and end of life care and bereavement support in the UK.
The report highlights how palliative and end of life care in the UK has been compromised during the pandemic by shortages of PPE, essential medicines, and equipment, because these services were not seen as ‘frontline NHS’.
The review of dying, death and bereavement during COVID-19 highlights valuable lessons for the long-term future of palliative and end of life care and bereavement support in the UK. UK data from CovPall – a study of the role and response of palliative care and hospice services to the COVID-19 pandemic partly funded by Cicely Saunders International – shows that:
palliative care teams in all settings were stretched to and beyond capacity, but proved a vital component to the emergency pandemic response.
However, too often, the ability of palliative care services to provide vital care and support was undermined by failing to be treated as a frontline NHS service.
Professor Katherine Sleeman, lead researcher on the Better End of Life 2021: Dying, death and bereavement during Covid-19 Research Report, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for palliative and end of life care in the UK. However, the experiences of those affected by dying, death and bereavement – whether as a result of COVID-19 or other conditions – have had little scrutiny to date. It is essential that we learn from the achievements and weaknesses in care that the pandemic has exposed, to improve future provision of palliative, end of life and bereavement care.”
Sleeman, KE, Murtagh, FEM, Kumar, R, O’Donnell, S, Cripps, RL, Bone, A, McAleese, J, Lovick, R, Barclay, S, Higginson, IJ. (King’s College London, Cicely Saunders Institute; Hull York Medical School, University of Hull; and University of Cambridge,UK).
Better End of Life 2021. Dying, death and bereavement during Covid-19. Research report. London (UK): Marie Curie. 2021 April.
The Illustration is of red hearts on the National Covid Memorial Wall outside St Thomas’ Hospital.
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