New research from Which? Later Life Care has revealed a concerning lack of awareness of options for arranging end of life care, with the majority of people surveyed having no plans in place should they need end of life care in the future.
Which? Later Life Care surveyed over 3,000 people to understand what arrangements people have in place for their own end of life care, or that of a loved one.
Seven in 10 (71%) said that they have made no plans at all for their end of life care. Of the remaining 29 per cent that have, only three in ten (28%) have prepared an advance decision (commonly known as a living will). An advance decision is a document outlining your decisions regarding the circumstances and types of medical treatment that you wish to refuse in the event that you do not have the capacity to communicate the decision yourself.
The most common step taken among those that had made plans for end of life was writing a will (93%), outlining what should happen to their property, possessions and money after they die. Six in 10 had organised Power of Attorney, and 58 per cent had discussed their end of life care preferences with family or friends.
The research also uncovered a lack of awareness of how hospices can help with end of life care. Of those who had never been involved in arranging hospice care, only one in three people (31%) correctly believed that hospice care is free for all, while 17 per cent thought that patients needed to pay for care in a hospice. As most hospices are charities, and hospice care is paid for through a combination of NHS funding and public donations, care provided by a hospice is free for patients and their families.
What’s more, just under two-thirds (62%) of those who had never been involved in arranging hospice care were unaware that hospices could provide care at home as well as in the hospice.
Which? Later Life Care is urging people to do their research, and plan ahead for their end of life care, to avoid loved ones having to make stressful and uninformed decisions in moments of crisis, and to ensure their wishes for their end of life care are known and respected.
Alex Hayman, Which? Managing Director of Public Markets, said:
“Although it can be uncomfortable to think about, by taking the time to consider your plans for the end of your life, you can help ensure that when it comes, your loved ones will be able to respect your wishes and preferences.
“There are a number of different options available for arranging end of life care, and it’s important to understand what they all entail and how they might differ. Do your research and explore your options to help find out which are best suited to you.”
Notes to editors:
- 3,121 people were surveyed from 3-14 January 2019 on behalf of Which? Later Life Care. Of those, 907 had at least some plan in place for their end of life care.
- Which? Later Life Care is a free service offering independent and practical guidance about making later life and end of life care choices and arrangements across the UK.
- Later Life Care is also recommended by the government to local authorities for signposting to national sources of information and advice.
- For Which? Later Life Care’s new guide on care options at the end of life, please visit: https://www.which.co.uk/later-life-care/end-of-life/care-options-at-the-end-of-life
- For Which? Later Life Care’s new guide on planning ahead for end of life care, please visit: https://www.which.co.uk/later-life-care/end-of-life/end-of-life-care-planning
- For more advice on hospice care, please visit: https://www.which.co.uk/later-life-care/end-of-life/care-options-at-the-end-of-life/hospice-care-avhkt8l4wghl