Most British people have no plans for end of life care, according to a study conducted by consumers’ association, Which?
The survey of more than 3,000 people revealed that seven in 10 (71%) haven’t planned for end of life care.
Of the 29% who did, only three in 10 had prepared a living will or advance decision, outlining the types of medical treatment they would refuse if they did not have the capacity to communicate their decisions.
Reacting to the survey, George McNamara, director for policy and influencing at Independent Age said it is “concerning” to see that many of us value sorting our finances out as much more than the kind of care and support we would want during our final weeks and days.
“Health and social care professionals have a role to play, but as a society we need to change the way we think and act about end of life care. Sensitively having such conversations can make all the difference. Better planning for the end of your life could make a huge difference, both to the person who’s dying and to their family, enabling them to better deal with their grief and experience fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety.
“Unfortunately, we know that people aged 65 and over, despite being the age group most likely to die, are less likely to receive end-of-life care. Lack of end-of-life care means they are more likely to be in pain at the time of their death than younger people, and people with dementia are particularly unlikely to receive good end-of-life care.
“It’s essential that older people and their families make plans for the end of life, and talk to each other about what those plans are, so there are no surprises.”