Older people receive poor end-of-life care

Older people receive worse end-of-life care than younger patients while staff feel insufficiently trained to meet their needs and health organisations lack policies to deal with them.

Those were the findings from a Help the Aged survey published today, which polled 800 health practitioners about the quality of end-of-life care in their organisations.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents said end-of-life care was worse for older than younger people, while just under half said older people had worse access to palliative care.

Of those who worked directly with older people, 45 per cent had received no specific training to meet their needs, while 57 per cent said they would benefit from such training.

And half of respondents said their organisations had no end-of-life policies in place specifically for older people.

The report calls for strategic health authorities to assess whether end-of-life services in their area discriminate against older people and for end-of-life care to be an integral part of health and social care training.

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