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Late diagnosis is major factor in hospital cancer deaths
Date:4/8/2011

n deteriorated and a return to home was not possible. There was a lack of a suitable bed for 12.4 percent and the necessary care package was not in place for 4.9 percent. 3 percent lacked the required family support.
  • The proportion of cancer patients dying at home has decreased significantly from 38.1 percent (1983-1992) to 32.1 per cent in 2003-2007, however more now die in nursing homes which in many cases is their home.
  • Cancer deaths occurring at home varied significantly across Local Government Districts and ranged from 24 percent in Newtownabbey to 46.9 per cent in Magherafelt. There was a similar significant variability in the proportion of hospital deaths by Local Government District, which ranged from 36.3 per cent in Strabane to 62.9 per cent in Ballymoney.
  • A cancer death at home was more likely for males, patients that were partnered, patients from deprived backgrounds and younger patients. The report also makes a number of recommendations, which include:
  • A major initiative to improve earlier recognition of cancer symptoms among both the public and healthcare professionals.
  • Nursing homes should be specifically targeted for training in early recognition of cancer symptoms and have strategies developed to enable residents with cancer to die in their preferred place of death.
  • For the approximate 20% of patients whose condition would have allowed a return to usual residence (to die in their place of preference), efforts should be enhanced to ensure facilities and resources in the community are available to support patients and their carers.
  • Further work is recommended to study what helps to facilitate a home death for cancer patients nearing end of life.
  • The report highlights the importance of the recommendations made within the 2010 Palliative and End of Life Care Strategy for Northern Ireland (DHSSPS, 2010) and recommends that these should be included in training and in appropriate protocols for professional
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  • Contact: Claire O'Callaghan
    c.ocallaghan@qub.ac.uk
    Queen's University Belfast
    Source:Eurekalert

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