The importance of high quality, personalised end of life care cannot be overestimated, and is highlighted by its impact on both the patient and those closest to them. However, there is evidence that in some cases, this is not achieved. Variations in access to services and quality of care have been correlated with factors such as age, ethnic background and sexual orientation. This highlights a requirement to consider the different needs and preferences of individuals in the provision of end of life care.
The Department of Health's End of Life Care strategy (2008) sets out a vision to improve the quality of care for all dying adults, as well as their families and carers. It aims to provide individuals with more choice about where they would like to live and die, and challenges inequalities in the provision of care for certain groups of society. The strategy also advocates a whole-systems approach in which organisations work in partnership to deliver integrated care for patients.
More recently, the Department of Health (2016) committed to ending variation in end of life care across the health system by 2020. This will be underpinned by a range of actions that include improved care quality across different settings, sharing effective models of care and support for local leadership, including commissioners to prioritise and improve end of life care.
The End of Life Care Profiles have been developed by Public Health England's National End of Life Care Intelligence Network. They are intended to support local government and health services to determine the end of life needs of their local populations. This is highlighted through the provision of trend and comparative information in relation to a range of factors such as place of death, underlying cause of death and care home use at the end of life. The downloadable document below highlights some of the key findings for Derby from these profiles.