A team of researchers from King's College London has revealed that more than half of people in the country having terminal illnesses want to die at home, but of them are unable to do so. The reserachers add that despite a £12 million injection of funds, end of life programmes still lack proper support. The detailed report can be found in the British Medical Journal.
Lead researcher Professor Irene Higginson, head of palliative care policy and rehabilitation at King's said that the prospect of dying alone in a sterile hospital room was unpalatable to many people. The study found that between 1993 and 2004 home
deaths of terminally ill cancer patients fell from 27% or 38,000 deaths to 22%, or 31,000 deaths. "We really need to ensure that people can access these services and obtain the intensive care that they need. And that might mean care several times a day and during the night," Higginson added. Despite the boost in funding, many people were not able to afford round the clock care and the government must look into the situation, she said. The Cicely Saunders Foundation, which funded the research said that new methods must be implemented to ensure that the last wishes of such people must be respected, "Evidence shows that many terminally ill patients, particularly those suffering from cancer, want to die naturally, with dignity, in familiar surroundings and with their families close by," said Dr Barbara Gomes of the foundation.