Understanding patterns of health and social care at the end of life

Published: 16 October 2012

Understanding patterns of health and social care at the end of life image

Improving care at the end of life is a priority for health and social care services in England. However, evaluations and comparisons of the services provided are hampered by a lack of information about the patterns and quality of care delivered.

This report details the study commissioned by the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, of over 73,000 people in England during the last 12 months of their lives. It builds on earlier piece of work, (Bardsley and others, 2010) to create and analyse the largest linked health and social care data set in England.

Information from hospital and social care records were linked pseudonymously to reveal the profile of care use over the 12 months before death. The first report made significant progress but difficulties were encountered when trying to interpret the findings:

  • Between the three local areas studied there were marked differences in social care provision – it was difficult to know  with only three cases whether one or more of these were outliers nationally.
  • The studied areas left many areas of the country unrepresented – for example none were from the north of England.
  • In order to look more closely at the relationship between patient variables and social care use, relatively large sample sizes are needed to standardise for the wide range of variables that might be important.

These issues were the reasons that this second study was undertaken to repeat the analysis using a wider set of local authority areas.

Download the report: Understanding patterns of health and social care at the end of life.

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