Research summary & report
16 Oct 2012

This report details the key findings from a study of over 73,000 people in England during the last 12 months of their lives. It suggests that social care may help prevent hospital admission.


In this audio slideshow, Theo Georghiou, Nuffield Trust Senior Research Analyst and report co-author, outlines the findings of a study into health and social care use at the end of life.

Care at the end of life is an important national priority in England. The national strategy set out by the Department of Health in 2008 aims to help people have the care support they need beyond the gates of the acute hospital setting.

Survey results show that many people with a terminal illness would prefer to die with the appropriate support at home rather than in hospital. This means developing a range of support services at the end of life, spanning both health and social care.

Despite the importance of social care in supporting individuals at the end of their lives, there are remarkably few studies that look at how often these people receive social care services.

This analysis has shown how important the interaction between health and social care can be for many people at the end of their livesDr Martin Bardsley, Director of Research, Nuffield Trust and report co-author

Understanding patterns of health and social care at the end of life, commissioned by the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, builds on an earlier Nuffield Trust study to create and analyse what is believed to be the largest database of its kind to link health and social care datasets in England.

It draws on information from seven different local authority areas across England, comprising a total population of more than three million people. Using this data, the authors were able to describe the uptake of key health and social care services for people in the last 12 months of life, and the costs of these.

The researchers found that the use of social care at the end of life varied between conditions (for example people with dementia, falls and stroke used considerably more than those with cancer) and between local authorities, even when adjusted for age and sex. Individuals with the highest social care costs tended to have low average hospital costs.

To find out more about our work in this area, visit the dedicated project page: Patterns of care at the end of life.

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