Research summary & report
14 Nov 2012

This study examines whether the home-based nursing service provided by Marie Curie Cancer Care helps more people to die at home, and reduces hospital use and costs at the end of life.

Summary

Dr Jane Collins, Marie Curie Cancer Care, discusses the impact of the Marie Curie Nursing Service

More than half of all deaths in England and Wales occur in hospital, although studies have shown that the majority of people would prefer to die at home if possible. Towards the end of life, the use of hospital care rises significantly.

Studies have suggested that palliative and end of life care can allow more people to die at home, improve quality of life, reduce pain and other symptoms, and lower the demand for unplanned hospital care.

The impact of the Marie Curie Nursing Service on place of death and hospital use at the end of life, sets out the results of a study, commissioned by Marie Curie Cancer Care, examining the impact of the Marie Curie home-based nursing service on patient outcomes and hospital usage.

People who received Marie Curie Nursing Service care were much more likely to die at home, less likely to require hospital care and incurred significantly lower hospital costs

The researchers studied 29,538 people who received Marie Curie Nursing Service (MCNS) care and died between January 2009 and November 2011, along with matched controls.

The study found that people who received MCNS care were significantly more likely to die at home than those who received ‘standard’ care, and were less likely to use all forms of hospital care. There were also significant differences between the two groups in the costs of both planned and unplanned hospital care.

The results of this study offer evidence that home-based care can reduce hospital use at the end of life, and help more people to die at home. The findings provide evidence of the potential benefits of home-based end of life schemes, such as that operated by Marie Curie, and support increasing investment in such services so as to improve care for people at the end of life.

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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