Exploring the cost of care at the end of life

We estimate hospital and non-hospital costs for people in the last 90 days of life.


Published: 26/09/2014

Download the report [PDF 3.7MB]

'Exploring the cost of care at the end of life' uses anonymised person-level datasets to estimate the costs at the end of life relating to GP contacts, community nursing, local authority-funded social care, hospice and hospital care. 

The research also explores whether reduced hospital activity and costs at the end of life were likely to be offset by increased care costs in other health and social care settings using the Marie Curie home-based palliative care nursing service - the subject of a previous study by the Nuffield Trust. The results suggest that cost savings might be available if community-based support were made more widely available to help people to die in their own homes, where that was their preference. 

Given the finite resources available for health care, it is important that there is an understanding of the costs of end-of-life care. However, acquiring good-quality data surrounding costs for palliative care is challenging, especially as care services for those at the end of life are fragmented across many different providers.

“This work demonstrates how crucial it is that we develop better ways to understand resource use in everyday care. This would help care services to be responsive to the needs of those near to death, so they can provide support and care in the most appropriate setting for the individual.” Theo Georghiou, Senior Research Analyst, Nuffield Trust and report author. 

Suggested citation

Georghiou T and Bardsley M (2014) Exploring the cost of care at the end of life. Nuffield Trust.