Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

Future pressures on end-of-life care registers if free social care depends on registration

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The Help the Hospices (the membership organisation for voluntary sector hospices) statement on the government’s social care proposals is a bit conflicted. It supports the proposal for funding free social care for people on the (putative, not fully there yet) end-of-life register, but has to sling in a comment that hospices are a wonderful example of integrated health and social care, and should be better funded, which is what all its members want them to say.

There is a problem with funding free social care for people on the end-of-life register (basically when your doctor says you’re an agreed distance – probably one year – from dying, when the research shows that nobody is really good at making this kind of judgement). That is, as soon as people find out that they can get free social care if someone will agree they’re dying, there will be a lot of pressure on the professional who decides, to define them as dying as early as possible. There will be equally a lot of pressure from the managers of the system (eventually private sector profit-making companies) not to do so.

Getting on the end-of-life care register is going to be a bit of a bloody battle in years to come – I foresee court cases. Not what we want in an end-of-life care system.

The Help the Hospices statement: Help the Hospices statement

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Written by Malcolm Payne

15 July 2012 at 4:32 pm

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