Death is ‘core business’ of Scottish hospitals, university study finds
By Eleanor BradfordBBC Scotland Health Correspondent
Almost one in three hospital patients in Scotland will die within a year, and nearly one in 10 will die during their time in hospital, a study has found.
The Glasgow University report says the findings suggest that part of the “core business” of hospitals is people who are nearing the end of their lives.
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Starting those difficult conversations about end of life needs and wants is challenging work for family members and for professionals”
Professor David ClarkGlasgow University
The research team studied 10,000 people who were in 25 Scottish hospitals on one day – 31 March, 2010.
In total 3,098 patients, almost 31%, died within 12 months.
The study found that 9% died during their admission.
Older patients were more likely to die, and men were more likely to die than women.
Just over half of all male patients over the age of 85 died within the year.
Lead author Professor David Clark said: “I think what this paper really shows us is that what we call ‘acute’ hospitals really have, as part of their core business, the care of people who are coming to the end of their lives.
“The key message for me is how, as organisations, hospitals start to think more widely about the implications of that.”
The likelihood of dying in hospital has been rising, despite the fact that surveys suggest most people would like to die at home.
A recent international comparison of 34 countries by the University of Auckland found that 59% of all Scottish deaths occur in hospital, and a similar number in England and Wales.
It means British hospitals rank among the top 10 countries with the greatest number of deaths in a hospital setting.
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