Care at the End of Life: What the U.S. Can Learn from England

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<p>"What happens to us at the end of life depends very much on the health care system of a country," writes Bradford Gray, Ph.D., in a new Commonwealth Fund <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/jul/englands-approach-improving-end-life-care-strategy-honoring">issue brief </a>examining England's approach to improving end-of-life care. In a recent ranking of "quality of death" in 40 countries, the U.K. and Australia ranked first, while the U.S. tied with Canada for ninth. And although nearly three-quarters of Americans say home is their preferred place of death, only 25 percent of U.S. deaths occur at home. </p>
<p>In his examination of the English system, Gray, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, finds a number of strategies that spring from a respect for patients' wishes regarding end-of-life care. These include making it more feasible to receive care at home—for example, by linking patients and families with a variety of community-based services and making rapid-response teams available. The brief also discusses the importance of surveying patients' family members about the quality of care received, and having objective measures of quality to drive improvements in end-of-life services. </p>
<p>To learn more about how England has built patient choice and palliative care into its health care system, read <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2011/jul/englands-approach-improving-end-life-care-strategy-honoring">the brief</a>. <br /></p>