BGS Scotland

Why do older people get less palliative care than younger people?

A paper written by Anna Lloyd and her colleagues, and published in the European Journal of Palliative Care analysed data from four studies into the end-of-life experiences of people with glioma, bowel cancer, liver failure and frailty. They found that patients aged 70 and over received less palliative care.

In summary, the team found that:

  • A secondary analysis of data from four studies on the end-of-life experiences of people with glioma, bowel cancer, liver failure and frailty suggests that older patients (aged 70 and over) have more untreated pain, less access to generalist and specialist palliative care, and greater information needs than younger patients
  • In older people, there are less clear early signs indicating that they need, and triggering their referral to, palliative care. The lack of a clear diagnosis of dying and the association of palliative care with cancer also hinders older people’s access to good end-of-life care.
  • More efforts should be made to identify older patients who would benefit from a palliative care approach in all settings.

Read the full paper here

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