Call For Choice To ‘Die At Home’

More patients with terminal illnesses should be given the choice of dying at home, according to a cancer charity. Marie Curie called on the Welsh Assembly Government to put more money into palliative care outside hospitals.

The charity said the majority of patients would prefer to be allowed home for the final weeks of their life. The assembly government said it was important the views and preferences of patients and their carers were taken into account.

Marie Curie has already helped more than 60 patients with terminal cancer in Wales to fulfil their wish of dying at home. And the assembly government has extended funding for the charity’s admission and discharge support scheme, launched in March 2005, for another year.

But the organisation said the majority of the 8,000 people who died of cancer in Wales had died in hospital – even though many would rather be at home.

Marie Curie hospice manager Viv Cooper said research had found that for every £1 invested in care at home, £2 would be released to NHS Wales.

Ms Cooper said: “Our campaign is about convincing the Welsh Assembly Government that the vast majority of people in Wales say that if they were terminally ill, they would wish to die at home – and that, economically, it is the best option for the health service.”

The assembly government said “new ways of thinking” were needed in palliative care and welcomed the involvement of Marie Curie.

A spokesperson said they planned to improve the way terminally ill patients were “supported and managed”.

“An important part of good palliative care provision is ensuring that the views and preferences of patients and their carers are taken into account.”