Recently published official statistics from Public Health England revealed that in 2018, there were 10.1 English care home beds for every 100 people aged 75 years and older and 4.9 nursing home beds for every 100 people aged 75+. Both figures show that the trend over the last 5 years is gradually decreasing, resulting in less care and nursing home beds for the older generation.

Public Health England published the care home and nursing bed rates in their February 2019 end of life care profiles update. In their methodology, Public Health England state that “The rates describe the availability of residential and nursing home beds in comparison with the size of the population aged 75 years and older (as published by the Office for National Statistics). The ratio of beds to older population is a crude measure of care home bed availability.”

With an increasing population of older people, the demand for residential care and nursing home beds is predicted to rise. According to the Care Quality Commission, this could be by as much as 71,000 by 2025. The NHS Long Term Plan recognises the need to upgrade the support currently provided to care home residents.

The February 2018 end of life care profiles update provides even more insight into this area. The update explores 2016 mortality data, specifically looking at the percentage of deaths in hospitals, care homes, at home and in hospices. The data reveals that in 2016:

• 46.9% of people died in hospital
• 21.8% of people died in care homes
• 23.5% of people died at home
• 5.7% of people died in hospices

Between 2004 and 2016, there has been a decreasing proportion of deaths occurring in hospital and a rising proportion of deaths in care homes, at home and in hospices. In 2004, 57.9% of deaths occurred in hospitals, highlighting an 11% decrease between 2004 and 2016. On the other hand, the percentage of people who died in a care home rose by 5.3% for the same time period. This trend further highlights the importance of ensuring care homes are suitably supported with enough beds to support the increasing need for end of life care.

Planning ahead with your family will almost certainly reduce the likelihood of any misunderstandings about how you want things to be handled when the time comes. It’s important to talk about your preferences for end of life care, including appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney who can make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to in the future. The importance of planning for your death cannot be underestimated. Having a plan in place ensures that your loved ones are not subjected to additional stress and upset at an already challenging time.

Sussex Will Writers can help you get a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and help you plan for the inevitable.

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Source: Kings Court Trust