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Discussing dementia and end of life care

On 17th January, I was proud to host a Marie Curie lecture in Parliament on dementia and end of life care.

There is a real stigma around talking about dementia and how we want to be looked after before we die. But it’s really important we address these issues, as one in four people are not currently getting the care they need at the end of their lives.

It is good news that more of us are living longer lives but this means growing numbers of people are likely to have complex health conditions in old age like dementia, which is now the biggest cause of death in England and Wales. However, severe pressures on funding and staff mean health and social care services are often unable to provide the level of support needed by people suffering from this condition and their families.

Well-funded, high quality care must be made available for people at the end of their lives both inside and outside of hospitals. Investment should be targeted to make sure experts in palliative care can provide high-quality support and share their knowledge with care home staff. We need to make sure good quality advice and support is made available to families, while the care provided for those at the end of their lives needs to be properly co-ordinated across services like GPs, hospitals, psychiatric teams and care homes.