U.S. could learn from England’s End of Life Care Strategy

The United States health care system could take lessons from England’s evidence-based End of Life Care Strategy, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund. 

The report states that in many countries, including the United States, end of life care is generally not performed well, with pain and other distress frequently undertreated and patients’ preferences not respected.  England, along with Australia, has been ranked number one for quality in end of life care in the 2010 report, The Quality of Death: Ranking End-of-Life Care Across the World.  Strategies that England uses include:

  • Strategies to help physicians recognize when patients are entering a trajectory that may end in death,
  • The use of “death at home” as a metric for measuring progress,
  •  Improving the skills of clinical and caregiving personnel through Web-based training, and
  • Developing a national improvement pathway.

(Source: The Commonwealth Fund, http://www.commonwealthfund.org, July 2011)