People in most deprived areas more likely to die alone at home, research says

September 13, 2018 by Tony Trueman, British Sociological Association
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

People living in the most deprived neighbourhoods are 24 percent more likely to die alone at home than those in the least deprived areas, new research says.

They were also less likely to die in a or , two researchers from Edinburgh Napier University found.

Dr. Anna Schneider and Dr. Iain Atherton analysed data on all 53,517 people who died within a year after the Scottish census 2011, using the census and death record data.

Dr. Schneider told the British Sociological Association medical sociology conference in Glasgow today [Thursday, 13 September 2018] that in 2011 those who were close to death in the most deprived areas were less likely to be living with a family member or friend who was a carer in the house.

In the last 12 weeks of their life, 37 percent of those in the least deprived areas lived with a family member or friend who was a carer, but only 28 percent of those in the most deprived areas did, she said.

When the statistics were adjusted to compare people of the same age, sex and cause of death, in order to isolate the effects of deprivation, the difference between areas was even greater.

The researchers also found that people in the most deprived areas were 37 percent less likely to die in a care home or hospice – 13 percent died in a care home, 6 percent in a hospice, 53 percent in hospital and 28 percent at home. They died on average at age 72.5.

For those in the least deprived areas, 22 percent died in a care home, 8 percent in hospice, 20 percent at home and 50 percent in hospital. They died on average at age 78.8.

When the statistics were adjusted to compare people of the same age, sex and cause of death in order to isolate the effects of poverty, the difference was reduced, but still existed.

"Our research shows that neighbourhood deprivation has an influence on how people spend their last months of life in Scotland," said Dr. Schneider.

"People living in deprived areas are more likely to die in hospital or at home and less likely to access services like hospices or care homes. They are also less likely to receive informal help at home, because they more frequently live alone and have a lower chance of living with a carer.

"End of life care has received much attention from policy makers in the last years, but in order to improve end of life care provision we need a better understanding of the social and economic inequalities in the circumstances people experience at the end of their lives. Administrative data such as we have used provide an unparalleled opportunity to do so."

Note re 'least deprived' and 'most deprived'. This study uses the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD, in quintiles), which is not just an indicator of poverty but is also a measure of availability of services such as health care, and of opportunities for employment and education. In this survey, 25 percent of those surveyed were in the most deprived areas and 15 percent in the least deprived.

Statistics summary: In the least deprived areas of Scotland, 22 percent die in a care home and 8 percent in hospice, a total of 30 percent. For those in the most deprived areas, 13 percent die in a care home and 6 percent in a hospice, a total of 19 percent. The difference between 30 percent and 19 percent is just over a third, 37 percent (11 percentage points).

37 percent of those in the least deprived areas had a caregiver in the house, but only 28 percent of those in the most , a difference of just under a quarter, 24 percent (9 percentage points).

Explore further: Emergency hospital visits more common among most deprived bowel cancer patients

Related Stories

Emergency hospital visits more common among most deprived bowel cancer patients

August 15, 2018
Bowel cancer patients living in the most deprived areas have up to 13% higher proportions of emergency hospital admissions before a diagnosis than patients living in the least deprived areas, according to a study funded by ...

Patients with multiple conditions receive higher level of care in affluent areas

March 13, 2018
Patients with multimorbidity—two or more long-term medical conditions—have complex health care needs, often requiring higher levels of care than other patients.

New study of census data finds deprivation in cities is persistent and spreading

July 9, 2018
A new study of census data by the University of Liverpool, has found that Glasgow tops the list of the most deprived areas over the period 1971 – 2011 but deprivation in urban areas remains consistently high, and is spreading ...

Young people with ADHD 'more likely' to come from deprived neighbourhoods

April 6, 2018
Children and young adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are twice as likely to come from the most socio-economically deprived neighbourhoods in England than the least deprived, new research ...

More people are dying in hospices in England

May 19, 2015
The proportion of people dying in hospices in England has nearly doubled since 1993, but the gap in hospice deaths between people living in the least and most deprived areas appears to be growing, find a new study by the ...

Life expectancy success story

August 26, 2011
Life expectancy is increasing all the time due to better quality of life and better health care. Despite this, increases in life expectancy can be patchy, with some sources reporting that the gap in life expectancy between ...

Recommended for you

A low-gluten, high-fiber diet may be healthier than gluten-free

November 16, 2018
When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fibre-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet, they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating. Researchers at University of Copenhagen show that this is due ...

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad? Coming to consensus

November 15, 2018
Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet—or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper featured on the cover of Science magazine's special issue on nutrition, researchers ...

Why we shouldn't like coffee, but we do

November 15, 2018
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.

Colder, darker climates increase alcohol consumption and liver disease

November 14, 2018
Where you live could influence how much you drink. According to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Division of Gastroenterology, people living in colder regions with less sunlight drink more alcohol than their ...

Survey reveals how we use music as a possible sleep aid

November 14, 2018
Many individuals use music in the hope that it fights sleep difficulties, according to a study published November 14 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Tabitha Trahan of the University of Sheffield, UK, and colleagues. ...

Want to cut down on your meds? Your pharmacist can help.

November 14, 2018
Pharmacists are pivotal in the process of deprescribing risky medications in seniors, leading many to stop taking unnecessary sleeping pills, anti-inflammatories and other drugs, a new Canadian study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.