Palliative and end of life care

Palliative and end of life care are increasingly in demand as people are living longer and with multiple long-term conditions. However, an estimated 100,000 people in the UK that could benefit from palliative care die without receiving it each year. There is substantial evidence that inequalities in access to palliative and end of life care relate to various sociodemographic factors. Experts have highlighted that access to palliative and end of life care may improve quality of life for patient and family and reduce symptom burden. This POSTnote summarises the key components of palliative and end of life care and recent changes in UK policy. It identifies inequalities and challenges to accessible provision. It also reviews evidence on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision of care and outlines key trends.

Palliative and end of life care

Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness

Medical advances mean that increasing numbers of people survive physical injury, stroke, periods of low oxygenation and severe brain infections. Some, however, are left with substantially reduced consciousness. This paper discusses the medical, ethical and commissioning challenges associated with the care of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states, and explains the impact of recent legal judgments.

Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness
  • POSTnote

    Invasive non-native species

    Research suggests that the threat from invasive non-native species (INNS) is growing. Biological invasions by INNS harm native species and habitats and can have economic impacts. Biosecurity measures can be adopted to prevent the introduction and spread of INNS. This POSTnote summarises the drivers and impacts of INNS and the measures needed to meet national and international environmental targets.

  • Horizon scanning

    Select Committee Area of Research Interest: Unpaid carers

    The House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee has published an Area of Research Interest on ‘Unpaid carers’ to support the Committee’s scrutiny of adult social care services in England. The ARI comes with several specific areas of interest aiming to further break down the broad area and focus the responses received from the research community.

  • POSTnote

    Green steel

    Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the iron and steel industry make up 14% of industrial emissions in the UK. Decarbonisation of the steel industry is needed if the UK is to meet its target of net zero GHG emissions by 2050. This POSTnote outlines current steelmaking processes in the UK, the technologies and measures that can be used to reduce CO2 emissions, and the supporting infrastructure and policies that could enable a ‘green steel’ industry in the UK.

  • POSTnote

    Innovation in adult social care

    The UK Government’s 2021 People at the Heart of Care white paper identified innovation as key to delivering “outstanding quality” in adult social care in England. This POSTnote gives an overview of innovation in adult social care. It provides a summary of the types of innovation in the sector and evidence on key barriers to and facilitators of innovation. It also presents lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses on England but includes examples from all four UK nations.

  • POSTnote

    The impact of digital technology on arts and culture in the UK

    This POSTnote provides an overview of the impact of digital technology on the arts and culture sector in the UK. It focuses on the uses of emerging digital technologies and the impact of COVID-19 on stakeholders. It summarises the policy priorities, challenges and barriers in accessing technology in the sector.

  • POSTbrief

    Geothermal energy

    Geothermal energy is a source of low-carbon, homegrown, renewable energy. It is available throughout the UK and can provide heat or power all year long independent of weather conditions. It currently delivers less than 0.3% of the UK’s annual heat demand, using only a fraction of the estimated available geothermal heat resource. There is the potential to increase this proportion significantly, but this will require long-term government support to develop a route to market and overcome high upfront capital costs and geological development risks.

  • POSTnote

    Reducing peatland emissions

    Peat soils store greenhouse gases for millennia if they stay waterlogged. However, an estimated 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are released from peat soils due to their modification by humans. Reducing these emissions will help meet climate targets, with objectives to achieve this set out in action plans by the governments of the UK. This POSTnote describes the pressures on peat soils and summarises the challenges for reducing emissions from English peatlands.

  • Rapid response

    Drug Therapies for COVID-19

    Research studies involving thousands of people have allowed scientists to test which drugs are effective at treating COVID-19. Several drug therapies are now available to treat people who are in hospital with COVID-19, or to prevent infections in vulnerable people becoming more serious. This briefing explains which drugs are available, the groups of people in which they are used and how they work. It also outlines the importance of monitoring the emergence of new variants and drug resistance.

  • POSTnote

    Financial risks of nature loss

    Nature loss poses risks to the financial sector via the businesses they invest in, lend to, advise and insure. The financial risks of nature loss are embedded within the financial systems but are little understood or addressed by financial institutions. The POSTnote will outline the current understanding of the type and scale of the financial risks of nature loss and look at potential mechanisms to improve company level reporting and mitigation of both the financial risks of nature loss, and nature loss itself.

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