About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland provides information on the percentage of time spent at home or in a community setting in the last six months of life. Data are presented by financial year from 2010 to 2011 through to 2019 to 2020, by NHS board, Health and Social Care Partnership of residence and for Scotland. Note that the figures presented for financial year 2019 to 2020 are provisional.

Main points

  • In financial year 2019 to 2020, there were 56,011 deaths in Scotland, including falls, but excluding other external causes of death. For these individuals, 88.6% of their last six months of life was spent either at home or in a community setting, with the remaining 11.4% spent in hospital. This is equivalent to an average of 21 days in hospital in the six months prior to death.
  • Over the past ten years, the percentage of time spent at home or in a community setting in the last six months of life has gradually increased from 85.7% in financial year 2010 to 2011 to 88.6% in 2019 to 2020.

 

Image caption Percentage of last six months of life spent at home or in a community setting; 2010/11 to 2019/201
This is a bar chart showing the percentage of end of life spent at home or in a community setting from 2010/11 to 2019/20. The percentage of time spent at home or in a community setting has increased gradually from 85.7% in 2010/11 to 88.6% in 2019/20. The percentage of time spent in the hospital setting continues to show a gradual decrease from 14.3% in 2010/11 to 11.4% in 2019/20. In 2019/20, 88.6% of the last six months of life was spent either at home or in a community setting, with the remaining 11.4% spent in hospital.

1. Figures for financial year 2019 to 2020 are provisional.

  • In financial year 2019 to 2020, females aged 85 and older spent a higher percentage of their last six months of life in the community (89.6%) compared to males (87.4%); this equates to females spending, on average, an extra four days in the community in their last six months of life.

Background

This Quality Outcome Measure focuses on measuring the impact of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care (external website) which has one of its commitments to "support improvements in the collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of data and evidence relating to needs, provision, activity, indicators and outcomes in respect of palliative and end of life care". This strategic framework superseded Living and Dying Well: A National Action Plan for Palliative and End of Life in Scotland (external website).

The percentage of time spent at home or in a community setting towards the end of life provides a high level indication of progress in implementation of the strategic framework for action. This is inferred by measuring the amount of time spent in a hospital setting during the last months of life (using hospital activity data) and from this estimating the time spent at home or in a community setting.

Hospital activity data is estimated to be 96% complete at Scotland level. However, this is much lower for Forth Valley (50%) and as a result estimated figures for financial year 2019 to 2020 have been calculated for NHS Forth Valley and the Health and Social Care Partnerships within this area. These estimates have also been included in the Scotland figure. More detail is available in Appendix 2 of the full report.

Further information

Find out more in the full report, available at the top of this page. The data from this publication is available to download from the data files section at the top of this page and the Scottish health and social care open data platform (external website).

For more information on palliative and end of life care, see the end of life care section of our website (external website).

The next release of this publication will be in October 2021.

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If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.peolc@phs.scot.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 14 July 2021
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