Deaths at home have increased by a third across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dying at home is supposed to be an indicator of ‘quality of death’ and this is enshrined in national end of life policies across the UK. In Scotland, place of death is one of four indicators of good quality palliative and end of life care. So why, then, has ‘shock’ been expressed at the recent increase in home dying? Are we no longer to believe dying at home is a good thing? Recent media coverage seems to ignore the long-standing cultural ideal that ‘home is best’ when it comes to death, and instead feeds into the moral panic more usually seen around the lone deaths of those living and dying alone at home. What has happened during the pandemic to challenge the view that dying at home is best, and what does this tell us about our knowledge of what dying at home is really like across all strata of society?
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