A wake-up call on children’s well-being: do more, do it now

It’s official – the Chief Medical Officer is ‘profoundly ashamed’. In her report on child health, Professor Dame Sally Davies highlights appalling inequalities in the UK, with three times as many child deaths in the poorest areas compared with wealthier regions, and shows us to be a nation lagging behind our European neighbours too. Much more needs to be done to improve the health of Britain’s children and it needs to be done sooner, she says. Early, preventive action rather than reaction will benefit both the health and the wealth of the nation. I thought I’d take a look at where Cochrane evidence might fit into her vision of what needs to be done. Continue reading

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A good death at home: home palliative care services keep people where they want to be

Key message: There is good evidence that home palliative care increases the chance of dying at home and reduces symptom burden, especially for people with cancer, without increasing caregiver grief.

Where would you prefer to die, if you had an advanced illness? More than 50% of people say they would like to die at home, given the choice, but in many countries relatively few people do; just 21% in England in 2010, for example. The need for home palliative care services is increasing as the ageing population expands and an understanding of their impact on death at home and on things that matter to patients and their carers, such as how well symptoms are controlled and how they feel about their care, is important in working out how current services need to be expanded or improved. Continue reading