The experiences of women right at the end of life are often not captured, so we asked family and friends to share women’s experiences of being given a terminal diagnosis and care in the final few months of their life. This part of the survey is exploratory and findings are indicative only, caveated by the fact that respondents are not always reporting first-hand experience.
We asked if a terminal diagnosis had been openly discussed by health professionals, and while for the majority of respondents it had, 19 per cent of immediate family members said this was never raised.
Women received a mix of palliative care to help manage pain and relieve symptoms, but also more holistic support including massage and aromatherapy.
When asked if women had been offered a choice of where to spend their last few days, 24 per cent of relatives again said this had not been discussed. These are very early findings. They suggest that most women are receiving the care and support they and their family need at the end of life but a small number are not, which has a devastating impact on those women and their families.