Fifth of people 'die in their home'
More than a fifth of people now die in their own homes, while the overall trend for deaths at home is rising, research suggests.
Experts have long argued that far more people die in hospital than wish to, and it has been estimated that more than 90,000 people in the UK are not having their palliative care needs met.
Now a new study based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has found more people are spending their final hours at home despite an overall decline in the number of people dying.
The rise in home deaths appears to be most pronounced among people with cancer, according to the research from experts at King's College London.
The team analysed England and Wales data from 2004 to 2010 and found there were 93,907 deaths at home (18.3% of total deaths) in 2004.
This increased by just over 9% to 102,416 in 2010 (20.8% of total deaths), despite a 3.8% drop in the overall number of deaths between the two periods.
The trend before this was of a decline in deaths at home - the number of deaths at home almost halved from 1974 to 2003.
The latest study also found that while home deaths have increased, the proportion of deaths in hospitals and nursing homes has fallen.
Writing in the journal Palliative Medicine, the experts said home deaths increased for the first time since 1974 among people aged 85 and over (from 17,122 in 2004 to 23,705 in 2010).
Nevertheless, this age group was the least likely to die at home of any adult age group over the study period.