Supporting Homeless People with Advanced Liver Disease Approaching the End of Life

May 6, 2011
Of the thousands of people that St Mungo's supports each year, around 50 will die in their care, with advanced liver failure being the most common cause. Their last weeks of life are frequently distressing and their painful physical and psychological symptoms are often accompanied by a reluctance to be admitted to hospital, and an inability to feel comfortable once there. And as staff, friends and family may not be aware that the person is in the final stages of life, their death often comes as a shock.This report is powerful testimony to the experiences of people with advanced liver disease who die whilst living in hostel care. It is not easy or comfortable reading, but we make no apology for sharing the stark reality and asking what can be done.Through examining case histories and speaking with staff at St Mungo's, the research team at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Unit at University College London, has built up a picture of the physical and behavioural changes that indicate when a person with liver failure is nearing the end of life.
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