Fewer than a third of people who died in hospital were given a choice about where they died, according to England's first national survey of bereaved people.
More than 22,000 people responded to the Office of National Statistics survey, which found that 75 per cent of people reported the quality of end of life care to be outstanding, excellent or good.
However, although two thirds of people who died in a hospice were said to have been offered a choice of where they died, the figure in hospitals was just 30 per cent.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: 'No patient should have to die in hospital when they would prefer to die at home, simply because specially trained district nurses are not available at all hours in their area. Nurses see too many instances of patients at the end of their life having to come into hospital, often at night and against their best wishes.'
Meanwhile, the Commission on Improving Dignity in Care for Older People has published its report on end-of-life-care in hospitals and care homes. It called for a 'major cultural shift' in older people's care, and urged ministers to ensure every person receiving such care is protected under human rights legislation.