Dying at Home Brings More Peace Without More Pain, Study Finds

The choice to die at home, rather than in a hospital, provides great comfort to both the patient and their loved ones, a new British study says. People who die at home experience more peace in their final days and hours than they would in a hospital, with no greater pain, according to findings published Oct. 8 in the journal BMC Medicine. Further, their relatives experience less grief in the months following their passing, said lead author Barbara Gomes, a research fellow at King’s College London. “Dying at home happened more peacefully, and in no greater pain, than in the hospital,” Gomes said. “This could bring some comfort and help people deal with what is a very difficult time for someone who has recently lost a friend or relative to cancer.” But the researchers also identified a set of factors that must be in place for a person to be able to die at home. Both the patient and their relatives must be on board with the decision, the study showed. The patient also needs to have access to palliative care and nursing support in the home during their last three months of life. These factors “are almost essential,” Gomes said. “They were present in more than 91 percent of home deaths.” The new study involved 352 bereaved relatives of London cancer patients, 177 of whom died in a hospital and 175 who died at home. The relatives filled out questionnaires that measured the patient’s pain and peace in the last week of life, and the relative’s own intensity of grief. The researchers found that about 25 percent of patients who died in a hospital experienced little to no peace in the last week of their lives. By comparison, only 12 percent of patients dying at home were unable to find any peace.

Source/more: Health Day
Related: Expressing Your Health Care and End of Life Wishes? There’s an App for That!

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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