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Ankota: Home Care Next Generation Blog

I'd Rather Die at Home...

A recent story aired on 60 minutes about "The Cost of Dying" and explained that $50B a year is being spent in the US on care for patients in their last two months of life.  You can learn more about the story here.  This raised a lot of eyebrows not only about cost and quality of care, but also about quality of life.  The saddest part of all of this is that the patients so rarely die after spending a warm and loving time with their loved ones, but rather do so in a cold, lonely and expensive place surrounded by strangers and machines.  And in so many cases, their last days are spent unconscious and on life support.   

60 Minutes on the Cost of Dying

When coupled with study results indicating that seniors fear loss of independence and nursing homes more than death (see the study results here), it makes me wonder if the movement toward "Do Not Resuscitate" is enough.  Maybe we need, "Do Not Hospitalize" orders.

The tricky thing about all of this is that it's easy to see the problem and solution, en masse, but it's a totally different story when it comes down to real people and their real loved ones.  And even if your reading this article and saying "Yep, I want to let my mom/dad/wife/husband/partner die at home," will you be able to make that call when the time comes?  How can you say no to bringing them to the hospital and giving them a chance to live longer.  I wish I had the answer...

I've tried to live my life by the "look in the mirror" approach - the principal that if I want to change something it needs to start with me.  So when the time comes, I plan to make it very clear to the loved ones around me that I'm ready to pass, and I don't want to go to the hospital.  Then I need to count on them to fulfill my wishes.

If you're in the position to face this decision in the coming months or years, I'd advise that the best time to talk about it would be now...

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