End-of-life wishes not addressed, experts say

Although the majority of people wish to die at home, 60 percent of chronically ill patients die at hospitals, and 20 percent die in nursing homes, according to Professor Deborah P. Waldrop of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work in a UPI article yesterday.

"We're not addressing what people want. When you don't really talk about it, things like unwanted aggressive treatment or another emergency room visit happen by default," Waldrop said.

Palliative care, the end-of-life specialty, is one of the fastest growing specialties in America. In fact, hospital palliative care has more than doubled at a 138 percent increase in the past decade, according to a recent report by the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Largely attributed to technological and medication advances in an increasingly older population, many health experts question whether more care necessarily means better care.

However, hospice care has shown to improve the quality of care and dying in dementia patients, according to Brown University researchers, reports UPI on Friday. Family members of hospice patients were 51 percent less likely to say their care needs were unmet, 49 percent less likely to report unmet pain management, and 50 percent less likely to report needing more emotional support during their loved one's death.

For more information
- read the UPI article on 'good deaths'
- check out the UPI article on hospice care