Dying at home provides comfort, study reveals.
It seems that the choice of dying at home and not in a hospital has benefits not only for the patient, but also for his family.
The British study was published on October 8 in BMC Medicine journal and revealed that people dying at home are more tranquil in the final moments before their death than they would be in a hospital.
Moreover, their relatives would also be less pained if their loved ones died at home, Barbara Gomes, the study’s lead author, claimed.
However, the study identified some essential factors that must be taken into account when someone wants to die at home, the study highlighted. Not only the patient, but also the relatives must agree with the idea. Also, in his last 3 months, the patient must be cared for through medicines and nursing support. These factors were a sine qua non condition in almost 91% of home deaths.
This study was based on 352 relatives of patients suffering from cancer. 177 of them died in hospital and 175 died at home. The relatives answered some questions regarding their own grief, as well as the patient’s grief during the last week of life. The results showed that 25% of the patients dying in a hospital had little or no peace, while only 12% of the patients dying at home couldn’t find their peace.
“The smells, the familiarity, the comfort, the love, the things they’ve helped to create, the garden they’ve built — all of this is around them,” creating a sense of comfort and caring, Don Schumacher, a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Moreover, the study showed that patients dying at home didn’t experience a higher pain than those who died in a hospital.
The greater time spent near the loved one and the thought that the patient died peacefully at his own home also made relatives experience less sorrow.
Gomes stated the importance of end-of-life discussions between the patient and his relatives and the fact that they should not be avoided for too long. These discussions can be eased by health care professionals trained in such matters.
In countries such as UK, US and Canada having hospices that would give patients the possibility of choosing to die at home, home deaths are higher than in countries such as Greece, Portugal, Germany and Japan lacking these hospices. Here, people die more in hospitals.
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