Research out of Queen’s University in Canada has come up with some surprising findings: namely that conventional wisdom that terminal patients would rather die at home than anywhere else isn’t nearly as important to them as dying under the care of competent doctors. (Why is it that conventional wisdom turns out to be anything but wise under scrutiny? Hooray scientific discovery, I suppose.)
Dying at home ranked 24th on the list of 28 factors. “[T]o have trust and confidence in the doctors looking after you” and “not to be kept alive on life supports when there is little hope for a meaningful recovery” were the most important to terminally-ill patients. It’s interesting to note that family members rated dying at home 14th on a list of 26 factors.
Dr. Heyland, head of the study will conduct several more studies to ultimately learn more about how patients make decisions at the end of their lives:
They will also examine how satisfied patients are with their care; how they make decisions about the kinds of treatments they receive at the end of life; the importance of where they die; and how aware patients are of the course of their disease and the odds of recovery.
“Our research focus is to describe, understand, evaluate, and ultimately, improve communication and decision-making at the end of life,” says Dr. Heyland. “We believe the knowledge and tools generated by our research efforts will inform strategies to improve the quality of and satisfaction with end of life care.”
How do you approach someone about taking part in such a study? In the interest of full disclosure, the patient must be informed that its an end-of-life study. I wonder how many are angry at being asked versus how many are willing to share what they think?
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