Recent published research has shown that spending the last days of life at home with family is mentally healthier and less traumatic for the family.
The study found that families of patients with cancer, as well as the patients themselves, were more reconciled to death when the patient spent the final days of their live at home. Their suffering and stress were less because the quality of life for the patient was the best the family could make it.
However, even though cancer patients want to stay at home, up to one-third do not get that wish. Instead, they pass away in the hospital, and some even die in the intensive care unit. This type of care can be traumatic and very expensive, so it behooves families to listen to what the patient wants.
Aggressive medial care is not always the path to take. If there is no hope that the patient can recover and lead a meaningful life, then it is time to think about stopping the invasive medical care.
Hospice will come work with a patient and the family to enhance the patient’s quality of life as her time on Earth draws to a close. The health care givers are there to answer questions and help the family both during care and after treatment. They are educated in how to administer medications to ease pain.
One item of business you should discuss with a family member who has a serious illness is the advance directive. This document states what the individual wants to happen with medical care. The patient can discuss in detail preferemces about tube feeding, breathing machines and other invasive treatments. Donation of organs and tissues can also be included in the legal document.
Laws concerning advance directives are different in each state. Hospitals and health care attorneys can help direct you.