When asked, most people say that if they are given a choice at the end of their life, they would prefer to die at home and not in an institutional setting. To help honor that wish, family caregivers need support to manage the pain and symptoms of their loved one’s illness. This support helps to avoid repeated trips to the emergency department that often result in an admission to the hospital.
End of Life Statistics
A study published in Health Affairs highlighted some tough end-of-life statistics:
- Just 10% of patients enrolled in hospice had an emergency department visit or hospital stay during their last month of life. By contrast, more than half of those not enrolled in hospice visited the hospital at least once during their last month of life.
- Three-quarters of patients who visited an emergency department were then admitted to the hospital. Two-thirds of them would die during their hospital stays.
- Only 24% of nursing home residents who are enrolled in hospice are hospitalized at the end of life. By contrast, 44% not enrolled in hospice are admitted to the hospital.
Managing End-of-Life Complexities
By helping hospice patients with complex medical conditions and life-limiting illnesses to better manage both pain and symptoms, emergency department trips that can easily result in hospital admissions can be reduced. That improves the quality of life for both patients and their families.
SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice can support a patient’s end-of-life wish to remain in whatever setting they consider home. We do that in a variety of ways including:
- Providing a personalized plan of care to address their pain and manage difficult symptoms like shortness of breath and anxiety.
- Educating the patient and their family on what to expect as the disease progresses.
- Using a multidisciplinary approach to care that includes physicians, nurses, aides, spiritual care, and personal care.
- Making use of adjunct therapies; such as massage, art, and music to better manage anxiety and stress.
- Providing a continuous level of care if a crisis develops.
- Being available to respond to patients’ and families’ questions and concerns 24/7.