U.S.A. (NBC)(12/12/19)— For the first time in over half a century, natural deaths at home are surpassing natural deaths at a hospital.
According to a study published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, from 2003 to 2017, the percentage of people dying at home from natural causes increased from 23.8% to 30.7%.
During the same time frame, natural deaths occurring in hospitals decreased from 39.7% to 29.8%. This research is based on analysis of federal death certificate data from natural deaths.
According to Dr. Haider Warraich, Associate Director of the heart failure program at the VA Boston Healthcare System and co-author of this study, these results may be attributed in part to the growth of home hospice care, which is covered by Medicare.
Home hospice provides pain management and emotional support for terminally ill patients nearing the end of their lives, as well as their families.
With the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving hospice care steadily growing over the past decade, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reported there were 1.49 such recipients in 2017, which is a 4.5% increase from the previous year.
Warraich went on to state that these results also reflect our ability to honor our loved one’s wishes, helping them pass away in an environment that’s more comfortable for them, surrounded by familiar objects, friends, and family.
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