More and more Americans are dying at home rather than in hospitals. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, in 2017 29.8% of deaths by natural causes occurred in hospitals while 30.7% occurred at home. The percentage of people dying in hospitals has been declining for several decades. While in 1912 two-thirds of people died at home, this evened out in the 1950s. By the 1970s, at least two-thirds of people died in hospitals. Since the 1970s, the trend has reversed. Now, more people are dying at home than in the hospital. Here’s a link to a NY Times piece on the topic.
If you wish to spend your final days at home, it’s important that you plan for that. Most importantly, you need to have a Health Care Power of Attorney that appoints someone to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself. In that Health Care Power of Attorney, be sure to appoint someone who will respect your wishes to be kept at home, rather than be moved to a hospital. Of course, there might be some difficult conversations regarding your end-of-life choices. Be sure you have those rather than avoiding them. It’s important for the person you are appointing as your agent under the Health Care Power of Attorney to understand when you want intervention in a hospital and when you would want to stay at home even if it might shorten the length of your life.
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