According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Quality of Life (“QoL”) of terminally ill cancer patients and their caregivers is significantly improved when they are cared for and eventually pass away at home with hospice care than in other settings. According to the study’s conclusion:
Patients with cancer who die in a hospital or ICU have worse QoL compared with those who die at home, and their bereaved caregivers are at increased risk for developing psychiatric illness. Interventions aimed at decreasing terminal hospitalizations or increasing hospice utilization may enhance patients’ QoL at the EOL and minimize bereavement-related distress.
Companion care at home with personal attendants and hospice care can significantly lessen the caregiving “work” for patients’ family and friends so that they can enjoy the time that they still have together.
Professional geriatric care managers can suggest which hospices to consider for the best “fit” with the patient and family and their needs. Not all hospices are alike, and sadly, sometimes physicians’ recommendations are based more on the physicians’ convenience than the patients’ quality of life. Ultimately, it is the right of the patient and family to choose the hospice that they will use.
To see the abstract (the summary) of the study, see Place of Death: Correlations With Quality of Life of Patients With Cancer and Predictors of Bereaved Caregivers’ Mental Health. You can view a pdf file of the entire published study paper at this location.