Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dying At Home: A Trend That Could Make Hospitals More Efficient

Date:
May 22, 2009
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
It's a common tale: a grandparent's health begins to fail and, realistically, their death is imminent. Often those older patients are rushed to hospital, taken out of their homes for treatment that will likely only extend their life by a few days. University of Alberta researcher Donna Wilson is hoping this can change and already has seen some drastic changes in where Canadians are choosing to die.

It's a common tale: a grandparent's health begins to fail and, realistically, their death is imminent. Often those older patients are rushed to hospital, taken out of their homes for treatment that will likely only extend their life by a few days.

Related Articles


University of Alberta researcher Donna Wilson is hoping this can change and already has seen some drastic changes in where Canadians are choosing to die.

Wilson looked at mortality data of Canadians dating back to 1950. Up until 1994, 80 per cent of Canadians were choosing to pass on in a hospital bed. But since the mid-'90s there's been a drastic change in the number of people going to hospital to die. The number is now down to 61 per cent.

"So after years of [the numbers] going up, we have completely reversed that and are now at the 1960 level, before there was free hospital care in Canada," said Wilson, who adds the decrease in numbers of people dying in hospital has happened without direct health policy or government planning.

Her next study she wants to find out why this trend is happening. But she already has some ideas on the huge swing.

"My guess is that a lot of it has to do with the fact that death is no longer unexpected," said Wilson. "A lot of people are dying at an advanced age and you begin to accept that fact that it's going to happen and it [can be] a dignified event. If you take the person to the hospital . . . care is by strangers rather than family members."

This study, published in Social Science & Medicine, comes at a good time as Canadians watch the population age. Wilson predicts the number of people dying each year will double, maybe even triple, in the next 10-20 years because of the aging baby-boomer population.

"This study can help government plan for the future," said Wilson, who added that, about 250,000 people die per year in Canada. If death rates in hospital were to rise to 80 per cent when the baby boomers begin to die, every single hospital bed in Canada would be taken up for three days of the year. Wilson would like to see only 40 per cent of Canadians dying in hospital in the years to come, so as to take stress off the health-care system.

"The fact that every year we're going to have more and more people passing away, and needing a bit of help at the end of life scares me when you're not building anymore hospitals and you're not making hospitals any better," said Wilson.

She's calling on government to help support the trend of people dying at home.

"We need to start putting more money in to home care and develop some hospices, have some courses for families and maybe build a few more nursing home beds," said Wilson, who adds this not only helps the health-care system but also can provide a more dignified and potentially less painful death for the patient.

"All the drug therapies that keep people comfortable in hospital can be used at home," said Wilson. "You've got much more choice. You're not going to be force-fed; you're not going to have an intravenous drip started on you that is painful.

"I think we have a very healthy population who can look after dying people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. The original article was written by Quinn Phillips. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Donna M. Wilson, Corrine D. Truman, Roger Thomas, Robin Fainsinger, Kathy Kovacs-Burns, Katherine Froggatt, Christopher Justice. The rapidly changing location of death in Canada, 1994-2004. Social Science & Medicine, 2009; 68 (10): 1752 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.03.006

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Dying At Home: A Trend That Could Make Hospitals More Efficient." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519152444.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2009, May 22). Dying At Home: A Trend That Could Make Hospitals More Efficient. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519152444.htm
University of Alberta. "Dying At Home: A Trend That Could Make Hospitals More Efficient." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519152444.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins