Dying at Home: Australia has its say
Home Instead Senior Care recently consulted with a wide cross-section of consumers, carers, service providers and health professionals Australia-wide to ascertain their views on Dying at Home.
As you can see from our survey findings, when asked “In your experience, is dying at home the preferred choice for end of life?”, 70% of respondents answered yes.
Interestingly only 6% indicated that dying at home was not the preferred option, while the remaining 24% – undecided and ambivalent respondents – believed it depended on individual circumstances.
Some of the typical responses included:
“As I Nurse I have found that it is a personal decision depending on a patient’s diagnosis and supports available to them at home. Majority of my patients want to die surrounded by loved ones, be that at home or in medical care.”
“I have very mixed feelings depending on circumstances and the individual person and family. But I certainly believe it should be a choice to die in an individual’s familiar and homely environment for preference to clinical conditions with unfamiliar surroundings and people where possible.”
“I think if the person can die in their own home, they will feel at peace as they are more settled knowing they don't have any nurses or doctors prodding them all the time. They can request certain things be done before they depart if they have forgotten something.”
“If there were more help at home for the carers, I'm sure more would choose this option. It's the unknown as well, if you've had dealings with death previously I find you are more likely to consent to having a loved one stay home until the end. It’s the unknown that is scary for people.”
“Different people have different preferences. This is something they should discuss and make plans about.”
This last comment forms the crux of a brand new booklet Home Instead Senior Care have produced - "Dying at Home: A guide to support people, families and carers plan for end of life at home.”
Designed as a means to begin open dialogue with ageing Australians about how THEY envisage living their final months, weeks and days at home, the guide was in fact partly shaped by this survey.
For example, when asked: “In your experience, what is the most challenging aspect about planning for end of life?” the top three answers – chosen by more than half of respondents – were:
- Access to information, resources and support: knowing where to go, when and what questions to ask. (51.10%)
- Planning ahead: having the conversation about dying with family and friends. (50.83%)
- Informed decision making – learning and understanding all available options in order to make informed choices (50.28%)
The Dying at Home guide covers all of these aspects and is therefore recommended reading by all older Australians, their family and carers.
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