Approximately 70% of Americans would prefer to die at home and avoid hospitalization or intensive care during the terminal phase of illness. Given the wish to die at home, it should follow the majority of Americans achieves their wish. However, recent data indicate ~60% of people dies away from home or hospice care. This article sets out to understand what makes it so difficult to attain what we aspire for in death and provide a starting point for change.
The authors reviewed and analysed literature on elements which drive patients to continue treatment even though prospects are grim.
Six elements which combine into a system driving non-peaceful death were identified (western culture, healthcare system, pharmaceutical industry, professionals, family and loves ones, patients themselves) and complemented with three additional factors entrenched in us as humans which make the system particularly difficult to overcome ((rational) decision making, option framing, inability to change).
Dying in peace is easier said than done because the cards are stacked against us and we seem to remain unaware of the breadth and depth at which continuing treatment is ingrained in our system.