October 20, 2014 – IOM Guidelines


Anchor lead: The Institute of Medicine met recently to look at the issue of end of life care, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Most Americans don’t think much about death, much less about their own preferences regarding dying.  Now the Institute of Medicine has released a report that may change that, as it likely paves the way to reimburse healthcare providers for talking about the issues.  Thomas Smith, director of palliative care at Johns Hopkins, is pleased the landscape is changing.

Smith:  What’s new is I think there is a coming to terms with the fact that most of us will eventually die. That the way it happens now is not what most people want. Around the world around 85% of people would really prefer to be at home. And in the US it’s about a third of people end up dying at home. That’s 40 to 50% who end up dying someplace other than where they would like to be.   :25

Smith is happy that the ‘death panel’ idea has dropped out of the lexicon and enabled everyone to be more open.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.