Place to Die


October 21, 2019

Anchor lead: Is home always the best place to die? Elizabeth Tracey reports

While most people say they would prefer to die at home, many still end up in the hospital at the end of life. Now a new analysis suggests that pressure to have a loved one at home may not be the best for all concerned. Tom Smith, director of palliative care at Johns Hopkins, offers his opinion.

Smith: There are some families that just don’t have a home. I think we often fail to realize how sick people are and some of the burdens we’re putting on families to do this. That said, you don’t often meet families who’ve taken care of somebody at home and said, oh, that was the worst experience of my life. That’s relatively uncommon compared to yeah, it was a real pain in the tush but we kept Grandpa at home where he’d spent his last 65 years and he was able to die with his dog at the foot of his bed.  :32

Smith says frank conversation about wishes and abilities helps. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.