Most Ontarians die in hospital but prefer to die at home

Most Ontarians would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 per cent pass away in hospitals and long-term care facilities, a recent study found.

The Toronto-based Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences published a study Thursday, in which researchers looked at 264,755 people who died in the province between April 2010 and March 2013. They found that less than one-in-five Ontarians receive doctor house calls or palliative home care in their last year of life.

“End-of-life care in a patient’s home can dramatically reduce the risk of dying in hospital,” said Dr. Peter Tanuseputro, the lead author of the study.

Most people prefer to die at home because they are in a place of comfort, Tanuseputro said.

“At home, people are also able to be surrounded by family and loved ones, with no rules for visitation,” he said. “Home is a space that they can customize to their desire.”

In contrast, people who die in the hospital often have to deal with a “noisy and cramped” environment, where most patients expect to be attached to medical devices and get “pricked and prodded.”

Both doctor house calls and palliative home care respectively reduced the chance of dying in hospital by about 50 per cent.

In other studies Tanuseputro has done with his group, their research shows that patients who live in wealthier neighborhoods have a significantly higher chance of getting a home visit. Tanuseputro said there could be several factors that explain why.

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