How Do Plan to Spend Your Final Days?
Life expectancy in the developed world has been continuously increasing for decades, spurred on by medical breakthroughs, improved sanitation and greater access to medical resources. These changes have also led to differences in how and where people die. No matter what your age, it is never too early to begin thinking about the circumstances in which you would like to spend your final days.
Changes in How Americans Die
In centuries past, Americans died most often from diseases that could not be prevented or cured with the techniques of the time. For instance, in the year 1900, Americans were most likely to die from pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, digestive disease or heart disease. Today, however, Americans are most likely to die from heart disease, cancer, lung disease or stroke. Improved screening processes, lifestyle changes and better medical care allow today’s doctors to manage many of these conditions, giving patients better quality of life in their final stages of life.
As a result, life expectancy has increased. But there has been another major shift in how Americans die. Compared to the early 1900s, when diseases were likely to claim a person’s life after a relatively short illness, many Americans are now managing chronic diseases. Because of this changing face of illness, the end of life is more likely to come in a hospital than ever before. A full 40 percent of Americans die in the hospital, compared to 42 percent who die at home. Understanding your options when it comes to the place of your death can allow you to meet the end with dignity and empowerment, and how and with whom you choose to live your final days.
How Hospice Care Can Benefit Patients at the End of Life
Dying in a hospital provides access to needed medical resources, but it is often costly, with the average person’s final month costing more than $32,000. Entering hospice care provides an opportunity to end life in a dignified, comfortable setting. Not only does hospice care reduce unnecessary medical procedures and costs, it also is associated with greater quality of life compared to dying in the hospital.
Visiting Nurse Health System has long been a leading provider of hospice care in the greater Atlanta area, serving more than 10,000 families at Hospice Atlanta Center during the past 20 years. We provide top quality nursing care in your home or the place you call home – your residence, senior living facility or Hospice Atlanta Center. Contact Hospice Atlanta today to learn how our services may be appropriate for you or your loved one, or schedule a tour of Hospice Atlanta Center and its residences by calling 404-869-3000.