Take Home Points on Patient and Family Satisfaction

  • Most Americans die due to chronic illnesses.
  • Modern medicine has increased longevity. As a result, most Americans will live for many years with a chronic illness before they die.
  • Hospitals are the most common site of death followed by nursing home units.
  • Deaths in nursing home units are expected to double in the next two decades.
  • Many dying patients receive aggressive and often futile therapeutic interventions in the last weeks of life.
  • Physicians often misunderstood patient preferences, especially when patients did not want high-technology, life-extending care.
  • Almost 1 in 2 patients who die in hospitals and 1 in 4 patients who die in nursing homes die in significant pain.
  • Most dying patients experience many distressing symptoms that can be alleviated with skilled palliative care.
  • Family members express dissatisfaction with end-of-life care received by their loved ones.
  • Appropriate provision of palliative care (early in the illness trajectory) and hospice care (in the last 6 months of life) can significantly improve care of patients with serious illnesses.
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