More Canadians choosing to die at home

A growing number of terminally ill Canadians are choosing to die at home instead of in hospitals or nursing homes, a University of Alberta study showed.

UA nursing faculty member Dr. Donna Wilson authored the study that found hospital deaths decreased from 77.7 percent to 60.6 percent, while deaths in private homes rose nearly 10 percent to 29.5 percent between 1994 and 2004, the Edmonton Journal reported Friday.

Where you die really influences how you die, Wilson said. It gives (family and friends) an opportunity to say those things that they really want to say. In the hospital, there just isn’t that kind of opportunity.

Wilson has spent 24 years studying end-of-life care. She said the study is a harbinger for the baby boomer generation, which begins turning 65 in two years as the number of people over 85 is expected to triple in the next 20 years.

Wilson said the shift to home-deaths is also beneficial to Canada’s socialized medical system in that it frees up hospital and nursing home beds and alleviates some provincial healthcare budget strains, the Journal said.

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