US: More deaths now occur at home than in hospitals and aged care facilities

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The number of people dying at home in the United States rose to 30% in 2017, representing 788,757 people – up from 23.8% in 2003 – according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In contrast, the number of deaths occurring in hospital fell to 29.8% in 2017, compared to 39.7% in 2003.

Similar declines happened in the number of aged care residents who passed away in care.

The authors put the increase down to the availability of hospice care and a cultural change in end-of-life care among both the public and doctors and nurses.

“[The rise in home deaths] also sets the stage for increasing how much we support patients and caregivers at home,” co-author Haider J. Warraich, M.D., from the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System said. “This involves not only supporting hospice better but also exploring other models of care that allow patients to be cared for at home.” 

Australia is not alone in seeing this shift then.