New England Journal of Medicine reports home has become the most common place of death among Americans dying of natural causes for the first time since the early 20th century, while deaths in hospitals and nursing facilities have declined.
Kelsey Seybold palliative care physician Dr. Linda Pang said dying at home can be a good thing--with the right type of support--because caregiving for the actively dying can be overwhelming.
She said there are concerns when dying in a hospital.
"Are we doing a lot of unnecessary testing and unnecessary procedures that may be essentially prolonging the dying process, and is that something that the patients actually wanted," said Pang.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics data finds minorities, or people dying from diseases other than cancer are less likely to die at home than those who are white or those who die from cancer.
Pang said studies find it's due cultural issues or a lack of education—believing that hospice only gives you pain medication.
"I think there's a hug concern that people are no longer going to be getting medical care," said Pang.
She said hospice is medical care that focuses on the quality of life rather than the medical procedures to keep doing. She added it's important to get in touch with hospice earlier rather than later so they know the patient and their family, as well as their wishes.