The usual purpose of a hospital is to treat acutely ill patients. You enter the hospital with a significant condition or illness expecting to improve enough to be discharged. When you are in the hospital, medical professionals are available at all times to provide whatever level of care you may need.
While being in the hospital when your death is expected can be reassuring to your family and take all of the responsibility of care from them, it is not always the best choice.
- A hospital admission, especially to an intensive care unit, for end-of-life care is expensive and usually not necessary for the comfort care required. Advance care planning and palliative care interventions can reduce the length of stay in an ICU.
- Although some hospitals may have palliative care teams that can help manage uncomfortable symptoms, hospice can come to your home to do similar care at a fraction of the cost.
- Your loved ones may have to navigate limited visiting hours.
- Medical personnel may be making decisions if you or your healthcare proxy are unable and some may not be aware of your advance care directives and provide more than comfort care.
- Hospitals are busy places that may not be able to provide a personal touch, offer a peaceful setting to die, or allow you to have everything you want around you when you pass away.