Hospice Care: Death With Dignity

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The beginning of life is celebrated. Books and resources are shared among friends and family in preparation for becoming a new parent. So, what happens as one approaches the end of life? Unfortunately, the same care and sharing rarely occurs in those circumstances and many face the prospect of dying unprepared. Though most people state they would prefer to die at home, this is often not where death occurs. Many Americans spend their last days attached to medical apparatus that keeps the body alive, but it does not allow for communication with family and often requires heavy sedation. Additionally, this level of treatment comes at a high price. As a society, we must become as comfortable in addressing the end of life process as we are with the beginning of life. One way that this can be done more effectively is through increased knowledge and use of hospice care. Hospice care is a viable option that provides health care cost savings, comfort to the patient, and support to the caregivers, however as hospice systems become more commercialized, care must be taken to avoid the pitfalls that are inherent in larger organizations.

Hospice care is a relatively young option in the United States, with the first hospice organization founded in 1971 after gaining acceptance in England in the 1950s (Jensen, 2012). Hospice care is provided to those who are diagnosed with a terminal condition that is expected to culminate in death within six months. Unlike regular health care which focuses on curative procedures, hospice services focus on the comfort of the patient in order to ease the process of dying. These services provide benefits to the patient and the caregivers, as well as showing cost savings.

It is no secret that healt...

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