Do Terminally Ill Patients Prefer Hospital Care or Home Care?

Author: Sarah Williams

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

Many terminally ill patients prefer home care to hospital care, although preferences vary for each individual. Remaining at home allows a person to live in a familiar and comfortable environment, often close to family, friends and existing support networks. Non Medical in-home care services provide assistance with everyday activities, without which, seniors may require extensive skilled care.

Home Care Support Services

Several studies indicate that many people prefer to die at home. For terminally ill seniors with manageable conditions, home care can provide the support they need to stay at home safely and comfortably. Caregivers assist individuals with day-to-day tasks, such as:

  • Preparing meals
  • Running errands
  • Completing domestic chores
  • Helping maintain personal and oral hygiene
  • Assisting with dressing, transferring from the bed to a chair and moving throughout the home

Most home care agencies also offer companionship services, which often brings comfort for those living alone. However, in-home care doesn’t include skilled nursing or therapies. Terminally ill individuals may need additional medically focused services to stay at home.    

Other At-Home Support for Terminally Ill Seniors

Home health care provides medical and therapeutic care at home. Care teams include nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, dietitians and medical social workers. A terminally ill person may receive skilled nursing services, such as pain management, medication administration and IV therapy, and professional caregivers monitor the individual’s health conditions and provide family guidance. Additional services include therapeutic techniques, recording vital data, coordinating outpatient appointments and nutritional oversight.

Those nearing the end of their lives may receive hospice care at home. The focus shifts from treating conditions to symptom management and personal comfort, allowing seniors to maintain as high a quality of life as possible. It also enables loved ones to make the most of their time together without caregiving burdens. Receiving care and support at home increases the likelihood of individuals fulfilling their wishes to avoid hospitalization and die in a familiar setting.