How and where Americans die has drastically changed over time. Until the 20th century sudden death was the most common way to die, and home the most common place. After being superseded by hospitals for decades, home has reemerged as the most common place for Americans dying of natural causes.
Historically, stakeholders have been hesitant to address death and dying, but we cannot ignore these topics. The changes in means and location of death, along with our rapidly aging population, require better discussions about end-of-life care to reduce confusion around care options and enable the health care industry to meet patients’ needs, reduce costs, and improve quality. Here are three conversations providers, patients, and caregivers should be having about end-of-life care: