Study: More People Dying at Home

For the first time since the early 20th century, more people are dying at home than in hospitals. And about half of those who die at home receive hospice help from home health aides, hospice and palliative care workers and nurses. Death doulas are also increasingly part of the end-of-life journey, as NPR recently reported.

Advocates say though progress has been made, more should be done to give the best end-of-life care to patients. A recent article in the Atlantic explained how one doctor took his own father home from the hospital to avoid needless intervention by the medical system. And even when loved ones are at home, hospice can be hard on families.

But despite some challenges, according to the National Association For Homecare and Hospice, the numbers help make the benefits of receiving care at home even clearer. And the need will only grow as the population ages.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Home health visits can reduce the likelihood of hospital readmission by as much as 25 percent.
  • Chances of infection are much lower than hospital stays.
  • Home care providers will travel about 8 billion miles to deliver care.
  • Ninety percent of Americans want to age in place and prefer home care.
  • Home care providers care for more than 5 million Americans annually.
  • Nearly 64 percent of home health care recipients are women and just over 69 percent are over 65.
  • The home health aide occupation is expected to increase 47 percent from 2016-2026.
  • Twelve million Americans need home care while 33,000 home health care workers exist today.

According to the National PACE Association (Programs of All Inclusive Care for Elderly), nearly 1.4 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospices in this country.

With an aging Baby Boomer population, the benefits of home health care workers will only grow over time. According to, $200 billion will be spent on home health care by 2027.

As Home Health Care news explains, “While the aging population is growing rapidly, a broader cultural shift is also largely to credit: More doctors are encouraging and accepting of hospice, more mediums are portraying it positively, and more people are discussing and planning for end of life.”

About 60 percent of people who could benefit from palliative care don’t receive it, according to another New England Journal of Medicine study.

If you or your family is looking for help finding hospice care, the Oregon Hospice and Palliative Care Association or Washington State Hospice and Palliative Care Organization can be great resources.

Photo by Valentina Locatelli

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