Where Matters, Too, When We Die

I think we all hope that we die when we’ve completed our Bucket List, so to speak. That we end just as our work here ends.

An article in USA Today yesterday also says that it matters where we die. According to the article, “cancer patients who died in a hospital or intensive care unit suffered more physical and emotional distress than those who died at home with hospice services, according to study of nearly 700 people in today’s Journal of Clinical Oncology.”

The where of a caree’s death also impacts the family caregiver:”Caregivers suffered more, too, when their loved ones died in the ICU; more suffered lasting psychiatric problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a prolonged period of disabling grief, says the study, part of the larger Coping with Cancer study.”

The problem, its seems, is that carees are unprepared for their death. And, an unprepared caree can mean an unprepared family caregiver. (And, please know that, at times, a hospital must be the place where we die. “Sometimes, patients have uncontrolled symptoms that just can’t be managed at home,” says the lead researcher of the study in the article. “I don’t want people to think that dying in the hospital is always a failure.”)

To help you prepare, we’re talking with Kelsey Collins, author of “Exit Strategy, Leaving this Life with Grace and Gratitude,”on Your Caregiving Journey on Monday, September 20, at 1 p.m. CT. Kelsey will share ways we can help carees exit on their terms and in their way. And, she’ll offer perspectives she’s gained in her 20 years as a hospice chaplain.

What questions do you have about your caree’s exit strategy that we can answer on the show? Please share in our comments section or send me an email.

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

One thought on “Where Matters, Too, When We Die

  1. Kelsey

    Denise, this is a great article – well done! Where and how does matter, as does the way we think about death. We are not only all in this together, but we are also all going to exit at some point. I’m looking forward to our interview together on Monday, 9/20. — All loveblessings, Kelsey


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