When asked where they would prefer to die, many people say they want to die at home. Home is what is familiar and comforting. However, home means different things to different people. It can be a house they share with their family or friends, or their room in an aged care facility. Some people prefer to live alone. Others live in a country town or in a remote outback area. Many people continue to live in the community and be cared for there until their death.
A person’s preference for where they wish to be cared for, and where they wish to die, can change over time. It can be influenced by what services and supports are available to them and their specific care needs. Family and friends also need to be considered.
How a disease progresses can also affect where someone is cared for and dies. Some illnesses can be unpredictable and patients may experience episodes of decline and instability. Death may also occur without warning. It could even happen during treatment in hospital.
For someone with a life limiting illness, there are many decisions that will need to be made. They need to consider where they want to be cared for and where they want to die. For some, staying at home may seem the best choice. For others, it might be going into a hospice or hospital or residential aged care facility. These choices may seem right at the time, but they may also change. These conversations are an important part of advance care planning. This helps to make sure that the patient’s wishes are respected.