More Californians Prefer Hospice Care Over Aggressive Care
PaulineB
March 31, 2024

A 2012 paper reported that about 70% of Californians prefer natural death over all possible care to prolong their life should they become terminally ill. Seven years later, that figure remains roughly the same, according to the June 2020 California Health Care Almanac report. 

Despite the majority of Californians wishing for a peaceful passing away at home however, many still experience dying in hospitals where they receive aggressive care.

What Counts as Aggressive Care?

In an article published by the University of Pennsylvania, aggressive care is described as receiving “chemotherapy, mechanical ventilation, acute hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions” during a patient’s end-of-life stage. 

Aggressive treatments focus on applying measures to prolong a patient’s life, such as resuscitating or intubating them when their conditions turn critical. 

While aggressive care may be helpful in various situations, it may sometimes prove difficult or burdensome for some patients and may not be aligned with their end-of-life wishes. 

In 2019, 65% of respondents in a survey said that their loved ones who passed away would have preferred to have done so at their homes. However, data shows that only over half of them were able to do so. 

What Matters Most at End of Life

The 2012 report also listed the most important factors that Californians consider for their end-of-life goals. Topping that list are:

  • Ensuring that their families aren’t burdened financially by their care
  • Being comfortable and pain-free
  • Spiritual contentment or peace
  • Ensuring that their families don’t have to make difficult decisions concerning their care
  • Having loved ones around them

As early as 2011, about 73% of Californians were already familiar with the term hospice care, but only 13% of the surveyed respondents said that they have heard of POLST or Physician Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment.

(POLST is a form that states what kind of medical treatment that a patient desires for their end-of-life care. Both the patient and the doctor must affix signatures to the form, and must be honored by healthcare providers, even if the patient later loses their ability to specify their wishes.)

As more and more Californians sought palliative care through the years, the number of licensed hospice agencies in the state quadrupled in a decade (2008-2018). In tandem with this rise, the number of hospice days also doubled as stated in the California Health Almanac report. 

Finding Qualified Hospice Care Providers

While many hospitals now offer hospice care services, there are also private companies that provide quality and affordable hospice care to patients who wish to receive end-of-life care at their facility of choice or at the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.

In finding a hospice care provider, one thing to consider is the provider’s qualifications and accreditation.

Composed of a pool of dedicated and passionate professionals of various healthcare disciplines, Solano Care Hospice in Northern California, for example, is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care or ACHC. 

The ACHC is a nationally recognized accreditation leader that embodies excellence, integrity, and unparalleled service. The accrediting body was established in 1986 and has been partnering with healthcare providers in maintaining standards of excellence in service. 

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January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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