Research finds that most Californians would prefer a natural death at home without becoming a burden on family. But few document their wishes, leaving families in the dark. Videos highlight this issue.
In our fragmented health care system, candid conversations about death and dying between patients, families, and doctors are far from routine. As a result, people's wishes are often unknown or not honored.
In the videos below, people reflect on their experiences with death and dying. Two CHCF surveys explore attitudes on end-of-life care and the progress of palliative care programs in California hospitals; they are available under Related CHCF Pages below.
For Raymond Wong, who takes care of his aging mother, the death of his brother left him acutely aware of the need to put his wishes in writing.
When Maria Stone's husband became critically ill, his reticence to discuss and document what he wanted left decisions in her hands.
A physician studying to become a chaplain, Dr. LaVera Crawley says the health care industry only markets its successes, making it harder to acknowledge that death is part of life.
Sister Martin Coleman, a care coordinator who lives at a nursing home, says the patient's voice is critical to discussions about end-of-life care.
Nursing home resident Margot Bearden believes people are afraid of death because it is unknown to them. Talking about it and completing a POLST form can help.
Press Release 2/14/2012
Final Chapter: Californians' Attitudes and Experiences with Death and Dying
When Compassion Is the Cure: Progress and Promise in Hospital-Based Palliative Care
Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)