Preferences for location of death of seriously ill hospitalized patients: perspectives from Canadian patients and their family caregivers

Palliat Med. 2008 Jan;22(1):85-8. doi: 10.1177/0269216307084612.


Previous studies involving palliative patients suggest a preference for dying at home. The purpose of this paper is to examine, prospectively, patient and family caregiver preferences for, and congruence with, location of death for hospitalized patients with cancer and end-stage medical conditions. Questionnaires were administered to 440 eligible in-patients and 160 family caregivers in five hospitals across Canada. This paper reports results of 138 patient/family caregiver dyads who answered a question about preference for location of death. The results suggest that only half of all patients and family caregivers report a preference for a home death. Furthermore, half of the patient/family caregiver dyads disagree on preferred location of death. If one of the primary goals of end of life care is to enhance the quality of life of dying patients and their family caregivers, policies directed towards ensuring that patients die in their location of choice ought to be a priority and resources should be allocated to promote the development of excellent care, not only in the home, but also within our institutional settings.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Canada
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Terminal Care / standards*
  • Terminally Ill / psychology*