Home is Now the Most Common Place of End of life From Natural Causes in the United States

By | January 11, 2020

Being home is the more desirable place to die for most people, although this is not always possible or desirable.
Now, for the first time in about 100 years, dying at home is more common than in the hospital. And, according to 2017 data, death in US hospitals( approx 30% ) is lower than death in hospitals in Canada (60% ), and England ( 46% ).

Interestingly, in the U.S., dying at home was less common in younger, female, and non-white individuals.

Comparing data from 2003 vs 2017 in the U.S. showed these trends:
(approximated by for ease of reading):
-Less deaths in hospitals 30% vs 40%
-More deaths at home 31% vs 24%
-Less deaths in Nursing facilities 21% vs 23%
-More deaths in hospice 8.5% vs 0.2%.

The treads were considered positive, and stressed the need for better access to quality care at home!

The data was obtained from the CDC (Centers of Disease Control), and the National Center for Health Statistics
for the years 2003 through 2017,
and included 35.2 million natural deaths.

Cause of death was obtained from death certificates generated by the physician, and included the following;
(approximated by us for ease of reading);
Coronary heart disease/ heart attack 29%
Cancer 24.5%
Lung disease 10.5%
Dementia 8%
Stroke 6%

All data are from the New England Journal of Medicine 381;24,article “Changes in the Place of Death in the United States”, under the Correspondence section/Letters to the Editor.
Sarah H. Cross M.S.W.,M.P.H., Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, Durham, N.C. and
Haider J. Warraich, M.D. Veterans Affairs Boston, MA.

Physician Forum is pleased to present this article to its readers because it suggests that patient’s wishes are being respected to a greater extent by the medical community in this most crucial time of our patient’s lives.

Changes take time and we are all evolving

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