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Three quarters of Irish people want to die at home

Most people would like their condition managed by pain medication though almost three-quarters have not written any kind of care directive or given an indication of what they want to family members.

Image: elderly woman image via Shutterstock.com

THE MAJORITY OF Irish people want to spend their dying days in their own homes, a new survey has found.

The survey, commissioned by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), found that 74% of people want to be cared for in their last days at home, though, as IHF chief executive Sharon Foley pointed out, in all likelihood, most people will die in a hospital setting.

“This survey clearly shows that there is a growing shift in the number of people whose preference is to be cared for in their dying days at home, up from 67% ten years ago to 74% today,” she said. “However the reality is a lot different and that option is not available to so many people. We need to continue to work to ensure that the services are in place to allow people have that choice.”

The research shows that of those who lost someone close to them in the last two years 38% died in a hospital, 26% at home, 12% in nursing/residential home and 11% in a hospice.

Almost 40% of those surveyed said they are unsure that their preferred location in their final stages of life will be available to them.

According to the results, there is a high level of general dissatisfaction among people about the level of care for people are are dying or terminally ill. Of the 891 respondents, 11% said care is poor and needs to be addressed urgently and 42% believe there is “much or urgent” room for improvement. Only 6% think care is excellent while half said it is good or could be improved.

The survey shows an increase in the appetite in Ireland for talking about death and dying with 57% of people saying there is not enough discussion, up from 51% in the 2004 survey. 23% of people say they are “completely comfortable” discussing death.

However there has been no change to what people think is important in their final days. 82% said their top preference is to be surrounded by loved ones, while 70% would prefer to have their condition managed by medication, to keep the pain at bay. Despite this, almost three quarters of people have not written an advance care directive or give direction on their end of life care preferences and 39% of people have not given any thought to making a will.

Read: You can now put your final wishes securely online for use in an emergency>
Read: Are you comfortable talking about death and dying>

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