Is Dying at Home Overrated?

September 5, 2019

A palliative care physician struggles with the complex realities of dying at home, and the unintended consequences of making it a societal priority

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It’s become a familiar story in the age of consumer DNA testing: A person spits into a test tube to learn more about their genetic heritage, and ends up finding out they have a parent or sibling they didn’t know existed. It can be hard to keep family secrets under wraps when all it takes to reveal them is $99 and a mouthful of spit

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As the worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade sweeps the U.S., here’s a message that more Americans need to heed: stay home if you are sick. Sadly, that’s a hard sell, especially in medicine

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For some, progress cannot come soon enough. Running short on time, dying cancer patients are concocting do-it-yourself versions of highly experimental cancer therapies, without the oversight of doctors or regulators

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Chris Gard and Connie Yates want permission to take the 11-month-old home for his final days. But Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said it was not practical to provide the level of life-support treatment to Charlie at the couple’s London home. It says a hospice would be a more appropriate place for him

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Gerald Chinchar isn’t quite at the end of life, but the end is not far away. The 77-year-old fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair. His medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays

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Dementia has been slowly stealing Ruth Perez’s memory and thinking ability for 20 years. Her daughter, Angela Bobo, recalled when it was clear that her mother was never going to be the same

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My patient was a proudly elegant woman in her 70s who lived alone. Her Parkinson’s disease had so severely restricted her ability to move that it would take her hours to get dressed in the morning. And leaving the house was virtually impossible, so she had to rely on neighbors and friends from her church community for help with shopping

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