70% of Australians want to die at home, but only 14% do
70% of Australians want to die at home, but only 14% do Algimante Stasiuniene

Researchers find dying at home hard to achieve

A NEW report has revealed more Australians are dying in hospitals and residential care despite their wishes to die at home.

The Grattan Institute's Dying Well report, released on Monday, revealed 70% of Australians wanted to die at home, but only 14% did so.

Report writer Professor Hal Swerissen said medical and community attitudes plus a lack of funds for formal, home-based care meant that Australians died at home at half the rate that people did in New Zealand, the United States, Ireland and France.

He said policy and attitudinal changes were needed to enable more people to die comfortably at home and in home-like environments, surrounded by family, friends and effective services.

"More than at any time in history, most people die when they are old, and are more likely than past generations to know when in the near future they are going to die," he said.

"That gives us a great opportunity to help people plan to die well, but we are not taking it."

The report recommends more public discussion, including an education campaign, about the limits of health care as death approaches and the need to focus on end-of-life care.

It also proposes the widespread adoption of advance care plans that ensure people's desires for the end of life are met.