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November 28, 1977

Dying at Home

Author Affiliations

Dr Sampson is in private practice in Mountain View, Calif.

JAMA. 1977;238(22):2405-2406. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280230069031

WE MAY now be passing out of the phase of fascination with institutions and technology. People seem to want to regain control of their lives and of their deaths. Except in smaller towns, medicine has not been geared to home care, so we need to reorient ourselves to the desires of people who want to die at home. Most patients and families want to share their last days together at home. The physician can respond helpfully if he has confidence and the means of support at hand.

What Are the Advantages? —  Relationships previously fragmented or guilt-ridden can be cemented while nursing a dying relative. It is possible to talk about problems previously unmentionable. The opportunity to nurse a close one can expiate guilt and result in warm memories after death. The dying person can feel accepted and cared for, free of fear of being mishandled, turned too roughly, not