Quiet Deaths Don’t Come Easy (Los Angeles Times)

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Los Angeles TimesIn a story about end-of-life care, the Los Angeles Times details a new study co-authored by Julie Bynum, an associate professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and an associate professor of medicine and community and family medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine. The study, entitled “Change in End-of-Life Care for Medicare Beneficiaries,” is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers found that while a growing number of patients spend their final days at home or in hospice care, those same patients also endure “multiple hospitalizations and treatments before receiving care aimed solely at making their final days comfortable,” the newspaper notes.

“There’s almost always, in every medical circumstance, one more thing we can try,” Bynum tells the Los Angeles Times. “It’s hard for a doctor to say, ‘I have one more thing I can do, but it’s not a good thing.’” If a patient does not want aggressive treatment, Bynum says, “You need to prevent him from getting into that cycle of acute care, because once they get into the hospital, it’s really hard to get them out.”

Read the full story, published 2/5/13 in the Los Angeles Times.