Home care medical supplies may help loved one live longer

Caregivers use home care medical supplies to provide dying loved ones with a better quality of life. But the fact alone of choosing to die at home instead of the hospital might just literally give your loved one a new lease on life. A large Japanese study found that cancer patients who died at home tended to outlive those who died in hospitals. The researchers discovered that patients who died at home had a considerably longer survival period than that of patients who died in hospitals, even after adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics, among other factors.

Most people express their wish to be cared for at home if they were shuffling off their mortal coils, but it's not clear whether the care they would receive there would be as good as that administered at a medical facility – though it can get pretty close, especially with home medical supplies available here. “The cancer patient and family tend to be concerned that the quality of medical treatment provided at home will be inferior to that given in a hospital and that survival might be shortened; however, our finding--that home death does not actually have a negative influence on the survival of cancer patients at all, and rather may have a positive influence--could suggest that the patient and family can choose the place of death in terms of their preference and values,” lead author Dr. Jun Hamano said.

“Patients, families, and clinicians should be reassured that good home hospice care does not shorten patient life, and even may achieve longer survival.” The researchers recruited 2426 patients, of whom 2069 were analyzed for the study – 1582 received hospital-based palliative care while 487 received home-based palliative care. A total of 1607 patients actually passed away in a hospital, and 462 patients expired at home. The survival of patients who ceased to exist at home was meaningfully longer than the survival of patients who succumbed in a hospital in the days' prognosis group.

It is worth nothing that palliative care is all about quality rather than quantity. In other words, the goal is not prolong life but to make the patient’s remaining days as comfortable, painless, and enjoyable as possible. Home care medical supplies can help caregivers achieve those goals. It would appear that lengthening a loved one with cancer’s life is an unintended – yet nevertheless welcome – benefit. The study suggests that oncologists (cancer specialists) should not hesitate to approve home-based palliative care solely on the grounds that the patient would not receive the same medical treatment as in a hospital.

Related: How to care for a loved one who has advanced cancer