Helping Massachusetts Residents Die 'Good' Deaths

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With its top-of-the-line hospitals and robust technology sector, Massachusetts does an excellent job of keeping sick people alive. But does it need to do a better job at helping people die a good death?

A state panel released a study this week recommending ways that Massachusetts can help its residents have better lives at the end of their lives.

Because often, the study found, Massachusetts residents who are nearing the end of their lives don't receive the care they want and need. Sometimes they receive inadequate pain relief. Sometimes they die in a hospital when they would have preferred to die at home. Sometimes they undergo more intensive medical interventions than they want.

The study recommended several solutions, including:

  • more advance planning for end-of-life care
  • more palliative care
  • more hospice care
  • more support for families caring for dying loved ones

WBUR's All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with the chairman of the state panel that issued the report, Dr. Lachlan Forrow of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, about how Massachusetts can do more to help its residents die good deaths.

This program aired on March 15, 2011.

Headshot of Sacha Pfeiffer

Sacha Pfeiffer Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.



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