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More and more people opting to die at home

Published on February 24, 2019

The treatment and comfort offered dying people in Switzerland could yet be improved, according to newly-published research. 

The new report (“Death in Switzerland: individual and societal perspectives”) builds on a six-year national research programme that gathered together input from 33 separate projects from across the country. 

Led by Markus Zimmermann (University of Fribourg), Stefan Felder (University of Basel), Ursula Streckeisen (Bern teacher training college), and Brigitte Tag (University of Zurich), the research notes that four out of five people in Switzerland die in hospitals or care homes – places often ill-equipped for treating the dying, and which do not always take account of their needs.

More and more people wish to pass away at home, the collective of researchers found: the demand for home care is rising strongly. But such care can be costly and is not reimbursed by basic insurance coverage. The families of those who die at home often end up exhausted.

The overall conclusion of the study was that palliative nursing facilities need to be boosted, without forgetting that the end of life period can only be planned and controlled to a certain extent. “Timely palliative treatment should be a given for the care and treatments planned during the end of life period,” the researchers write.