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Better prep could improve quality of death and life for terminal patients

Scientific American, July 16, 2012

Voices clamor to be heard in the discussion about end-of-life care. Patients prefer to die at home and in comfort. Physicians struggle to speak to patients they have been trying to save but worry about legal issues. Politicians debate the best way to curb rising health care costs and shun "death panels." Amid this fervor, researchers in Sweden found last year that conversations about imminent death are associated with improved care and less pain and suffering. Now, a team at Harvard Medical School reveals more detail about the social and psychological factors that affect quality of death.