Published on: February 18, 2012

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Since its inception, in addition to supporting Palliative Care development in India, Pallium India-USA has been working to help provide culturally sensitive end of life care for people of Indian origin in the USA.

In this context, the front-page San Jose Mercury News article on a recent survey of Californians’ end-of-life wishes, is particularly relevant.

The overwhelming majority of those polled said they would prefer to die at home, rather than in a hospital. This flies in the face of much conventional medical wisdom, which seeks to extend life through artificial means.

Here are some of the startling facts in the article:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 Californians said that if they were seriously ill, they would want to speak with their doctor about end-of-life care. But fewer than 1 in 10 report having had a conversation, including just 13 percent of those 65 or older.
  • 82% said that it is important to put their wishes in writing. Less than one-quarter have actually done so. More than half say they have not talked with a loved one about the kind of care they want at the end of life.
  • 70% said they would prefer to die at home. But only 32% pass away in their homes, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The poll, conducted by the California Healthcare Foundation, showed that there is a serious gap between what people would like, and what they receive when it comes to their experience of the end of their lives.

The problem is worsened when there is any kind of language barrier between doctors and patients. One of Pallium India-USA‘s goals is to reduce these barriers, giving Indians living in the US a chance to put their wishes in writing, using an Advance Healthcare Directive.


These newspaper reports generated so much reader response that the San Jose Mercury News has setup a ‘special report’ section on their website called “The Cost of Dyingand the Sunday February 19th edition will carry personal stories from readers – many of which you can read on the The Cost of Dying website (right column).

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