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On Being a Doctor |

I Want To Go Home

Cynthia X. Pan, MD; Jennifer Kales, MS, ANP; and Sandra Sanchez-Reilly, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, and University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229.


Note: All names have been changed to protect the identity of the patient and family.

Grant Support: In part by 2 grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration Geriatric Academic Career Award (1 K01 HP 00020).

Requests for Single Reprints: Cynthia X. Pan, MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Box 1070, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029; e-mail, cynthia.pan@mssm.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Pan and Ms. Kales: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Box 1070, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029.

Dr. Sanchez-Reilly: Department of Medicine MC 7875, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(12):964-965. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-12-200412210-00015
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In the course of seeing patients who need palliative care, we often encounter requests to help patients go home. Home can mean different things. It can mean being at one's house or with loved ones or doing an activity that makes the patient feel at home. Alternatively, home can mean “home land,” especially today when we see patients who emigrate from many countries and who have different backgrounds, cultures, dreams, and histories. Why go home? Because once home, we can be more in control, at ease, and safe. We can decide how to live and conduct our lives. Our home is our castle. But sometimes, we as health care professionals can't get our patients home, even though we desperately want to. Or so we thought.

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