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Study: Patients Who Spend Final Days At Home Live Longer, Better Quality Lives

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Many people say spending their final days in a hospital hooked up to machines and IVs is the final indignity.

A new study suggests that cancer patients who spend their last days at home may live longer and better quality lives.

Shirley Taub said she's lived a full and happy life during her 88 years. After beating cancer back more than a decade ago, she moved into the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.

When a new cancer was diagnosed, this time it was terminal. Taub was given the option to receive hospice or end-of-life care at her home.

"That sounded very good to me, because I couldn't take it anymore," she told CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez.

The study of more than 2,000 terminal cancer patients in Japan found that those who chose to die at home lived significantly longer than those who spend their final days in the hospital.

Hospice and palliative care physician Dr. Sarah Gall said she isn't surprised by the findings.

"You're in the comfort of everything that's been so important to you up until this time and I think there is something to be said about that," she said.

Experts said being in familiar surroundings is especially important for Alzheimer's patients before and during their final days.

Researchers said the study suggest oncologists shouldn't hesitate to refer terminal patients for home-based care over concerns that they may get less medical treatment.

While Taub is now bedridden, she values spending this time at home.

"I was able to eat my meals communally, keep up with the gossip, and so it wasn't bad," she said.

Taub is living her last days like she lived most of her life, on her terms.

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