End of Life Registry Helps Patients Die at Home


Most Americans say they want to die at home. But without the right paperwork, many end up living out their final days in institutions or hospitals. The West Virginia e-Directive Registry is trying to change that.

The e-Directive Registry includes advanced directives, living wills, medical orders and Do Not Resuscitate cards. These documents help medical providers understand West Virginians’ end-of-life wishes, including where participants want to die and what kind of treatment they want in their last days of life. 

In 2016, nearly half those who participated in the registry died at home compared to 36 percent statewide, according to the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care.

The issue is also an economic one. The average cost per patient per day in a hospital stepdown unit is almost $8,000 compared to $180 a day for in-home Hospice care, according to center director Alvin Moss. Moss says more than 4,000 registry participants died in 2016, which saved $45 million on health care charges at the end of life.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated 02/21/2017 3:36pm

Appalachia Helth News

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.