As baby boomers age, more older Americans are visiting the emergency room, which can be an overcrowded, disorienting and even traumatic place. Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News

At Gerald Chinchar's home in San Diego, Calif., Nurse Sheri Juan (right) checks his arm for edema that might be a sign that his congestive heart failure is getting worse. Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News

For Some, Pre-Hospice Care Can Be A Good Alternative To Hospitals

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"It's easier to sort of face the hard things in your life when you're not alone," says hospice chaplain Kerry Egan. "That's a big part of what a chaplain does, is she stays with you." Ann Summa/Getty Images hide caption

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Ann Summa/Getty Images

Hospice Chaplain Reflects On Life, Death And The 'Strength Of The Human Soul'

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Debbie Ziegler holds a photo of her late daughter, Brittany Maynard, while speaking to the media in September after the passage of California's End Of Life Option Act. Maynard was an advocate for the law. Carl Costas/AP hide caption

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Carl Costas/AP

Christy O'Donnell, who has advanced lung cancer, is one of several California patients suing for the right to get a doctor's help with prescription medicine to end their own lives if and when they feel that's necessary. YouTube hide caption

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YouTube

Nora Zamichow says if she and her husband, Mark Saylor, had known how doctors die, they might have made different treatment decisions for him toward the end of his life. Maya Sugarman/KPCC hide caption

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Knowing How Doctors Die Can Change End-Of-Life Discussions

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Hawaii ranks 49th in the nation for use of home health care services during the last six months of someone's life. Videos from ACP Decisions show patients what their options are at the end of life. ACP Decisions hide caption

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ACP Decisions

Videos On End-Of-Life Choices Ease Tough Conversation

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Sandra Lopez (left) and her dog, Coco, greet hospice nurse Heather Meyerend last fall. In the weeks before Lopez died, Meyerend stopped by weekly to check her physical health, pain levels and medications. Amy Pearl/WNYC hide caption

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Amy Pearl/WNYC

Too Little, Too Late For Many New Yorkers Seeking Hospice

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Paula and Ron Faber walk their dog Millie in 2009, between cancer diagnoses. Shelley Seccombe/Shelley Seccombe hide caption

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Shelley Seccombe/Shelley Seccombe

Terminally Ill, But Constantly Hospitalized

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From her cubicle at Vital Decisions in Cherry Hill, N.J., Kate Schleicher counsels people who are seriously ill. Emma Lee/WHYY hide caption

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Emma Lee/WHYY

Hello, May I Help You Plan Your Final Months?

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Tammy Heinsohn (left) and Carolyn Wilson sing in the meditation room of Alive Hospice in Nashville. They're part of the Threshold Choir, which sings to the dying. Emily Siner/Nashville Public Radio hide caption

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Emily Siner/Nashville Public Radio

At Life's Last Threshold, Choir Brings Comfort

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Patients who get the comforts of palliative care as well as disease treatment live longer, studies show, than those who only get treatment for the disease. Annette Birkenfeld/iStockphoto hide caption

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Annette Birkenfeld/iStockphoto

Barbara Mancini with her father, Joseph Yourshaw. Barbara Mancini via Compassion & Choices hide caption

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Barbara Mancini via Compassion & Choices