This entry defines and describes the context and components of a good death over the life course, the practices associated with having a good death, and the implications of death quality for the decedent’s survivors. It concludes with a review of cross-national differences in death quality and public policies associated with increasing the quality of death experienced by a society.

Good Death: Definition, Historical Context, and Components

End-of-life care in the United States has improved dramatically over the past two decades, yet dying patients and their families still struggle to achieve a good death. The cornerstone of a good death is end-of-life medical treatment that minimizes avoidable pain and that matches patients’ and family members’ preferences. A good death also encompasses important social, psychological, and philosophical elements, ...

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