Background: A minority of individuals use a large portion of health system resources, incurring considerable costs, especially in acute-care hospitals where a significant proportion of deaths occur. We sought to describe and contrast the characteristics, acute-care use and cost in the last year of life among high users and non-high users who died in hospitals across Canada.
Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective-cohort study of Canadian adults aged =18 who died in hospitals across Canada between fiscal years 2011/12–2014/15. High users were defined as patients within the top 10% of highest cumulative acute-care costs in each fiscal year. Patients were categorized as: persistent high users (high-cost in death year and year prior), non-persistent high users (high-cost in death year only) and non-high users (never high-cost). Discharge abstracts were used to measure characteristics and acute-care use, including number of hospitalizations, admissions to intensive-care-unit (ICU), and alternate-level-of-care (ALC).
Results: We identified 191,310 decedents, among which 6% were persistent high users, 41% were non-persistent high users, and 46% were non-high users. A larger proportion of high users were male, younger, and had multimorbidity than non-high users. In the last year of life, persistent high users had multiple hospitalizations more often than other groups. Twenty-eight percent of persistent high users had =2 ICU admissions, compared to 8% of non-persistent high users and only 1% of non-high users. Eleven percent of persistent high users had =2 ALC admissions, compared to only 2% of non-persistent high users and < 1% of non-high users. High users received an in-hospital intervention more often than non-high users (36% vs. 19%). Despite representing only 47% of the cohort, persistent and non-persistent high users accounted for 83% of acute-care costs.
Conclusions: High users – persistent and non-persistent – are medically complex and use a disproportionate amount of acute-care resources at the end of life. A greater understanding of the characteristics and circumstances that lead to persistently high use of inpatient services may help inform strategies to prevent hospitalizations and off-set current healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes.
Background: Integration of palliative care services into the surgical treatment plan is important for holistic patient care. We sought to examine the association between patient race/ethnicity and county-level vulnerability relative to patterns of hospice utilization.
Patients and Methods: Medicare Standard Analytic Files were used to identify patients undergoing lung, esophageal, pancreatic, colon, or rectal cancer surgery between 2013 and 2017. Data were merged with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social vulnerability index (SVI). Logistic regression was utilized to identify factors associated with overall hospice utilization among deceased individuals.
Results: A total of 54,256 Medicare beneficiaries underwent lung (n = 16,645, 30.7%), esophageal (n = 1427, 2.6%), pancreatic (n = 6183, 11.4%), colon (n = 26,827, 49.4%), or rectal (n = 3174, 5.9%) cancer resection. Median patient age was 76 years (IQR 71–82 years), and 28,887 patients (53.2%) were male; the majority of individuals were White (91.1%, n = 49,443), while a smaller subset was Black or Latino (racial/ethnic minority: n = 4813, 8.9%). Overall, 35,416 (65.3%) patients utilized hospice services prior to death. Median SVI was 52.8 [interquartile range (IQR) 30.3–71.2]. White patients were more likely to utilize hospice care compared with minority patients (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.17–1.31, p < 0.001). Unlike White patients, there was reduced odds of hospice utilization (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.96–0.99) and early hospice initiation (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.91–0.97) as SVI increased among minority patients.
Conclusions: Patients residing in counties with high social vulnerability were less likely to be enrolled in hospice care at the time of death, as well as be less likely to initiate hospice care early. The effects of increasing social vulnerability on hospice utilization were more profound among minority patients.
OBJECTIVE: Determine the role of palliative care on terminal code status and setting of death for those with heart failure.
BACKGROUND: Although palliative care consultation (PCC) has increased for many conditions, PCC has not increased in those with cardiovascular disease. While it has been shown that the majority of those with heart failure die in medical facilities, the impact of PCC on terminal code status and setting of death requires further analysis.
METHODS: Patients admitted with heart failure between 2014-2015 at an academic VA Healthcare System were reviewed. Primary outcome was terminal code status. Secondary outcomes included setting of death, hospice utilization, and mortality scores. Student t-testing and Chi-square testing were performed where appropriate.
RESULTS: 334 patients were admitted with heart failure and had a median follow up time of 4.3 years. 196 patients died, with 122 (62%) receiving PCC and 74 (38%) without PCC. Patients were more likely to have terminal code statuses of comfort measures with PCC (OR = 4.6, p = 0.002), and less likely to be full code (OR = 0.09, p < 0.001). 146 patients had documented settings of death and were more likely to receive hospice services with PCC (OR 6.76, p < 0.001). A patient's chance of dying at home was not increased with PCC (OR 0.49, p = 0.07), but they were more likely to die with inpatient hospice (OR = 17.03; p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Heart failure patients who received PCC are more likely to die with more defined care preferences and with hospice services. This does not translate to dying at home.
PURPOSE: Understanding the end-of-life psychosocial needs of cancer patients at home is a knowledge gap. This study describes the trajectory of psychosocial symptoms in the last 6 months of life among cancer decedents who were receiving home care.
METHODS: Observational population-based cohort study of cancer decedents who were receiving home care services between 2007 and 2014. Decedents had to have at least one home care assessment in the last 6 months of life for inclusion. Outcomes were the presence of psychosocial symptoms (i.e., anxiety, loneliness, depression, social decline, caregiver distress, and cognitive decline) at each week before death.
RESULTS: Our cohort included 27,295 unique cancer decedents (30,368 assessments), of which 58% died in hospital. Fifty-six percent were older than 74, and 47% were female. The prevalence of all symptoms increased approaching death, except loneliness. Social decline (48%-78%) was the most prevalent psychosocial symptom, though loneliness was reported in less than 10% of the cohort. Caregiver distress rose over time from 15%-27%. A third of the cohort reported issues with cognitive impairment. Multivariate regression showed that physical symptoms such as uncontrolled pain, impairment in independent activities of daily living, and a high level of health instability all significantly worsened the odds of having a psychosocial symptom in the last 3 months of life.
CONCLUSION: In this large home care cancer cohort, trajectories of psychosocial symptoms worsened close to death. Physical symptoms, such as uncontrolled pain, were associated with having worse psychosocial symptoms at end of life.
PURPOSE: Cancer treatment for those nearing death has become increasingly aggressive over time despite evidence that less aggressive approaches are associated with better quality of life and sometimes longer survival. Chemotherapy administration in the last 14 days of life is one of the proposed benchmarks for quality of cancer care. The purpose of our study is to evaluate factors associated with aggressive cancer treatment in patients who died within 2 weeks of receiving chemotherapy.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study evaluated adult patients who died between 1 February 2018 and 1 March 2019 after receiving cancer treatment in the preceding 14 days at the Prisma Health Cancer Institute. This project was approved by our institutional review board. Data was obtained by review of electronic medical records and analyzed using commercial software.
RESULTS: We identified 92 patients who met inclusion criteria for the study. Of those who were staged, 57% had metastatic disease. A majority received treatments with only palliative intent (54%). These patients overwhelmingly died in the hospital (62%). Few had documented advanced directives (28%) or dedicated palliative care for longer than 1 week (28%). Overall, this cohort reflects a rate of 11.7% of patients who received cancer treatment during the study time period.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Patients receiving aggressive cancer treatment at the end of life elucidate significant gaps in quality cancer care, particularly the early involvement of dedicated palliative care. Systematic review helped identify multiple gaps and assisted in implementing interventions to improve this outcome.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care (PC) has been shown to improve outcomes for individuals at the end of life. Despite this, many Canadians do not receive PC prior to death. The present study examines the receipt of inpatient PC and its association with location of death, as well as with admission to intensive care units (ICUs) and use of alternate level of care (ALC) beds in hospital in the last 30 days of life.
DATA AND METHODS: The study sample is a retrospective cohort of adult Canadians (aged 19 and older) who died between April 1, 2010, and December 31, 2014. Deaths were ascertained from the Canadian Vital Statistics Database and linked to hospitalizations records in the Discharge Abstract Database to identify the receipt of inpatient PC.
RESULTS: More than half (57.7%) of Canadian adults died in hospital, with only 12.6% receiving any inpatient PC in the year prior to death, and 1.7% receiving a preterminal PC designation (i.e., PC initiated prior to the last 30 days of life). In the adjusted analyses, receipt of any inpatient PC was associated with a higher likelihood of death in hospital but lower odds of ICU admission. Pre-terminal PC was associated with lower odds of death in hospital, ICU admission and ALC bed use.
DISCUSSION: This study offers new insights into the association between inpatient PC and outcomes at the end of life among Canadians. Future studies could expand on these observations to further understanding of the role of inpatient PC in the end-of-life experience for different populations in Canada.
CONTEXT: Care transitions at the end of life are associated with reduced quality of life and negative health outcomes, yet up to half of patients in developed countries experience a transition within the last month of life. A variety of these transitions have been described as 'burdensome' in the literature, however there is currently no consensus on the definition of a burdensome transition.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this review is to identify current definitions of 'burdensome transitions' and develop a framework for classifying transitions as 'burdensome' at the end-of-life.
METHODS: A search was conducted in Embase, PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials, CINAHL and PsychINFO for articles published in English between January 1 2000 and September 28 2019.
RESULTS: A total of thirty-seven articles met inclusion criteria for this scoping review. Definitions of burdensome transitions were characterized by the following features: transition setting trajectory, number of transitions, temporal relationship to end of life, or quality of transitions.
CONCLUSION: Definitions of burdensome transitions varied based on time before death, setting of cohorts, and study population. These definitions can be helpful in identifying and subsequently preventing unnecessary transitions at the end-of-life.
PURPOSE: Multimorbidity is associated with increased intensity of end-of-life healthcare. This association has been examined by number but not type of conditions. Our purpose was to understand how intensity of care is influenced by multimorbidity within specific chronic conditions to provide guidance for interventions to improve end-of-life care for these patients.
METHODS: We identified adults cared for in a multihospital healthcare system who died between 2010-2017. We categorized patients by 4 primary chronic conditions: heart failure, pulmonary disease, renal disease, or dementia. Within each condition, we examined the effect of multimorbidity (presence of 4 or more chronic conditions) on hospital and ICU admission in the last 30 days of life, in-hospital death, and advance care planning (ACP) documentation >30 days before death. We performed logistic regression to estimate associations between multimorbidity and end-of-life care utilization, stratified by the presence or absence of ACP documentation.
RESULTS: ACP documentation >30 days before death was associated with lower odds of in-hospital death for all 4 conditions both in patients with and without multimorbidity. With the exception of patients with renal disease without multimorbidity, we observed lower odds of hospitalization and ICU admission for all patients with ACP >30 days before death.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with dementia and multimorbidity had the highest odds of high-intensity end-of-life care. For patients with dementia, heart failure, or pulmonary disease, ACP documentation >30 days before death was associated with lower likelihood of in-hospital death, hospitalization, and ICU use at end-of-life, regardless of multimorbidity.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the clinical, economic and personal impacts of the nurse practitioner-led Sydney Adventist Hospital Community Palliative Care Service (SanCPCS)
Methods: Parallel economic analysis of usual care was conducted prospectively with patients from the enhanced SanCPCS. A convenient retrospective sample from the initial service was used to determine the impact of the enhanced service on patient care. A time series survey was used with patients and carers from within the expanded service group in order to measure patient outcomes and values as they approached death. Results: Patients of the SanCPCS were less likely to die in hospital and had fewer hospital admissions. In addition, the service halved the estimated hospitalisation cost per patient, but the length of hospital stay was not affected by the service. The SanCPCS was more beneficial for women in terms of fewer hospital admissions and lower costs. Patients’ choices regarding place of care and death and what was ‘important’ to them changed over time. For instance, patients tended to prefer being at home as they approached death, and being pain free doubled in importance.
Conclusions: Nurse practitioner-led community palliative care services have the potential to result in significant economic and personal benefits for patients and their families in need of such care. What is known about the topic? National trends show an emphasis on community services with the aim of promoting and supporting the choice of dying at home, and this coincides with drives to reduce hospital costs and length of stay. Community-based palliative care services may offer substantial economic and clinical benefits. What does this paper add? The SanCPCS was the first nurse practitioner-led community-based palliative care service in Australia. The expansion of this service led to significantly fewer admissions and deaths in hospital, and halved the estimated hospitalisation cost per patient. What are implications for practitioners? Nurse practitioner-led models for care in the out-patient or community setting are a logical direction for palliative services through the engagement of specialised providers uniquely trained to support, nurture, guide and educate patients and their carers.
Quand le grand âge gagne une personne, quand elle se souvient plus des morts que des vivants, quand les capacités physiques et intellectuelles s’affaiblissent, la fin de la vie semble légitimement redoutable et inhumaine.
Nous rêvons tous d’avoir une belle vie. Et nous rêvons tous secrètement d’avoir une belle mort, épargnés d’une fin de vie marquée par la souffrance et le non-sens. Et pourtant, la fin de vie, quelle qu’en soit la forme, fait partie de la vie. Et à ce stade de son existence, l’être humain reste un vivant.
L’existence humaine est inscrite dans le temps. Toute vie se déploie entre un début et une fin. L’homme est fragile, quelques dizaines d’années après sa naissance et c’en est fini de lui. Tout ce que nous pouvons faire de notre existence sera toujours confronté à cette réalité qu’est la mort.
Et en même temps, aucun parcours ne se ressemble… Il y a autant de fins de vie qu’il y a d’individus. La manière de traverser les derniers moments avant de mourir est propre à chaque personne. Personne ne peut vivre la fin de la vie à la place d’un autre. Certes, on peut repérer des similitudes entre ce qui est vécu par les gens au terme de leur existence.
Background: Previous research suggested that there might be distinct patterns of functional decline in the last years of life depending on the condition leading to death, but the validity of these results and hence the explanatory value of the condition leading to death for late-life disability are uncertain.
Methods: A total of 636 decedents from a cohort of 754 community-living persons, 70+ years of age (Yale PEP Study) provided 33 700 monthly observations of self-/proxy-reported disability during the last 5 years of life. Nonlinear trajectories and short-term fluctuations of late-life disability by condition leading to death (cancer, organ failure, frailty, severe dementia, sudden death, other) were estimated with flexible mixed spline regression models.
Results: Disability trajectories at the end of life varied distinctively by the condition leading to death. Estimated disability trajectories among cancer deaths increased gradually up until about 6 months before death, after which a steep terminal decline set in. Among those with organ failure, frailty, and dementia, in contrast, disability was higher, increased more gradually, and there was no clear-cut terminal phase. Adding the condition leading to death to other known risk factors increased the amount of explained between-person variation in late-life disability from R2 = 0.35 to 0.49. Short-term fluctuations in disability were not specific for decedents with organ failure.
Conclusions: The condition leading to death is an important determinant of trajectories of late-life disability. These trajectories follow distinct patterns partially resembling a previously outlined theoretical typology.
BACKGROUND: Disparities in the utilization, expenditures, and quality of care by insurance types have been well documented. Such comparisons have yet to be investigated in end-of-life (EOL) settings in China, where public insurance covers over 95% of the Chinese population. This study examined the associations between health insurance and EOL care in the last six months of life: outpatient visits, emergency department (ED) visits, inpatient services, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, expenditures, and place of death among the cancer patients.
METHODS: A total of 398 patients diagnosed with cancer who survived more than 6 months after diagnosis and died from July 2015 to June 2017 in urban Yichang, China, were included. Descriptive analysis and multivariate regression models were used to investigate the bivariate and independent associations, respectively, between health insurance with EOL healthcare utilization, expenditures and place of death.
RESULTS: Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) beneficiaries visited EDs more frequently than Urban Resident-based Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI) and New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NRCMS) beneficiaries (marginal effects [95% Confidence Interval]: 2.15 [1.81-2.48] and 1.92 [1.59-2.26], respectively). NRCMS and UEBMI beneficiaries had more hospitalizations than URBMI beneficiaries (1.01 [0.38-1.64] and 0.71 [0.20-1.22], respectively). Compared to URBMI beneficiaries, NRCMS beneficiaries and UEBMI beneficiaries had ¥15,722 and ¥43,241 higher expenditures. Similarly, UEBMI beneficiaries were most likely to die in hospitals, followed by NRCMS (UEBMI vs. NRCMS: 0.23 [0.11-0.36]) and URBMI (UEBMI vs. URBMI: 0.67 [0.57-0.78]) beneficiaries.
CONCLUSIONS: The disproportionately lower utilization of EOL care among NRCMS and URBMI beneficiaries, compared to UEBMI beneficiaries, raised concerns regarding quality of EOL care and financial burdens of NRCMS and URBMI beneficiaries. Purposive hospice care intervention might be warranted to address EOL care for these beneficiaries in China.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses clinicians for advance care planning (ACP) discussions with Medicare patients. The objective of the study was to examine the association of CMS-billed ACP visits with end-of-life (EOL) healthcare utilization.
DESIGN: Patient-level analyses of claims for the random 20% Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) sample of decedents in 2017. To account for multiple comparisons, Bonferroni adjusted P value <.008 was considered statistically significant.
SETTING: Nationally representative sample of Medicare FFS beneficiaries.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 237,989 Medicare FFS beneficiaries who died in 2017 and included those with and without a billed ACP visit during 2016–17.
INTERVENTION: The key exposure variable was receipt of first billed ACP (none, >1 month before death).
MEASUREMENTS: Six measures of EOL healthcare utilization or intensity (inpatient admission, emergency department [ED] visit, intensive care unit [ICU] stay, and expenditures within 30 days of death, in-hospital death, and first hospice within 3 days of death). Analyses was adjusted for age, race, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Index, expenditure by Dartmouth hospital referral region (high, medium, or low), and dual eligibility.
RESULTS: Overall, 6.3% (14,986) of the sample had at least one billed ACP visit. After multivariable adjustment, patients with an ACP visit experienced significantly less intensive EOL care on four of six measures: hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] = .77; 95% confidence interval [CI] = .74–.79), ED visit (OR = .77; 95% CI = .75–.80), or ICU stay (OR = .78; 95% CI = .74–.81) within a month of death; and they were less likely to die in the hospital (OR = .79; 95% CI = .76–.82). There were no differences in the rate of late hospice enrollment (OR = .97; 95% CI = .92–1.01; P = .119) or mean expenditures ($242.50; 95% CI = -$103.63 to $588.61; P = .169).
CONCLUSION: Billed ACP visits were relatively uncommon among Medicare FFS decedents, but their occurrence was associated with less intensive EOL utilization. Further research on the variables affecting hospice use and expenditures in the EOL period is recommended to understand the relative role of ACP.
Background: This retrospective cohort study aims to define the clinical findings and outcomes of every patient admitted to a district general hospital in Surrey with COVID-19 in March 2020, providing a snapshot of the first wave of infection in the UK. This study is the first detailed insight into the impact of frailty markers on patient outcomes and provides the infection rate among healthcare workers.
Methods: Data were obtained from medical records. Outcome measures were level of oxygen therapy, discharge and death. Patients were followed up until 21 April 2020.
Results: 108 patients were included. 34 (31%) died in hospital or were discharged for palliative care. 43% of patients aged over 65 died. The commonest comorbidities were hypertension (49; 45%) and diabetes (25; 23%). Patients who died were older (mean difference ±SEM, 13.76±3.12 years; p<0.0001) with a higher NEWS2 score (median 6, IQR 2.5–7.5 vs median 2, IQR 2–6) and worse renal function (median differences: urea 2.7 mmol/L, p<0.01; creatinine 4 µmol/L, p<0.05; eGFR 14 mL/min, p<0.05) on admission compared with survivors. Frailty markers were identified as risk factors for death. Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) was higher in patients over 65 who died than in survivors (median 5, IQR 4–6 vs 3.5, IQR 2–5; p<0.01). Troponin and creatine kinase levels were higher in patients who died than in those who recovered (p<0.0001). Lymphopenia was common (median 0.8, IQR 0.6–1.2; p<0.005). Every patient with heart failure died (8). 26 (24%) were treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP; median 3 days, IQR 2–7.3) and 9 (8%) were intubated (median 14 days, IQR 7–21). All patients who died after discharge (4; 6%) were care home residents. 276 of 699 hospital staff tested were positive for COVID-19.
Conclusions: This study identifies older patients with frailty as being particularly vulnerable and reinforces government policy to protect this group at all costs.
BACKGROUND: Managing transition of adolescents/young adults with life-limiting conditions from children's to adult services has become a global health and social care issue. Suboptimal transitions from children's to adult services can lead to measurable adverse outcomes. Interventions are emerging but there is little theory to guide service developments aimed at improving transition. The Transition to Adult Services for Young Adults with Life-limiting conditions (TAYSL study) included development of the TASYL Transition Theory, which describes eight interventions which can help prepare services and adolescents/young adults with life-limiting conditions for a successful transition. We aimed to assess the usefulness of the TASYL Transition Theory in a Canadian context to identify interventions, mechanisms and contextual factors associated with a successful transition from children's to adult services for adolescents/young adults; and to discover new theoretical elements that might modify the TASYL Theory.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey focused on organisational approaches to transition was distributed to three organisations providing services to adolescents with life-limiting conditions in Toronto, Canada. This data was mapped to the TASYL Transition Theory to identify corresponding and new theoretical elements.
RESULTS: Invitations were sent to 411 potentially eligible health care professionals with 56 responses from across the three participating sites. The results validated three of the eight interventions: early start to the transition process; developing adolescent/young adult autonomy; and the role of parents/carers; with partial support for the remaining five. One new intervention was identified: effective communication between healthcare professionals and the adolescent/young adult and their parents/carers. There was also support for contextual factors including those related to staff knowledge and attitudes, and a lack of time to provide transition services centred on the adolescent/young adult. Some mechanisms were supported, including the adolescent/young adult gaining confidence in relationships with service providers and in decision-making.
CONCLUSIONS: The Transition Theory travelled well between Ireland and Toronto, indicating its potential to guide both service development and research in different contexts. Future research could include studies with adult service providers; qualitative work to further explicate mechanisms and contextual factors; and use the theory prospectively to develop and test new or modified interventions to improve transition.
Background: Difficulties in prognostication are common deterrents to palliative care among dementia patients. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of palliative care in reducing the extent of utilization of medical services and the potential risk factors of mortality among dementia patients receiving palliative care.
Methods: We surveyed dementia patients involved in a palliative care program at a long-term care facility in Taipei, Taiwan. We enrolled 57 patients with advanced dementia (clinical dementia rating = 5 or functional assessment staging test stage 7b). We then compared the extent of their utilization of medical services before and after the provision of palliative care. Based on multivariable logistic regression, we identified potential risk factors before and after the provision of palliative care associated with 6-month mortality.
Results: The utilization of medical services was significantly lower among dementia patients after the provision of palliative care than before, including visits to medical departments (p < 0.001), medications prescribed (p < 0.001), frequency of hospitalization (p < 0.001), and visits to the emergency room (p < 0.001). Moreover, patients dying within 6 months after the palliative care program had a slightly but not significantly higher number of admissions before receiving hospice care (p = 0.058) on univariate analysis. However, no significant differences were observed in multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: The provision of palliative care to dementia patients reduces the extent of utilization of medical services. However, further studies with larger patient cohorts are required to stratify the potential risk factors of mortality in this patient group.
Importance: Although hospice use is increasing and patients in the US are increasingly dying at home, racial disparities in treatment intensity at the end of life, including hospice use, remain.
Objective: To examine differences between Black and White patients in end-of-life care in a population sample with well-characterized causes of death.
Design, Setting, and Participants: This study used data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, an ongoing population-based cohort study with enrollment between January 25, 2003, and October 3, 2007, with linkage to Medicare claims data. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine racial and regional differences in end-of-life outcomes and in stroke mortality among 1212 participants with fee-for-service Medicare who died between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2015, owing to natural causes and excluding sudden death, with oversampling of Black individuals and residents of Southeastern states in the United States. Initial analyses were conducted in March 2019, and final primary analyses were conducted in February 2020.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes of interest were hospice use of 3 or more days in the last 6 months of life derived from Medicare claims files. Other outcomes included multiple hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and use of intensive procedures in the last 6 months of life. Cause of death was adjudicated by an expert panel of clinicians using death certificates, proxy interviews, autopsy reports, and medical records.
Results: The sample consisted of 1212 participants (630 men [52.0%]; 378 Black individuals [31.2%]; mean [SD] age at death, 81.0 [8.6] years) of 2542 total deaths. Black decedents were less likely than White decedents to use hospice for 3 or more days (132 of 378 [34.9%] vs 385 of 834 [46.2%]; P < .001). After stratification by cause of death, substantial racial differences in treatment intensity and service use were found among persons who died of cardiovascular disease but not among patients who died of cancer. In analyses adjusted for cause of death (dementia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other) and clinical and demographic variables, Black decedents were significantly less likely to use 3 or more days of hospice (odds ratio [OR], 0.72; 95% CI, 0.54-0.96) and were more likely to have multiple emergency department visits (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.01-1.80) and hospitalizations (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.02-1.89) and undergo intensive treatment (OR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.40-2.70) in the last 6 months of life compared with White decedents.
Conclusions and Relevance: Despite the increase in the use of hospice care in recent decades, racial disparities in the use of hospice remain, especially for noncancer deaths. More research is required to better understand racial disparities in access to and quality of end-of-life care.
Research suggests variation in how grief develops across time, and gender may account for some of this variation. However, gender differences in growth patterns of the newly codified ICD-11 prolonged grief disorder (PGD) are unknown. This study examined gender-specific variances in grief trajectories in a registry-sampled cohort of 857 spousal bereaved individuals (69.8% female). Participants completed self-report questionnaires of PGD symptoms at 2, 6, and 11 months post-loss. Using Growth Mixture Modeling, four PGD trajectories emerged: resilient characterized by low symptoms (64.4%), moderate-stable characterized by moderate symptoms (20.4%), recovery characterized by elevated symptoms showing a decrease over time (8.4%), and prolonged grief characterized by continuous elevated symptoms (6.8%). Similar proportions of men and women comprised the four trajectories. Gender influenced the parameter estimates of the prolonged grief trajectory as men evidenced more baseline symptoms (higher intercept) than women did and a decreasing symptom-level (negative slope), while women showed symptom-increase over time (positive slope). The prolonged grief trajectory captured the largest proportion of probable PGD cases in both genders. Low optimism and low mental health predicted membership in this class. Altogether, the absolute majority of both men and women followed a low-symptom resilient trajectory. While a comparable minority followed a high-symptom prolonged grief trajectory, men and women within this trajectory expressed varying symptom development. Men expressed prolonged grief as an acute, decreasing reaction, whereas women showed an adjourned, mounting grief reaction. This study suggests that gender may influence symptom development in highly distressed individuals across early bereavement.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine site of death and hospice use, identifying potential disparities among veterans dying in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Based Primary Care (VA-HBPC).
METHODS: Administrative data (2008, 2012, and 2016) were compiled using the VA Residential-History-File which tracks health care service location, daily. Outcomes were site of death [home, nursing home (NH), hospital, inpatient hospice]; and hospice use on the day of death. We compared VA-HBPC rates to rates of 2 decedent benchmarks: VA patients and 5% Traditional Medicare non-veteran males. Potential age, race, urban/rural residence and living alone status disparities in rates among veterans dying in VA-HBPC in 2016 were examined by multinomial logistic regression.
RESULTS: In 2016, 7796 veterans died in VA-HBPC of whom 62.1% died at home, 11.8% in NHs, 14.7% in hospitals and 11.4% in inpatient hospice. Hospice was provided to 60.9% of veterans dying at home and 63.9% of veterans dying in NH. Over the 2008-2012-2016 period, rates of VA-HBPC veterans who died at home and rates of home death with hospice increased and were higher than both benchmarks. Among VA-HBPC decedents, younger/older veterans were more/less likely to die at home and less/more likely to die with hospice. Race/ethnicity and urban/rural residence were unrelated to death at home but veterans living alone were less likely to die at home.
CONCLUSIONS: Results reflect VA-HBPC's primary goal of supporting its veterans at home, including at the end-of-life, surpassing other population benchmarks with some potential disparities remaining.
Background: Current policies recommend integrating home care and palliative care to enable patients to remain at home and avoid unnecessary hospital admission and emergency department (ED) visits. The Italian health care system had implemented integrated palliative home care (IHPC) services to guarantee a comprehensive, coordinated approach across different actors and to reduce potentially avoidable ED visits. This study aimed to analyze the trajectories of ED visit rates among patients receiving IHPC in the Italian healthcare system, as well as the association between socio-demographic, health supply, and clinical factors.
Methods: A pooled, cross-sectional, time series analysis was performed in a large Italian region in the period 2013–2017. Data were taken from two databases of the official Italian National Information System: Home Care Services and ED use. A clinical record is opened at the time a patient is enrolled in IHPC and closed after the last service is provided. Every such clinical record was considered as an IHPC event, and only ED visits that occurred during IHPC events were considered.
Results: The 20,611 patients enrolled in IHPC during the study period contributed 23,085 IHPC events; =1 ED visit occurred during 6046 of these events. Neoplasms accounted for 89% of IHPC events and for 91% of ED visits. Although there were different variations in ED visit rates during the study period, a slight decline was observed for all diseases, and this decline accelerated over time (b = - 0.18, p = 0.796, 95% confidence interval [CI] = - 1.59;1.22, b-squared = - 1.25, p < 0.001, 95% CI = -1.63;-0.86). There were no significant predictors among the socio-demographic factors (sex, age, presence of a non-family caregiver, cohabitant family members, distance from ED), health supply factors (proponent of IHPC) and clinical factors (prevalent disorder at IHPC entry, clinical symptoms).
Conclusion: Our results show that use of ED continues after enrollment in IHPC, but the trend of this use declines over time. As no significant predictive factors were identified, no specific interventions can be recommended on which the avoidable ED visits depend.