OBJECTIVE: To measure the associations between newly initiated palliative care in the last six months of life, healthcare use, and location of death in adults dying from non-cancer illness, and to compare these associations with those in adults who die from cancer at a population level.
DESIGN: Population based matched cohort study.
SETTING: Ontario, Canada between 2010 and 2015.
PARTICIPANTS: 113 540 adults dying from cancer and non-cancer illness who were given newly initiated physician delivered palliative care in the last six months of life administered across all healthcare settings. Linked health administrative data were used to directly match patients on cause of death, hospital frailty risk score, presence of metastatic cancer, residential location (according to 1 of 14 local health integration networks that organise all healthcare services in Ontario), and a propensity score to receive palliative care that was derived by using age and sex.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rates of emergency department visits, admissions to hospital, and admissions to the intensive care unit, and odds of death at home versus in hospital after first palliative care visit, adjusted for patient characteristics (such as age, sex, and comorbidities).
RESULTS: In patients dying from non-cancer illness related to chronic organ failure (such as heart failure, cirrhosis, and stroke), palliative care was associated with reduced rates of emergency department visits (crude rate 1.9 (standard deviation 6.2) v 2.9 (8.7) per person year; adjusted rate ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 0.91), admissions to hospital (crude rate 6.1 (standard deviation 10.2) v 8.7 (12.6) per person year; adjusted rate ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.86 to 0.91), and admissions to the intensive care unit (crude rate 1.4 (standard deviation 5.9) v 2.9 (8.7) per person year; adjusted rate ratio 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.56 to 0.62) compared with those who did not receive palliative care. Additionally increased odds of dying at home or in a nursing home compared with dying in hospital were found in these patients (n=6936 (49.5%) v n=9526 (39.6%); adjusted odds ratio 1.67, 95% confidence interval 1.60 to 1.74). Overall, in patients dying from dementia, palliative care was associated with increased rates of emergency department visits (crude rate 1.2 (standard deviation 4.9) v 1.3 (5.5) per person year; adjusted rate ratio 1.06, 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.12) and admissions to hospital (crude rate 3.6 (standard deviation 8.2) v 2.8 (7.8) per person year; adjusted rate ratio 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.27 to 1.39), and reduced odds of dying at home or in a nursing home (n=6667 (72.1%) v n=13 384 (83.5%); adjusted odds ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval 0.64 to 0.73). However, these rates differed depending on whether patients dying with dementia lived in the community or in a nursing home. No association was found between healthcare use and palliative care for patients dying from dementia who lived in the community, and these patients had increased odds of dying at home.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the potential benefits of palliative care in some non-cancer illnesses. Increasing access to palliative care through sustained investment in physician training and current models of collaborative palliative care could improve end-of-life care, which might have important implications for health policy.
Background: Many people with terminal illness prefer to die in home-like settings—including care homes, hospices, or palliative care units—rather than an acute care hospital. Home-based palliative care services can increase the likelihood of death in a community setting, but the provision of these services may increase costs relative to usual care.
Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the incremental cost per community death for persons enrolled in end-of-life home care in Ontario, Canada, who died between 2011 and 2015.
Methods: Using a population-based cohort of 50,068 older adults, we determined the total cost of care in the last 90 days of life, as well as the incremental cost to achieve an additional community death for persons enrolled in end-of-life home care, in comparison with propensity score–matched individuals under usual care (ie, did not receive home care services in the last 90 days of life).
Results: Recipients of end-of-life home care were nearly 3 times more likely to experience a community death than individuals not receiving home care services, and the incremental cost to achieve an additional community death through the provision of end-of-life home care was CAN$995 (95% confidence interval: -$547 to $2392).
Conclusion: Results suggest that a modest investment in end-of-life home care has the potential to improve the dying experience of community-dwelling older adults by enabling fewer deaths in acute care hospitals.
CONTEXT: Although the literature on transitions from hospital to the community is extensive, little is known about this experience within the context of palliative care (PC).
OBJECTIVE: We conducted a systematic review to investigate the impact of receiving palliative care in hospital on the transition from hospital to the community.
METHODS: We systematically searched MEDLINE, Embase, ProQuest and CINAHL from 1995 until April 10, 2018, and extracted relevant references. Eligible articles were published in English, included adult patients receiving PC as inpatients and explored transitions from hospital to the community.
RESULTS: 1514 studies were identified and 8 met inclusion criteria. Studies were published recently (>2012; n=7, 88%). Specialist PC interventions were delivered by multi-disciplinary care teams as part of inpatient PC triggers, discharge planning programs, and transitional care programs. Common outcomes reported with significant findings consisted of length of stay (n=5), discharge support (n=5), and hospital readmissions (n=6) for those who received inpatient PC. Most studies were at high risk of bias.
CONCLUSION: Heterogeneity of study designs, outcomes, findings, and poor methodological quality render it challenging to draw conclusions regarding PC's impact on the transition from hospital to home. Further research should use standardized outcomes with randomized controlled trial and/or propensity matched cohort designs.
Purpose:To describe prevalence and characteristics associated with family physician and general practitioner (FP/GP) provision of home palliative care (HPC).
Methods:We surveyed FP/GPs in an urban health region of Ontario, Canada, to determine their current involvement in HPC, the nature of services provided, and perceived barriers and enablers.
Results:A total of 1439 surveys were mailed. Of the 302 FP/GP respondents, 295 provided replies regarding engagement in HPC: 101 of 295 (33%) provided HPC, 76 (26%) were engageable with further support, and 118 (40%) were not engageable regardless of support. The most substantial barrier was time to provide home visits (81%). Engaged FP/GPs were most likely to be working with another physician providing HPC (P < .0001). Engageable FP/GPs were younger (P = .007) and placed greater value on improved remuneration (P < .001) than the other groups. Nonengageable physicians were most likely to view time as a barrier (P < .0001) and to lack interest in PC (P = .03).
Conclusion:One-third of FP/GPs provide HPC. A cohort of younger physicians could be engageable with adequate support. Integrated practices including collaboration with specialist PC colleagues should be encouraged and supported.