BACKGROUND: Home is often deemed to be the preferred place of death for most patients. Knowing the factors related to the actualization of a preferred home death may yield evidence to enhance the organization and delivery of healthcare services.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to measure the congruence between a preferred and actualized home death among cancer patients in receipt of home-based palliative care in Canada and explore predictors of actualizing a preferred home death.
METHODS: A longitudinal prospective cohort design was conducted. A total of 290 caregivers were interviewed biweekly over the course of patients' palliative care trajectory between July 2010 and August 2012. Cross-tabulations and multivariate analyses were used in the analysis.
RESULTS: Home was the most preferred place of death, and 68% of patients who had voiced a preference for home death had their wish fulfilled. Care context variables, such as living with others and the intensity of home-based nursing visits and hours of care provided by personal support workers (PSW), contributed to actualizing a preferred home death. The intensity of emergency department visits was associated with a lower likelihood of achieving a preferred home death.
CONCLUSIONS: Higher intensity of home-based nursing visits and hours of PSW care contribute to the actualization of a preferred home death.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study has implications for policy decision-makers and healthcare managers. Improving and expanding the provision of home-based PSW and nursing services in palliative home care programs may help patients to actualize a preferred home death.
Very little is known about the characteristics of the Medicare beneficiaries receiving hospice at home, defined using the Medicare Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System codes, as a traditional home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. A secondary analysis of 2015 Medicare data using regression to describe the characteristics of decedents (n = 675 782) in hospice residing in a traditional home, an assisted living facility, and a nursing home was completed. Results suggest that the proportion of Medicare decedents in hospice with more than 180 lifetime days in hospice was highest among those who resided in an assisted living facility (25.03%) compared with those who resided in a nursing home (18.87%) or in a traditional home (13.04%). Regression findings suggest that, compared with decedents in hospice without dementia who resided in a traditional home, decedents in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia were more likely to reside in an assisted living facility (adjusted odds ratio, 2.29; P < .0001) when controlling for other factors. In summary, decedents in hospice who resided in a traditional home have different characteristics than decedents who resided in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Interdisciplinary providers should consider these differences when managing hospice interventions.
BACKGROUND/AIM: Previous studies have shown discrepancies between patient's desired and actual death place. As planning of family support and involvement of palliative home care teams seem to improve the chance to meet patients preferences, geographical availability of specialized palliative home care could influence place of death.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data of patients diagnosed and deceased between January 2011 until December 2014 with lung, brain, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer was collected from Swedish national registers and multiple regression analyses were performed.
RESULTS: Patients with lung, brain, colorectal, and prostate cancer who resided in rural municipalities had a higher likelihood of dying at home than dying in hospital settings, compared to those who lived in urban areas.
CONCLUSION: Patients in Sweden, with the exception of breast cancer patients, have a higher likelihood of home death than inpatient hospital death when residing in rural areas compared to when residing in urban areas.
Through a systematic review and meta-analyses, we aimed to determine predictors for place of death among children. We searched online databases for studies published between 2008 and 2019 comprising original quantitative data on predictors for place of death among children. Data regarding study design, population characteristics and results were extracted from each study. Meta-analyses were conducted using generic inverse variance method with random effects. Fourteen cohort studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising data on 106,788 decedents. Proportions of home death varied between countries and regions from 7% to 45%. Lower age was associated with higher odds of hospital death in eight studies (meta-analysis was not possible). Children categorised as non-white were less likely to die at home compared to white (pooled OR 0.6; 95% CI 0.5-0.7) as were children of low socio-economic position versus high (pooled OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.6-0.9). Compared to patients with cancer, children with non-cancer diagnoses had lower odds of home death (pooled OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.5-0.5).
Conclusion: Country and region of residence, older age of the child, high socio-economic position, 'white' ethnicity and cancer diagnoses appear to be independent predictors of home death among children.
What is Known: ; Home is often considered an indicator of quality in end-of-life care. ; Most terminally ill children die in hospitals.
What is New: ; Through a systematic review and meta-analyses, this study examined predictors for place of death among children. ; Country and region of residence, older age of the child, high socio-economic position, white ethnicity and having a cancer diagnosis appear to be independent predictors of home death among terminally ill children.
Topic: A substantial number of patients die in the intensive care unit, so high-quality end-of-life care is an important part of intensive care unit work. However, end-of-life care varies because of lack of knowledge of best practices.
Clinical Relevance: Research shows that high-quality end-of-life care is possible in an intensive care unit. This article encourages nurses to be imaginative and take an individual approach to provide the best possible end-of-life care for patients and their family members.
Purpose of Paper: To provide recommendations for high-quality end-of-life care for patients and family members.
Content Covered: This article touches on the following domains: end-of-life decision-making, place to die, patient comfort, family presence in the intensive care unit, visiting children, family needs, preparing the family, staff presence, when the patient dies, after-death care of the family, and caring for staff.
Background: Palliative care has been widely implemented in clinical practice for patients with cancer but is not routinely provided to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Aim: The study aims were to compare palliative care services, medications, life-sustaining interventions, place of death, symptom burden and health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer populations.
Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis (PROSPERO: CRD42019139425).
Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched for studies comparing palliative care, symptom burden or health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or populations with both conditions. Quality scores were assigned using the QualSyst tool.
Results: Nineteen studies were included. There was significant heterogeneity in study design and sample size. A random effects meta-analysis ( n = 3–7) determined that people with lung cancer had higher odds of receiving hospital (odds ratio: 9.95, 95% confidence interval: 6.37–15.55, p < 0.001) or home-based palliative care (8.79, 6.76–11.43, p < 0.001), opioids (4.76, 1.87–12.11, p = 0.001), sedatives (2.03, 1.78–2.32, p < 0.001) and dying at home (1.47, 1.14–1.89, p = 0.003) compared to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with lung cancer had lower odds of receiving invasive ventilation (0.26, 0.22–0.32, p < 0.001), non-invasive ventilation (0.63, 0.44–0.89, p = 0.009), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (0.29, 0.18–0.47, p < 0.001) or dying at a nursing home/long-term care facility (0.32, 0.16–0.64, p < 0.001) than people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Symptom burden and health-related quality of life were relatively similar between the two populations.
Conclusion: People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receive less palliative measures at the end of life compared to people with lung cancer, despite a relatively similar symptom profile.
Background: As the mortality attributable to dementia-related diseases in the United States escalates, providing quality and equitable end-of-life care for dementia patients across care settings has become a major public health challenge. Previous research suggests that place of death may be an indicator of quality of end-of-life care. This study aims to examine the geographical variations and temporal trends in place of death of dementia decedents in the US and the relationships between place of death of dementia decedents and broad structural determinants.
Methods: Using nationwide death certificates between 2000 and 2014, we described the changes in place of death of dementia decedents across states and over time. Chi-square test for trend in proportions was used to test significant linear trend in the proportion of dementia decedents at difference places. State fixed effects models were estimated to assess the relationships between the proportion of dementia decedents at difference places and state-level factors, particularly availability of care facility resources and public health insurance expenditures.
Results: Dementia decedents were more likely to die at home and other places and less likely to die at institutional settings over the study period. There was wide inter-state and temporal variability in the proportions of deaths at different places. Among state-level factors, availability of nursing home beds was positively associated with rates of nursing home/long term care deaths and negatively associated with rates of home deaths. Medicaid expenditure on institutional long term supports and services was positively associated with rates of nursing home/long term care deaths and negatively associated with rates of home deaths. Medicaid expenditure on home and community based services, however, had a positive association with rates of home deaths.
Conclusions: There was a persistent shift in the place of death of dementia decedents from institutions to homes and communities. Increased investments in home and community based health services may help dementia patients to die at their homes. As home becomes an increasingly common place of death of dementia patients, it is critical to monitor the quality of end-of-life care at this setting.
Background: Increasing utilisation of hospice services has been a major focus in oncology, while only recently have cardiologists realised the similar needs of dying patients with heart failure (HF). We examined recent trends in locations of deaths in these two patient populations to gain further insight.
Methods: Complete population-level data were obtained from the Mortality Multiple Cause-of-Death Public Use Record from the National Center for Health Statistics database, from 2013 to 2017. Location of death was categorised as hospital, home, hospice facility or nursing facility. Demographic characteristics evaluated by place of death included age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status and education, and a multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to analyse possible associations.
Results: Among 2 780 715 deaths from cancer, 27% occurred in-hospital and 14% in nursing facilities; while among 335 350 HF deaths, 27% occurred in-hospital and 30% in nursing facilities. Deaths occurred at hospice facilities in 14% of patients with cancer, compared with just 8.7% in HF (p=0.001). For both patients with HF and cancer, the proportion of at-home and in-hospice deaths increased significantly over time, with majority of deaths occurring at home. In both cancer and HF, patients of non-Hispanic ethnicity (cancer: OR 1.29, (1.27 to 1.31), HF: OR 1.14, (1.07 to 1.22)) and those with some college education (cancer: OR 1.10, (1.09 to 1.11); HF: OR 1.06, (1.04 to 1.09)) were significantly more likely to die in hospice.
Conclusion: Deaths in hospital or nursing facilities still account for nearly half of cancer or HF deaths. Although positive trends were seen with utilisation of hospice facilities in both groups, usage remains low and much remains to be achieved in both patient populations.
OBJECTIVE: To identify and synthesise existing literature exploring the impact of relational and informational continuity of care on preferred place of death, hospital admissions and satisfaction for palliative care patients in qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods literature.
DESIGN: A mixed methods rapid review.
METHODS: PUBMED, PsychINFO, CINAHL were searched from June 2008 to June 2018 in order to identify original peer reviewed, primary qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods research exploring the impact of continuity of care for people receiving palliative care. Synthesis methods as outlined by the Cochrane Qualitative and Implementation Methods Group were applied to qualitative studies while meta-analyses for quantitative data were planned.
OUTCOMES: The impact of interventions designed to promote continuity of care for people receiving palliative care on the following outcomes was explored: achieving preferred place of death, satisfaction with care and avoidable hospital admissions.
RESULTS: 18 eligible papers were identified (11 qualitative, 6 quantitative and 1 mixed methods papers). In all, 1951 patients and 190 family caregivers were recruited across included studies. Meta-analyses were not possible due to heterogeneity in outcome measures and tools used. Two studies described positive impact on facilitating preferred place of death. Four described a reduction in avoidable hospital admissions. No negative impacts of interventions designed to promote continuity were reported. Patient satisfaction was not assessed in quantitative studies. Participants described a significant impact on their experiences as a result of the lack of informational and relational continuity.
CONCLUSIONS: This rapid review highlights the impact that continuity of care can have on the experiences of patients receiving palliative care. The evidence for the impact of continuity on place of death and hospital admissions is limited. Methods for enhancing, and recording continuity should be considered in the design and development of future healthcare interventions to support people receiving palliative care.
Objectives: Hospital death is comparatively common in people with haematological cancers, but little is known about patient preferences. This study investigated actual and preferred place of death, concurrence between these and characteristics of preferred place discussions.
Methods: Set within a population-based haematological malignancy patient cohort, adults (=18 years) diagnosed 2004–2012 who died 2011–2012 were included (n=963). Data were obtained via routine linkages (date, place and cause of death) and abstraction of hospital records (diagnosis, demographics, preferred place discussions). Logistic regression investigated associations between patient and clinical factors and place of death, and factors associated with the likelihood of having a preferred place discussion.
Results: Of 892 patients (92.6%) alive 2 weeks after diagnosis, 58.0% subsequently died in hospital (home, 20.0%; care home, 11.9%; hospice, 10.2%). A preferred place discussion was documented for 453 patients (50.8%). Discussions were more likely in women (p=0.003), those referred to specialist palliative care (p<0.001), and where cause of death was haematological cancer (p<0.001); and less likely in those living in deprived areas (p=0.005). Patients with a discussion were significantly (p<0.05) less likely to die in hospital. Last recorded preferences were: home (40.6%), hospice (18.1%), hospital (17.7%) and care home (14.1%); two-thirds died in their final preferred place. Multiple discussions occurred for 58.3% of the 453, with preferences varying by proximity to death and participants in the discussion.
Conclusion: Challenges remain in ensuring that patients are supported to have meaningful end-of-life discussions, with healthcare services that are able to respond to changing decisions over time.
Understanding the temporal trends in the place of death among patients in receipt of home-based palliative care can help direct health policies and planning of health resources. This paper aims to assess the temporal trends in place of death and its determinants over the past decade for patients receiving home-based palliative care. This paper also examines the impact of early referral to home-based palliative care services on patient's place of death. Survey data collected in a home-based end-of-life care program in Toronto, Canada from 2005 to 2015 were analysed using a multivariate logistic model. The results suggest that the place of death for patients in receipt of home-based palliative care has changed over time, with more patients dying at home over 2006-2015 when compared to 2005. Also, early referral to home-based palliative care services may not increase a patient's likelihood of home death. Understanding the temporal shifts of place of death and the associated factors is essential for effective improvements in home-based palliative care programs and the development of end-of-life care policies.
Background: factors associated with place of death inform policies with respect to allocating end-of-life care resources and tailoring supportive measures.
Objective: To determine factors associated with non-hospital deaths among cancer patients.
Design: Retrospective cohort study of cancer decedents, examining factors associated with non-hospital deaths using multinomial logistic regression with hospital deaths as the reference category.
Setting/subjects: Cancer patients (n = 15254) in Singapore who died during the study period from January 1, 2012 till December 31, 2105 at home, acute hospital, long-term care (LTC) or hospice were included.
Results: Increasing age (categories =65 years: RRR 1.25–2.61), female (RRR 1.40; 95% CI 1.28–1.52), Malays (RRR 1.67; 95% CI 1.47–1.89), Brain malignancy (RRR 1.92; 95% CI 1.15–3.23), metastatic disease (RRR 1.33–2.01) and home palliative care (RRR 2.11; 95% CI 1.95–2.29) were associated with higher risk of home deaths. Patients with low socioeconomic status were more likely to have hospice or LTC deaths: those living in smaller housing types had higher risk of dying in hospice (1–4 rooms apartment: RRR 1.13–3.17) or LTC (1–5 rooms apartment: RRR 1.36–4.11); and those with Medifund usage had higher risk of dying in LTC (RRR 1.74; 95% CI 1.36–2.21). Patients with haematological malignancies had increased risk of dying in hospital (categories of haematological subtypes: RRR 0.06–0.87).
Conclusions: We found key sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with non-hospital deaths in cancer patients. More can be done to enable patients to die in the community and with dignity rather than in a hospital.
BACKGROUND: Valuable information for planning future end-of-life care (EOLC) services and care facilities can be gained by studying trends in place of death (POD). Scarce data exist on the POD in small developing countries. This study aims to examine shifts in the POD of all persons dying between 1999 and 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago, to draw conclusions about changes in the distribution of POD over time and the possible implications for EOLC practice and policy.
METHODS: A population-level analysis of routinely collected death certificate data of the most recent available fully coded years at the time of the study-1999 to 2010. Observed proportions for the POD of all deaths were standardised according to the age, sex and cause of death distribution in 1999. Trends for a subgroup of persons who died from causes indicative of a palliative care (PC) need were also examined.
RESULTS: The proportion of deaths in government hospitals increased from 48.9% to 55.4% and decreased from 38.7% to 29.7% at private homes. There was little variation between observed and standardised rates. The decrease in home deaths was stronger when the PC subcategory was considered, most notably from cancer.
CONCLUSION: Internationally, the proportion of deaths at institutions is increasing. A national strategy on palliative and EOLC is needed to facilitate the increasing number of people who seek EOLC at government hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago, including an investigation into the reasons for the trend. Alternatives to accommodate out-of-hospital deaths can be considered.
Objectives: Identifying the preferred place of death for children/young people with cancer and determining whether this is achieved is pertinent to inform palliative care service provision. The aims of this retrospective case series review were to determine where children/young people with cancer want to die and whether their preferred place of death was achieved.
Methods: Clinical/demographic details, including preferred and actual places of death, were recorded for 121 patients who died between 2012 and 2016 at a tertiary haematology–oncology centre. A logistic regression model was used to determine the odds of achieving the preferred place of death in patient subgroups.
Results: 74 (61%) patients had a documented discussion regarding place of death preference. Where a preferred location was identified, 72% achieved it. All patients who wanted to die in the hospital (n=17) or a hospice (n=9) did, but only 58% of patients who wanted to die at home (n=40) achieved this. Of the 42% (n=17) who wanted to die at home but did not, 59% of these were due to rapid deterioration in clinical status shortly after the discussion. Having supportive treatment in the last month of life was associated with increased odds of achieving the preferred place of death versus those who were undergoing chemotherapy/radiotherapy (OR 3.19, 95% CI 1.04 to 9.80, p value=0.04).
Conclusion: Where hospice/hospital was chosen as the preferred place of death, this was always achieved. Achieving home as the preferred place of death was more challenging and frequently prevented by rapid clinical deterioration. Clinicians should be encouraged to address end-of-life preferences at an early stage, with information provided adequately. Further research should explore implications of these findings on both end-of-life experience and overall service provision.
Background: In order to avoid unnecessary use of hospital services at the end-of-life, palliative care should be initiated early enough in order to have sufficient time to initiate and carry out good quality advance care planning (ACP). This single center study assesses the impact of the PC decision and its timing on the use of hospital services at EOL and the place of death.
Methods: A randomly chosen cohort of 992 cancer patients treated in a tertiary hospital between Jan 2013 –Dec 2014, who were deceased by the end of 2014, were selected from the total number of 2737 identified from the hospital database. The PC decision (the decision to terminate life-prolonging anticancer treatments and focus on symptom centered palliative care) and use of PC unit services were studied in relation to emergency department (ED) visits, hospital inpatient days and place of death.
Results: A PC decision was defined for 82% of the patients and 37% visited a PC unit. The earlier the PC decision was made, the more often patients had an appointment at the PC unit (> 180 days prior to death 72% and < 14 days 10%). The number of ED visits and inpatient days were highest for patients with no PC decision and lowest for patients with both a PC decision and an PC unit appointment (60 days before death ED visits 1.3 vs 0.8 and inpatient days 9.9 vs 2.9 respectively, p < 0.01). Patients with no PC decision died more often in secondary/tertiary hospitals (28% vs. 19% with a PC decision, and 6% with a decision and an appointment to a PC unit).
Conclusions: The PC decision to initiate a palliative goal for the treatment had a distinct impact on the use of hospital services at the EOL. Contact with a PC unit further increased the likelihood of EOL care at primary care.
Background: Chronic lung disease is a common cause of mortality, yet little is known about where individuals with chronic lung disease die.
Research Question: What are the trends and factors associated with place of death among individuals with chronic lung disease?
Study Design and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of natural deaths using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research from 2003 to 2017 for which chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease (ILD), or cystic fibrosis (CF) was the underlying cause. Place of death was categorized as hospital, home, nursing facility, hospice facility, and other.
Results: From 2003 to 2017, more than 2.2. million deaths were primarily attributed to chronic lung disease (51.6% female, 92.4% white). Most were attributed to COPD (88.9%), followed by ILD (10.8.%), and CF (0.3%). Hospital and nursing facility deaths declined from 44.4% (n= 59,470) and 22.6% (n= 30,285) to 28.3% (n= 49,6555) and 19.7% (n= 34,495) while home and hospice facility deaths increased from 23.3% (n=31,296) and 0.1% (n=192) to 34.7% (n=60851) and 9.0% (n=15,861) respectively. Male sex, being married, and having some college education were associated with increased odds of home death while non-white race and Hispanic ethnicity were associated with increased odds of hospital death. Compared to decedents with COPD, individuals with ILD and CF had increased odds of hospital death and reduced odds of home, nursing facility or hospice facility death.
Interpretation: Home deaths are increasing among decedents from chronic lung disease increasing the need for quality end-of-life care in this setting. Further research should explore the end-of-life needs and preferences of these patients and their caregivers with particular attention paid to patients with ILD and CF who continue to have high rates of hospital death.
Objective: Meeting the preferences of patients is considered an important palliative care outcome. Prior studies reported that more than 80% of patients with terminally ill cancer prefer to die at home. The purpose of this study was to determine place-of-death preference among palliative care patients in the outpatient centre and the palliative care unit (PCU) of a comprehensive cancer centre.
Methods: A cross-sectional anonymous questionnaire was administered to patients with advanced cancer and caregivers (PCU and outpatient centre) between August 2012 and September 2014. PCU patients responded when there was no delirium and the primary caregiver responded when the patient was unable to respond. In the case of outpatients, dyads were assessed. The survey was repeated 1 month later.
Results: Overall, 65% preferred home death. There was less preference for home death among PCU patients (58%) than among outpatients (72%). Patient and caregiver agreement regarding preferred place of death for home was 86%. After 1 month, outpatients were significantly more likely than PCU patients to have the same preferred place of death as they had 1 month earlier (96% vs 83%; p=0.003).
Conclusions: Although home was the preferred place of death in our group of patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers, a substantial minority preferred hospital death or had no preference. We speculate that PCU patients’ higher preference for hospital death is likely related to more severe distress because they had already tried home care. Personalised assessment of place of death preference for both patient and caregiver is needed.
Background: Understanding the factors that affect the congruence between preferred and actual place of death may help providers offer clients customized end-of-life care settings. Little is known about this congruence for cancer patients in receipt of home-based palliative care.
Objectives: This study aims to determine the congruence between preferred and actual place of death among cancer patients in home-based palliative care programs.
Design: A longitudinal prospective cohort study was conducted. Congruence between preferred and actual place of death was measured. Both univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the determinants of achieving a preferred place of death. From July 2010 to August 2012, a total of 290 caregivers were interviewed biweekly over the course of their palliative care trajectory from entry to the program and death.
Results: The overall congruence between preferred and actual place of death was 71.72%. Home was the most preferred place of death. The intensity of home-based nursing visits and hours of care from personal support workers (PSWs) increased the likelihood of achieving death in a preferred setting.
Conclusions: The provision of care by home-based nurse visits and PSWs contributed to achieving a greater congruence between preferred and actual place of death. This finding highlights the importance of formal care providers in signaling and executing the preferences of clients in receipt of home-based palliative care.
OBJECTIVES: Goal concordant or congruent care involves having expressed wishes upheld. Yet, the preferred location for end-of-life care may be unaddressed. Caregiver-patient congruence between preferred and actual locations of care may influence the quality of life in bereavement. The study aimed to explore how the congruence between caregiver-patient preferred and actual locations of death influenced well-being in bereavement.
METHODS: Mixed methods were employed. In-depth in-person interviews were conducted with 108 bereaved caregivers of a hospice patient about 4 months after the death. An interview guide was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data: demographics, decision-making, Core Bereavement Items (CBI), Health Related Quality of Life, and perspectives on the end-of-life experiences. Data were analyzed with a convergent mixed methods one-phase process.
RESULTS: Patient preference-actual location congruence occurred for 53%; caregiver preference-actual location congruence occurred for 74%; caregiver-patient preference and location of death occurred for 48%. Participants who reported some type of incongruence demonstrated higher levels of distress, including more days of being physically and emotionally unwell and more intense bereavement symptoms. The Acute Separation subscale and CBI total scores demonstrated significant differences for participants who experienced incongruence compared with those who did not. Preference location congruence themes emerged: (1) caregiver-patient location congruence, (2) caregiver-patient location incongruence, and (3) location informed bereavement.
CONCLUSIONS: Congruence between a dying person's preferred and actual locations at death has been considered good care. There has been little focus on the reciprocity between caregiver-patient wishes. Discussing preferences about the place of end-stage care may not make location congruence possible, but it can foster shared understanding and support for caregivers' sense of coherence and well-being in bereavement.
Background: Few large studies describe initial disease trajectories and subsequent mortality in people with head and neck cancer. This is a necessary first step to identify the need for palliative care and associated services.
Aim: To analyse data from the Head and Neck 5000 study to present mortality, place and mode of death within 12 months of diagnosis.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Participants: In total, 5402 people with a new diagnosis of head and neck cancer were recruited from 76 cancer centres in the United Kingdom between April 2011 and December 2014.
Results: Initially, 161/5402 (3%) and 5241/5402 (97%) of participants were treated with ‘non-curative’ and ‘curative’ intent, respectively. Within 12 months, 109/161 (68%) in the ‘non-curative’ group died compared with 482/5241 (9%) in the ‘curative’ group. Catastrophic bleed was the terminal event for 10.4% and 9.8% of people in ‘non-curative’ and ‘curative’ groups, respectively; terminal airway obstruction was recorded for 7.5% and 6.3% of people in the same corresponding groups. Similar proportions of people in both groups died in a hospice (22.9% ‘non-curative’; 23.5% ‘curative’) and 45.7% of the ‘curative’ group died in hospital.
Conclusion: In addition to those with incurable head and neck cancer, there is a small but significant ‘curative’ subgroup of people who may have palliative needs shortly following diagnosis. Given the high mortality, risk of acute catastrophic event and frequent hospital death, clarifying the level and timing of palliative care services engagement would help provide assurance as to whether palliative care needs are being met.