Background: Few studies have estimated planned home deaths compared to actual place of death in a general population or the longitudinal course of home nursing services and associations with place of death. We aimed to investigate trajectories of nursing services, potentially planned home deaths regardless of place of death; and associations of place of death with potentially planned home deaths and nursing service trajectories, by analyzing data from the last 90 days of life.
Methods: A retrospective longitudinal study with data from the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry and National registry for statistics on municipal healthcare services included all community-dwelling people who died in Norway 2012–2013 (n = 53,396). We used a group-based trajectory model to identify joint trajectories of home nursing (hours per week) and probability of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay, each of the 13 weeks leading up to death. An algorithm estimated potentially planned home deaths. We used a multinomial logistic regression model to estimate associations of place of death with potentially planned home deaths, trajectories of home nursing and short-term SNF.
Results: We identified four home nursing service trajectories: no (46.5%), accelerating (7.6%), decreasing (22.1%), and high (23.5%) home nursing; and four trajectories of the probability of a SNF stay: low (69.0%), intermediate (6.7%), escalating (15.9%), and increasing (8.4%) SNF. An estimated 24.0% of all deaths were potentially planned home deaths, of which a third occurred at home. Only high home nursing was associated with increased likelihood of a home death (adjusted relative risk ratio (aRRR) 1.29; CI 1.21–1.38). Following any trajectory with elevated probability of a SNF stay reduced the likelihood of a home death.
Conclusions: We estimated few potentially planned home deaths. Trajectories of home nursing hours and probability of SNF stays indicated possible effective palliative home nursing for some, but also missed opportunities of staying at home longer at the end-of-life. Continuity of care seems to be an important factor in palliative home care and home death.
BACKGROUND: People with serious mental illness have greater mortality risk than the general population. They experience health care inequalities throughout life; it is not clear if this persists to end of life.
AIM: Assess the empirical evidence describing end-of-life care and place of death for people with serious mental illness.
DESIGN: A systematic review of original, peer-reviewed research, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Data were analysed using a narrative synthesis approach.
DATA SOURCES: Five online databases (Embase, PsycArticles, PsycINFO, Medline, PubMed) and additional sources were searched (without time restriction) for primary research reporting health care utilisation in the last year of life or place of death in adults with serious mental illness.
RESULTS: After full-text screening, 23 studies were included. We found studies reporting hospital admissions, emergency department care, palliative care, and general practitioner (GP) visits at end of life. We found conflicting evidence for the association between serious mental illness and end-of-life care, although different patient groups, settings and measures were used across studies. People with serious mental illness were more likely to die in care homes than the general population. There were no patterns for other places of death.
CONCLUSIONS: The evidence was sparse and heterogeneous, demonstrating variability in patterns and reporting of health care use and with little consensus on where people with serious mental illness are likely to die. Given that people with serious mental illness have increased mortality risk, this gap in the knowledge around end-of-life care outcomes is concerning; this area of research needs further development.
Background: The aim was to characterize end-of-life care in patients who have had a leg amputated for peripheral artery disease (PAD) or diabetes.
Methods: This was a population-based retrospective cohort study of patients with PAD or diabetes who died in Ontario, Canada, between 2011 and 2017. Those who had a leg amputation within 3 years of death were compared with a control cohort of deceased patients with PAD or diabetes, but without leg amputation. The patients were identified from linked health records within the single-payer healthcare system. Place and cause of death, as well as health services and costs within 90 days of death, were compared between the amputee and control cohorts. Among amputees, multivariable regression models were used to characterize the association between receipt of home palliative care and in-hospital death, as well as time spent in hospital at the end of life.
Results: Compared with 213 300 controls, 3113 amputees were less likely to die at home (15·5 versus 24·9 per cent; P < 0·001) and spent a greater number of their last 90 days of life in hospital (median 19 versus 8 days; P < 0·001). Amputees also had higher end-of-life healthcare costs across all sectors. However, receipt of palliative care was less frequent among amputees than controls (inpatient: 13·4 versus 16·8 per cent, P < 0·001; home: 14·5 versus 23·8 per cent, P < 0·001). Among amputees, receipt of home palliative care was associated with a lower likelihood of in-hospital death (odds ratio 0·49, 95 per cent c.i. 0·40 to 0·60) and fewer days in hospital (rate ratio 0·84, 0·76 to 0·93).
Conclusion: Palliative care is underused after amputation in patients with PAD or diabetes, and could contribute to reducing in-hospital death and time spent in hospital at the end of life.
OBJECTIVES: To assess trends and factors associated with place of death among individuals with Alzheimer's disease-related dementias (ADRD).
DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.
SETTING: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging OnLine Data for Epidemiologic Research, 2003-2017.
PARTICIPANTS: Natural deaths occurring between 2003 and 2017 for which ADRD was determined to be the underlying cause.
MEASUREMENTS: Place of death was categorized as hospital, home, nursing facility, hospice facility, and other. Aggregate data included age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, sex, urbanization, and census division. Individual-level predictors included age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, sex, marital status, and education.
RESULTS: From 2003 to 2017, nursing facility and hospital deaths declined from 65.7% and 12.7% to 55.0% and 8.0% while home and hospice facility deaths increased from 13.6% and .2% to 21.9% and 6.2%, respectively. Odds of hospital and hospice facility deaths declined with age while odds of nursing facility deaths increased with age. Male sex was associated with higher odds of hospital or hospice facility death and lower odds of home or nursing facility death. Nonwhite race, Hispanic ethnicity, and being married were associated with increased odds of hospital or home death and reduced odds of nursing facility death. More education was associated with higher odds of home or in a hospice facility death and reduced odds of death in a nursing facility or hospital. Significant disparities in place of death by urban-rural status were also noted.
CONCLUSION: As ADRD deaths at home increase, the need for caregiver support and home-based palliative care may become more critical. Further research should examine the care preferences and experiences of ADRD patients and caregivers, the financial impact of home death on families and insurers, and explore factors that may contribute to differences in actual and preferred place of death.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally and medical advances have changed why, when and how patients with CVD die. However, little is known about where patients with CVD die.
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Objective: This study aimed to clarify visiting nurses' perspectives on critical practices to ensure they could advocate for patients who prefer to die at home.
Methods: Sixteen nurses, working at home-visit nursing agencies in Japan, participated in this study. Data were generated by interviews with the nurses and participant observations from nursing home-visits for six end-of-life cancer patients and were analyzed using content analysis.
Results: Five themes emerged: (1) nursing assessment, (2) support for comfortable daily life of the patient and their family, (3) advocating for the patient's views about continuing homecare until death, (4) supporting the patient's preparedness for death, and (5) coordination with other health professionals and related facilities for a comfortable environment for the patient. In addition, the nurses sometimes used humorous responses to death-related work to change the patient's melancholy thoughts.
Conclusion: The present study found that the participants advocated for the patient's views about continuing homecare until death while coordinating views between the patient and their family; they further supported the patient's daily life while helping them prepare for death to achieve their wish for death at home. In addition, our study uncovered the visiting nurses' unconscious practical wisdom of using humorous responses to death-related work to alleviate the patients' feelings of hopelessness. To develop practical wisdom for using humor effectively in end-of-life care, nurses need to verbalize unconscious practices, and accumulate empirical knowledge about nursing interventions using humor, including cultural attitudes, through case study analysis.
Guest deaths are an inevitable aspect of the hospitality industry. In Study 1, participants read a vignette in which the previous guest died of natural causes, suicide, or homicide. Those who learned of a death (a) saw the room as less valuable, (b) opted to stay in a more basic room in which no death occurred, despite both rooms being offered for free, and (c) anticipated feeling uneasy when imagining an overnight stay. In Study 2, we investigated the persistence of this bias. Perceived room value and anticipatory well-being can be expected to return to baseline levels only many years after the death event. Similar to “stigmatized properties” in real estate, these data confirm an irrational and recalcitrant cognitive bias surrounding consumers’ views of death-affected hotel rooms.
The care pathway of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) 1 year prior to death, their causes of death and the healthcare use, and associated expenditure remain poorly described together. People managed for CRC (2014-2015), covered by the national health insurance general scheme and who died in 2015 were selected from the national health data system. A total of 15 361 individuals (mean age: 75 years, SD: 12.5 years) were included, almost 66% of whom died in short-stay hospital (SSH), 9% in hospital at home (HaH), 4% in rehabilitation units (Rehab), 6% in skilled nursing homes (SNH), and 15% at home. At least one other cancer was identified for one-third of these people. Almost one-half of people presented cardiovascular comorbidity, 21% had chronic respiratory disease, and 13% had a neurological or degenerative disease. During the last month of life, 83% were admitted at least once to SSH, 39% had at least one emergency department admission, 17% were admitted to an intensive care unit, 15% received at least one chemotherapy session (<60 years: 27%), and 5% received oral chemotherapy. Eighty-eight percent of the 60% of individuals who received hospital palliative care (HPC) vs 75% of those without HPC were admitted to SSH at least once during the last month. Cancer was the main cause of death for 84% (SSH: 85%, home: 77%) and corresponded to CRC for 64% of them. The mean annual expenditure per person during the last year of life was €43 398 (SSH: €48 804). This study suggests a relatively high level of HPC use during the year before death for people with CRC in France. High rates of emergency department, intensive care, and chemotherapy use were observed during the last month of life. However, management is very largely SSH-based with a small proportion of deaths at home.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the change over time in place of death (hospital, home, hospice) among all women in the United States who died of gynecologic malignancies and compare them with other leading causes of female cancer deaths.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study using national death certificate data from the Mortality Multiple Cause-of-Death Public Use Record Data. All women who died from gynecologic, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers were identified according to International Classification of Diseases, 10 Revision, cause of death from 2003 to 2015. Regression analyses with ordinary least-squares linear probability modeling were used to test for differences in location of death over time, and differences in trends by cancer type, while controlling for age, race, ethnicity, marital status, and education status.
RESULTS: From 2003 to 2015, 2,133,056 women died from gynecologic, lung, breast, and colorectal malignancies in the United States. A total of 359,340 died from gynecologic malignancies, including ovarian cancer (n=188,366 [52.4%]), uterine cancer (n=106,454 [29.6%]), cervical cancer (n=52,320 [14.6%]), and vulvar cancer (n=12,200 [3.4%]). Overall, 49.2% (n=176,657) of gynecologic cancer deaths occurred at home or in hospice. The relative increase from 2003 to 2015 in the rate of deaths at home or in hospice was 47.2% for gynecologic cancer deaths (40.5% in 2003 to 59.5% in 2015). In adjusted analyses, the trend in the percentage of deaths at home or in hospice increased at a rate of 1.6 percentage points per year for gynecologic cancer deaths (95% CI 1.5-1.6) vs 1.5 (95% CI 1.4-1.5, P<.001), 1.4 (95% CI 1.4-1.5, P<.001), and 1.5 (95% CI 1.4-1.5, P=.09) percentage points per year for lung, breast, and colorectal cancer deaths, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Between 2003 and 2015, there was a 47.2% increase (40.5-59.5%) in the rates of gynecologic cancer deaths occurring at home or in hospice. This trend may represent an increase in advance care planning and value-based treatment decisions.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate factors predictive for 'death at home' for patients admitted to an advanced medical home care unit in Stockholm, Sweden, with a focus on possible gender differences. In addition, place of death in relation to the patient's wishes was studied.
METHOD: A retrospective review of medical records of all 456 deceased patients, 233 men and 223 women, admitted to the unit during 2017 was performed. Data on age, diagnosis, living conditions, Swedish language skills, desired place of death (if stated) and place of death were retrieved from the patients' charts.
RESULTS: A total of 114 of 456 patients died at home (25%). The probability of 'death at home' was independent of gender, age, diagnosis, living conditions and Swedish language skills. In a binary logistic regression model, the only factor significantly associated with death at home was 'the wish to die at home' (p<0.001). In the study population, 154 patients (34%) had expressed a preferred place of death, 116 (75%) wanted to die at home and 38 (25%) wanted to die in hospice. Of all patients who expressed a preferred place of death, 80% (n=123) had their wishes fulfilled and there were no differences between the sexes.
CONCLUSION: This study indicates equal opportunities regarding the possibility to die at home for patients admitted to advanced medical home care. It emphasises the importance of asking patients where they want to be at the end of life, as it was the foremost prognostic factor for place of death.
Importance: Palliative care is a patient-centered approach associated with improvements in quality of life; however, results regarding its association with a survival benefit have been mixed, which may be a factor in its underuse.
Objective: To assess whether early palliative care is associated with a survival benefit among patients with advanced lung cancer.
Design, Setting, and Participants This retrospective population-based cohort study was conducted among patients with lung cancer who were diagnosed with cancer between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2013, with follow-up until January 23, 2017. Participants comprised 23 154 patients with advanced lung cancer (stage IIIB and stage IV) who received care in the Veterans Affairs health care system. Data were analyzed from February 15, 2019, to April 28, 2019.
Exposure: Palliative care defined as a specialist-delivered palliative care encounter received after lung cancer diagnosis.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was survival. The association between palliative care and place of death was also examined. Propensity score and time-varying covariate methods were used to calculate Cox proportional hazards and to perform regression modeling.
Results: Of the 23 154 patients enrolled in the study, 57% received palliative care. The mean (SD) age of participants was 68 (9.5) years, and 98% of participants were men. An examination of the timing of palliative care receipt relative to cancer diagnosis found that palliative care received 0 to 30 days after diagnosis was associated with decreases in survival (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.13; 95% CI, 1.97-2.30), palliative care received 31 to 365 days after diagnosis was associated with increases in survival (aHR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.45-0.49), and palliative care received more than 365 days after diagnosis was associated with no difference in survival (aHR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.94-1.07) compared with nonreceipt of palliative care. Receipt of palliative care was also associated with a reduced risk of death in an acute care setting (adjusted odds ratio, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.52-0.64) compared with nonreceipt of palliative care.
Conclusions and Relevance: The results suggest that palliative care was associated with a survival benefit among patients with advanced lung cancer. Palliative care should be considered a complementary approach to disease-modifying therapy in patients with advanced lung cancer.
BACKGROUND: French demographic projection expects an increasing number of older, dependent patients in the next few years. A large proportion of this population lives in nursing homes and their transfer to hospitals at the end of life is an ongoing issue.
OBJECTIVE: This study explored the factors influencing the transfer of patients living in nursing homes to hospital at the end of life.
DESIGN: We used a mixed-methods questionnaire developed by an expert group and assessing different characteristics of the nursing homes.
PARTICIPANTS: All the nursing homes in the Rhône-Alpes area (n=680) were surveyed.
RESULTS: We obtained 466 (68%) answers. We found that a palliative care programme was present in 336 (72%) nursing homes. The majority had a coordinating physician 428 (82%) and a mean number of 6 nurses for 83 beds, with 83 (18%) having a night shift nurse. There was a mean number of 19 deaths per nursing home during the recorded year. The main cause of death was dementia (41%), cancer-related death (13%). Death occurred mostly in the nursing home (14 74%). Night shift nurse attendance was significantly associated with the place of death: 27 deaths occurred in nursing homes with a night shift nurse versus 12 in those without one (p<0001).
CONCLUSIONS: The location of the death of frail elderly patients is a major health issue that needs to be addressed. Our results suggests that the presence of a night shift nurse decreases the number of emergency transfers and deaths in the hospital.
Background: Specialized home-based palliative care (HPC) services aim at reducing the number of visits to emergency departments (EDs) and hospitalizations at end of life. In addition, it offers patients the possibility to die at home.
Objective: To investigate whether the last years' expansion of palliative care in Stockholm County, Sweden, reduced the health care resource use and/or increased the number of patients who died at home.
Design: This is a population-based study of all registered 2780 patients referred to HPC in 2015 in the Stockholm region. The majority of the patients (2087) had cancer, but 693 patients had chronic medical illness, most often cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.
Results: HPC reduced visits to the ED and hospital admissions by 51% and 41%, respectively. The number of hospital admissions to the departments of oncology, medicine, and surgery was reduced, whereas admissions to palliative care units increased. For the 1773 patients alive after 90 days with HPC, the number of days spent in hospital reduced from 19,628 before HPC to 13,743 (30%) days with HPC. The most common place of death was at a specialized palliative care unit (48%), whereas 36% died at home.
Conclusions: HPC reduced emergency health care resource use for the majority of patients, despite patients having progressing disease. To improve the quality of end-of-life care, we need to make early integration of palliative care available for a larger number of patients. In addition, we have to improve care pathways, especially for patients with gastrointestinal and lung cancer, who continued to be frequently admitted to hospital.
Objectives: To assess the association between receiving the certified care workers’ home care service, which is provided by non-medical professionals prior to a patients’ death and the probability of a home death.
Design: Observational research using the full-time translated number of certified care workers providing home care service per member of the population aged 65 or above, during the year prior to patient’s death per municipality as an instrumental variable.
Setting:: The certified care workers’ home care service covered by the public long-term care insurance (LTCI) system in Japan.
articipants In total, 1 613 391 LTCI beneficiaries aged 65 or above who passed away, except by an external cause of death, between January 2010 and December 2013 were included in the analysis.
Primary outcome measures: Death at home or death at other places, including hospitals, nursing homes and clinics with beds.
Results: Out of all participants, 173 498 (10.8%) died at home. The number of patients who used the certified care workers’ home care service more than once per each month during 1, 2 or 3 months prior to the month of death numbered 213 848, 176 686 and 155 716, respectively. This was associated with an increased probability of death at home by 9.1% points (95% CI 2.9 to 15.3), 10.5% points (3.3 to 17.6) and 11.4% points (3.6 to 19.2), respectively.
Conclusions: The use of the certified care workers’ home care service prior to death was associated with the increased probability of a home death.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate associations between US region of residence and urbanization and the place of death among women with gynecologic malignancies in the United States.
METHODS: A retrospective cross-sectional study was performed using publicly available death certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics. All gynecologic cancer deaths were included from 2006 to 2016. Comparisons among categories were performed with a two-tailed chi-square test, with p-values <0.05 considered significant.
RESULTS: From 2006 to 2016, 328,026 women died from gynecologic malignancies in the US. Of these deaths, 40.1% (n = 134,333) occurred in the patient's home, 24.9%(n = 81,823) in the hospital, and 11.3% (37,188) in an inpatient hospice facility. Place of death varied by geographic region. The Northeast had the largest percentage of gynecologic cancer patients (31.3%) die as a hospital inpatient. The West had the highest percentage of deaths (49.3%) at home. Deaths in a hospice facility were the highest (14.1%) in the South. Place of death varied by urbanization; patients residing in large central metro or rural counties were the most likely to die during hospital admission (28.7% and 27.1%, respectively). Patients living in medium-sized metro areas were the least likely to die in hospitals (21.8%) and most likely to die in a hospice facility (14.3%). All comparisons were significant by study definition.
CONCLUSION: The place of death for patients with gynecologic malignancies varies by US region and urbanization. These disparities are multifactorial in nature, likely influenced by both sociodemographic factors and regional resource availability. In this study, however, rural and central metro areas are identified as regions that may benefit from further hospice development and advocacy.
BACKGROUND: Early end-of-life (EOL) discussions improve patient satisfaction, quality of care, and the cost-effectiveness of care. However, some US studies show that radiation oncologists (ROs) are unlikely to discuss EOL issues until the patients develop significant symptoms or the families initiate the discussion. There have been no prior studies describing the patterns of EOL discussions among Canadian ROs. The objectives of this study were: (I) to describe the patterns of EOL discussions among Canadian ROs; (II) to identify the barriers to EOL conversation among Canadian ROs; (III) to assess the attitudes of Canadian ROs toward Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).
METHODS: The 22-question online survey was distributed to the members of Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists (CARO). Demographics, EOL discussion patterns, perception of EOL discussions, barriers, and the impact of MAiD were evaluated.
RESULTS: Sixty ROs responded out of 326. Prognosis (57%) and goals of care (58%) were routinely discussed, while advanced directive (40%) and planned site of death (12%) were not. More than 90% felt that early EOL discussions with palliative patients were important. The amount of palliative discussion training was correlated with confidence in EOL discussion (P <0.01), perceived importance of RO role in EOL (P=0.006), and the frequency of planned site of death discussion (P=0.041). The most frequently identified barriers were lack of time, uncertainty about prognosis, and concern for patient disappointment. Many ROs provided MAiD information upon request or case-by-case, but only 3% provided the information routinely.
CONCLUSIONS: Canadian ROs recognize the importance of EOL discussions, but they do not routinely incorporate advanced directive or site of death in their discussions. ROs with more palliative discussion training were more confident in EOL discussion and likely to engage in them earlier. Short structured training may improve the confidence and quality of EOL discussion. Time constraint is the number one barrier that may be alleviated by delegation of tasks and patient education tools. Discussion about MAiD is supported but not routine among Canadian ROs.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a significant symptom burden despite maximal medical therapy, yet few are referred for concomitant palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utilization and impact of palliative care on the location of death and to identify clinical variables associated with palliative care contact.
DESIGN: Retrospective chart review from 2010 to 2016 at the VA Western New York Healthcare System using ICD-9/10 diagnosis of COPD. Palliative care contact was identified by Z51.5 or stop code 353.
RESULTS: Only 0.5% to 2% of living patients received palliative care, increasing abruptly at death (6%). Lower diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) (greater emphysema) was associated with palliative care contact, independent of comorbid disease burden or age. Initial outpatient contact was associated with a longer duration of palliative care (P = .003) and death in a home-like setting. Outpatient palliative care was associated with more severe airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second, percent predicted [FEV1%]), whereas greater disease exacerbation frequency was associated with inpatient contact. COPD patients not referred to palliative care had a greater comorbid disease burden, similar FEV1%, fewer disease exacerbations, and a greater DLCO.
CONCLUSION: Few patients with COPD received palliative care, similar to national trends. Initial outpatient palliative contact had the longest duration of care and death in the preferred home environment. The extent of emphysema (DLCO reduction) and more frequent disease exacerbations identified in patients were more likely to receive palliative care. Our study begins to define the benefits of palliative care in advanced COPD and confirms underutilization in the years before death, where a prolonged impact on the quality of life may be realized.
INTRODUCTION: Metastatic lung cancer is an incurable disease which results in a high burden of symptoms, a poor quality of life and an expected prognosis of less than 1 year after diagnosis. Treatment shortly before death may result in potential burdensome and inappropriate hospital admissions and hospital deaths. Dying at home is, at a population level, considered a quality for good end-of-life care.
AIM: We examined what percentage of patients with metastatic lung cancer died inside the hospital and if hospital death, or other characteristics of the patient, oncologist or healthcare, were associated with treatment in the last month of life.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study evaluated the medical records of 1322 patients with metastatic lung cancer who received care at one of 10 hospitals across the Netherlands and died between 1-6-2013 and 31-7-2015. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained from the medical records.
RESULTS: In total, 18% of the patients died during a hospital admission. This percentage was higher for patients who received chemotherapy (42%) or targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (25%) in the last month of life. Patients younger than 60 years of age, patients who received chemotherapy in the last month of life and patients in whom TKIs were started in the last month of life were more likely to die inside the hospital.
DISCUSSION: In the Netherlands, fewer than one in five patients with metastatic lung cancer died in the hospital and in-hospital death was associated with the relatively late use of chemotherapy or targeted therapy. Careful selection of patients for disease-modifying therapy might enhance the opportunity for patients to die at their preferred place.
BACKGROUND: Insight into health conditions associated with death can inform healthcare policy. We aimed to cluster 27,525,663 deceased people based on the health conditions associated with death to study the associations between the health condition clusters, demographics, the recorded underlying cause and place of death.
METHODS: Data from all deaths in the United States registered between 2006 and 2016 from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics were analyzed. A self-organizing map (SOM) was used to create an ordered representation of the mortality data.
RESULTS: 16 clusters based on the health conditions associated with death were found showing significant differences in socio-demographics, place, and cause of death. Most people died at old age (73.1 (18.0) years) and had multiple health conditions. Chronic ischemic heart disease was the main cause of death. Most people died in the hospital or at home.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of multiple health conditions at death requires a shift from disease-oriented towards person-centred palliative care at the end of life, including timely advance care planning. Understanding differences in population-based patterns and clusters of end-of-life experiences is an important step toward developing a strategy for implementing population-based palliative care.
Background: Discharging patients from inpatient palliative care units to the community is aligned with patients' desires to be cared for and die at home. However, there is little research examining patient outcomes after discharge.
Objective: To describe the outcomes of patients discharged from an inpatient palliative care unit.
Design: A single-institution retrospective cohort study using medical record data linked to regional acute care hospital and home care data.
Setting/Participants: Patients (n = 75) discharged to the community over a one-year period from a 31-bed inpatient palliative care unit in an academic continuing care facility.
Measurements: Survival, postdischarge hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and place of death.
Results: Patients discharged to the community had poor prognosis. Over one-third had a discharge Palliative Performance Score <50. The median survival after discharge was 96 days, and 36% of decedent patients died in an acute care hospital. Thirteen percent of patients were hospitalized, and 23% visited an emergency department within 30 days of discharge, often for reasons that could have been managed in the community. Certain groups of patients were at greater risk of acute care use and in-hospital deaths, including younger patients, patients with nonmalignant diseases, and patients discharged home or retirement home, compared to long-term care settings.
Conclusions: Patients discharged from an inpatient palliative care setting are at risk of postdischarge hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and in-hospital deaths, despite having community supports in place. Variations in outcomes can point to groups of patients who may require greater intensity of supports postdischarge.