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Factors associated with end-of-life health service use in patients dying of cancer


This study describes acute care hospital death, physician house calls and home care near the end of life among patients who died of cancer and the factors that are associated with these events and services. It is a population-based retrospective study that uses linked administrative healthcare data. The cohort includes all patients who died of cancer between 2000 and 2004 in Ontario, Canada.

Fifty-five per cent of patients died in acute care hospital, 68% received home care in the last 6 months of life and 24% received at least one physician house call in the last 2 weeks of life. Increased age was associated with a decreased likelihood of each event or service. Women were less likely to die in acute care and more likely to receive home care. Residents in low-income neighbourhoods were less likely to receive house calls or home care. Patients who received home care or house calls were less likely to die in acute care.

Our observations add to those in the literature, suggesting a need to increase the use of supportive care services at the end of life in hopes of decreasing the need for acute care. They also serve as a baseline for future comparison, which is of particular interest since new government policies directed at end-of-life care were recently introduced.



Barbera L, Sussman J, Viola R, Husain A, Howell D, Librach SL, Walker H, Sutradhar R, Chartier C, Paszat L. Healthc Policy. 2010; 5(3):e125-43.

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