Author(s): Tang ST, McCorkle R, Bradley EH
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Despite the strong emphasis on home-based end-of-life care in the United States and the recognition of dying at home as a gold standard of quality of care, hospice home care is not a panacea and death at home may not be feasible for every terminally ill cancer patient. Admission to an inpatient hospice and dying there may become a necessary and appropriate solution to distressing patients or exhausted families. However, the factors associated with death in an inpatient hospice have not been examined in previous studies. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was conducted to investigate the determinants of death in an inpatient hospice for terminally ill cancer patients. Approximately two-fifths (40.8\%) of the 180 terminally ill cancer patients in this study died in inpatient hospices over the 3-year study period. RESULTS: Results from Cox proportional hazards model with adjustment for covariates revealed several factors that were significantly associated with dying in inpatient hospice, as opposed to home, in a nursing home, or in the hospital. Patients were more likely to die in an inpatient hospice if they received hospice care before death (hazard ratio [HR] = 7.32, 95\% confidence interval [CI]: 3.21-16.67), if they had a prestated preference to die in an inpatient hospice (HR = 4.86, 95\% CI: 2.24-10.51), if they resided in New Haven County (HR = 1.70, 95\% CI: 1.00-2.93), or if they experienced higher levels of functional dependency (HR = 1.05, 95\% CI: 1.02-1.08). SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The high prevalence of inpatient hospice deaths for terminally ill cancer patients in this study was related to the local health care system characteristics, health care needs at the end of life, and personal preference of place of death. Findings from this study may shed light on future directions for developing end-of-life care tailored to the needs of cancer patients who are admitted to hospices and eventually die there.
This article was published in Palliat Support Care
and referenced in Journal of Patient Care