Population-based study of place of death of patients with cancer: implications for GPs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

BACKGROUND: A majority of patients with cancer who are seriously ill have a preference of dying at home. However, only a minority of patients actually die at home in most Western countries.

AIM: To explore factors associated with place of death in an unselected population of patients with cancer.

DESIGN OF STUDY: Case-control study.

SETTING: County of Funen, Denmark.

METHOD: Register linkage from six Danish healthcare registers.

RESULTS: The GP's home visit during the last 3 months before death was inversely associated with dying in hospital (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.06 to 0.12) and so were community nurses visiting the home (OR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.26 to 0.48). Furthermore, being married (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.56 to 0.85), and age at death of 40-65 years (OR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.56 to 0.90) seemed to have an effect. Hospital death was associated with survival time of less than 1 month (OR = 2.27, 95% CI = 1.69 to 3.13). Type of cancer, sex, or residence (urban versus rural) were not associated with a hospital death in this multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Dying at home was, to a higher extent, associated with GP visit and, to a lesser extent, community nurse visit than with clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of patients with cancer. In our view, these findings indicate the importance of the GP in particular. To increase the opportunity to die at home, more research is needed on the role of the GP and the interface between GPs and other providers of health care at home for patients who are terminally ill with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners
Issue number518
Pages (from-to)684-9
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Attitude to Death, Case-Control Studies, Denmark/epidemiology, Family Practice/organization & administration, Female, Hospital Mortality, House Calls/statistics & numerical data, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Neoplasms/mortality, Palliative Care/methods, Patient Satisfaction, Terminal Care/methods, Terminally Ill/statistics & numerical data

ID: 324177455