End-of-life care in hospital: a descriptive study of all inpatient deaths in 1 year.
Palliat Med. 2009 Oct;23(7):616-22
Authors: Abel J, Rich A, Griffin T, Purdy S
The objectives of this study are to ascertain how many patients who died in a district general hospital in England might have been able to be cared for at home, to obtain the cost of each inpatient stay, to make an estimate of the maximum resource implications of care packages for these patients, and to calculate the savings in hospital admissions that could be used for the development of community services. These objectives are dependant on full implementation of the End of Life Strategy. A descriptive study of all inpatient deaths in one year in a district general hospital in the south west of England was conducted. Data collection - case notes of all patients who died at the hospital from the beginning of June 2006 to end of May 2007. A total of 599 case notes of 627 patients who died in the study period were reviewed. A total of 331 patients (56%) were not assessed as being in the last year of life. Of the remaining 44%, 152 (26%) were clearly in the last year of life and 110 (18%) had significant co-morbidities and could probably have been recognised as being in the last year of life. A total of 399 (67%) of patients were appropriately admitted to hospital for their final illness, 194 (33%) could have been looked after at home. At least 119 (20%) clearly and 75 (13%) probably could have stayed at home. The mean cost of admission was 3173 pound per patient. A total of 77 (13%) of patients were admitted from nursing homes and 53 (69%) of these could have stayed in the nursing home to die. A total of 44% of all patients who died within the district general hospital had chronic life threatening illnesses. A maximum of one third of all hospital deaths could have been looked after at home if excellent end of life services were in place. When commissioning end of life care services, it is possible to calculate how many extra patients may need community care packages and the cost that could be redistributed from hospital to community for these services.
PMID: 19477885 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]