How do cancer patients who die at home differ from those who die elsewhere?

Karlsen, S.; Addington-Hall, J.
July 1998
Palliative Medicine;1998, Vol. 12 Issue 4, p279
Academic Journal
Our objective was to investigate how cancer patients who die at home differ from those who do not. A postbereavement survey of 229 people who registered the death of a random sample of cancer deaths in an inner London health authority was conducted. It was found that a fifth of patients (21%) died in their own home. Overall, 38% were reported to have expressed a preference for place of death, 73% of whom wanted to die at home. Only 58% achieved this. Having special equipment and stating a preference for place of death was associated with an increased likelihood of dying at home; using social and health services for social care was associated with a decreased likelihood of so doing. It was concluded that, as in previous studies, most patients who expressed a preference wanted a home death, but nearly half did not achieve this. Recognition of a preference for home death, providing the motivation to `stick it out' at home, and adequate community support to provide the practical means to fulfil the preference, appear to be crucial in the achievement of a home death for all who desire it.


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