Time to End-of-Life of Patients Starting Specialised Palliative Care in Denmark: A Descriptive Register-Based Cohort Study

Camilla Jøhnk, Helene Holm Laigaard, Andreas Kristian Pedersen, Eithne Hayes Bauer*, Frans Brandt, Georg Bollig, Donna Lykke Wolff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Increasing numbers of patients are being referred to specialised palliative care (SPC) which, in order to be beneficial, is recommended to last more than three months. This cohort study aimed to describe time to end-of-life after initiating SPC treatment and to explore potential regional variations. We used national register data from all Danish hospital SPC teams. We included patients who started SPC treatment from 2015–2018 to explore if time to end-of-life was longer than three months. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise the data and a generalised linear model was used to assess variations among the five Danish regions. A total of 27,724 patients were included, of whom 36.7% (95% CI 36.2–37.1%) had over three months to end-of-life. In the Capital Region of Denmark, 40.1% (95% CI 39.0–41.3%) had over three months to end-of-life versus 32.5% (95% CI 30.9–34.0%) in North Denmark Region. We conclude that most patients live for a shorter period of time than the recommended three months after initiating SPC treatment. This is neither optimal for patient care, nor the healthcare system. A geographical variation between regions was shown indicating different practices, patient groups or resources. These results warrant further investigation to promote optimal SPC treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13017
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number20
Number of pages11
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

Keywords

  • Denmark
  • duration of treatment
  • end-of-life
  • epidemiology
  • palliative care
  • palliative medicine

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