Socioeconomy as a prognostic factor for location of death in Swedish palliative cancer patients
BMC Palliative Care
Background An important aspect of end-of-life care is the place of death. A majority of cancer patients prefer home death to hospital death. At the same time, the actual location of death is often against patient's last-known wish. The aim of this study was to analyze whether socioeconomic factors influence if Swedish palliative cancer patients die at home or at a hospital. There is no previous study on location of death encompassing several years in Swedish cancer patients. Methods Data was
... lected from the Swedish Register of Palliative Care for patients diagnosed with brain tumor, lung, colorectal, prostate or breast cancer recorded between 2011 and 2014. The data was linked to the Swedish Cancer Register, the Cause of Death Register and the Longitudinal Integration Database for health-insurance and labor-market studies. A total of 8990 patients were included. Results We found that marital status was the factor that seemed to affect the place of death. Lack of a partner, compared to being married, was associated with a higher likelihood of dying at a hospital. Conclusion Our findings are in line with similar earlier studies encompassing only 1 year and based on patients in other countries. Whether inequalities at least partly explain the differences remains to be investigated. Patients dying of cancer in Sweden, who do not have a life partner, may not have the option of dying at home due to lack of informal support. Perhaps the need of extensive community support services to enable home death have to improve, and further studies are warranted to answer this question.