Change in End-of-Life Care for Medicare Beneficiaries Site of Death, Place of Care, and Health Care Transitions in 2000, 2005, and 2009

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, 121 S Main St, Providence, RI 02912, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 30.39). 02/2013; 309(5):470-7. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.207624
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Importance A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that more persons die at home. This has been cited as evidence that persons dying in the United States are using more supportive care. Objective To describe changes in site of death, place of care, and health care transitions between 2000, 2005, and 2009. Design, Setting, and Patients Retrospective cohort study of a random 20% sample of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries, aged 66 years and older, who died in 2000 (n=270 202), 2005 (n=291 819), or 2009 (n=286 282). A multivariable regression model examined outcomes in 2000 and 2009 after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics. Based on billing data, patients were classified as having a medical diagnosis of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or dementia in the last 180 days of life. Main Outcome Measures Site of death, place of care, rates of health care transitions, and potentially burdensome transitions (eg, health care transitions in the last 3 days of life). Results Comparing 2000, 2005, and 2009 shows a decrease in deaths in acute care hospitals and increases in intensive care unit (ICU) use in the last 30 days, hospice use at the time of death, and health care transitions at the end of the life (test of trend P < .001 for each). [GRAPHICS] In 2009, 28.4% (95% CI, 27.9%-28.5%) of hospice use at the time of death was for 3 days or less. Of these late hospice referrals, 40.3% (95% CI, 39.7%-40.8%) were preceded by hospitalization with an ICU stay. Conclusion and Relevance Among Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2009 and 2005 compared with 2000, a lower proportion died in an acute care hospital, although both ICU use and the rate of health care transitions increased in the last month of life. JAMA. 2013; 309(5): 470-477 www.jama.

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