Emergency department use among end-of-life home care clients.
ABSTRACT Emergency department (ED) use is a quality-of-care indicator for community-based end-of-life (EOL) care. This study examined ED use by EOL home care clients. The sample included all EOL home care clients who received care from one community care access centre in Ontario, Canada. Information on health was gathered using the interRAI instrument for palliative care. Data were collected between May 2009 and January 2010. The sample included 93 home care clients. Results showed that 35 percent of clients used the ED within 45 days of assessment. Multivariate analysis identified two determinants of ED use: excessive weight loss and previous hospitalization. Managing terminal illness is often a difficult task, and comprehensive, ongoing assessment of clients' changing status is critical. Client care and service planning for clients who have lost excessive amounts of weight or who have been recently hospitalized need to be monitored closely to prevent any future avoidable ED use.