Symptom Prevalence in the Last days of Life in Germany: The Role of Place of Death

Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany.
The American journal of hospice & palliative care (Impact Factor: 1.38). 11/2011; 29(6):431-7. DOI: 10.1177/1049909111425228
Source: PubMed


Investigations have shown that symptom prevalence varies according to the place of death. We sought to assess the symptom prevalence of chronically ill people in Germany and how this prevalence differs depending on the place of death. We sent questionnaires to 5000 bereaved people in Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), whose relatives died between May 25 and August 24, 2008. In all, 3832 questionnaires were delivered and 1378 completed (response 36.0%). Most decedents had moderate-to-severe weakness (94.5%), fatigue (93.5%), need for help in daily activities (87.9%), and appetite loss (87.4%). Pain and dyspnea were most severe in hospitals; fatigue, confusion/disorientation, and problems with wound care in nursing homes; and need for help in daily activities and overburden of family at home. Associations persisted after adjusting for potential confounders.

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