Healthcare trajectories and costs in the last year of life. A retrospective primary care and hospital analysis.

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2 December 2020

Published journal: The British Medical Journal

Objectives 

To analyse healthcare utilisation and costs in the last year of life in England, and to study variation by cause of death, region of patient residence and socioeconomic status.

Methods 

This is a retrospective cohort study. Individuals aged 60 years and over (N=108 510) who died in England between 2010 and 2017 were included in the study.

Results 

Healthcare utilisation and costs in the last year of life increased with proximity to death, particularly in the last month of life. The mean total costs were higher among males (£8089) compared with females (£6898) and declined with age at death (£9164 at age 60–69 to £5228 at age 90+) with inpatient care accounting for over 60% of total costs. Costs decline with age at death (0.92, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.95, p<0.0001 for age group 90+ compared with to the reference category age group 60–69) and were lower among females (0.91, 95% CI 0.90 to 0.92, p<0.0001 compared with males). Costs were higher (1.09, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.14, p<0.0001) in London compared with other regions.

Conclusions 

Healthcare utilisation and costs in the last year of life increase with proximity to death, particularly in the last month of life. Finer geographical data and information on healthcare supply would allow further investigating whether people receiving more planned care by primary care and or specialist palliative care towards the end of life require less acute care.

Citation

Luta X, Diernberger K, Bowden J, et al, Healthcare trajectories and costs in the last year of life: a retrospective primary care and hospital analysis, BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care Published Online First: 02 December 2020. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002630

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