Does Quality of End-of-Life Care Differ by Urban-Rural Location? A Comparison of Processes and Family Evaluations of Care in the VA.
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE:Several studies have identified differences in end-of-life (EOL) care between urban and rural areas, yet little is known about potential differences in care processes or family evaluations of care. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between rurality of residence and quality of EOL care within the Veterans Affairs health care system. METHODS:This study was a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of 126,475 veterans who died from October 2009 through September 2016 in inpatient settings across 151 facilities. Using unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression, we compared quality of EOL care between urban and rural veterans using family evaluations of care and 4 quality of care indicators for receipt of (1) palliative care consult, (2) a chaplain visit, (3) death in an inpatient hospice unit, and (4) bereavement support. FINDINGS:Veterans from rural areas had lower odds of dying in an inpatient hospice unit compared to veterans from urban areas, before and after adjustment (large rural OR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.70-0.77; P < .001, small rural OR 0.81, 95% CI: 0.77-0.86; P < .001, isolated rural OR 0.87, 95% CI: 0.81-0.93; P < .001). Differences in comparisons of other quality of care indicators were small and of mixed significance. No significant differences were found in family ratings of care in fully adjusted models. CONCLUSION:Receipt of some EOL quality indicators differed with urban-rural residence for some comparisons. However, family ratings of care did not. Our findings call for further investigation into unmeasured individual characteristics and facility processes related to rurality.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite the advances in End-of-life (EOL) cancer care, disparities remain in the accessibility and utilisation of EOL cancer care resources. Often explained by socio-demographic factors, geographic variation exists in the availability and provision of EOL cancer care services among EOL cancer decedents across urban versus rural settings. This systematic review aims to synthesise mortality follow-back studies on the patterns of EOL cancer care resource use for adults (>18 years) during end-of-life cancer care. METHODS:Five databases were searched and data analysed using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Inclusion criteria involved; a) original research; b) quantitative studies; c) English language; d) palliative care related service use in adults (>18 years) with any malignancy excluding non-melanoma skin cancers; e) exclusive end of life focus; f) urban-rural focus. Narrative reviews and discussions were excluded. RESULTS:24 studies met the inclusion criteria. End-of-life cancer care service utilisation patterns varied by rurality and treatment intent. Rurality was strongly associated with higher rates of Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalisations and lower rates of hospice care. The largest inequities between urban and rural health service utilisation patterns were explained by individual level factors including age, gender, proximity to service and survival time from cancer diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS:Rurality is an important predictor for poorer outcomes in end-of-life cancer care. Findings suggest that addressing the disparities in the urban-rural continuum is critical for efficient and equitable palliative cancer care. Further research is needed to understand barriers to service access and usage to achieve optimal EOL care for all cancer patient populations.
Project description:Patients with hematologic malignancies are thought to receive more aggressive end-of-life (EOL) care and have suboptimal hospice use compared with patients with solid tumors, but descriptions of EOL outcomes from comprehensive cohorts have been lacking. We used the population-based Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare dataset to describe hospice use and indicators of aggressive EOL care among Medicare beneficiaries who died of hematologic malignancies in 2008-2015. Overall, 56.5% of decedents used hospice services for median 9 days (interquartile range, 3-27), 33.0% died in an acute hospital setting, 36.8% had an intensive care unit (ICU) admission in the last 30 days of life, and 13.3% received chemotherapy within the last 14 days of life. Hospice use was associated with 96% lower probability of inpatient death (adjusted risk ratio [aRR], 0.038; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.035-0.042), 44% lower probability of an ICU stay in the last 30 days of life (aRR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.54-0.57), and 62% decrease in chemotherapy use in the last 14 days of life (aRR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.35-0.41). Hospice enrollees spent on average 41% fewer days as inpatient during the last month of life (adjusted means ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.57-0.60) and had 38% lower mean Medicare spending in the last month of life (adjusted means ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.61-0.64). These associations were consistent across histologic subgroups. In conclusion, EOL care quality outcomes and hospice enrollment were suboptimal among older decedents with hematologic cancers, but hospice use was associated with a consistent decrease in aggressive care at EOL.
Project description:Alzheimer's patients living in rural communities may face significant barriers to effective outpatient medical care.We sought to examine rural-urban differences in risk for ambulatory care sensitive hospitalizations (ACSH), an indicator of access to outpatient care, in community-dwelling veterans with dementia.Medicare and Veteran Affairs inpatient claims for 1,186 US veterans with dementia were linked to survey data from the 1998 National Longitudinal Caregiver Survey. ACSH were identified in inpatient claims over a 1-year period following collection of independent variables. Urban Influence Codes were used to classify care recipients into 4 categories of increasing county-level rurality: large metropolitan; small metropolitan; micropolitan; and noncore rural counties. We used the Andersen Behavioral Model of Health Services to identify veteran, caregiver, and community factors that may explain urban-rural differences in ACSH.Thirteen percent of care recipients had at least 1 ACSH. The likelihood of an ACSH was greater for patients in noncore rural counties versus large metropolitan areas (22.6% vs 12.8%, unadjusted odds ratio [OR]= 1.99; P < .01). The addition of other Andersen behavioral model variables did not eliminate the disparity (adjusted OR = 1.97; P < .05).We found that dementia patients living in the most rural counties were more likely to have an ACSH; this disparity was not explained by differences in caregiver, care recipient, or community factors. Furthermore, the annual rate of ACSH was higher in community-dwelling dementia patients compared to previous reports on the general older adult population. Dementia patients in rural areas may face particular challenges in receiving timely, effective ambulatory care.
Project description:BACKGROUND:We calculated the performance of National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) cancer centers' end-of-life (EOL) quality metrics among minority and white decedents to explore center-attributable sources of EOL disparities. METHODS:We conducted a retrospective cohort study of Medicare beneficiaries with poor-prognosis cancers who died between April 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 and had any inpatient services in the last 6 months of life. We attributed patients' EOL treatment to the center at which they received the preponderance of EOL inpatient services and calculated eight risk-adjusted metrics of EOL quality (hospice admission ?3 days before death; chemotherapy last 14 days of life; ?2 emergency department (ED) visits; intensive care unit (ICU) admission; or life-sustaining treatment last 30 days; hospice referral; palliative care; advance care planning last 6 months). We compared performance between patients across and within centers. RESULTS:Among 126,434 patients, 10,119 received treatment at one of 54 NCI/NCCN centers. In aggregate, performance was worse among minorities for ED visits (10.3% vs 7.4%, P < .01), ICU admissions (32.9% vs 30.4%, P = .03), no hospice referral (39.5% vs 37.0%, P = .03), and life-sustaining treatment (19.4% vs 16.2%, P < .01). Despite high within-center correlation for minority and white metrics (0.61-0.79; P < .01), five metrics demonstrated worse performance as the concentration of minorities increased: ED visits (P = .03), ICU admission (P < .01), no hospice referral (P < .01), and life-sustaining treatments (P < .01). CONCLUSION:EOL quality metrics vary across NCI/NCCN centers. Within center, care was similar for minority and white patients. Minority-serving centers had worse performance on many metrics.
Project description:The aim of the study is to examine the effect of hospice care on quality of end-of-life (EOL) care for patients with advanced cancer in Taiwan between 2002 and 2011.It is a population-based longitudinal study following National Health Insurance medical care claims of hospice and nonhospice patients with advanced cancer in their last month of life.Utilization of hospice service doubled from 10.5% to 21.5% over the study period. Of 12,682 patients identified as having advanced cancer, 7975 (62.88%) were found to have 1 or more quality indicators (QIs) of poor EOL cancer care. After adjustments, those receiving hospice cares had a significant reduction in incidence of chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life as well as intensive care unit (ICU) admission and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the last month of life. The hospice care group also had significant increases in having more than 1 hospitalization and dying under hospital care, but no change in having more than 1 emergency room (ER) visit. The hospice group curve of estimated incidence rates of each QI was consistently below that of the nonhospice group in chemotherapy-with the difference between the 2 curves increasing over time-ICU admission, and CPR, and above that of the nonhospice group for dying in a hospital and having more than 1 hospitalization over the study period. The 2 groups overlapped on ER visits. Overall, hospice care was associated with less chance to have 1 or more QIs of EOL care for advanced cancer patients (RR?=?0.56, 95% CI: 0.52-0.60, P?<?.001).The utilization of hospice services doubled over the 10-year study period. Hospice care was associated with better EOL care in patients with advanced cancer.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Hospice care (HC) is seen as a comprehensive approach, that enhances quality of end-of-life (EOL) care, for terminally ill patients. Despite its positive aspects, HC enrolment is disproportionate for rural patients, who are less likely to use HC in comparison to their urban counterparts. The purpose of this study was to explore decision-making experiences, related to utilisation of HC programmes from a retrospective perspective, with family caregivers (FCGs) in a rural US-Mexico border region. DESIGN:This qualitative study was conducted from May 2017 to January 2018 using semistructured face to face interviews with FCGs. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. SETTING:The HC programme was situated at a local home health agency, located in rural Southern California, USA. PARTICIPANTS:Twenty-eight informal FCGs of patients who were actively enrolled in the HC programme agreed to participate in the study. RESULTS:Conversation about HC as an option was initiated by home healthcare staff (39.3%), followed by physicians (32.1%). Emerging themes related to challenges in utilisation of HC and decision-making included: (1) communication barriers; (2) lack of knowledge/misperception about HC; (3) emotional difficulties, including fear of losing their patient, doubt and uncertainty about the decision, denial and (4) patients are not ready for HC. Facilitators included: (1) patient's known EOL wishes; (2) FCG-physician EOL communication; (3) the patient's deteriorating health and (4) home as the place for death. CONCLUSIONS:HC patients' FCGs in this rural region reported a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of HC. It is recommended that healthcare providers need to actively engage family members in patient's EOL care planning. Optimal transition to an HC programme can be facilitated when FCGs are informed and have a clear understanding about patients' medical status along with information about HC.
Project description:CONTEXT:Limited data exist regarding how depression diagnosed at different times relative to a cancer diagnosis may affect healthcare utilization at end of life (EOL). OBJECTIVES:To assess the relationship between depression and health care utilization at EOL among older adults (ages >=67) diagnosed with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from 2009 to 2011. METHODS:Using the SEER-Medicare database, we fit multivariable logistic regression models to explore the association of depression with duration of hospice stay plus high-intensity care, for example inpatient admissions, in-hospital death, emergency department visits, and chemotherapy at EOL. We used a regression model to evaluate hospice enrollment, accounting for the competing risk of death. RESULTS:Among 13,827 subjects, pre-cancer depression was associated with hospice enrollment (sub-hazard ratio 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-1.28), 90 + hospice days (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.29, 95% CI 1.06-1.58), and lower odds of most utilization; we found no association with EOL chemotherapy. Diagnosis-time depression was associated with hospice enrollment (SHR 1.16, 95% CI 1.05-1.29) but not high-intensity utilization. Post-diagnosis depression was associated with lower hospice enrollment (SHR 0.80, 95% CI 0.74-0.85) and higher odds of ICU admission (aOR 1.18, 95% CI 1.01-1.37). CONCLUSION:EOL healthcare utilization varied by timing of depression diagnosis. Those with pre-cancer depression had lower odds of high-intensity healthcare, were more likely to utilize hospice, and have longer hospice stays. Regular depression screening and treatment may help patients optimize decision-making for EOL care. Additionally, hospice providers may need additional resources to attend to mental health needs in this population.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cancer imposes substantial burdens on cancer suffers, their families and the health system, especially in the end of life (EOL) of care patients. There are few developing country studies of EOL health care costs and no specialist studies of the disparities in cancer treatment and care costs by geographical location in China. We sought to examine geographical disparities in the types of cancer treatments and care costs during the last 3?months of life for Chinese cancer patients. METHODS:Using snowball sampling and face-to-face interviews, field research was conducted with a specialist questionnaire. Data were collected on 792 cancer patients who died between July 2013 and June 2016 in China. Total EOL health care costs were modeled using generalized linear models (GLMs) with log link and gamma distribution. RESULTS:Total health care costs were highest for urban (US$12,501) and western region (US$9808) patients and lowest for rural (US$5996) and central region (US$5814) patients. Our study revealed about 40% of the health care expenses occur in the last three months of life, and was mainly driven by hospital costs that accounted for about 70% of EOL expenditures. Patients faced out-of-pocket expenses for health care, with the ability to borrow from family and friends also impacting the type of treatment and health facility. Life-extending treatments per cancer patient was about two times that of patients receiving conservative treatments.Urban patients were more likely to receive life-extending treatments, financed by higher incomes and a greater capacity to borrow from family and friends to bridge the gap between health insurance reimbursements and out-of-pocket expenditures. Cancer patients in western region and urban area were significantly more likely to access hospice care. CONCLUSIONS:We found significant urban-rural and regional disparities in EOL types of cancer treatment, utilization of medical care and the health care expenditures. The EOL cancer care costs imposed heavy economic burdens in China.We recommend better clinical guidelines, improved EOL conversations and fuller information on treatment regimes among patients, family caregivers and doctors. Policies and information should pay more attention to palliative care options and the socio-cultural context of cancer care decision-making by family.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:This study investigated barriers to quality end-of-life (EOL) care in the context of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), one of the most common degenerative dementias in the United States. METHODS:The study consisted of telephone interviews with caregivers and family members of individuals who died with DLB in the last 5 years. Interviews used a semi-structured questionnaire. Investigators employed a qualitative descriptive approach to analyze interview transcripts and identify common barriers to quality EOL care. RESULTS:Thirty participants completed interviews. Reported barriers to quality EOL experiences in DLB pertained to the DLB diagnosis itself and factors relating to the US health-care system, facilities, hospice, and health-care providers (physicians and staff). Commonly reported barriers included lack of recognition and knowledge of DLB, lack of education regarding what to expect, poor coordination of care and communication across health-care teams and circumstances, and difficulty accessing health-care resources including skilled nursing facility placement and hospice. CONCLUSION:Many identified themes were consistent with published barriers to quality EOL care in dementia. However, DLB-specific EOL considerations included diagnostic challenges, lack of knowledge regarding DLB and resultant prescribing errors, difficulty accessing resources due to behavioral changes in DLB, and waiting to meet Medicare dementia hospice guidelines. Improving EOL experiences in DLB will require a multifaceted approach, starting with improving DLB recognition and provider knowledge. More research is needed to improve recognition of EOL in DLB and factors that drive quality EOL experiences.
Project description:To explore the relationship between degree of rurality and glucose (hemoglobin A1c), blood pressure (BP), and lipid (LDL) control among patients with diabetes.Descriptive study; 1,649 patients in 205 rural practices in the United States. Patients' residence ZIP codes defined degree of rurality (Rural-Urban Commuting Areas codes). Outcomes were measures of acceptable control (A1c < = 9%, BP < 140/90 mmHg, LDL < 130 mg/dL) and optimal control (A1c < 7%, BP < 130/80 mmHg, LDL < 100 mg/dL). Statistical significance was set at P < .008 (Bonferroni's correction).Although the proportion of patients with reasonable A1c control worsened by increasing degree of rurality, the differences were not statistically significant (urban 90%, large rural 88%, small rural 85%, isolated rural 83%; P = .10); mean A1c values also increased by degree of rurality, although not statistically significant (urban 7.2 [SD 1.6], large rural 7.3 [SD 1.7], small rural 7.5 [SD 1.8], isolated rural 7.5 [SD 1.9]; P = .16). We observed no differences between degree of rural and reasonable BP or LDL control (P = .42, P = .23, respectively) or optimal A1c or BP control (P = .52, P = .65, respectively). Optimal and mean LDL values worsened as rurality increased (P = .08, P = .029, respectively).In patients with diabetes who seek care in the rural Southern United States, we observed no relationship between degree of rurality of patients' residence and traditional measures of quality of care. Further examination of the trends and explanatory factors for relative worsening of metabolic control by increasing degree of rurality is warranted.