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Home care by general practitioners for cancer patients in the last 3 months of life: An epidemiological study of quality and associated factors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jun 2015
E-pub ahead of print2 Jun 2015
Published1 Jan 2016


  • Palliat_Med_2016_Pivodic_64_74

    Palliat_Med_2016_Pivodic_64_74.pdf, 506 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:20 Jan 2016

    Version:Final published version

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Stronger generalist end-of-life care at home for people with cancer is called for but the quality of end-of-life care delivered by general practitioners has been questioned.

AIM: To determine the degree of and factors associated with bereaved relatives' satisfaction with home end-of-life care delivered by general practitioners to cancer patients.

DESIGN: Population-based mortality followback survey.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Bereaved relatives of people who died of cancer in London, United Kingdom (identified from death registrations in 2009-2010), were invited to complete a postal questionnaire surveying the deceased's final 3 months of life.

RESULTS: Questionnaires were completed for 596 decedents of whom 548 spent at least 1 day at home in the last 3 months of life. Of the respondents, 55% (95% confidence interval: 51%-59%) reported excellent/very good home care by general practitioners, compared with 78% (95% confidence interval: 74%-82%) for specialist palliative care providers and 68% (95% confidence interval: 64%-73%) for district/community/private nurses. The odds of high satisfaction (excellent/very good) with end-of-life care by general practitioners doubled if general practitioners made three or more compared with one or no home visits in the patient's last 3 months of life (adjusted odds ratio: 2.54 (95% confidence interval: 1.52-4.24)) and halved if the patient died at hospital rather than at home (adjusted odds ratio: 0.55 (95% confidence interval: 0.31-0.998)).

CONCLUSION: There is considerable room for improvement in the satisfaction with home care provided by general practitioners to terminally ill cancer patients. Ensuring an adequate offer of home visits by general practitioners may help to achieve this goal.

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