Identification of palliative care needs among people with dementia and its association with acute hospital care and community service use at the end-of-life: A retrospective cohort study using linked primary, community and secondary care data

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Abstract

Background: Hospital admissions among people dying with dementia are common. It is not known whether identification of palliative care needs could help prevent unnecessary admissions.

Aim: To examine the proportion of people with dementia identified as having palliative care needs in their last year of life, and the association between identification of needs and primary, community and hospital services in the last 90 days.

Design: Retrospective cohort study using Discover, an administrative and clinical dataset from 365 primary care practices in London with deterministic individual-level data linkage to community and hospital records.

Setting/participants: People diagnosed with dementia and registered with a general practitioner in North West London (UK) who died between 2016 and 2019. The primary outcome was multiple non-elective hospital admissions in the last 90 days of life. Secondary outcomes included contacts with primary and community care providers. We examined the association between identification of palliative care needs with outcomes.

Results: Among 5804 decedents with dementia, 1953 (33.6%) were identified as having palliative care needs, including 1141 (19.7%) identified before the last 90 days of life. Identification of palliative care needs before the last 90 days was associated with a lower risk of multiple hospital admissions (Relative Risk 0.70, 95% CI 0.58-0.85) and more contacts with the primary care practice, community nurses and palliative care teams in the last 90 days.

Conclusions: Further investigation of the mechanisms underlying the association between identification of palliative care needs and reduced hospital admissions could help reduce reliance on acute care for this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1700
Number of pages10
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume35
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Dementia
  • end of life
  • PRIMARY CARE
  • hospitalization
  • palliative care

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