Palliative home care and emergency department visits in the last 30 and 90 days of life: a retrospective cohort study of patients with cancer.

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Evaluate the association of specialist palliative home care (HC) on emergency department (ED) visits in the 30 and 90 days prior to death.This retrospective cohort study using administrative data identified 6976 adults deceased from cancer between 2008 and 2015, living ≥180 days after diagnosis of cancer, and residing in the urban Calgary Zone of Alberta Health Services. All palliative HC and generalist HC services were examined. Regression analyses examined the relationships of HC type to ED visits in the last 30 or 90 days of life.In the last 30 days of life, compared with patients receiving palliative HC, patients receiving only generalist HC, or no HC, were more likely to visit the ED (OR)generalist-HC 1.19; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.34; ORno-HC 1.54; 95% CI 1.31 to 1.82). In the last 90 days of life, compared with patients receiving palliative HC, those receiving generalist HC (OR 1.48; 95% CI 1.32 to 1.67) and no HC (OR 1.66; 95% CI 1.39 to 1.99) had increased odds of visiting the ED.Receiving generalist HC and no HC was associated with increased odds of visiting the ED in the last 30 and 90 days of life, when compared with patients receiving palliative HC. Improving access to palliative HC for patients at high risk of visiting the ED may reduce ED visits and acute care costs and improve quality of life in the last 90 days of life.

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Authors: Jennifer Mracek, Madalene Earp, Aynharan Sinnarajah