Hospice Utilization in Taiwan by Cancer Patients Who Died Between 2000 and 2004

Siew Tzuh Tang*, Mei Ling Chen, Ean Wen Huang, Shin Lan Koong, Gia Li Lin, Shu Chun Hsiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

To facilitate utilization of hospice services, Taiwan uses the National Health Insurance (NHI) as a major policy instrument. To evaluate the effect of this policy on hospice utilization by cancer patients during their final year of life, a retrospective cohort study was conducted by linking individual patient-level data from the National Register of Deaths Database and the NHI claims database to examine changes in the rates of hospice utilization, durations of patient survival (DOS) after enrollment, and the rates of late referrals to hospice care from 2000 to 2004. Among the 103,097 cancer patients who died between 2000 and 2004, the rate of hospice utilization during their final year of life grew substantially from 5.5% to 15.4%. However, Taiwanese cancer patients were enrolled in hospice care close to death (median DOS ranged from 14 to 47 days). Except for the small proportion of patients who received both inpatient hospice care and hospice home care, one-third to one-fourth of cancer decedents died within 7 days after being enrolled in hospice care. Although the rate of late referrals to hospice care did not vary much over time, the mean DOS for hospice care changed significantly. Many Taiwanese cancer patients who could potentially benefit from hospice care do not receive it in time. Further research is warranted to investigate factors influencing hospice use and the timing of hospice referrals to facilitate appropriate use of hospice care for cancer patients in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-453
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 04 2007

Keywords

  • Hospice utilization
  • end-of-life care
  • late referrals
  • length of stay

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