A population-based study of patients in Danish hospitals who are in their last year of life

Jarlbaek, L., Timm, H., Gott, M. and Clark, D. (2019) A population-based study of patients in Danish hospitals who are in their last year of life. Danish Medical Journal, 66(12), A06190351. (PMID:31791479)

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Publisher's URL: https://ugeskriftet.dk/dmj/population-based-study-patients-danish-hospitals-who-are-their-last-year-life


Introduction: Little is known about the prevalence and distribution in Denmark of hospital inpatients who are in their last year of life. Knowledge about these patients could attract attention towards needs for their identification and for optimisation of end-of-life care initiatives. The aims of this study were to determine the proportion of prevalent in-patients who died during the following 12 months, to present characteristics among deceased and survivors, and to identify in which hospitals, departments or specialities imminently dying patients appear most frequently. Methods: This was a record-linkage cohort study of all patients, who were in public somatic hospitals in Denmark on 10 April 2013. Patients were followed for one year. Results: A total of 13,412 inpatients were resident in 26 Danish hospitals on 10 April 2013 (range: 1,173-106 patients per hospital). 22% died during the one-year follow-up (range: 17-37% per hospital. 24% men, 20% women); 27% in medical, 15% in surgical and 50% in oncological/haematological departments. The median time to death was 59 days (54/66 days for women/men). 61% died in hospital. Deceased patients were older than survivors (76 versus 64 years, median) and had longer hospital index-stays (13 versus six days, median). 25% of the deceased (n = 740) died during the index episode, corresponding to 5.5% of all the prevalent inpatients. Conclusions: More than one in five inpatients in Danish hospitals are imminently dying or in their last year of life. Knowledge of the patients’ uneven distribution in the hospital system can underpin organisational strategies to focus on end-of-life care provision.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clark, Professor David
Authors: Jarlbaek, L., Timm, H., Gott, M., and Clark, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Danish Medical Journal
Publisher:The Danish Medical Association
ISSN (Online):2245-1919
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Danish Medical Journal 66(12):A06190351
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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