Factors that promote success in home palliative care: a study of a large suburban palliative care practice

J Palliat Care. Winter 2002;18(4):282-6.


It has been repeatedly shown that most people would prefer to die in their own homes. However, many factors affect the feasibility of this choice. This study retrospectively examined the medical and nursing charts of 402 cancer patients who wished to die at home and had been referred to a palliative care service. Of those reviewed, 223 (55%) died at home, while 179 died in hospitals. The presence of more than one caregiver, an increased length of time between diagnosis and referral to a palliative care physician, an increased length of time under that physician's care, older age at referral, home ownership, and race were all significantly associated with home death, as were certain cancer diagnoses. The most compelling of these predictive factors have formed the basis for an evaluation tool, soon to be validated, to help palliative health professionals assess the viability of home-based palliative care culminating in a home death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Family
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Ontario
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suburban Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Time Factors