Aim: To investigate whether health service input in the last year of life differs between cancer patients who die at home versus those dying in inpatient care.
Methods: Post hoc exploratory case-control study of 127 home deaths and 200 inpatient deaths. Retrospective electronic record linkage of patients' community and inpatient care during the last year of life.
Results: Patients who died at home began their home nursing care closer to death than those who died as inpatients. Their first contact with inpatient hospice care began further from death. Before their final month, home death patients also had more specialist and district nursing than patients who died in inpatient care.
Conclusions: Patients who began their home nursing early were less likely to die at home than those who began such care late. This suggests that it may be difficult to sustain end-of-life care at home for an extended period. Further research incorporating assessment of informal care input and disease trajectory is required to investigate this issue.