Barriers to dying at home: the impact of poor co-ordination of community service provision for patients with cancer

Health Soc Care Community. 2010 Jul;18(4):337-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2009.00897.x. Epub 2009 Dec 20.


For patients dying of cancer, there is an emphasis on giving choice regarding preferred location for care, with the option of dying at home, which is integral to UK government health initiatives such as the End of Life Care Programme. However, patients continue to be admitted to hospital in the terminal phase of their illness when they have expressed a desire to die at home. A qualitative study, using two audio tape-recorded focus group interviews, with a purposive sample of district nurses and community specialist palliative care nurses (19) was undertaken across two primary care trusts in the north west of England. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. From a service provision perspective, the results reveal that poor discharge planning and co-ordination, difficulty in establishing additional equipment and services together with inadequate out of hours medical provision were all factors contributing to hospital admissions for patients with cancer in the last hours and days of life, and thus were barriers to dying at home.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Death*
  • Community Health Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Public Health Nursing / organization & administration
  • Qualitative Research
  • Tape Recording
  • Terminal Care*
  • United Kingdom