Place of death of older persons with dementia. A study in five European countries

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Apr;58(4):751-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.02771.x.


The aging of the European population will lead to a rapid increase in dementia cases in the coming decades, posing challenges for the organization and provision of end-of-life care. Studying the place of death of patients with dementia, and what determines it, is relevant in this context. Using death certificates, the deaths of people aged 65 and older whose underlying cause of death was a dementia-related disease was studied in Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Wales. Between 50% (Wales) and 92% (Netherlands) of patients with dementia died in a nursing home and between 3% (Netherlands) and 46% (Wales) in hospital. Home death was rare (3-5%) except in Belgium (11%). Multivariate analysis showed that place of death was related to age, sex, available hospital and nursing home beds, and country of residence. Although availability of hospital and nursing home beds partially explained the variation between countries, considerable variation remained even after controlling for that, plus age, sex, and social support. Place of death from dementia differed significantly between the countries studied. In all countries, a majority of patients with dementia died in a long-term care facility. The provision of appropriate long-term care facilities with appropriate staffing could be the primary policy instrument that could help patients with dementia avoid dying in the hospital and ensure quality of end-of-life care in Europe.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Death Certificates
  • Dementia / mortality*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration*
  • Hospices / organization & administration*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nursing Homes / organization & administration*
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Terminal Care / organization & administration*
  • Wales / epidemiology