Place of death related to demographic factors for hospice patients in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Palliat Med. 2012 Jun;26(4):342-9. doi: 10.1177/0269216311412229. Epub 2011 Jun 22.


Background: Because socioeconomic and cultural factors contribute to where one dies, it is important to document place of death determinants in diverse societies.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to describe where persons in an Aotearoa New Zealand hospice die, and to identify factors that are associated with place of death.

Design: A retrospective chart review was conducted.

Setting/participants: Data were extracted from the charts of all patients receiving services from one hospice (i.e. secondary care) for whom death occurred during 2006-2008; 1268 cases for whom place of death was recorded comprise this sample.

Results: For close to half (47%), death occurred in the hospice inpatient unit, whereas 29% died at home, 8% died in an acute hospital setting, and 17% died in an aged/residential care facility. Bivariate analyses showed that persons who die in an aged/residential care facility are more likely to be aged 65 or older, unmarried, have a non-cancer diagnosis, and are likely poorer. Asians, those aged less than 65, those with cancer, and those admitted initially to hospice for respite care tended to die in the hospice inpatient unit. Multinominal logistic regression indicated that dying at home was only predicted by being from a Pacific Island.

Conclusions: Age, economics, diagnosis, ethnicity, marital status, and whether one enters a hospice service for (at least in part) respite were all associated to a certain extent with where one dies. These findings contribute to the growing evidence linking various factors, especially ethnic groups, with place of death.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Female
  • Home Nursing / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospice Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Terminally Ill / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult