Aims: To describe the place of death for patients with cancer in Singapore from 2000 to 2009, and determinants of death at home and in in-patient hospice compared to death in hospital.
Method: Cross-sectional analysis of all patients registered with the Singapore Cancer Registry who had died in the study period (N=52120). Places of death were grouped as homes, in-patient hospices, hospitals and others. For determinants of death at home and in in-patient hospice, covariates adjusted for in logistic regression analyses were age group, gender, ethnic group, primary tumour site, stage at diagnosis, duration and cause of death.
Results: In the 10-year period, 52.9% of patients with cancer had died in the hospital, 30.3% died at home and 10.7% in in-patient hospice. Determinants of death at home were older age, female (odds ratio OR 1.23, 95% confidence interval, CI 1.17-1.29), Malay (OR 2.28, 95% CI 2.13-2.44), cancers of the colo-rectum, liver, stomach, pancreas and nasopharynx (compared to lung cancer), duration of illness of 1-5 years (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.34-1.48), primary cause of death being 'neoplasms' (OR 2.97, 95% CI 2.79-3.17). Determinants of death in in-patient hospice were older age, distant metastasis (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.21-1.50) and primary cause of death being 'neoplasms' (OR 20.07, 95% CI 16.05-25.09).
Conclusion: Knowledge about place of death and its determinants will facilitate the planning of healthcare services to enable patients with terminal cancer to die at home and in in-patient hospices, thereby avoiding inappropriate hospitalization at the end of life.