Skip to main content

Table 2 Characteristics of the medical care processes at the end of life

From: Care provided and care setting transitions in the last three months of life of cancer patients: a nationwide monitoring study in four European countries

  Belgium (N = 595) The Netherlands (N = 335) Italy (N = 830) Spain (N = 277) p-valuea
Characteristics N(%) N(%) ORb(95% C.I.) N(%) ORb(95% C.I.) N(%) ORb(95% C.I.)  
During the last three months of life:
More than three GP-patient contactsd 137(23.0) 140(41.8) 2.2(1.6-3.0) 480(57.8) 4.6(3.6-5.9) 98(35.4) 1.7(1.3-2.4) <.001
At least one transition to another care setting 407(69.0) 173(52.6) 0.8(0.6-1.2) 534(64.4) 0.9(0.7-1.3) 156(57.4) 0.7(0.5-1.1) <.001
Specialist palliative care services initiated 370(65.1) 119(37.0) 0.2(0.2-0.3) 502(62.7) 1.2(0.9-1.6) 160(57.8) 1.0(0.7-1.4) <.001
GP provided palliative care until death 262(44.0) 219(67.0) 1.9(1.3-2.7) 290(35.0) 0.4(0.3-0.6) 129(49.4) 0.8(0.5-1.2) <.001
Difficult in covering care costs 92(20.3) 107(38.4) 2.5(1.8-3.6) 306(42.5) 3.0(2.3-4.1) 11(4.9) 0.2(0.1-0.4) <.001
Informal caregivers feeling overburdened 183(34.9) 92(30.9) 0.7(0.5-1.00) 590(77.9) 6.1(4.7-8.0) 99(41.8) 1.1(0.8-1.6) <.001
Palliation as important treatment goal (v curative/prolonging life) 305(58.1) 223(76.4) 2.2(1.6-3.1) 418(60.9) 1.2(0.9-1.5) 138(63.3) 1.2(0.9-1.8) <.001
During the last week of life:
One or more GP-patient contacts 448(75.3) 286(85.4) 1.3(0.9-1.9) 625(75.3) 0.8(0.6-1.1) 178(64.3) 0.4(0.3-0.6) <.001
At least one transition to another care setting 145(24.7) 56(16.8) 0.9(0.6-1.3) 159(19.5) 0.8(0.6-1.1) 71(27.4) 1.5(1.1-2.3) 0.002
Terminal hospital admission 198(33.5) 58(17.3) 0.4(0.3-0.6) 312(37.7) 1.2(1.0-1.5)c 95(34.9) 1.1(0.8-1.6) <.001
Admission during last week (vbefore last week)e 70(35.7) 22(38.6) 1.2(0.6-2.2) 100(33.2) 1.0(0.6-1.4) 44(47.8) 1.8(1.1-3.1) .084
Palliation as important treatment goal (v curative/prolonging life) 522(91.9) 296(94.9) 1.4(0.8-2.6) 487(80.0) 0.4(0.3-0.6) 206(89.6) 0.9(0.5-1.5) <.001
  1. Abbreviations: GP general practitioner, OR odds ratio.
  2. Missing data:
  3. During last 3 months of life: more than three GP-patient contacts: n = 1%; at least one transition: n < 1%; specialist palliative care initiated: n < 4%; GPs’ provision of pall care until death: n < 3%; difficult in covering care costs: n < 18%; informal caregivers feeling overburdened: n < 11%.
  4. During last week of life: transferred at least once: n < 3%; terminal hospital admission: n < 1%; admission during last week:n < 68%, palliation as important treatment goal during last week: n < 16%.
  5. aχ2test on cross-country differences.
  6. bOdd Ratios from multivariate logistic regression models. For these analyses, we compared end-of-life care between patients with cancer in the four countries, with Belgium as the reference category, and adjusted differences in place of death, age, gender and the types of malignancy. Odds ratios in bold are statistically significant at p < 0.05.
  7. cPlace of death not controlled for in multivariate analyses.
  8. dmedian number of contacts during the last three months of lifeacross countries was 3.
  9. eFor patients who died in hospitals.