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Gesundheitswesen. 2019 Apr 11. doi: 10.1055/a-0829-6604. [Epub ahead of print]

[Cancer Patients and the Last Year of Life: Palliative Care, Hospitalization and Place of Death].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Author information

PMV forschungsgruppe an der Medizinischen Fakultät und Uniklinik Köln, Universität zu Köln, Köln.
Wissenschaftliches Institut der Niedergelassenen Hämatologen und Onkologen, (WINHO GmbH), Köln.


in English, German


Palliative care patients frequently suffer from cancer diagnoses. Specialised palliative home care (German acronym 'SAPV') enables patients with complex symptoms and intensive care needs to receive home care until death. In the German Federal State of Hesse, the first SAPV teams were set up in 2009. Against this background, the aim of this study was (i) to investigate the utilization of SAPV and specialised inpatient palliative care in the last year of life of cancer patients, (ii) to detect the medical professions prescribing SAPV and (iii) to analyse the place of death and the hospitalization rate in the last 91 days of life.


A retrospective secondary data analysis was conducted. Routine data from the statutory health insurance company AOK Hesse in Germany for 2009-2014 were analysed using descriptive statistical methods. The study population comprised breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients who died in the year of observation (2010-2014) and who were fully insured 360 days before death.


Depending on the year of observation, 492-545 breast, 546-625 prostate, and 709-752 colorectal cancer patients were included in the study. The analysis showed an increase of cancer patients receiving palliative care from 2010 to 2014. A higher proportion of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients received SAPV as compared to services from palliative care units or inpatient hospices. All in all, over 90% of the SAPV prescriptions were issued by family doctors. The hospitalization rate of cancer patients in the last 91 days of life as well as the share of those dying in hospital decreased between 2010 and 2014.


The results must be assessed in the context of the implementation of SAPV in the state of Hesse. The increase of SAPV services and the reduction of hospitalizations at the end of life indicate a successful introduction of SAPV in the state of Hesse.


Conflict of interest statement

K. Hermes-Moll ist wissenschaftliche Leiterin des WINHO, W. Baumann war bis März 2018 Geschäftsführer des WINHO. Die übrigen Autoren erklären, dass kein Interessenkonflikt vorliegt.

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