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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jul;65(7):1406-1413. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14891. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

End-of-Life Care Transition Patterns of Medicare Beneficiaries.

Author information

1
Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
2
Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research Center, Yale Cancer Center and School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
3
Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, New York.
4
James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bronx, New York.
5
Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
6
Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To characterize the patterns of transitions in care and factors associated with multiple transitions in the last 6 months of life of U.S. decedents (N = 660,132).

DESIGN:

Retrospective study.

SETTING:

United States.

PARTICIPANTS:

Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 and older who died from July to December 2011.

MEASUREMENTS:

Transitions between healthcare settings (e.g., hospital, skilled nursing facility, inpatient hospice, home hospice, home without hospice) in the last 6 months of life. A count variable for number of transitions was summarized, and Sankey diagrams were produced to illustrate the sequences of healthcare transitions. Multivariable analyses were used to identify factors associated with likelihood of having four or more transitions.

RESULTS:

More than 80% decedents (n = 556,437) had at least one transition within the last 6 months of life; 218,731 had four or more transitions within the last 6 months of life. The most-frequent transition pattern (19.3% of all decedents; n = 127,435) was home to hospital, back to home or skilled nursing facility, to hospital again, and then to settings other than hospital, ending with four or more transitions. The average number of transitions in the last 6 months of life varied substantially across states, ranging from 1.8 in Alaska to 3.1 in New Jersey. Transitions became more intensive for decedents approaching death. In multivariable analyses, women, blacks, individuals younger than 85, and individuals without dementia were more likely to have four or more transitions (all P < .05).

CONCLUSION:

Approximately one-third of the Medicare beneficiaries who died in 2011 had four or more transitions within their last 6 months of life. Identifying interventions that can facilitate care transitions consistent with beneficiaries' preferences is warranted.

KEYWORDS:

Sankey diagram; end-of-life care; transitions in care

PMID:
28369785
PMCID:
PMC5507734
DOI:
10.1111/jgs.14891
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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