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Unplanned hospitalisations in older people: illness trajectories in the last year of life

Abstract : Objective Unplanned hospitalisations can be burdensome for older people who approach the end of life. Hospitalisations disrupt the continuity of care and often run against patients' preference for comfort and palliative goals of care. This study aimed to describe the patterns of unplanned hospitalisations across illness trajectories in the last year of life. Methods Longitudinal, retrospective cohort study of decedents, including all older adults (≥65 years) who died in Sweden in 2015. We used nationwide data from the National Cause of Death Register linked at the individual level with several other administrative and healthcare registers. Illness trajectories were defined based on multiple-cause-of-death data to approximate functional decline near the end of life. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) for unplanned hospitalisations were modelled with zero-inflated Poisson regressions. Results In a total of 77 315 older decedents (53% women, median age 85.2 years), the overall incidence rate of unplanned hospitalisations during the last year of life was 175 per 100 patient-years. The adjusted IRR for unplanned hospitalisation was 1.20 (95%CI 1.18 to 1.21) times higher than average among decedents who followed a trajectory of cancer. Conversely, decedents who followed the trajectory of prolonged dwindling had a lowerthan-average risk of unplanned hospitalisation (IRR 0.66, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.68). However, these differences between illness trajectories only became evident during the last 3 months of life. Conclusion Our study highlights that, during the last 3 months of life, unplanned hospitalisations are increasingly frequent. Policies aiming to reduce burdensome care transitions should consider the underlying illness trajectories.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03472275
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 11:42:31 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 3:02:09 AM

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Máté Szilcz, Jonas W Wastesson, Kristina Johnell, Lucas Morin. Unplanned hospitalisations in older people: illness trajectories in the last year of life. BMJ Palliative and supportive care, BMJ Publishing Group 2021, Online ahead of print. ⟨10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002778⟩. ⟨inserm-03472275⟩

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