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Determinants of aggregate length of hospital stay in the last year of life in Switzerland

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Hedinger Damian, Braun Julia, Kaplan Vladimir, Bopp Matthias,
Project Multimorbidity and pathways of inpatient care at the end-of-life: a national study in Switzerland
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal BMC Health Services Research
Volume (Issue) 16
Page(s) 463
Title of proceedings BMC Health Services Research
DOI 10.1186/s12913-016-1725-7

Open Access

URL https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-016-1725-7
Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)

Abstract

Background In contrast to individual preferences, most people in developed countries die in health care institutions, with a considerable impact on health care resource use and costs. However, evidence about determinants of aggregate length of hospital stay in the last year preceding death is scant. Methods Nationwide individual patient data from Swiss hospital discharge statistics were linked with census and mortality records from the Swiss National Cohort. We explored determinants of aggregate length of hospital stay in the last year of life in N = 35,598 inpatients ≥65 years who deceased in 2007 or 2008. Results The average aggregate length of hospital stay in the last year of life was substantially longer in the German speaking region compared to the French (IRR 1.36 [95 % CI 1.32–1.40]) and Italian (IRR 1.22 [95 % CI 1.16–1.29]) speaking region of the country. Increasing age, female sex, multimorbidity, being divorced, foreign nationality, and high educational level prolonged, whereas home ownership shortened the aggregate length of hospital stay. Individuals with complementary private health insurance plans had longer stays than those with compulsory health insurance plans (IRR 1.04 [95 % CI 1.01–1.07]). Conclusions The aggregate length of hospital stay during the last year of life was substantially determined by regional and socio-demographic characteristics, and only partially explained by differential health conditions. Therefore, more detailed studies need to evaluate, whether these differences are based on patients’ health care needs and preferences, or whether they are supply-driven.
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