The location of death and dying across Canada: a study illustrating the socio-political context of death and dying
Keywords: 
Hospital
Death
Aging
Population data
Hospital utilization
Location of death
Canada
Issue Date: 
2018
Publisher: 
MDPI
ISSN: 
2075-4698
Note: 
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons: Atribution License (cc BY)
Citation: 
Wilson, D.M. (Donna M.); Shen, Y. (Ye); Errasti-Ibarrondo, M.B. (María Begoña); et al. "The Location of Death and Dying Across Canada: A Study Illustrating the Socio-Political Context of Death and Dying". Societies. 8 (112), 2018, 1 - 7
Abstract
Background: Concern has existed for many years about the extensive use of hospitals by dying persons. In recent years, however, a potential shift out of hospital has been noticed in a number of developed countries, including Canada. In Canada, where high hospital occupancy rates and corresponding long waits and waitlists for hospital care are major socio-political issues, it is important to know if this shift has continued or if hospitalized death and dying remains predominant across Canada. Methods: Recent individual-anonymous population-level inpatient Canadian hospital data were analyzed to answer two questions: (1) what proportion of deaths in provinces and territories across Canada are occurring in hospital now? and (2) who is dying in hospital now? Results: In 2014–2015, 43.9% of all deaths in Canada (excluding Quebec) occurred in hospital. However, considerable cross-Canada differences in end-of-life hospital utilization were found. Some cross-Canada differences in hospital decedents were also noted, although most were older, male, and they died during a relatively short hospital stay after being admitted from their homes and through the emergency department after arriving by ambulance. Conclusion: Over half of all deaths in Canada are occurring outside of hospital now. Cross-Canada hospital utilization and inpatient decedent differences highlight opportunities for enhanced end-of-life care service planning and policy advancements.

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