Background: Avoiding inappropriate care transition and enabling people with chronic diseases to die at home have become important health policy issues. Availability of palliative home care services may be related to dying at home. Aim: After controlling for the presence of hospital beds and primary care physicians, we examined the association between availability of home palliative care services and dying at home in conditions requiring such services. Design: Death certificate data in Japan in 2016 were linked with regional healthcare statistics. Setting/participants: All adults (18 years or older) who died from conditions needing palliative care in 2016 in Japan were included. Results: There were 922,756 persons included for analysis. Malignant neoplasm (37.4%) accounted for most decedents, followed by heart disease including cerebrovascular disease (31.4%), respiratory disease (14.7%) and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease/senility (11.5%). Of decedents, 20.8% died at home or in a nursing home and 79.2% died outside home (hospital/geriatric intermediate care facility). Death at home was more likely in health regions with fewer hospital beds and more primary care physicians, in total and per condition needing palliative care. Number of home palliative care services was negatively associated with death at home. The adjustment for home palliative care services disappeared in heart disease including cerebrovascular disease and reversed in respiratory disease. Conclusion: Specialised home palliative care services may be suboptimal, and primary care services may serve as a key access point in providing baseline palliative care to people with conditions needing palliative care. Therefore, primary care services should aim to enhance their palliative care workforce.
- Death certificates
- home health care agencies
- palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine