Context A region-based palliative care intervention (Outreach Palliative Care Trial of Integrated Regional Model Study) increased home death, access to specialist palliative care, quality of care, and quality of death and dying. Objectives The objective of this study was to examine changes in palliative care outcomes in different care settings (hospitals, palliative care units, and home) and obtain insights into how to improve region-level palliative care. Methods The intervention program was implemented from April 2008 to March 2011. Two bereavement surveys were conducted before and after intervention involving 4228 family caregivers of deceased cancer patients. Family-perceived quality of care (range 1–6), quality of death and dying (1–7), pain relief (1–7), and caregiver burden (1–7) were measured. Results Response rates were 69% (preintervention) and 66% (postintervention), respectively. Family-perceived quality of care (adjusted mean 4.89, 95% CI 4.54–5.23) and quality of death and dying (4.96, 4.72–5.20) at home were the highest and sustained throughout the study. Palliative care units were at the intermediate level between home and hospitals. In hospitals, both quality of care and quality of death and dying were low at baseline but significantly improved after intervention (quality of care: 4.24, 4.13–4.34 to 4.43, 4.31–4.54, P = 0.002; quality of death and dying: 4.22, 4.09–4.36 to 4.36, 4.22–4.50, P = 0.012). Caregiver burden did not significantly increase after intervention, regardless of place of death. Conclusions The dual strategies of transition of place of death to home and improving quality of care in hospitals should be recognized as important targets for improving region-level palliative care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas