BACKGROUND: International studies show that most people prefer to die at home; however, hospitals remain the most common place of death (PoD). This study aims to investigate the patterns in PoD and the associated factors, which are crucial for end-of-life cancer care enhancement.<br /><br />METHOD: This retrospective, population-based study analyzed all registered cancer deaths in Qatar between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2012 (n = 1,224). The main outcome measures were patient characteristics: age, gender, nationality, cancer diagnosis, year of death, and PoD. Time trends for age-standardized proportions of death in individual PoDs were evaluated using chi-square analysis. Odds ratio (OR) were determined for variables associated with the most preferred (acute palliative care unit [APCU] and hematology/oncology ward) versus least preferred (ICU and general medicine ward) PoDs in Qatar, stratified by nationality.<br /><br />RESULTS: The hematology/oncology ward was the most common PoD (32.4%; 95% CI 26.7-35.3%) followed by ICU (31.4%; 95% CI 28.7-34.3%), APCU (26.9%; 95% CI 24.3-29.6%), and general medicine ward (9.2%; 95% CI 7.6-11.1%). APCU trended upward (+0.057/year; p<0.001), while the hematology/oncology ward trended downward (-0.055/year; p<0.001). No statistically significant changes occurred in the other PoDs; home deaths remained low (0.4%; 95% Cl 0.38-0.42). Qataris who died from liver cancer (OR 0.23) and aged 65 or older (OR 0.64) were less likely to die in the APCU or hematology/oncology ward (p<0.05). Non-Qataris who died from pancreatic cancer (OR 3.12) and female (OR 2.05) were more likely to die in the APCU or hematology/oncology ward (p<0.05). Both Qataris and non-Qataris who died from hematologic malignancy (OR 0.18 and 0.41, respectively) were more likely to die in the ICU or general medicine ward (p<0.05).<br /><br />CONCLUSION: A high percentage of cancer deaths in Qatar occur in hospital. As home was the preferred PoD for most people, effective home care and hospice programs are needed to improve end-of-life cancer care.
Mohsen, H., Haddad, P., Allam, A., & Hassan, A. (2014). Patterns in place of cancer death in the state of qatar: A population-based study. PLoS ONE, 9(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0109615