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Societies 2018, 8(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040112

The Location of Death and Dying Across Canada: A Study Illustrating the Socio-Political Context of Death and Dying

1
Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9, Canada
2
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada
3
Faculty of Nursing, University of Navarra, 31009 Pamplona, Spain
4
Centre for the Business and Economics of Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 4 November 2018 / Accepted: 6 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Socio-Political Context of Death and Dying)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: hospital; death; aging; population data; hospital utilization; location of death; Canada hospital; death; aging; population data; hospital utilization; location of death; Canada
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wilson, D.M.; Shen, Y.; Errasti-Ibarrondo, B.; Birch, S. The Location of Death and Dying Across Canada: A Study Illustrating the Socio-Political Context of Death and Dying. Societies 2018, 8, 112.

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