Prevalence of co-occurring serious illness diagnoses and association with health care utilization at the end of life

Stephanie Nothelle, Alanna Chamberlain, Debra Jacobson, Ariel R. Green, Cynthia M. Boyd, Walter A. Rocca, Chun Fan, Jennifer L. St. Sauver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: End-of-life care differs by serious illness diagnosis. Cancer and dementia are serious illnesses that have been associated with less intensive end-of-life health care use. It is not known how health care utilization varies in the presence of >1 serious illness. Methods: We used the Rochester Epidemiology Project to identify persons living in a midwestern area who died on July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018 at age ≥65 years, and were seriously ill. We examined the number of emergency department (ED), hospital, and intensive care unit (ICU) stays in the last 6 months and the last 30 days of life. We used Poisson regression to determine the incidence rate ratio for ED, hospital, and ICU stay in the last 6 months and 30 days of life by number of serious illness diagnoses. For cancer and dementia, we examined the effect of an additional serious illness. Results: We included a population of 1372 adults who were, on average, 84 years, 52% female, and 96% white. Approximately 41% had multiple serious illnesses. Compared to older adults with 1 serious illness diagnosis, rates of hospitalization, and ICU stay for adults with 2 or ≥3 serious illness diagnoses were at least 1.5 times higher in the last 6 months and the last 30 days of life. Rates of ED visits were significantly higher for older adults with 2 or ≥3 serious illness diagnoses in the last 6 months of life, but only higher for those with ≥3 versus 1 serious illness diagnosis in the last 30 days of life. For both cancer and dementia, rates of ED visits, hospitalization and ICU stay were lower for the condition alone than when an additional serious illness diagnosis was present. Conclusion: Having multiple serious illnesses increases the risk of health care utilization at the end of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • end-of-life
  • health care utilization
  • serious illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of co-occurring serious illness diagnoses and association with health care utilization at the end of life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this