Changes in the Place of Death and Implications for End-of-Life Care Policy: A Population-Based Observational Study

Ming Hwai Lin, Tzeng-Ji Chen, Yiing Jenq Chou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Death in hospital rather than at home is becoming more prevalent, even among terminally ill patients receiving home-based care. Identifying trends in places of death is crucial to care policy, especially for aging populations as in Taiwan. Aim: To identify changes in the places of natural death of Taiwanese individuals for various causes of death. Design: A population-based observational study was conducted. Setting: Anonymous data for the period 2000–2020 from the Death Database of Taiwan’s National Center for Health Statistics Data were obtained and analyzed. Results: In 2000, 60.1% of natural deaths occurred in the home, whereas in 2020, this percentage was only 36.8%; conversely, the percentage of deaths in hospital increased from 34.4% in 2000 to 56.1% in 2020. Deaths in a nursing home or long-term care facility were found to account for only 3.8% of all natural deaths in 2020. Dementia was the cause of death for which the proportion of institutional deaths was highest, although this proportion was <10% for most years. We applied the joinpoint regression model to estimate trend changes in places of death. During the study period, the places of death in Taiwan changed significantly, the average annual percent changes for hospital deaths over the 21-year period was 2.54% (confidence interval [CI]: 2.04 to 3.03), and for home deaths was -2.69% (CI: -3.26 to -2.13). Conclusions: The detailed findings of this national study can offer insight into potential future clinical burdens and lead to better health policy decisions for Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1347
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • aged
  • death certificates
  • end-of-life care
  • epidemiology
  • health planning
  • palliative care
  • place of death


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