Place of death for hospice-cared terminal patients with cancer: A nationwide retrospective study in Taiwan

Heng Yi Lin, Shih Chao Kang*, Yu Chun Chen, Yin Chieh Chang, Wei Shu Wang, Su Shun Lo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background Hospice care has been part of the Taiwan health-care system for 20 years. Detailed information on the place of death for terminal cancer patients is lacking. Impending death discharge (IDD) is unique in Taiwan, and our study aims to compare IDD with in-hospice death among terminal cancer patients under hospice care. Methods This retrospective study used claims data of decedents of cancer from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan from 2007 to 2010. Results Of the 22,720 cancer decedents enrolled, 6316 had claims data marked with IDD and 16,404 with in-hospice death. Those with IDD were older; had a shorter hospice stay; and higher rates of gastrointestinal, peritoneal, and pulmonary cancers. The mean daily health-care expenditure was higher in those with IDD, however, the total expenditure of terminal hospice admission was lower than those dying in hospices. Patients who were treated at public hospitals had a higher rate of in-hospice death than those treated at private hospitals. Patients with IDD were positively correlated with increasing age and shorter hospice stay. Patients with IDD were positively correlated with private hospitals, especially religious corporation-based hospitals. Male sex, oropharyngeal cancer, bone/connective/breast cancers, and secondary/metastatic cancers were negatively correlated with IDD. Conclusion Patients with IDD have characteristics distinct from those dying in hospices. Advanced age and short hospice stays were common in those with IDD, and in-depth investigations were needed. As a unique predying process in Taiwan, relevant health-care issues regarding IDD are warranted for further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-232
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • hospices
  • length of stay
  • neoplasms
  • palliative care
  • patient discharge


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