The Impact of Hemodialysis on Terminal Cancer Patients in Hospices: A Nationwide Retrospective Study in Taiwan

Shih Chao Kang, Chih Ching Lin*, Yu Chun Chen, Wei Shu Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Hemodialysis (HD) is the most common renal replacement therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease in Taiwan. The use of HD in hospice care and its impact on terminal cancer patients remains unclear. Methods: Using claim data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, all patients who died from cancer and claim data of their terminal admissions in hospice from 2007 to 2010. Those with a comorbid diagnosis of renal failure or who had health insurance claims data for HD were enrolled. Results: A total of 5482 subjects were identified, of whom 4484 received HD and 998 did not. The HD group was significantly correlated with a younger age and high costs of terminal hospice admission. After adjusting for age and gender, the HD group was positively associated with a long hospice stay, in-hospice death, bone/connective tissue/breast cancers, and secondary/metastatic cancers, but negatively associated with genitourinary cancer. Compared with Department of Health/municipal hospitals, patients at both national and private university-affiliated hospitals were less likely to undergo HD. Conclusions: For terminal cancer patients under hospice care, HD was associated with a younger age, long terminal hospice stay, and high medical costs. Some types of cancers were associated with HD. University-affiliated hospitals played significant roles in non-HD renal supportive care. In-hospice HD is still common in Taiwan. Dialysis withdrawal and alternative care have space to promoting in hospice care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • cancer
  • end-stage renal disease
  • hemodialysis
  • hospice
  • palliative care
  • Taiwan


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