Specialist Palliative Care Use for People Dying of Cancer in Western Australia
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The Western Australian Data Linkage System was used to study patterns of specialist palliative care delivery during the last 12 months of life, comparing use between different socio-demographic groups and causes of death. In the two and half year study period, 8007 people had either cancer alone, or cancer and another condition considered amenable to palliative care recorded in part one of the death certificate. Of this group, 56.3% received some form of specialist palliative care. Particular groups of people were disadvantaged in relation to access to specialist palliative care, with those single or widowed, aged over 85 years, or those living in a region other than a major city significantly less likely to receive specialist palliative care services. The vast majority of people in the last year of life had at least one hospital admission. Those receiving specialist palliative care community-based services were more likely to die in their own homes. The population-based data in this study provides a unique picture of palliative care provision in WA, suggests areas of need and helps to lay the groundwork for future research.
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