CONTEXT: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer patients report several symptoms at the end-of-life, and may share palliative care needs. However, these disease groups have distinct healthcare use.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the frequency and length of hospitalisations during the last month of life between COPD and lung cancer patients, assessing the main characteristics associated with these outcomes.
METHODS: Data was retrieved from the Portuguese Hospital Morbidity Database. Deceased patients in a public hospital from mainland Portugal (2010-2015), with COPD as the main diagnosis of the last hospitalisation (n=2942) were sex- and age-matched (1:1) with patients with lung cancer. The association of patients' main diagnosis, and individual, hospital and area of residence characteristics, on frequency (>1) and length (>14 days) of end-of-life hospitalisations were quantified through adjusted odds ratio (OR), and respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
RESULTS: Hospitalisations for >14 days during the last month of life were more likely for lung cancer than COPD patients (OR=1.12, 95%CI:1.00-1.25). Among COPD patients, male sex (OR=1.50, 95%CI:1.25-1.80) and death in a large hospital (OR=1.82, 95%CI:1.41-2.35) were positively associated with longer hospitalisations; the occurrence of >1 hospitalisation and hospitalisations for >14 days were less likely among those from rural areas (OR=0.72, 95%CI:0.55-0.94; OR=0.67, 95%CI:0.54-0.83, respectively). In lung cancer patients, male sex was negatively associated with longer hospitalisations (OR=0.82, 95%CI:0.69-0.98).
CONCLUSIONS: At the end-of-life, lung cancer patients had longer hospitalisations than COPD patients, and the main characteristics associated with the frequency and length of hospitalisations differed according to the patients' main diagnosis.