Study indicates hospital services for cancer patients nearing death vary across Canada

Measuring performance crucial to improving cancer system – Partnership's palliative and end-of-life-care work adds to the dialogue

End-of-Life Hospital Care for Cancer Patients report coverData from the recently released study End-of-Life Hospital Care for Cancer Patients by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) examines the use of hospital services by cancer patients who died in acute care hospitals across Canada (excluding Quebec). The study notes that differences in the availability and location of palliative care beds in some provinces, as well as access to home care and hospice services, may be contributing to variations in in-hospital deaths.

The new CIHI study indicates that more than 25,000 people died in hospital from cancer in 2011-2012, representing 45% of all estimated cancer deaths that year. It provides additional data to help inform our work with partners to support cancer patients, caregivers and families in improving the patient journey for Canadians and better aligning end-of-life care with the choices of patients, their families and caregivers.

End-of-life care continues to be an emerging area of research and interest and the Partnership is exploring ways to collect and track more pan-Canadian data through its annual system performance reports. In addition, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer recently launched a program of work to better support patients, caregivers, families in making important choices on where care is provided, and to improve the palliative and end-of-life care journey for Canadians.