High-intensity care including hospitalizations, chemotherapy, and other interventions at the end of life is costly and often of little value for cancer patients. Little is known about patterns of end-of-life care and resource utilization for women with uterine cancer.OBJECTIVE:
We examined the costs and predictors of aggressive end-of-life care for women with uterine cancer.STUDY DESIGN:
In this observational cohort study the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked database was used to identify women age ≥65 years who died from uterine cancer from 2000 through 2011. Resource utilization in the last month of life including ≥2 hospital admissions, >1 emergency department visit, ≥1 intensive care unit admission, or use of chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life was examined. High-intensity care was defined as the occurrence of any of the above outcomes. Logistic regression models were developed to identify factors associated with high-intensity care. Total Medicare expenditures in the last month of life are reported.RESULTS:
Of the 5873 patients identified, the majority had stage IV cancer (30.2%), were white (79.9%), and had endometrioid tumors (47.6%). High-intensity care was rendered to 42.5% of women. During the last month of life, 15.0% had ≥2 hospital admissions, 9.0% had a hospitalization >14 days, 15.3% had >1 emergency department visits, 18.3% had an intensive care unit admission, and 6.6% received chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life. The percentage of women who received high-intensity care was stable over the study period. Characteristics of younger age, black race, higher number of comorbidities, stage IV disease, residence in the eastern United States, and more recent diagnosis were associated with high-intensity care. The median Medicare payment during the last month of life was $7645. Total per beneficiary Medicare payments remained stable from $9656 (interquartile range $3190-15,890) in 2000 to $9208 (interquartile range $3309-18,554) by 2011. The median health care expenditure was 4 times as high for those who received high-intensity care compared to those who did not (median $16,173 vs $4099).CONCLUSION:
Among women with uterine cancer, high-intensity care is common in the last month of life, associated with substantial monetary expenditures, and does not appear to be decreasing.