Propensity for paying home visits among general practitioners and the associations with cancer patients’ place of care and death: a register-based cohort study

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Previous studies of associations between home visits by general practitioners and end-of-life care for cancer patients have been subject to confounding.


To analyse associations between general practitioners’ propensity to pay home visits and the likelihood of hospitalisation and dying out of hospital among their cancer patients.


A national register cohort study with an ecological exposure. Standardised incidence rates of general practitioner home visits were calculated as a measure for propensity. Practices were grouped into propensity quartiles. Associations between propensity groups and end-of-life outcomes for cancer patients aged 40 or above were calculated.


Danish general practitioners and citizens aged 40 or above were included from 2003 to 2012.


We included 2670 practices with 2,518,091 listed patients (18,364,679 person-years); of whom 116,677 died from cancer. General practitioners were grouped into quartiles based on the general practitioners’ propensity to pay home visits, which varied 6.6-fold between quartiles. Cancer patients in Group 4 (highest propensity) were less hospitalised than patients in Group 1 (lowest propensity): odds ratio: 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 1.08; 1.17) for ≤3 bed-days and odds ratio: 0.95 (0.91–0.99) for ≥20 bed-days. Group 4 patients were more likely to die out of hospital (odds ratio: 1.20 (1.16; 1.24)) than Group 1 patients.


We found a dose–response-like association between general practitioners’ higher propensity to pay home visit and their patients’ likelihood of less end-of-life hospitalisation and more often dying out of hospital.

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