Place of death in the Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales: A study of residents who died of a condition amenable to palliative care

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Abstract

Objective

To describe the place of death of residents in a rural region of New South Wales.

Design

Cross-sectional quantitative study using death data collected from local funeral directors (in person and websites), residential aged-care facilities, one multipurpose heath service and obituary notices in the local media (newspapers/radio).

Setting

Snowy Monaro region (NSW Australia).

Participants

Residents, with advanced frailty or one of 10 conditions amenable to palliative care, who died between 1 February 2015 and 31 May 2016.

Main outcome measure

Place of death.

Results

Of 224 deaths in this period, 138 were considered amenable to palliative care. Twelve per cent of these deaths occurred in a private residence, 38% in the usual place of residence and 91% within the region.

Conclusion

Most rural residents with conditions amenable to palliative care died in the region. Most did not die in their UPoR. Further qualitative work is needed to determine palliative care patients’ and family caregivers’ preferences for, and the importance placed on, place of death. While there may be a need to support an increase in home deaths, local rural hospitals and residential aged-care facilities must not be overlooked as a substitute for inpatient hospices.

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