Introduction Up until recently, the link between lower socioeconomic groups and poor palliative care outcomes has been understudied. Increasing literature in the area continues to point towards a predictive value of socioeconomic index on palliative care outcomes including place of death. Delivering palliative care in rural settings also has its challenges, with some literature finding rurality to also be linked to poorer palliative outcomes.
Methods The 50 most recent cancer deaths occurring at a rural and an urban GP practice were requested for analysis. Place of death and type of cancer diagnosis was recorded for each patient. The home postcode was also noted in order to map each patient to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). Mean SIMD vigintiles were compared across all recorded places of death, and logistic regression models were run to assess the predictive value of SIMD vigintile on place of death.
Results Across all project patients, as well as when examining each GP practice individually, the mean SIMD vigintile was only found to be statistically significantly lower in those who died in supported housing. Logistic regression models also found that SIMD is not predictive of place of death within this project population.
Discussion The reasons underpinning the palliative poverty gap are complex, and indeed addressing the root cause of many of these issues lie outwith the scope of palliative services. There are however a number of published interventions made by palliative caregivers that have found to be successful in decreasing the gap.
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