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Hospice Care Access: a national cohort study


Objectives Hospice care in the Netherlands is provided in three different types of hospice facilities: volunteer-driven hospices (VDH), stand-alone hospices (SAHs) and hospice unit nursing homes (HU). The organisational structures range from care directed by trained volunteers in VDH to care provided by multiprofessional teams in SAH and HU units.

This study aims to characterise the patient populations who access Dutch hospices and describe the patient profiles in different hospice types.

Methods A retrospective cohort study using clinical records of adult hospice inpatients in 2017–2018 from a random national sample of hospices.

Results In total 803 patients were included from 51 hospices, mean age 76.1 (SD 12.4). 78% of patients had a primary diagnosis of cancer, 3% identified as non-Dutch cultural background and 17% were disorientated on admission. At admission, all patients were perceived to have physical needs. Psychological needs were reported in 37%, 36% and 34%, social needs by 53%, 52% and 62%, and existential needs by 23%, 30% and 18% of patients in VDH, SAH, HU units, respectively. 24%, 29% and 27% of patients from VDHs, SAHs and HUs had care needs in three dimensions, and 4%, 6% and 3% in all four dimensions.

Conclusions People who access Dutch hospices predominantly have cancer, and have a range of physical, psychological, social and existential needs, without substantial differences between hospice types. Patients with non-malignant disease and non-Dutch cultural backgrounds are less likely to access hospice care, and future policy would ideally focus on facilitating their involvement.

  • hospice care
  • END of life care
  • quality of life

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. The data contain deidentified participant and hospice data which may be available for reuse for non-proprietary research. For further information please contact the corresponding author (Matthew Grant) can be contacted through the email listed above.

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