Objectives To assess possible trends between 2009 and 2019 in the Netherlands of palliative care indicators: the provision of palliative care or treatment, hospitalisations in the last month before death, use of specialised palliative care services and place of death.
Methods The study design was a repeated retrospective cross-sectional design with questionnaires filled in by general practitioners within a clustered sample of 67 Sentinel practices. Patients whose death was non-sudden, and thus could have received palliative care, between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2019 were included in the study, resulting in 3121 patients.
Results Between 2009 and 2019, there is a significant increase in the number of people who receive palliative care or treatment alongside life-prolonging or curative treatment and the number of people who die at home, while the number of hospitalisations in the last month before death and the number of people dying in hospital shows a significant decrease. However, there is no trend in the involvement of specialised palliative care services or people receiving solely palliative care or treatment.
Conclusion This study suggests improvements in end-of-life care provided in primary care in the Netherlands. Trends coincided with increased attention to palliative care both in practice and policy. Yet, there is still considerable room for improvement as there is no significant increase in people solely receiving palliative care or treatment and the involvement of specialised palliative care services.
- Methodological research
- Home care
- Hospital care
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Contributors BO-P designed the study. JH conducted data collection. TB analysed the data and interpreted the results with BO-P and HRP. TB drafted the manuscript, which was discussed with and critically revised by BO-P, HRP and JH. BO-P is the guarantor of this study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.