More older adults died at their preferred place after implementation of a transmural care pathway for older adults at the end of life: a before-after study

Iris van Doorne, Marike A. de Meij, Juliette L. Parlevliet, Vera M. W. van Schie, Dick L. Willems, Bianca M. Buurman, Marjon van Rijn

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To improve transmural palliative care for older adults acutely admitted to hospital, the PalliSupport intervention, comprising an educational programme and transmural palliative care pathway, was developed. This care pathway involves timely identification of palliative care needs, advance care planning, multidisciplinary team meetings, warm handover, and follow-up home visits. With this study, we evaluate changes in patient-related outcomes and transmural collaboration after implementation of the care pathway.

We conducted a before-after study, in which we compared 1) unplanned hospital admission and death at place of preference and 2) transmural collaboration before implementation, up to six months, and six to 18 months after implementation. Data from palliative care team consultations were collected between February 2017 and February 2020 in a teaching hospital in the Netherlands.

The palliative care team held 711 first-time consultations. The number of consultation, as well as the number of consultations for patients with non-malignant diseases, and consultations for advance care planning increased after implementation. The implementation of the pathway had no statistically significant effect on unplanned hospitalization but associated positively with death at place of preference more than six months after implementation (during/shortly after adjusted OR: 2.12; 95% CI: 0.84–5.35; p-value: 0.11, long term after adjusted OR: 3.14; 95% CI: 1.49–6.62; p-value: 0.003). Effects on transmural collaboration showed that there were more warm handovers during/shortly after implementation, but not on long term. Primary care professionals attended multidisciplinary team meetings more often during and shortly after implementation, but did not more than six months after implementation.

The pathway did not affect unplanned hospital admissions, but more patients died at their place of preference after implementation. Implementation of the pathway increased attention to- and awareness for in-hospital palliative care, but did not improve transmural collaboration on long-term. For some patients, the hospital admissions might helped in facilitating death at place of preference.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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