With recent changes in health care there is greater emphasis on providing care at home, including the support of families to enable more home deaths. Since a home death may not be practical or desirable in every family situation, there is a need for an objective way to assess the viability of a home death in each individual family situation. The purpose of this study was to describe the relative role of predictors of home death in a cohort of palliative care patients with advanced cancer. A questionnaire was created as a means of assessing the viability of a home death. Five questions were included. Ninety questionnaires were administered by home care coordinators. A follow-up questionnaire was administered to record the place of death. Of the 73 evaluable patients, 34 (47%) died at home and 39 (53%) died in hospital or hospice. The desire for a home death by both the patient and the caregiver, support of a family physician, and presence of more than one caregiver were all significantly associated with a home death. Logistic regression identified a desire for home death by both the patient and the caregiver as the main predictive factor for a home death. The presence of more than one caregiver was also predictive of home death. The questionnaire is simple and, if our results are confirmed, it can be used for predicting those who will not have a home death.
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