UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Describing the characteristics and healthcare use of high-cost acute care users at the end of life: a pan-Canadian population-based study Qureshi, Danial; Isenberg, Sarina; Tanuseputro, Peter; Moineddin, Rahim; Quinn, Kieran; Meaney, Christopher; McGrail, Kimberlyn M.; Seow, Hsien; Webber, Colleen; Fowler, Robert; Hsu, Amy

Abstract

Background A minority of individuals use a large portion of health system resources, incurring considerable costs, especially in acute-care hospitals where a significant proportion of deaths occur. We sought to describe and contrast the characteristics, acute-care use and cost in the last year of life among high users and non-high users who died in hospitals across Canada. Methods We conducted a population-based retrospective-cohort study of Canadian adults aged ≥18 who died in hospitals across Canada between fiscal years 2011/12–2014/15. High users were defined as patients within the top 10% of highest cumulative acute-care costs in each fiscal year. Patients were categorized as: persistent high users (high-cost in death year and year prior), non-persistent high users (high-cost in death year only) and non-high users (never high-cost). Discharge abstracts were used to measure characteristics and acute-care use, including number of hospitalizations, admissions to intensive-care-unit (ICU), and alternate-level-of-care (ALC). Results We identified 191,310 decedents, among which 6% were persistent high users, 41% were non-persistent high users, and 46% were non-high users. A larger proportion of high users were male, younger, and had multimorbidity than non-high users. In the last year of life, persistent high users had multiple hospitalizations more often than other groups. Twenty-eight percent of persistent high users had ≥2 ICU admissions, compared to 8% of non-persistent high users and only 1% of non-high users. Eleven percent of persistent high users had ≥2 ALC admissions, compared to only 2% of non-persistent high users and 

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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