Background: Previous end-of-life cancer research has shown an association between increased family physician continuity of care and reduced use of acute care services; however, it did not focus on a homecare population or control for homecare nursing.
Aim: Among end-of-life homecare cancer patients, to investigate the association of family physician continuity with location of death and hospital and emergency department visits in the last 2 weeks of life while controlling for nursing hours.
Design: Retrospective population-based cohort study.
Setting/participants: Cancer patients with ≥1 family physician visit in 2006 from Ontario, Canada. Family physician continuity of care was assessed using two measures: Modified Usual Provider of Care score and visits/week. Its association with location of death and hospital and emergency department visits in the last 2 weeks of life was examined using logistic regression.
Results: Of 9467 patients identified, the Modified Usual Provider of Care score demonstrated a dose-response relationship with increasing continuity associated with decreased odds of hospital death and visiting the hospital and emergency department in the last 2 weeks of life. More family physician visits/week were associated with lower odds of an emergency department visit in the last 2 weeks of life and hospital death, except for patients with greater than 4 visits/week, where they had increased odds of hospitalizations and hospital deaths.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate an association between increased family physician continuity of care and decreased odds of several acute care outcomes in late life, controlling for homecare nursing and other covariates.
- continuity of care
- Family physician
- palliative care
- primary care