Population-based projections of place of death for Northern Ireland by 2040

Clare McKeaveney, Tracey McConnell, Craig Harrison, Victoria Stone, Joanne Reid*

*Corresponding author for this work

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There are global challenges in relation to an increasingly older population, rising numbers of deaths and the resulting need for end-of-life care. It is imperative for Health and Social Care to examine where people die and forward plan.
To establish the place where people have died 2004-2018 and project future place of death care setting by 2040.
Materials and Methods
Population-based trend analysis of place of death for people that died in Northern Ireland (2004-2018 from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) and projections using linear modelling (2019-2040 projections by Office of National Statistics).
Deaths are projected to increase by 45.9%, from 15,922 in 2018 (of which 36.3% will be aged 85+ years) to 23,231 deaths in 2040 (39.8% aged 85+ years). Between 2004 and 2018, proportions of home and care home (defined as nursing and residential beds) deaths increased (24.5-27% and 16.3-19.4% respectively), while the proportion of hospital deaths declined (51.9-47.6%). If current trends continue, by 2040, deaths within the community (home and care home) will account for between 46.7-55.2% of all deaths. However, if care home capacity is limited at current levels (as of 2018), hospital deaths are projected to account for the largest proportion of deaths by 2040 (51.7%).
Death at an increasing age has implications for end-of-life care provision. This study demonstrates an increasing need for end-of- life care over the next 20-years, particularly within community settings. Projections highlight the need for comprehensive planning to ensure service provision within the community meets the needs of the population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative Medicine and Hospice Care
Early online date30 Dec 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Dec 2020


  • Trend analysis
  • Place of death
  • Community
  • Palliative care


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