Days Spent at Home in the Last Six Months of Life Among Community-Living Older Persons

Thomas M. Gill, Evelyne A. Gahbauer, Linda Leo-Summers, Terrence E. Murphy, Ling Han

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13 Scopus citations


Background: Days spent at home has recently been identified as an important patient-centered outcome; yet, relatively little is known about time spent at home at the end of life among community-living older persons. Methods: The analytic sample included 457 decedents from an ongoing cohort study of 754 community-living persons, aged ≥70 years. Days spent at home were calculated as 180 days minus the number of days in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice facility. The condition leading to death was determined from death certificates and comprehensive assessments. Results: The median number of days at home was 159 (interquartile range 125-174). There were 138 (30.2%) decedents at home during the entire 6-month period, while 163 (35.7%) were at home for fewer than 150 days. Days at home did not differ significantly by age (P =.922), sex (P =.238), or race/ethnicity (P =.199), but did differ according to the condition leading to death (P =.001), with the lowest value observed for organ failure (150 [106.5-168.5]), highest values for sudden death (177 [172-179]) and cancer (167 [140-174]), and intermediate values for advanced dementia (164 [118-174]), frailty (160.5 [130-174]), and other conditions (153 [118-175]). Conclusions: Among community-living older persons, days spent at home in the last 6 months of life do not differ by age, sex, or race/ethnicity, but are significantly lower for persons dying from organ failure. Additional efforts may be warranted to optimize time spent at home at the end of life, especially among older persons dying from organ failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-239
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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