Presented by: Arno Maetens
Policy measures to facilitate palliative care in the home setting exist in many developed countries, for instance in the form of financial compensations to families. Evaluating the uptake of these measures and the equity in this uptake is an important public health responsibility.
We examined this uptake in Belgium and evaluated the sociodemographic and disease-specific characteristics associated with (non-)uptake.
This study uses linked full-population databases containing information on sociodemographic and disease characteristics and healthcare use for all home-dwelling adult decedents in Belgium in 2012 (n=87,465). Identified policy measures concern “all health care forfeits that can support the patient to remain at home in the last phase of life”, distinguishing 3 measures specifically for palliative home patients and 8 generic measures. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine factors associated with uptake.
While 17.8% (n=15,565) of all home-dwelling decedents received a policy measure specifically for ‘palliative home patients’, 60.6% (n=52,992) received at least one policy measure to support the patient to remain at home. Being female, older, of Belgian nationality, lower educated, having cancer, not living in a single person household, and not living in a highly urbanised area were factors associated with a greater chance of using a supportive measure.
A relatively large proportion uses some measure to support care in the home setting, although a rather small proportion makes use of the specific palliative home care measures. Further research should focus on this low uptake and the inequalities between certain population groups.