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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Palliative Care 1/2015

Effect of hospice care on quality indicators of end-of-life care among patients with liver cancer: a national longitudinal population-based study in Taiwan 2000–2011

BMC Palliative Care > Ausgabe 1/2015
Yee-Hsin Kao, Jui-Kun Chiang
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12904-015-0036-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Authors’ contributions

YHK contributed to the conception, design, and drafting of the manuscript. JKC analyzed and interpreted the data. Both revised and approved the final version.



Quality of near end-of-life (EOL) care is typically evaluated using six accepted quality indicators (QIs). Research has yet to evaluate the quality of EOL care for liver cancer patients in Taiwan. We evaluated the effect of hospice care on the quality of EOL care for patients with advanced liver cancer.


Using claims data obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, we analyzed the QIs of EOL care for patients who died between 2000 and 2011. Logistic regression was performed to identify predictors for QIs of EOL care.


A total of 3092 adult patients died of liver cancer during the study period. The patients were divided into those who received hospice care for a period longer than 1 month (long-H group), shorter than 1 month (short-H group), and not at all (non-H group). There was no significant difference in survival probability among the three groups (p = 0.212). Compared with the non-H group, the long- and short-H groups exhibited a significantly lower risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) (odds ratios [ORs] = 0.25 and 0.26, respectively, p < 0.001) and requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during the final month of life (ORs = 0.21 and 0.09, respectively, p < 0.001). Compared with the non-H group, the short-H group had a higher risk of more than one emergency room (ER) visit, and more than one hospital admission (OR = 1.97, p = 0.003; and OR = 1.56, p = 0.001, respectively), but the long-H group did not differed significantly from the non-H group on these measures.


Patients with liver cancer who received hospice care were less likely to be admitted to ICUs or require CPR compared with those who received no hospice care. A longer duration of hospice care was associated with reduced risks of more than one ER visit and more than one hospital admission. We conclude that EOL cancer care in Taiwan might be improved by implementing policies encouraging early hospice referral programs.
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