To some, end of life care in the United States is considered resource intensive, expensive, and inattentive to patients’ needs. So how does the United States compare to other countries? A new study examined several health care measures at the end of life for cancer patients in five European countries, Canada and the United States.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine compared the health care experience for cancer patients older than 65, in Canada, Belgium, Germany, England, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. They examined several clinical measures during the final six months of life.
The United States and Netherlands had the lowest percentage of patients dying in the hospital. The United States also had the fewest hospitalizations and the smallest number of days patients spent in the hospital. In contrast, intensive care admissions were twice as common in the United States compared to the other countries.
During the last six months of life, patients in Norway and Canada had higher hospital costs than patients in the United States. There was less spending in Germany and Belgium, but the lowest expenditures were in the Netherlands and England.