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Journal article

Factors associated with non-beneficial treatments in end of life hospital admissions: a multicentre retrospective cohort study in Australia

End of life care Medical futility Medicine End of life decision making
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DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030955 579.25 KB


Objective To quantitatively assess the factors associated with non-beneficial treatments (NBTs) in hospital admissions at the end of life.

Design Retrospective multicentre cohort study.

Setting Three large, metropolitan tertiary hospitals in Australia.

Participants 831 adult patients who died as inpatients following admission to the study hospitals over a 6-month period in 2012.

Main outcome measures Odds ratios (ORs) of NBT derived from logistic regression models.

Results Overall, 103 (12.4%) admissions involved NBTs. Admissions that involved conflict within a patient’s family (OR 8.9, 95% CI 4.1 to 18.9) or conflict within the medical team (OR 6.5, 95% CI 2.4 to 17.8) had the strongest associations with NBTs in the all subsets regression model. A positive association was observed in older patients, with each 10-year increment in age increasing the likelihood of NBT by approximately 50% (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.9). There was also a statistically significant hospital effect.

Conclusions This paper presents the first statistical modelling results to assess the factors associated with NBT in hospital, beyond an intensive care setting. Our findings highlight potential areas for intervention to reduce the likelihood of NBTs.

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