French end-of-life survey

End of Life trajectories

Although nearly 2 out of 3 people die in hospital, an analysis of trajectories during the last month of life gives a more nuanced picture.

Death occurs after varying lengths of time in hospital: 39.3% of those who die in hospital have been there for a month or more, a third have spent the past three weeks there and 28% are only hospitalized in their last week of life (Table A). Duration of hospital stay in the last month of life varies with cause of death.

Of patients with mental disorders who die in hospital, 67.1% have spent the previous month there.

Cancer patients dying in hospital are also likely to have been there for some time: 48.6% for a full month, with only 16.4% arriving a week or less before death.

By contrast, those who die in hospital of cardiovascular, respiratory or digestive system diseases are often moved to hospital shortly before death: 36-38.1% in the last week of life.

Source: Sophie Pennec, Joëlle Gaymu, Alain Monnier et al., 2013, In France, Where do People Live in Their Last Month of Life and Where do They Die ?, Ined, Population-F, 68 (4)
Contact: Sophie Pennec, Joëlle Gaymu
Online: February 2014