Appropriateness of end-of-life care in people dying from COPD. Applying quality indicators on linked administrative databases

Robrecht De Schreye, Tinne Smets, Luc Deliens, Lieven Annemans, Birgit Gielen, Joachim Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Context: Large-scale evaluations of the quality of end-of-life care in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are lacking. Objectives: By means of a validated set of quality indicators (QIs), this study aimed to 1) assess appropriateness of end-of-life care in people dying from COPD; 2) examine variation between care regions; 3) establish performance standards. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study of all deaths from COPD (ICD-10 codes J41-J44) in 2012 in Belgium, using data from administrative population-level databases. QI scores were risk-adjusted for comparison between care regions. Results: A total of 4231 people died from COPD. During the last 30 days of life, 60% was admitted to hospital and 11.8% received specialized palliative care. Large regional variation was found in specialized palliative care use (4.0%–32.0%) and diagnostic testing in the last 30 days of life (44.0%–69.7%). Based on best performing quartile scores, relative standards were set (e.g., ≤54.9% for diagnostic testing). Conclusion: Our study found indications of inappropriate end-of-life care in people with COPD, such as high percentages of diagnostic testing and hospital admissions and low proportions receiving specialized palliative care. Risk-adjusted variation between regions was high for several QIs, indicating the usefulness of relative performance standards to improve quality of end-of-life COPD care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-550.e6
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • appropriate
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • end-of-life care
  • population level
  • Quality indicator


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