Patients with cancer who died at home had similar or longer survival compared with patients who died in a hospital, a study published in the journal Cancer has shown.1

Although the place of death greatly impacts the quality of death and dying for patients with cancer, whether survival time differs according to the place of death is unclear. Therefore, researchers sought to explore potential differences in the survival time of patients dying from cancer at their home or in a hospital.

For the multicenter, prospective study, researchers in Japan evaluated 2069 patients, of which 1582 were receiving hospital-based palliative care and 487 were receiving home-based palliative care. A total of 1607 patients actually died in the hospital and 462 patients died at home.

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Results showed that among patients with a prognosis of only days to live, the estimated median survival time was 13 days (95% CI: 10.3-15.7) for patients who died at home compared with 9 days (95% CI: 8.0-10.0) for patients who died in a hospital. This difference in survival time was statistically significant (P = .006).

Similarly, among patients with weeks to live, the estimated median survival time was 36 days (95% CI: 29.9-42.1) and 29 days (95% CI: 26.5-31.5) for patients who died at home and in the hospital, respectively (P = .007).

However, researchers observed no significant difference in survival time for patients expected to live for months.

Further analyses demonstrated that the place of death had a significant influence on the survival time (HR, 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77-0.97; P = .01).


1. Hamano J, Yamaguchi T, Maeda I, et al. Multicenter cohort study on the survival time of cancer patients dying at home or in a hospital: Does place matter? [published online ahead of print March 28, 2016]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29844.