|Family caregiving and place of death: Insights from cross-national analysis of the Harmonized End of Life Data.
|Year of Publication
|Ailshire, JA, Osuna, M, Wilkens, J, Lee, J
|The Journals of Gerontology: Series B
|Activities of Daily Living, Aging, Disability, family caregivers, Nursing homes, SHARE, spouse, Terminally Ill
OBJECTIVES: Family is largely overlooked in research on factors associated with place of death among older adults. We determine if family caregiving at the end of life is associated with place of death in the United States and Europe.
METHODS: We use the Harmonized End of Life data sets developed by the Gateway to Global Aging Data for the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). We conducted multinomial logistic regression on 7,113 decedents from 18 European countries and 3,031 decedents from the United States to determine if family caregiving, defined based on assistance with activities of daily living, was associated with death at home versus at a hospital or nursing home.
RESULTS: Family caregiving was associated with reduced odds of dying in a hospital and nursing home, relative to dying at home in both the United States and Europe. Care from a spouse/partner or child/grandchild was both more common and more strongly associated with place of death than care from other relatives. Associations between family caregiving and place of death were generally consistent across European welfare regimes.
DISCUSSION: This cross-national examination of family caregiving indicates that family-based support is universally important in determining where older adults die. In both the United States and in Europe, most care provided during a long-term illness or disability is provided by family caregivers, and it is clear families exert tremendous influence on place of death.