Impact of In-Hospital Death on Spending for Bereaved Spouses.

TitleImpact of In-Hospital Death on Spending for Bereaved Spouses.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsOrnstein, KA, Garrido, MM, Siu, AL, Bollens-Lund, E, Langa, KM, Kelley, AS
JournalHealth Services Research
ISSN Number1475-6773
KeywordsBereavement, End of life decisions, Medicare linkage, Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance

OBJECTIVE: To examine how patients' location of death relates to health care utilization and spending for surviving spouses.

DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 2000-2012 linked to the Dartmouth Atlas and Medicare claims data.

STUDY DESIGN: This was an observational study. We matched bereaved spouses whose spouses died in a hospital to those whose spouses died outside the hospital using propensity scores based on decedent and spouse demographic and clinical characteristics, care preferences, and regional practice patterns.

DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: We identified 1,348 HRS decedents with surviving spouses. We linked HRS data from each dyad with Medicare claims and regional characteristics.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In multivariable models, bereaved spouses of decedents who died in the hospital had $3,106 higher Medicare spending 12 months postdeath (p = .04) compared to those whose spouses died outside a hospital. Those surviving spouses were also significantly more likely to have an ED visit (OR = 1.5; p < .01) and hospital admission (OR = 1.4; p = .02) in the year after their spouse's in-hospital death. Increased Medicare spending for surviving spouses persisted through the 24-month period postdeath ($5,310; p = .02).

CONCLUSIONS: Bereaved spouses of decedents who died in the hospital had significantly greater Medicare spending and health care utilization themselves after their spouses' death.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalHealth Serv Res
Citation Key9553
PubMed ID29488621
PubMed Central IDPMC6056590