Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether
there were any differences between patients who died at home and
patients who died at a hospice, that is, sociodemographic variables,
the family caregivers' experiences of burden, and their opinion of
reasons for hospice care.
Methods: The study comprises a consecutive sample of family
caregivers to adult patients: (I) who were cared for by the advanced
palliative home care team (APHCT) and died at home, (II) who were cared
for by the APHCT and died at the Hospice, (III) who were cared for and
died at the Hospice in Uppsala during a period of one year. A
questionnaire was mailed to caregivers and the medical records of all
the patients were analyzed.
Results: The place of death differed significantly and
varied according to gender and cohabitation status. Men died to a
greater degree at home compared with women. The family caregivers'
experiences of burden were moderate. Caregivers of patients who died at
home thought that this care form has a more positive influence on the
patients' quality of life than was the case in the other groups.
They were also more satisfied with their own achievement. The
caregivers' opinion of why patients needed hospice care was nearly
the same in groups II + III, acutely developing symptoms being the most
Significance of results: This study showed that women died
to a lesser degree at home than men. The explanation for this is
unknown and requires further investigation. It is important to
establish whether female patients or male caregivers need another type
of support than male patients or female caregivers, since the aim of
palliative care is that every patient who wishes to die at home should
have this wish fulfilled.