Aims:The palliative care has spread rapidly worldwide in the recent two decades. The development of hospice services in rural areas usually lags behind that in urban areas. The aim of our study was to investigate whether the urban-rural disparity widens in a country with a hospital-based hospice system.Methods:From the nationwide claims database within the National Health Insurance in Taiwan, admissions to hospices from 2000 to 2006 were identified. Hospices and patients in each year were analyzed according to geographic location and residence.Results:A total of 26,292 cancer patients had been admitted to hospices. The proportion of rural patients to all patients increased with time from 17.8% in 2000 to 25.7% in 2006. Although the numbers of beds and the utilizations in both urban and rural hospices expanded rapidly, the increasing trend in rural areas was more marked than that in urban areas. However, still two-thirds (898/1,357) of rural patients were admitted to urban hospices in 2006.Conclusions:The gap of hospice utilizations between urban and rural areas in Taiwan did not widen with time. There was room for improvement in sufficient supply of rural hospices or efficient referral of rural patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)