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Canadian rural-urban differences in end-of-life care setting transitions Open Access


Author or creator
Wilson, D.M.
Thomas, R.
Kovacs Burns, K.
Hewitt, J.A.
Osei-Waree, J.
Robertson, S.
Additional contributors
Health services utilization
Mixed-methods research
End-of-life care
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Few studies have focused on the care setting transitions that occur in the last year of life. A three part mixed-methods study was conducted to gain an understanding of the number and implications or impact of care setting transitions in the last year of life for rural Canadians. Provincial health services utilization data, national online survey data, and local qualitative interview data were analyzed to gain general and specific information for consideration. Rural Albertans had significantly more healthcare setting transitions than urbanites in the last year of life (M=4.2 vs 3.3). Online family respondents reported 8 moves on average occurred for family members in the last year of life. These moves were most often identified (65%) on a likert-type scale as “very difficult,” with the free text information revealing these trips were often emotionally painful for themselves and physically painful for their ill family member. Eleven informants were then interviewed until data saturation, with constant-comparative data analysis conducted for a more in-depth understanding of rural transitions. Moving from place to place for needed care in the last year of life was identified as common and concerning for rural people and their families, with three data themes developing: (a) needed care in the last year of life is scattered across many places, (b) travelling is very difficult for terminally-ill persons and their caregivers, and (c) local rural services are minimal. These findings indicate planning is needed to avoid unnecessary end-of-life care setting transitions and to make needed moves for essential services in the last year of life less costly, stressful, and socially disruptive for rural people and their families.
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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Citation for previous publication
Wilson, D., Thomas, R., Kovacs Burns, K., Hewitt, J.A., Osei-Waree, J., & Robertson, S. (2012). Canadian rural-urban differences in end-of-life care setting transitions. Global Journal of Health Science, 4(5), 1-13. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v4n5p1.
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