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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


VEGA, Tomás  and  GRUPO RECENT et al. Palliative and support care at home in primary care. Gac Sanit [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.3, pp.205-210. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of people requiring palliative and support care at home in primary care and to describe their characteristics. Methods: A descriptive study was carried out by five Spanish sentinel networks between October 2007 and March 2008 in 282,216 people attended by 218 general practitioners and nurses. Patients receiving comprehensive, active and continued care at home were included if the aim was not to prolong life but to achieve the best quality of life for the patient, the family and the carers. A standard form was used to collect data on age, sex, type of patient, underlying diseases and other variables related to the process. Crude and age-adjusted rates were estimated. Results: Of the 400 men and 792 women registered, 12% were strictly terminal. The mean age was 82.4years and was higher in patients with functional disability (82.9years) than in terminally-ill patients (78.9 years) (p<0.01). The estimated prevalence was 422.3 per 100,000 inhabitants aged 14 years or more (95% CI: 398.7-447.0) and was much higher in women than in men (553.9 versus 287.3, p<0.01). The estimate for the entire Spanish population was 309.0 per 100,000 inhabitants (95% CI: 286.0-332.0). Conclusions: The prevalence of palliative and support care in Spain is around three cases per 1,000 inhabitants and is higher in elderly populations. More than 85% of patients needing palliative or support care have a life expectancy of over 6 months and thus represent the majority of persons using this type of medical and social support. The most susceptible groups are women and the oldest-old.

Keywords : Palliative care; Sentinel networks; Primary care.

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