Racial disparities in length of stay in hospice care by tumor stage in a large elderly cohort with non-small cell lung cancer

Dale Hardy, Wenyaw Chan, Chih Chin Liu, Janice N. Cormier, Rui Xia, Eduardo Bruera, Xianglin L. Du

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14 Scopus citations


This study examined whether there are racial disparities for length of stay in hospice for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).We studied 53,626 deceased patients aged ≥ 66 years diagnosed with American Joint Committee on Cancer stages I-IV NSCLC identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked data who used hospice services in the last six months before death, and died between 1 January 1991 and 31 December 2005. Median time (days) and percent length of stay in hospice, and multivariate incidence rate ratios (IRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using zero-truncated negative binomial regression described relationships. In 2000-2005, most patients (64.1%) had <30 days, including those (30.2%) with <7 days length of stay in hospice care. After adjusting for confounders, the IRR for length of stay in hospice compared to whites was 38% increased for blacks (IRR=1.38; 95% CI: 1.01-1.89), and almost three-fold increased for Hispanics (IRR=2.91;95% CI: 1.15-7.37) at stages I-II. However, blacks at stages III-IV had slightly decreased use of hospice services (IRR=0.91; 95% CI: 0.85-0.97). Length of stay decreased slightly among blacks diagnosed with late stage (III-IV) NSCLC in 2000-2005.The gap in disparity for length of stay in hospice has narrowed for ethnic minorities compared to whites, while some ethnic minorities had greater length of stay at early disease stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012



  • healthcare disparities
  • hospice care
  • length of stay
  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • race
  • stage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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