What is it about?

The last year of life represents a period of rapidly escalating acute intervention, which will include critical care admission. This study uses data from the English NHS to demonstrate that critical care bed numbers are increasing directly in proportion to total deaths (all-cause mortality) in England.

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Why is it important?

It is the absolute number of deaths and not population demography which is driving the marginal changes in critical care bed demand. This is called the nearness to death effect and is a neglected variable in current hospital demand planning.

Perspectives

The impact of end-of-life (irrespective of age at death) on acute demand has been a neglected variable for many years and explains the inability of current demography-based models to forecast future demand. Part of a far longer series on hospital capacity planning available at http://www.hcaf.biz/2010/Publications_Full.pdf

Dr Rodney P Jones
Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting

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This page is a summary of: Trends in critical care bed numbers in England, British Journal of Healthcare Management, October 2018, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/bjhc.2018.24.10.516.
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