What is it about?

The nearness to death effect implies that around half of a persons lifetime hospital usage occurs in the last year of life. Deaths are very volatile, especially at local level and this volatility emerges as high volatility in end-of-life hospital and emergency services demand. Part 3 of a 4 part series investigating demand forecasting and capacity planning in health care.

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Why is it important?

High volatility implies that the application of local resources to meet demand needs to be highly flexible. The alternative is that queues can rapidly form in one location when they are absent (in the short term) in another. On/off switching of deaths, a phenomenon not previously thought to exist plays a large role in the volatility of deaths and unscheduled care.


Volatility is a key concept in health care and is important in financial and operational risk. Hence fixed budgets and fixed resources tend to be challenged by the high natural volatility in demand.

Dr Rodney P Jones
Healthcare Analysis & Forecasting

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: End-of-life demand is highly volatile and shows unexpected trends, Journal of Paramedic Practice, March 2019, Mark Allen Group,
DOI: 10.12968/jpar.2019.11.3.122.
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