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Chiang J.-K.,Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital | Kao Y.-H.,Tainan Municipal Hospital
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2015

Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare health-care expenditures and survival of these terminally ill patients receiving or not receiving hospice care in their last month of life. Methods: Using Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Claims Database, we analyzed hospitalizations, OPD visits, associated costs, and survival. Logistic regression was used to identify predictors of high cost. Results: We identified 3850 liver cancer patients who died during the 1997–2011 study period, 644 (16.6 %) of whom were hospice care patients. No significant difference was found in mean survival time between the hospice and non-hospice groups (1.77 ± 2.44 vs. 1.84 ± 2.37 years, p = 0.217). The mean health-care expenditures per person were US$2370 ± 3421 and US$2072 ± 1900 (p = 0.130). A total of 385 patients (10 %) received high-cost care (above US$5422) using 38.6 % of the total health-care expenditures spent on the entire population. The significant predictors of high costs were non-hospice care [odds ratio (OR) = 3.06, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 2.09–4.60], days of admission [risk increase per admission day being (OR = 1.19, 95 % CI 1.17–1.21)], admission into an intensive care unit (OR = 3.17, 95 % CI 1.94 to 5.15), use of ventilator (OR = 3.54, 95 % CI 1.91–6.52), cancer therapy (OR = 1.82, 95 % CI 1.33–2.48), hemodialysis (OR = 2.62, 95 % CI 1.07–6.02), and higher socioeconomic status (OR = 1.65, 95 % CI 1.10–2.45). Conclusion: Hospice care did not significantly affect survival, and hospice patients had lower per-patient expenditures and were less likely to require high-cost medical care than their non-hospice counterparts. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Chiang J.-K.,Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital
Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Elevated plasma levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) have been associated with increased adverse health outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of sleep duration with risk of elevated hs-CRP levels in Taiwanese adults. Methods: We examined the association between sleep duration and hs-CRP in 353 healthy adults recruited from the physical examination center at a regional hospital in southern Taiwan. Elevated hs-CRP was defined as a plasma level ≥ 0.20 mg/dL. Short sleep duration was defined as ≤ 5.5 h per day. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association of short duration of sleep with elevated hs-CRP levels. Results: In this study, short duration of sleep (odds ratio [OR] = 2.20; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.11-4.30), aged 70 years or older (OR = 4.58; 95% CI: 1.70-12.66), menopause (OR = 2.81; 95% CI: 1.52-5.3), higher heart rate (OR = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.10-1.75), higher body mass index (OR = 1.20; 95% CI: 1.09-1.34), higher white blood cell count (OR = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.14-1.66), and higher uric acid level (OR = 1.31; 95% CI: 1.06-1.63) were significantly associated with an increased risk of elevated hs-CRP levels. Conclusions: In this study of healthy Taiwanese adults, short duration of sleep was significantly associated with elevated hs-CRP levels. Activation of pro-inflammatory pathways might represent a mechanism by which short sleep duration affects health.

Chiang J.-K.,Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital | Kao Y.-H.,Tainan Municipal Hospital
Journal of Palliative Medicine | Year: 2016

Background: The effectiveness of home hospice care was helping patients to die at home, and reducing symptom burden. Objective: The study objective was to explore the impact of home hospice care on death at home, end-of-life (EOL) care, and health care costs among patients with advanced lung cancer in their last month of life. Methods: Using Taiwan's National Health Insurance Claims Database, we analyzed factors associated with home hospice care using logistic regression analysis. Results: We enrolled 568 patients with advanced lung cancer under hospice care who died during 1997-2011, of which 238 (41.9%) received home hospice care. Compared with the inpatient hospice (IH) group, the home hospice (HH) group had a larger portion die at home (55.5% versus 22.1%, p < 0.001), but a smaller portion stayed in hospital more than 14 days in their last month of life (67.3% versus 40.8%, p < 0.001). The mean health care cost was less in the HH group than in the IH group (US $1,385.00 ± $1,370.00 and US $2,155.00 ± $1,739.00 [p < 0.001], respectively). Female patients' (p = 0.001) decreased hospital stay in the last month of life (p < 0.001) and longer hospice care duration (p = 0.003) were predictors of receiving home hospice care in advanced lung patients. Conclusion: Home hospice care enables patients with advanced lung cancer to increase the 33.4% chance of dying at home, to spend an average of eight-days less in hospital stay, and to save 35.7% health care costs in the last month of life, compared with their counterparts with only inpatient hospice care. Female patients' decreased hospital stay and longer hospice care duration were the predictors of receiving home hospice care. © Copyright 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2016.

Chuang T.L.,Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital
Clinical nuclear medicine | Year: 2014

We present a case of permanent catheter infection demonstrated by gallium SPECT/CT. The patient is a 71-year-old woman with a history of end-stage renal disease under hemodialysis via permanent catheter due to arteriovenous graft occlusion. This time, she had fever, chills, and leukocytosis. Whole-body gallium scan showed uptake to the right clavicular region, and the SPECT/CT study showed that the uptake area was localized to the catheter line of the right neck permanent catheter. Culture of the removed catheter grew coagulase-negative staphylococci.

Kao Y.-H.,Tainan Municipal Hospital | Chiang J.-K.,Buddhist Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital
BMC Palliative Care | Year: 2015

Background: Quality of near end-of-life (EOL) care is typically evaluated using six accepted quality indicators (QIs). Research has yet to evaluate the quality of EOL care for liver cancer patients in Taiwan. We evaluated the effect of hospice care on the quality of EOL care for patients with advanced liver cancer. Methods: Using claims data obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, we analyzed the QIs of EOL care for patients who died between 2000 and 2011. Logistic regression was performed to identify predictors for QIs of EOL care. Results: A total of 3092 adult patients died of liver cancer during the study period. The patients were divided into those who received hospice care for a period longer than 1 month (long-H group), shorter than 1 month (short-H group), and not at all (non-H group). There was no significant difference in survival probability among the three groups (p = 0.212). Compared with the non-H group, the long- and short-H groups exhibited a significantly lower risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) (odds ratios [ORs] = 0.25 and 0.26, respectively, p < 0.001) and requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during the final month of life (ORs = 0.21 and 0.09, respectively, p < 0.001). Compared with the non-H group, the short-H group had a higher risk of more than one emergency room (ER) visit, and more than one hospital admission (OR = 1.97, p = 0.003; and OR = 1.56, p = 0.001, respectively), but the long-H group did not differed significantly from the non-H group on these measures. Conclusions: Patients with liver cancer who received hospice care were less likely to be admitted to ICUs or require CPR compared with those who received no hospice care. A longer duration of hospice care was associated with reduced risks of more than one ER visit and more than one hospital admission. We conclude that EOL cancer care in Taiwan might be improved by implementing policies encouraging early hospice referral programs. © 2015 Kao and Chiang.

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