Where people die: A multilevel approach to understanding influences on site of death in America

Andrea Gruneir, Vincent Mor, Sherry Weitzen, Rachael Truchil, Joan Teno, Jason Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Despite documented preferences for home death, the majority of deaths from terminal illness occur in hospital. To better understand variation in place of death, we conducted a systematic literature review and a multilevel analysis in which we linked death certificates with county and state data. The results of both components revealed that opportunities for home death are disproportionately found in certain groups of Americans; more specifically, those who are White, have greater access to resources and social support, and die of cancer. From the multilevel analysis, the higher the proportion minority and the lower the level of educational attainment, the higher the probability of hospital death while investment in institutional long-term care, measured by regional density of nursing home beds and state Medicaid payment rate, was associated with higher probability of nursing home death. These results reinforce the importance of both social and structural characteristics in shaping the end-of-life experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-378
Number of pages28
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • End-of-life
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Nursing home
  • Site of death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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