News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   May 31, 2001

Christine Grant

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley


DHSS Reports on Trends in Place of Death

TRENTON - An analysis of New Jersey death certificates over a ten-year period shows that state residents were less likely to die in a hospital in 1998 than they were in 1989, and more likely to die at home or in a nursing home.

Those who died from cancer were a major source of the decline in inpatient hospital deaths. In 1998, cancer patients were nearly as likely to die at home as in the hospital.

"Trends in Place of Death in New Jersey: An Analysis of Death Certificates" was published by the Center for Health Statistics of the Department of Health and Senior Services and is available on the DHSS web site,

According to the report, the proportion of deaths occurring in inpatient hospital beds dropped about 20 percent - from 61 percent in 1989 to 49 percent of deaths in 1998. The proportion dying in nursing homes nearly doubled during the same time period, rising from 8.6 percent to just over 16 percent. Deaths at home rose nearly 39 percent, from just under 18 percent to 24.6 percent.

"This analysis of changing trends in end-of-life care shows patients' increased preference for death in less restrictive settings surrounded by family and friends," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant. "The increasing availability of hospice care, both at home and in nursing homes, has helped make this possible."

Of the major causes of death examined, the proportion of deaths at home was highest for cancer at 41 percent. Forty-three percent of cancer patients died as inpatients.

The report also analyzed trends by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic whites were the least likely to die as inpatients and the most likely to die at home, when compared with blacks, Asians and Hispanics. Hispanics were the most likely to die as inpatients and the least likely to die at home.

The report is one in a series on selected topics in health statistics. Other reports discussed multiple births, low birth weight and infant mortality; changes in the method of age standardization of death rates; and smoking mortality.

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