The role of periodic mortality case review sessions in a primary care teaching clinic

Reena Rosenberg, Shlomo Vinker*, John Yaphe, Sasson Nakar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Maintaining a death register and holding staff discussions about patients who died can aid the physician in audit and research, which will lead to improved care of the terminally ill and the bereaved and to the development of prevention strategies. These issues are important for students and residents as well. Objectives: To review the value of mortality-case discussions in primary care clinics, particularly teaching clinics. Methods: The clinic death register, instituted in 1998, includes age, gender, cause of death, place of death, relevant illnesses, and support provided to the patient before the death. In the half-yearly sessions, the data are reviewed, and individual cases that had an emotional impact on the staff, or information that can bring about changes in future care are discussed by the clinic staff and trainees. Results: In our clinic 233 deaths occurred during a 6 year period (1998-2003). The crude all-cause mortality rate was 7.1/1000. The median age was 80 years old. Neoplastic causes were slightly more frequent than cardiovascular causes of death. Only 15% died at home; 20% lived alone and 70% lived with a spouse or family members before the death. Topics discussed in the mortality review meetings include identifying pro-suicidal patients, when to hospitalize the sick elderly, dealing with the anger of bereaved families, and ensuring proper home care for terminal patients. Conclusions: We recommend keeping a death register and conducting mortality review sessions in order to improve the quality of care, emotional support of the staff, and training students and residents about the complex issues surrounding the death of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-377
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Keywords

  • Death registry
  • General practice
  • Mortality
  • Primary care

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