Trajectories at the end of life: A controlled investigation of longitudinal Health Services Consumption data

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*, Shai Brill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Knowledge of individual-level trajectories of Health Services Consumption (HSC) at End-of-Life (EoL) is scarce. Such research is needed for understanding and planning health expenditures. Objective To explore individual-level EoL trajectories in the Israeli population. This approach differs from past studies which aggregated across populations or disease groups. Data sources We used HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) longitudinal data for HSC of persons ages 65–90 who died during 2010–2011 (n = 35,887) and of an age by sex matched sample of persons who were alive by mid-2012 (n = 48,560). Design HSC per quarter was calculated for each individual. Trajectory-types of HSC were described through k-means cluster analysis. Extraction methods Data were extracted from computerized HMO files. HSC was computed as a standardized function of HMO costs for each individual. Results In both samples, low HSC trajectories were the most common. However, among the deceased, all trajectories had higher HSC than those who were alive; the low HSC trajectory cluster represented a smaller percentage of the sample; and all relevant trajectories included a HSC peak. In contrast, the most common trajectory among the living was a flat low HSC. Clusters differed significantly by sex, disease status, and age. Conclusion This methodology shows the utility of individual-level analysis of HSC at end-of-life and should inform future research and current debates concerning EoL care and resource distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1403
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


FundersFunder number
Minerva Foundation3158329500


    • End of life care
    • Health care costs
    • Health policy
    • Health services
    • International health


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