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Place of death and associated factors in 12 Latin American countries: A total population study using death certificate data.

Seitz K, Cohen J, Deliens L, Cartin A, Castañeda de la Lanza C, Cardozo EA, Marcucci FC, Viana L, Rodrigues LF, Colorado M, Samayoa VR, Tripodoro VA, Pozo X, Pastrana T. Place of death and associated factors in 12 Latin American countries: A total population study using death certificate data. J Glob Health. 2022 Apr 30;12:04031. doi: 10.7189/jogh.12.04031.

Abstract

Background: Little is known about place of death in Latin America, although this data are crucial for health system planning. This study aims to describe place of death and associated factors in Latin America and to identify factors that contribute to inter-country differences in place of death.

Methods: We conducted a total population observational study using death certificates of the total annual decedent populations in 12 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay) for the most recent available year (2016, 2017, or 2018). Data were analysed regarding place of death and multivariable logistic regression with place of death as the dependent variable was used to examine associated clinical and sociodemographic factors (independent variables) in each of the countries.

Results: The total study sample was 2 994 685 deaths; 31.3% of deaths occurred at home, and 57.6% in hospitals. A strong variation was found among the countries with home deaths ranging from 20% (Brazil) to 67.9% (Guatemala) and hospital deaths from 22.3% (Guatemala) to 69.5% (Argentina). These differences between countries remained largely unchanged after controlling for sociodemographic factors and causes of death. The likelihood of dying at home was consistently higher with increasing age, for those living in a rural area, and for those with a lower educational level (except in Argentina).

Conclusions: Most deaths in Latin America occur in hospitals, with a strong variation between countries. As clinical and sociodemographic factors included in this study did not explain country differences, other factors such as policy and health care system seem to have a crucial impact on where people die in Latin America.