IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 2231: Population-Based, Spatial Analysis of Specialised Ambulatory Palliative Care in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, on the Basis of Reimbursement Data (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
In rural areas, healthcare providers, patients and relatives have to cover long distances. For specialised ambulatory palliative care (SAPV), a supply radius of max. 30 km is recommended. The aim of this study was to analyse whether there are regional disparities in the supply of SAPV and whether it is associated with the distance between the SAPV team’s site and the patient’s location. Therefore, anonymised data of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (M-V) were retrospectively analysed for the period of 2014–2017. Identification as a palliative patient was based on palliative-specific items from the ambulatory reimbursement catalogue. In total, 6940 SAPV patients were identified; thereof, 48.9% female. The mean age was 73.3 years. For 28.3% of the identified SAPV patients (n = 1961), the SAPV teams had a travel distance of >30 km. With increasing distance, the average number of treatment days per patient increased. It was found that there are regional disparities in the provision of SAPV services in M-V and that local structures have an important impact on regional supply patterns. The distance between the SAPV team’s site and the patient’s location is not the only determining factor; other causes must be considered.