This article explores changes in outpatient prescription drug use up to 72 months prior to death and relates the findings
to trends in Medicare-covered services during the same life stage. The study sample comprises 5,261 decedents who, prior to
their deaths, had enrolled in the Pennsylvania Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) program. Descriptive
time-series show steady increases in both outpatient drug use and physician contacts in the final 36 months of life. However,
multivariate analysis shows that impending death is associated with significant reductions in the probability of using outpatient
drugs. Only in the final 12 months of life is this effect offset by rising numbers of drug claims by prescription users.
Aged : Ambulatory Care/economics : Data Collection : Drug Utilization/statistics & numerical data : Health Services Research/methods
: Human : Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services/statistics & numerical data/utilization : Medicare/statistics & numerical data/utilization
: Outpatients/statistics & numerical data : Pennsylvania : Prescriptions, Drug/economics : Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
: Terminal Care/economics/utilization : Time Factors : United States