Identifying population groups with low palliative care program enrolment using classification and regression tree analysis.

Journal of palliative care

PubMedID: 21805944

Gao J, Johnston GM, Lavergne MR, McIntyre P. Identifying population groups with low palliative care program enrolment using classification and regression tree analysis. J Palliat Care. 2011;27(2):98-106.
Classification and regression tree (CART) analysis was used to identify subpopulations with lower palliative care program (PCP) enrolment rates. CART analysis uses recursive partitioning to group predictors. The PCP enrolment rate was 72 percent for the 6,892 adults who died of cancer from 2000 and 2005 in two counties in Nova Scotia, Canada. The lowest PCP enrolment rates were for nursing home residents over 82 years (27 percent), a group residing more than 43 kilometres from the PCP (31 percent), and another group living less than two weeks after their cancer diagnosis (37 percent). The highest rate (86 percent) was for the 2,118 persons who received palliative radiation. Findings from multiple logistic regression (MLR) were provided for comparison. CART findings identified low PCP enrolment subpopulations that were defined by interactions among demographic, social, medical, and health system predictors.