Trends in Inpatient Hospital Deaths

NCHS has released a report that presented National Hospital Discharge Survey data from 2000 through 2010 on patients who died while being hospitalized.

In 2000, there were 2.4 million deaths in the United States, and in 2010 there were 2.5 million. In both years, about one-third of these deaths occurred in short-stay, general hospitals, despite research that found that most Americans prefer to die in their own homes.

The report found that the number of patients who died in the hospital in the years 2000–2010 decreased, as did the rate of hospitalizations ending in death, but there were still over 700,000 patients who died in the hospital in 2010. One-quarter of the patients who died in the hospital were aged 85 and over. Hospital death rates among inpatients declined overall from 2000 to 2010, but increased for septicemia deaths by 17%. Patients who died in the hospital had longer average hospital stays than all patients (7.9 days for those who died vs. 4.8 days for all patients).

Inpatient hospital deaths: United States, 2000–2010

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