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Ann Oncol. 2012 Aug;23(8):2006-15. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Preferences for place of death if faced with advanced cancer: a population survey in England, Flanders, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Author information

  • 1King's College London, Cicely Saunders Institute, Department of Palliative Care, Policy & Rehabilitation, London, UK. barbara.gomes@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cancer end-of-life care (EoLC) policies assume people want to die at home. We aimed to examine variations in preferences for place of death cross-nationally.

METHODS:

A telephone survey of a random sample of individuals aged ≥16 in England, Flanders, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. We determined where people would prefer to die if they had a serious illness such as advanced cancer, facilitating circumstances, personal values and experiences of illness, death and dying.

RESULTS:

Of 9344 participants, between 51% (95% CI: 48% to 54%) in Portugal and 84% (95% CI: 82% to 86%) in the Netherlands would prefer to die at home. Cross-national analysis found there to be an influence of circumstances and values but not of experiences of illness, death and dying. Four factors were associated with a preference for home death in more than one country: younger age up to 70+ (Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain), increased importance of dying in the preferred place (England, Germany, Portugal, Spain), prioritizing keeping a positive attitude (Germany, Spain) and wanting to involve family in decisions if incapable (Flanders, Portugal).

CONCLUSIONS:

At least two-thirds of people prefer a home death in all but one country studied. The strong association with personal values suggests keeping home care at the heart of cancer EoLC.

PMID:
22345118
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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