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J Palliat Care. 2003 Fall;19(3):176-84.

Women's decision-making needs regarding place of care at end of life.

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Sisters of Charity of Ottawa (SCO) Health Service, University of Ottawa, Institute of Palliative Care, Ontario, Canada.


Little is known about the decision-making needs of terminally ill women who are considering options for place of care at the end of life. A pilot study was conducted with a sample of 20 terminally ill women with advanced cancer to identify factors taken into consideration in making this decision. Participants were interviewed using a semistructured questionnaire incorporating the domains of quality of end-of-life care and based on the Ottawa Decision Support Framework. Results suggested a gap between the preferred (home, n = 13) and the actual (palliative care unit, n = 16) place of care. Discrepancies about place of care may be related to conflicting subjective factors such as being a burden to family versus having the opportunity to strengthen relationships with family and friends. Participants who were actively engaged in making the decision scored the highest levels of decisional conflict. Previous studies have shown an association between high decisional conflict scores and decision delay. Although findings from this small study are preliminary, they suggest that the decision regarding place of terminal care is complex with multiple competing factors being considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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