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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Dec;42(6):882-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.02.024.

Japanese people's preference for place of end-of-life care and death: a population-based nationwide survey.

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Department of Community Health Nursing, Graduate School of Nursing, The Japanese Red Cross University, Tokyo, Japan.



Japanese people's preferred place of end-of-life care may be affected by their experiences, perceptions, and knowledge related to the end of life.


The aims of this study were to clarify the Japanese population's preferences for the place of end-of-life care and death and to identify the determinants of each choice of preferred place of end-of-life care within their experiences, perceptions, and knowledge.


A total of 2000 Japanese people aged 40-79 years participated in a cross-sectional nationwide survey.


Fifty-five percent (n=1042) responded. Regarding place of end-of-life care, approximately 44% of the general population preferred home, 15% preferred hospital, 19% preferred palliative care unit, 10% preferred public nursing home, 2% preferred private nursing home, and the remaining 11% was unsure. Multinomial logistic regression analysis revealed that the following factors affect people's preferences regarding place of care: 1) experiences, such as "visiting hospital regularly" and "experiencing home death of relatives," 2) perceptions, such as "giving due thought to their own death on a daily basis" and "perceiving lower home palliative care costs to be appropriate after comparing hospital admission fees," and 3) knowledge of "home care nursing" and "24-hour home palliative system by physicians and nurses using insurance." These factors correlated with preference for hospital, palliative care unit, or public nursing home, when compared with the preference of home.


The present findings may help to develop an effective end-of-life care system in Japan, in line with people's various preferred locations for such care.

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