Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Oncol. 2011 Oct 10;29(29):3927-31. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.34.6247. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Information of imminent death or not: does it make a difference?

Author information

UmeƄ University, Sweden.



This study examines whether end-of-life care for patients with cancer who were informed about imminent death differs from care for those patients with cancer who were not informed.


This study included all cancer deaths between 2006 and 2008 for which the patient did not lose his or her decision-making capacities until hours or days before death (N=13,818). These patients were taken from a national quality register for end-of-life care. The majority of the patients-91% (n=12,609) -had been given information about imminent death; 9% (n=1,209) had not been informed. Because of the difference in sample size, a matching procedure was performed to minimize bias. This resulted in a comparison of 1,191 informed and 1,191 uniformed patients. Nonparametric methods were used for statistical analyses.


Informed patients significantly more often had parenteral drugs prescribed as needed (ie, PRN), had his or her family informed, died in his or her preferred place, and had family who were offered bereavement support. There was no difference in symptom control (ie, pain, anxiety, confusion, nausea, and respiratory tract secretions) between the groups.


Providing information of imminent death to a patient with cancer at the end of life does not seem to increase pain or anxiety, but it does seem to be associated with improved care and to increase the likelihood of fulfilling the principles of a good death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center