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Palliat Med. 2014 Jul;28(7):976-985. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

Terminal cancer patients' and their primary caregivers' attitudes toward hospice/palliative care and their effects on actual utilization: A prospective cohort study.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea lawyun08@gmail.com lawyun@snu.ac.kr.
4
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea Department of Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies on hospice/palliative care indicated that patients' socio-demographic factors, disease status, and availability of health-care resources were associated with hospice/palliative care utilization. However, the impact of family caregivers on hospice/palliative care utilization has not been thoroughly investigated.

AIM:

To evaluate the association between attitudes toward hospice/palliative care of both patients with terminal cancer (defined as progressive, advanced cancer in which the patient will die within months) and their family caregivers and utilization of inpatient hospice/palliative care facilities.

DESIGN:

A prospective observational cohort study was performed in 12 hospitals in South Korea. Attitude toward hospice/palliative care was assessed immediately after terminal cancer diagnosis. After the patient's death, caregivers were interviewed whether they utilized hospice/palliative care facilities.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 359 patient-caregiver dyads completed baseline questionnaires. After the patients' death, 257 caregivers were interviewed.

RESULTS:

At the baseline questionnaire, 137/359 (38.2%) patients and 185/359 (51.5%) of caregivers preferred hospice/palliative care. Preference for hospice/palliative care was associated with awareness of terminal status among both patients (adjusted odds ratio: 1.87, 95% confidence interval: 1.16-3.03) and caregivers (adjusted odds ratio: 2.14, 95% confidence interval: 1.20-3.81). Religion, metastasis, and poor performance status were also independently associated with patient preference for hospice/palliative care. At the post-bereavement interview, 104/257 (40.5%) caregivers responded that they utilized hospice/palliative care facilities. Caregiver's preferences for hospice/palliative care were significantly associated with actual utilization (adjusted odds ratio: 2.67, 95% confidence interval: 1.53-4.67). No patient-related factors were associated with hospice/palliative care utilization.

CONCLUSION:

Promoting awareness of prognosis and to improve communication between doctors and families is important for facilitating the use of hospice/palliative care.

KEYWORDS:

Hospice/palliative care; family caregiver; patient; terminal cancer

PMID:
24781817
DOI:
10.1177/0269216314531312

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