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End-of-life care preferences of the general public and recommendations of healthcare providers: a nationwide survey in Japan

  • Hamano, Jun1
  • Hanari, Kyoko1
  • Tamiya, Nanako1
  • 1 University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8575, Japan , Tsukuba (Japan)
Published Article
BMC Palliative Care
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Mar 24, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12904-020-00546-9
Springer Nature


BackgroundA better understanding of differences between the preferences of the general public and the recommendations of healthcare providers with regard to end-of-life (EOL) care may facilitate EOL discussion.MethodsThe aim of this study was to clarify differences between preferences of the general public and recommendations of healthcare providers with regard to treatment, EOL care, and life-sustaining treatment (LST) based on a hypothetical scenario involving a patient with advanced cancer. This study comprised exploratory post-hoc analyses of “The Survey of Public Attitude Towards Medical Care at the End of life”, which was a population based, cross-sectional anonymous survey in Japan to investigate public attitudes toward medical care at the end of life. Persons living in Japan over 20 years old were randomly selected nationwide. Physicians, nurses, and care staff were recruited at randomly selected facilities throughout Japan. The general public data from the original study was combined to the data of healthcare providers in order to conduct exploratory post-hoc analyses. The preferences of the general public and recommendations of healthcare providers with regard to EOL care and LST was assessed based on the hypothetical scenario of an advanced cancer patient.ResultsAll returned questionnaires were analyzed: 973 from the general public, 1039 from physicians, 1854 from nurses, and 752 from care staff (response rates of 16.2, 23.1, 30.9, and 37.6%, respectively). The proportion of the general public who wanted “chemotherapy or radiation”, “ventilation”, and “cardiopulmonary resuscitation” was significantly higher than the frequency of these options being recommended by physicians, nurses, and care staff, but the general public preference for “cardiopulmonary resuscitation” was significantly lower than the frequency of its recommendation by care staff.ConclusionRegarding a hypothetical scenario for advanced cancer, the general public preferred more aggressive treatment and more frequent LST than that recommended by healthcare providers.

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