We present three datasets from a project about the relationship between death anxiety and religiosity. These include data from 1,838 individuals in the United States (n = 813), Brazil (n = 800), Russia (n = 800), the Philippines (n = 200), South Korea (n = 200), and Japan (n = 219). Measures were largely consistent across samples: they include measures of death anxiety, experience of and exposure to death, religious belief, religious behaviour, religious experience, and demographic information. Responses have also been back-translated into English where necessary, though original untranslated data are also included.
BACKGROUND: Concerns over the creation of advance directives (ADs) and the factors associated with treatment directive decisions among Korean community-dwelling older people with chronic diseases have rarely been addressed.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine knowledge, attitudes and barriers/benefits regarding ADs and their associations with AD treatment preferences among chronically ill, low-income, community-dwelling older people.
METHODS: Using a descriptive, correlational design, older people who were recipients of home visiting service for chronic disease management participated in this study. Home visiting nurses collected data on knowledge, attitudes and perceived barriers/benefits and treatment directives using questionnaires during home visits.
RESULTS: Older people (N = 112, mean age = 74.9 years, women = 83.9%) who had chronic diseases such as hypertension (56.3%), diabetes mellitus (40.2%) and cardiovascular disease/stroke (22.3%) participated. Approximately half of the participants preferred hospice care (54.5%), while a few of them preferred aggressive treatments: cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (14.3%), ventilation support (9.8%) and haemodialysis (8.9%). Being married was associated with the likelihood of preferring CPR (odds ratio [OR] = 11.79) and ventilation support (OR = 9.99), higher education with CPR (OR = 1.23) and haemodialysis (OR = 1.16), and having a cardiovascular disease (CVD)/stroke with CPR (OR = 6.46) and hospice care (OR = 3.06). Among the modifiable factors, greater perceived barriers increased the likelihood of CPR preference (OR = 1.12) but decreased the likelihood of hospice care preference (OR = 0.96). Greater perceived benefits decreased the likelihood of CPR preference (OR = 0.81) and ventilation support (OR = 0.89), and AD knowledge decreased the likelihood of haemodialysis preference (OR = 0.23).
CONCLUSION: The multidimensional factors were differently associated with each of the AD treatment preferences. Modifiable factors, including perceived barriers and benefits and knowledge, should be improved to help low-income, community-dwelling older people select adequate AD treatment preferences.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Additional information regarding AD treatments and some modifiable and non-modifiable correlates can be integrated into primary and palliative/supportive care in public health. The current home visitation service may also benefit from incorporating AD discussions while extending the service to embrace AD issues in addition to disease management.
BACKGROUND: While the importance of hospice care education in nursing homes is recognized, the volume of research on the specific educational needs of caregivers in hospice care in nursing homes is still lacking. This study aimed to assess educational needs in hospice care among the nursing home staff in South Korea, and to examine factors related to their education needs.
METHODS: This is a cross-sectional descriptive study. A total of 324 nursing staff members recruited from 15 nursing homes in South Korea participated in this cross-sectional study. Measurements included demographic information, organizational characteristics, education experiences in hospice care, and educational needs in hospice care based on questionnaires developed by Whittaker and colleagues. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, and multiple regression techniques.
RESULTS: In the present study, 70.6% (n = 218) of respondents reported that they had previous experience with education in hospice care and expressed their continued need for further education. The provision of care in the last days of a patient’s life was the most frequent issue identified by nursing home staff for further education. Factors predicting educational needs in hospice care included provision of hospice care services in nursing homes and the existence of hospice care team meetings in the institution. Multiple regression analysis resulted in 14.3% of explained variance in the educational needs of nursing home staff in hospice care.
CONCLUSIONS: Nursing home staff members showed high levels of need for training in hospice care. Therefore, it is imperative for nursing home administrators to initiate and support well-suited hospice care education for multi-level care workers on an ongoing basis.
Sedation therapy is a potential solution to providing relief from refractory symptoms at end of life. The aim of this study was to investigate actual sedation practice and physician characteristics associated with the use of sedation for terminally ill cancer patients in South Korea. A retrospective review was conducted on consecutive patients who had died from cancer at seven tertiary medical centers between January 2010 and October 2015. The use of sedation was defined as the administration of sedative agents to relieve intolerable symptoms within the last 2 weeks preceding death. Patients and physician characteristics and information on the use of sedation were collected.A total of 8309 patients were included in the study. Sedatives were administered in 1334 patients (16.1%) for the following indications: delirium in 39.3%, intractable pain in 23.1%, and dyspnea in 21.9%. Median duration of sedation from initiation to death was 3 days. The use of sedation depended on physician specialty and experience. Family physicians used sedation most often (57.6%), followed by medical oncologists (13.9%), other internists (10.7%), and surgical oncologists (9.4%). The use of sedation was highest for physicians with >5 to 10 years practice experience (22.1%) and lowest for those in practice for 5 years or less (10.2%). The proportion of patients receiving sedation also varied markedly across participating institutions (range, 7.0%-49.7%).This large cohort study provides insight into sedation practice for terminally ill cancer patients in South Korea. Our study shows that the use of sedation depends on physician background and institution. A nation-wide guidelines and continued education on end-of-life sedation are required in South Korea.
Background/Aims: Advance directives (ADs) in Korean patients with heart failure (HF) and the associations of attitude towards ADs and HF prognosis with ADs were initially assessed using the model of the Korean-Advance Directive (K-AD).
Methods: Twenty-four patients with HF (age, 67.1 years; men, 58.3%; ejection fraction, 35.9%) participated. A pilot test to evaluate the feasibility of ADs and the possible associations of attitudes towards ADs and prognosis with end-of-life treatment preferences among patients with HF was conducted.
Results: Fifteen patients (62.5%) completed the K-Ads. The major reason for incomplete K-AD was knowledge deficit. Patients valued "comfortable death" the most (45.4%), followed by "giving no burden to the family" (13.6%). Among treatment preferences, hospice care was preferred by the majority (66.7%), while cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was preferred by the minority (31.8%). Children (50.0%) were mostly appointed as a proxy, followed by the spouse (33.3%). More patients with moderately positive attitudes completed the K-ADs than their counterparts (70.0% vs. 57.1%). The 5-year survival rate was 69.2%; the patients who preferred CPR had a higher survival rate (70.6% vs. 68.5%) whereas those who preferred hospice care had a lower survival rate than their counterparts (70.7% vs. 75.2%).
Conclusions: The findings support the feasibility of the K-AD model, with a high acceptance rate in two-thirds of the sample. Further studies are warranted to investigate whether treatment preferences are associated with attitude towards ADs and/or HF prognosis using larger sample size.
INTRODUCTION: Data-based research has rarely addressed advance directives (ADs) in community-dwelling Korean cancer survivors. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between AD treatment choices and decisional conflicts among low-income, home-based cancer management recipients.
METHOD: This study uses a cross-sectional, correlational design. The cancer survivors completed the questionnaires (Korean-Advance Directive model and Decisional Conflict Scale).
RESULTS: Among the 103 participants (average age 67.92 years), 56.3% had solid cancer. Hospice care was the most desired (68.9%), followed by hemodialysis (18.4%), cardiopulmonary resuscitation/ventilation support (15.5% for each), and chemotherapy (12.6%). Patients who were older, unmarried, unemployed, or underweight/obese; lived alone; or had lower education experienced greater decisional conflicts. In the multivariate analyses, no hospice preference was associated with greater decisional conflicts ( t = -2.63, p = .01).
DISCUSSION: Early integration of AD discussion with the nurse-led, home-based service for this vulnerable population could serve as a liaison for quality and continuity of cancer survivorship care.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to prospectively validate the Korean Cancer Study Group Geriatric Score (KG)-7, a novel geriatric screening tool, in older patients with advanced cancer planned to undergo first-line palliative chemotherapy.
Materials and Methods: Participants answered the KG-7 questionnaire before undergoing geriatric assessment (GA) and first-line palliative chemotherapy. The performance of KG-7 was evaluated by calculating the sensitivity (SE), specificity (SP), positive and negative predictive value (PPV and NPV), balanced accuracy (BA), and area under the curve (AUC).
Results: The baseline GA and KG-7 results were collected from 301 patients. The median age was 75 years (range, 70 to 93 years). Abnormal GA was documented in 222 patients (73.8%). Based on the = 5 cut-off value of KG-7 for abnormal GA, abnormal KG-7 score was shown in 200 patients (66.4%). KG-7 showed SE, SP, PPV, NPV, and BA of 75.7%, 59.7%, 84.4%, 46.0%, and 67.7%, respectively; AUC was 0.745 (95% CI, 0.687 to 0.803). Furthermore, patients with higher KG-7 scores showed significantly longer survival (p=0.006).
Conclusion: KG-7 appears to be adequate in identifying patients with abnormal GA prospectively. Hence, KG-7 can be a useful screening tool for Asian countries with limited resources and high patient volume.
The present study aimed to validate a Korean version of the Interpersonal Needs Questionnaire in a college student sample. Three hundred and one students completed the scale and other measures of suicidal ideation, loneliness, interpersonal support, responsibility to family, meaning in life, fearlessness about death, anxiety and depression. Results revealed that the scale has two-factor structure (thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness) and it also has good internal consistency, convergent validity and discriminant validity. Cultural comparisons showed that the levels of thwarted belongingness in Korean college students were higher than those in the U.S. college students.
BACKGROUND: Positive attitudes for end-of-life (EOL) care along with adequate education are key factors for the provision of quality EOL care. This national study was conducted to identify the factors that influence attitudes toward EOL care on medical students.
METHOD: An anonymous survey was designed and administered to fourth-year medical students at all 41 medical schools in Korea. Topics related to EOL care were assessed in classroom teaching, bedside teaching, and feedback experiences during clinical clerkships. Seven questions for self-rated attitudes and affecting factors were analyzed toward EOL care.
RESULTS: With a response rate of 49.2%, the median number of topics recognized by the students as having been delivered was 5 of 11 topics in classroom lectures and 1 of 8 topics in clinical experience. Although few (21.2%) participants indicated that they felt ready for EOL care practice, nevertheless, most felt that they should have adequate knowledge of and preparation for clinical competency in EOL care. Several parameters including respondent's demographics and exposure to EOL care topics in classroom and in bedside teaching influenced the responses to all 7 attitude questions. However, having more than 1 bedside experience was the only factor positively affecting all attitudinal measures.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinical experience related to EOL care seems to be the utmost priory in fostering positive attitudes and competency among medical students.
The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the experiences of families who care for older adults with non-cancer diseases at the end of their lives. The data accrued through in-depth interviews, analyzed using Giorgi's phenomenological method: caregiving burden; situational responsibility; consolation by support; and mourning for the deceased. In Korean culture, adult children had the responsibility of caring for their aged parents as a burden of caregiving and as a main motive for caregiving. Educational and psychological support programs for caregivers should aim to boost confidence, rather than merely focusing on their burden.
CONTEXT: To respect a patient's wish for end-of-life care, "the Act on Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment for Patients at the End-of-Life" was enacted in South Korea in 2016. Current understanding of people who would be involved in advance care planning (ACP) is crucial to disseminate it systematically.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate awareness and attitudes toward ACP in South Korea.
METHODS: A multicenter, nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted a survey regarding ACP among four groups that would have different positions and experiences: 1,001 cancer patients, 1,006 family caregivers, 928 physicians, and 1,241 members of the general public.
RESULTS: A total of 15% of the general population, 33% of the patients and caregivers, and 61% of the physicians had knowledge of advance directives. More than 64% of the general population, above 72% of the patients and caregivers, and 97% of the physicians were willing to do so when the disease status was aggravated or terminal. The possibility for changing the plan, uncertainty as to whether directives would actually be followed, and psychological discomfort were common reasons for not wanting to engage in ACP. Routine recommendations for a specific medical condition, heightened accessibility, and health insurance support were common factors that could help facilitate ACP.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that strategies for promoting ACP should reflect different perspectives among the general public, patients, family caregivers, and physicians. Public advocacy, resources for approaching and integrating ACP into routine healthcare, as well as systematic support provisions, are needed.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate chemotherapy patterns and changes in quality of life (QOL) during first-line palliative chemotherapy for Korean patients with unresectable or metastatic/recurrent gastric cancer (GC).
Materials and Methods: This was a non-interventional, multi-center, prospective, observational study of 527 patients in Korea. QOL assessments were conducted using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaires (QLQ)-C30 and QLQ-STO22 every 3 months over a 12-month period during first-line palliative chemotherapy. The specific chemotherapy regimens were selected by individual clinicians.
Results: Most patients (93.2%) received combination chemotherapy (mainly fluoropyrimidine plus platinum) as their first-line palliative chemotherapy. The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 8.2 and 14.8 months, respectively. Overall, “a little” changes (differences of 5-10 points from baseline) were observed in some of the functioning or symptom scales; none of the QOL scales showed either “moderate” or “very much” change (i.e., = 11 point difference from baseline). When examining the best change in each QOL domain from baseline, scales related to some aspects of functioning, global health status/QOL, and most symptoms revealed significant improvements (p < 0.05). Throughout the course of first-line palliative chemotherapy, most patients’ QOL was maintained to a similar degree, regardless of their actual response to chemotherapy.
Conclusion: This observational study provides important information on the chemotherapy patterns and QOL changes in Korean patients with advanced GC. Overall, first-line palliative chemotherapy was found to maintain QOL, and most parameters showed an improvement compared with the baseline at some point during the course.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the spiritual well-being and burnout of intensive care unit nurses and examine the relationship between these factors.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. The participants were 318 intensive care unit recruited from three university hospitals in South Korea. The survey questionnaire included demographic information, work-related characteristics and end-of-life care experience, along with the Spiritual Well-Being Scale and Burnout Questionnaire. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, ANOVA with Scheffé test and a multiple regression analysis.
RESULTS: The burnout level among intensive care unit nurses was 3.15 out of 5. A higher level of burnout was significantly associated with younger age, lower education level, single marital status, having no religion, less work experience and previous end-of-life care experience. Higher levels of spiritual well-being were associated with lower levels of burnout, even after controlling for the general characteristics in the regression model.
CONCLUSION: Intensive care unit nurses experience a high level of burnout in general. Increased spiritual well-being might reduce burnout among intensive care unit nurses. Younger and less experienced nurses should receive more attention as a vulnerable group with lower spirituality and greater burnout in intensive care unit settings.
OBJECTIVE: After the Sewol ferry disaster, bereavement with suicidal ideation was a critical mental health problem that was accompanied by various neuropsychological symptoms. This study examined the frontal alpha asymmetry (FAA), heart rate variability (HRV), and several psychological symptoms in bereaved family members (BFM) after the Sewol ferry disaster.
METHODS: Eighty-three BFM after the Sewol ferry disaster were recruited. We assessed FAA, HRV, and psychological symptoms, including depression, post-traumatic stress, post-traumatic growth factor, anxiety, grief, and positive resources, between BFM with the presence and absence of current suicidal ideation.
RESULTS: Compared to BFM without suicidal ideation, BFM with suicidal ideation showed a higher FAA with right dominance. Significant differences in psychological symptoms were observed between the groups. In BFM with suicidal ideation, the low: high frequency (LF:HF) ratio correlated with social resources and support.
CONCLUSION: The FAA and LF:HF ratio may be biomarkers that represent the pathological conditions of BFM with suicidal ideation. If researched further, they may shed light on the interaction between bereavement with suicidal ideation and social resources for therapeutic intervention.
Purpose: We evaluated the outcomes of a community-based palliative care project conducted in Busan City, Korea from 2013 to 2015.
Methods: We selected 4 outcome indices based on the project’s outcomes derived from a logic model and used a longitudinal and cross-sectional comparative design approach depending on the outcome index.
Results: The utilization rate of palliative care increased from 9.2% in 2012 to 41.9% in 2015. Regarding symptom changes in 65 patients receiving palliative care at 3 and 6 months (mean age=72 years, SD=9.64, 55.4% women), pain, anxiety, and depression had improved. Quality of life (QOL) was higher among palliative care patients compared to patients who did not receive palliative care (t = 2.09, p = .039). Regarding recognition of palliative care, civil servants at public health centers who participated in the pilot project (2013–2014) scored higher than those at public health centers who began participation in 2015 (t = 2.67, p = .008).
Conclusion: This is the first study in Korea that systematically evaluated community-based palliative care. The Busan Community-based Palliative Care Project improved the QOL of palliative care patients by providing services at an appropriate level and by raising the recognition of palliative care in the community. To increase the utilization ratio of palliative care and the quality of service, strategies should be developed to supplement medical support systems.
Purpose: Pneumonia poses a significant health risk in aging societies. We aimed to elucidate the determinative value of frailty for do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in pneumonia patients.
Patients and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study conducted at the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) in Korea. Medical records of 431 pneumonia patients, aged 65 years and older, who were admitted between June 2014 and May 2015 were analyzed. Patients were categorized into DNR and no-DNR groups.
Results: Among the 65 patients (15.1% of pneumonia patients) who completed DNR documents, 24 patients were survived, and 21 patients decided imminent to death (<24 hours before death), with all decisions determined by surrogates. The DNR group tended to be older and frail, with higher rates of renal impairment and malnutrition, and had a lower microbiology detection effort than the no-DNR group. The DNR group used a high number of broad-spectrum antibiotics, experienced high levels of in-hospital (63.1% vs 5.7%, P<0.001) and 30-day (64.6% vs 9.6%, P<0.001) mortality rates, and had prolonged hospital stays (median length of hospital stay, 12 vs 9 days, P=0.020). Frailty was independently associated with DNR status even after adjustment for sepsis, septic shock, and the pneumonia severity index (PSI) score. Frailty also significantly influenced healthcare setting transitions after adjustment for sepsis, septic shock, and the PSI.
Conclusion: We identified the factors associated with DNR orders and their prognoses among elderly Koreans with pneumonia. Frailty was significantly associated with DNR decision and healthcare setting transitions in pneumonia patients.
This study aims to identify parenting experiences after the death of a child. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, we mapped the experiences of 16 parents with school-aged surviving children after the death of their sibling to the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea. Interviews illuminate five master themes of parenting surviving children following a child’s death: (a) parental anxiety, (b) conflicts and obstacles in the parent-child relationship, (c) changes in parenting style, (d) striving to support children’s grief, and (e) seeking outside help for parenting. Implications for supporting grieving parents and their children are discussed in light of the findings.
South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and the most alarming suicide rate is among its elders. This study aims to understand the social, historical, and cultural context of the Korean older adults and examine suicide trends based on that understanding. The results show that the suicide risk increases with age, the male suicide rate outweighs that of females, and the suicide rate decreases with educational attainment. In addition, several suggestions for reducing elderly suicide rate are addressed, including differentiating the existing social services for elders by age and expanding suicide prevention programs beyond schools to communities so that all people in need can access them.
The purpose of this article is to unpack concepts surrounding “the connection that survives death” between living people and the deceased. The study was designed as the qualitative arm of an integrated project on filial piety in contemporary times, and data were collected from 17 interviews with Korean human service professionals from Australia, New Zealand and Korea. The findings from the study indicate that the connectedness with the dead is an important part of the participants’ mental and social lives, and this postmortem relationship can be embodied through practising “memorial piety” and “memorial work”.
Background: Establishing and designating specialized hospice palliative care units (HPCUs) has been an important part of national policy to promote hospice palliative care in Korea in the recent decade. However, few studies have sought to identify patterns and barriers for utilizing HPCU over the period of national policy implementation. We aimed to investigate factors related with utilizing HPCU for terminal cancer patients after consultation with a palliative care team (PCT).
Methods: We reviewed medical records for 1,028 terminal cancer patients who were referred to the PCT of the National Cancer Center in 2010 and 2014. We compared the characteristics of the patients who decided to utilize HPCU and those who did not. We also analyzed factors influencing choices for a medical institution and reasons for not selecting an HPCU.
Results: The patients' mean age was 61.0 ± 12.2, with lung cancer patients (24.3%) comprising the largest percentage of these patients. The percentage of referred patients who utilized an HPCU was 53.9% in 2014, increasing from 44.6% in 2010. Older age and awareness of terminal illness were found to be positively associated with utilization of an HPCU. The most common reason for not selecting an HPCU was "refusing hospice facility" (34.9%), followed by "near death," "poor accessibility to an HPCU," and "caregiving problems."
Conclusion: Compared to 2010, HPCU utilization by terminal cancer patients increased in 2014. Improving awareness of terminal condition among patients and family members and earlier discussion of end-of-life care would be important to promote utilization of HPCU.