In the partnership between the medical departments of Würzburg University, Germany, and Nagasaki University, Japan, palliative care is a relevant topic. The aim of the study was to perform a comparative analysis of the hospital-based palliative care teams in Würzburg (PCT-W) and Nagasaki (PCT-N). Survey of staff composition and retrospective analysis of PCT patient charts in both PCTs were conducted. Patients self-assessed their symptoms in PCT-W and in Radiation Oncology Würzburg (RO-W). The (negative) quality indicator 'percentage of deceased hospitalised patients with PCT contact for less than 3 days before death' (Earle in Int J Qual Health Care 17(6):505-509, 2005) was analysed. Both PCTs follow a multidisciplinary team approach. PCT-N saw 410 cancer patients versus 853 patients for PCT-W (22.8% non-cancer patients). The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status at first contact with PCT-N was 3 or 4 in 39.3% of patients versus 79.0% for PCT-W. PCT-N was engaged in co-management longer than PCT-W (mean 20.7 days, range 1-102 versus mean 4.9 days, range 1-48). The most frequent patient-reported psychological symptom was anxiety (family anxiety: 98.3% PCT-W and 88.7% RO-W, anxiety 97.9% PCT-W and 85.9% RO-W), followed by depression (98.2% PCT-W and 80.3% RO-W). In 14 of the 148 deceased patients, PCT-N contact was initiated less than 3 days before death (9.4%) versus 121 of the 729 deceased PCT-W patients (16.6%). Psychological needs are highly relevant in both Germany and Japan, with more than 85% anxiety and depression in patients in the Japanese IPOS validation study (Sakurai in Jpn J Clin Oncol 49(3):257-262, 2019). This should be taken into account when implementing PCTs.
Death rattle occurs during the last days of life, and relatives of those afflicted frequently report that it is very distressful. However, there is no effective treatment for it. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of Japanese palliative care physicians in clinical practice in Japan. We conducted a nationwide survey of 268 physicians via an anonymous, self-report questionnaire. We assessed pharmacological and non-pharmacological management and anticholinergic agent choice. One hundred eighty-nine physicians (70.5%) returned the questionnaires. Fifty-five participants (29.1%) treating patients with Type-1 (real death rattle) and 36 participants (19%) treating patients with Type-2 (pseudo-death rattle) death rattle reported that they would frequently administer an anticholinergic agent. One-fourth would administer scopolamine butylbromide or scopolamine hydrobromide. In conclusion, more Japanese palliative care physicians thought that anticholinergic agents might be effective for treating Type-1 death rattle rather than Type-2. Further clinical trials of these agents are needed.
Continuous deep sedation (CDS) is used to alleviate unbearable and otherwise refractory symptoms in patients dying of cancer. No data are available concerning CDS in children from Japan to date. This study primarily aimed to describe experience in CDS in child cancer patients at Kyoto University Hospital. The secondary aims were to identify the characteristics of patients who received CDS, and to assess ability in daily living at the end of life. A retrospective chart review was performed for child cancer patients who died at the institute between 2008 and 2017. The data of 35 patients were analyzed. Nine (26%) patients had received CDS. Indications for CDS were dyspnea (56%), agitation (22%), seizures (22%), and pain (11%). Midazolam was used in all nine cases. In eight (89%) patients, opioids were also prescribed. In seven (78%) patients, CDS was performed for < 48 hours. In all nine cases, consent was obtained from the parent(s) but not from the children. CDS was more likely in patients with solid tumors (p = 0.018) and those who had received no respite sedation (p = 0.002). Patients without central nervous system symptoms tended to maintain their capacity for oral intake and verbal communication until a few days prior to death. This is the first report on CDS in child cancer patients from Japan. In the CDS literature, cross-study differences are evident for incidence, target symptoms, duration, and the decision-making process. Further international discussion is warranted concerning indications for CDS and the decision-making process.
BACKGROUND: Family conferences (FCs) in the intensive care unit play an important role in reducing the psychological burden of patients' families at the end of life. However, no studies have clarified the specific roles and contributions of nurses related to FCs for terminally ill patients in critical care and their families.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To clarify nurses' contribution to FCs for terminally ill patients in critical care and their families and examine the priority of each item.
DESIGN: A modified Delphi method was used.
METHODS: This study consisted of two phases. In phase 1, an initial list was developed based on a literature review, individual interviews, and a focus group interview. Phase 2 involved two rounds of the Delphi survey. Practitioners (N = 55) from hospitals across Japan were recruited to the Expert Panel for phase 2. They were asked to rate each nurse's contribution in terms of its importance using a 9-point Likert scale (1 being "not important at all" to 9 being "very important"). Fifty participants responded to round 1 of the survey, and 46 participants completed round 2. If at least 80% of the panellists chose an importance level of 7 or higher, the item was considered "important".
RESULTS: The 65 items of the potential list were classified into three domains: preparation (16 items), discussion and facilitating meaning during a FC (32 items), and follow up after a FC (17 items). The expert panel determined that, of 65 items, 49 items on the proposed list of nurses' contribution were considered important.
CONCLUSIONS: This study clarified nurses' contribution to FCs, with consensus on their importance by expert nurses.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This study could be useful for improving and ensuring the quality of nurses' contribution to FCs and promoting collaboration between nurses and other medical professionals.
Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the current status of bereavement follow-up in Japanese emergency departments.
Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional design and conducted a nationwide survey of all emergency departments in Japan. Self-reported questionnaires were sent to the nurse leaders of each emergency department.
Results: of 289 nurse leaders approached, 145 (50.2%) responded. Only 17.9% emergency departments provided bereavement follow-up strategies, and the most frequent strategy was referral to a specialist for psychological treatment. Most nurse leaders perceived that bereavement follow-up is necessary, and the greatest need of the bereaved as perceived by the nurse leaders was explanation of the patient’s death. However, 60% of the nurse leaders perceived bereavement follow-up to be necessary but difficult, and the major challenges in bereavement follow-up were lack of time, knowledge, and skill.
Conclusion: in contemporary Japan, the prevalence of bereavement follow-up strategies offered by emergency departments was low, and although most nurse leaders perceived follow-up as necessary, it could not be provided because of limitations in human resources and staff training.
Older people living alone has been reported to be socially isolated and suffering from loneliness. Although spiritual care is a core element of end-of-life care for older people, a clear-cut definition of spirituality has not been established yet. It remains unclear how spirituality is perceived by heath care professionals and how spiritual care is delivered in the end of life. Also, most of the previous studies on perspective of older people living alone targeted women, while very few researches shed light on the experience of older men. The aim of the present study was to investigate the spirituality of older men living alone near the end-of-life. We conducted group interviews targeting 30 care managers and individual in-depth interviews to 15 older men living alone. Qualitative content analysis was used. Five main themes emerged: worthlessness and hopelessness, autonomy and independence, comfort and gratitude, past experiences, and well-being indicator. Our findings provide important additional information that can help clinicians, nurses and care managers achieve better patient-centered care for older men living alone and enhance their dignity. Our investigation found that Japanese older men living alone were enjoying their autonomous status and freedom, despite wide spread negative views of them. Their spiritual health was found to be enhanced through gratitude to everyone with whom they had crossed paths in their life, yearning for the presence of a female companion, and confirming their health measurements were comparative or better than those of others in the same age group.
Background: Although advance care planning discussions are increasingly accepted worldwide, their ideal timing is uncertain and cultural factors may pertain.
Aim: To evaluate timing and factors affecting initiation of advance care planning discussions for adult patients in Japan and Taiwan.
Design: Mixed-methods questionnaire survey to quantitatively determine percentages of patients willing to initiate advance care planning discussions at four stages of illness trajectory ranging from healthy to undeniably ill, and to identify qualitative perceptions underlying preferred timing.
Setting/participants: Patients aged 40–75 years visiting outpatient departments at four Japanese and two Taiwanese hospitals were randomly recruited.
Results: Overall (of 700 respondents), 72% (of 365) in Japan and 84% (of 335) in Taiwan (p < 0.001) accepted discussion before illness. In Japan, factors associated with willingness before illness were younger age and rejection of life-sustaining treatments; in Taiwan, older age, stronger social support, and rejection of life-sustaining treatments. Four main categories of attitudes were extracted: the most common welcomed discussion as a wise precaution, responses in this first category outnumbered preference for postponement of discussion until imminent end of life, acceptance of the universal inevitability of death, and preference for discussion at healthcare providers’ initiative.
Conclusion: The majority of patients are willing to begin discussion before their health is severely compromised; about one out of five patients are unwilling to begin until clearly facing death. To promote advance care planning, healthcare providers must be mindful of patients’ preferences and factors associated with acceptance and reluctance to initiate advance care planning.
Background: A 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.
Methods: The 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.
Results: All 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.
Conclusion: Regarding a hypothetical scenario for advanced cancer, the general public preferred more aggressive treatment and more frequent LST than that recommended by healthcare providers.
Objectives: This study aimed to reveal the features of older adults’ advance care planning (ACP) discussions by identifying psychosocial factors related to their discussions in Japan, where people value family-centered decision making.
Methods: A qualitative study using in-depth interviews was conducted with 39 participants (aged =65 years) recruited from the outpatient department of a community hospital in Fukushima, Japan. Data were analyzed using the grounded theory approach.
Results: Through experiences of family caregiving, participants became aware of their own feelings about the end of life. Equal relationship with family members was important for lowering the threshold for having discussions. Some participants and their families in the same generation reached agreements on ACP; however, they were willing to yield to children’s decision making despite these discussions.
Discussions: These findings provide insights into the psychosocial factors in relation to ACP discussions and support for the role of ACP discussions in the family-centered decision-making culture.
Purpose: Advance care planning is an important component of quality palliative care. In Asian countries, few randomized clinical trials have been reported. This pilot randomized-controlled trial examined the effects of brief nurse intervention with visual materials on the goal-of-care preference, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) preference, and designation of a health care proxy.
Methods: This randomized clinical trial was performed from January to February 2018 on elderly Japanese patients with chronic disease. The patients were randomly assigned to a control group (brief nurse intervention using verbal descriptions) or intervention group (using visual materials). The primary endpoint was goal-of-care preference, and secondary outcomes included the following: (1) CPR preference, (2) presence of a designated health care proxy, (3) knowledge of CPR, and (4) readiness for advance care planning. Outcome measures were obtained at baseline and just after completion of the intervention.
Results: A total of 220 patients were enrolled (117 in the intervention group and 103 in the control group). All patients completed post-intervention measurement. There was no significant difference between the groups in any of the outcome measures, while <5% of the participants wanted life-prolonging care as the goal of care at the baseline. Before/after comparisons indicated that, in both groups, the number of participants who designated a health care proxy significantly increased (29% to 65% vs. 22% to 52%, respectively; p < 0.001 each); and the knowledge and readiness scores significantly increased. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the number of patients who did not want CPR (55% to 67% with a terminal condition, p = 0.003; 67% to 80% with a bedridden condition, p < 0.001) in the intervention group.
Conclusions: Brief nurse intervention increased documentation of a patient-designated health care proxy and improved the knowledge of CPR and patient readiness. Visual materials might help patients to imagine the actual situation regarding CPR.
CONTEXT: There has been a growing consensus that parenteral nutrition and hydration is to be forgone in terminally ill patients with cancer. However, it remains unclear what the beliefs and perceptions of parenteral nutrition and hydration by the family members are.
OBJECTIVES: To clarify their beliefs and perceptions and to examine the relationships between the factors of family members, their beliefs and perceptions, and their overall satisfaction with the care the patient received at the place of death.
METHODS: This study was performed as a part of the cross-sectional anonymous nationwide survey of the bereaved family members of cancer patients in Japan.
RESULTS: In total, 1001 questionnaires were sent and 610 were returned. Among these, 499 were analyzed. Regarding the prevalence of beliefs and perceptions about parenteral nutrition and hydration, 'When a patient cannot eat enough, parenteral hydration is needed' was the highest (87.7%), followed by 'The opinions of medical staff are important in the issue of parenteral nutrition and hydration', 'Parenteral hydration serves as a substitute for oral hydration', and 'If I were a patient and could not eat enough, parenteral hydration would be needed' (85.1, 81.0, and 80.0%, respectively). We extracted two concepts as follows: 'Belief that parenteral nutrition and hydration are beneficial' and 'Perceived need for parenteral nutrition and hydration'. They were not identified as independent determinants of overall care satisfaction.
CONCLUSION: This study showed that beliefs and perceptions about parenteral nutrition and hydration were important in the family members in palliative care.
Background: Although recent attention to palliative care for patients with cardiovascular diseases has been increasing, there are no specific recommendations on detailed palliative care practices. We proceed on a discussion of the appropriateness and applicability of potential quality indicators for acute cardiovascular diseases according to our previous systematic review.
Methods: We created a multidisciplinary panel of 20 team members and 7 external validation clinicians composed of clinical cardiologists, a nutritionist, a physiotherapist, a clinical psychologist, a critical and emergent care specialist, a catheterization specialist, a primary care specialist, a palliative care specialist, and nurses. After crafting potential indicators, we performed a Delphi rating, ranging from “1 = minimum” to “9 = maximum”. The criterion for the adoption of candidate indicators was set at a total mean score of seven or more. Finally, we subcategorized these indicators into several domains by using exploratory factor analysis.
Results: Sixteen of the panel members (80%) were men (age, 49.5 ± 13.7 years old). Among the initial 32 indicators, consensus was initially reached on total 23 indicators (71.8%), which were then summarized into 21 measures by selecting relatively feasible time variations. The major domains were “symptom palliation” and “supporting the decision-making process”. Factor analysis could not find optimal model. Narratively-developed seven sub-categories included “presence of palliative care team”, “patient-family relationship”, “multidisciplinary team approach”, “policy of approaching patients”, “symptom screening and management”, “presence of ethical review board”, “collecting and providing information for decision-maker”, and “determination of treatment strategy and the sharing of the care team’s decision”.
Conclusion: In this study we developed 21 quality indicators, which were categorized into 2 major domains and 7 sub-categories. These indicators might be useful for many healthcare providers in the initiation and enhancement of palliative care practices for acute cardiovascular diseases in Japan.
Advance care planning is spreading globally, but it is still a difficult task for healthy, community-dwelling Japanese residents. In Japan, it is called “life discussion,” and the first step is a discussion on goals, values, and preferences of medical care among family or other close persons, as knowledge on this topic is limited. This study aimed to explore the factors associated with the degree of engagement in life discussions among friends and family in depopulated areas. In 2 areas of Japan, 2466 individuals (aged 40-79 years) participated in this survey. Health/life habits, such as collecting health information and participating in some community activities, were significantly associated with the discussions more than attitude to medical/long-term care and community. Additionally, it was discussed how local governments could intervene to encourage advance care planning in depopulated areas. In conclusion, health habits or attitudes for care such as preference and desire for care among community-dwelling adults were associated with engaging in the discussions. It was proposed that local governments should motivate individuals to consider end-of-life experiences from a first-person perspective for creating advance care planning directives, and nurses could facilitate the discussion when death is imminent.
BACKGROUND: The aging of populations is rapidly accelerating worldwide. Especially, Japan has maintained the highest rate of population aging worldwide. As countermeasures, the Japanese government prioritized the promotion of local comprehensive care systems and collaboration in medical care and social (long-term) care. Development of a system to connect medical and social services in the community is necessary for the increasing older people, especially for the people in the stage of end of life.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the effect of a multidisciplinary end-of-life educational intervention program on confidence in inter-professional collaboration and job satisfaction among health and social care professionals.
DESIGN: a cluster-randomized controlled trial.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Three professional groups (home care nurses, care managers, and heads of care workers) in an urban area participated in this trial.
INTERVENTION: We implemented a multidisciplinary end-of-life educational intervention program comprising two educational workshops and an educational booklet to support multidisciplinary care for end-of-life patients during the 7-month study period.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Confidence in improved interactions among professionals and job satisfaction were assessed with the Face-to-Face Cooperative Confidence Questionnaire and the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire at T1 (before intervention) and T2 (7 months after the intervention).
RESULTS: In total, 291 professionals participated in this study (experimental group n = 156; control group n = 135). Multivariate regression analyses showed significant between-group increases on all of seven subscales in participants' face-to-face cooperative confidence over the study period; no effect was evident regarding job satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS: A multidisciplinary end-of-life educational intervention program increased confidence in multidisciplinary collaboration among health and social care professionals.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer greatly care about where they will die. Most people in Japan preferred their location of death as their homes. But only 8.2% of patients with cancer spend their last days at home with palliative care in Japan. Many patients with cancer are still going to spend their last days at a hospital (81.7%).
OBJECTIVE: We examined the survival times of such patients according to their place of death; that is, whether they died at home, at a hospice, or at a hospital, and investigated patient characteristics.
RESULTS: Among the 313 patients recruited, 214 were analyzed in this study: 90, 49, and 75 received hospital-based, home-based, and hospice-based palliative care, respectively. The patients who died at a hospice exhibited significantly longer survival than those who died at hospital (estimated median survival time, 420 days [95% confidence interval [CI]: 325-612 days] versus 252 days [95% CI: 201-316 days]; P < .0001). The characteristics of patients did not differ significantly according to place of death.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients who died at a hospice or at home exhibited significantly longer survival than those who died at a hospital for advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Background: Globally, the number of deaths is estimated to increase to 74 million per year by 2030. Place of death (PoD) is increasingly being recognized as an important aspect of end-of-life care. However, recent trends in PoD in Japan, one of the super-aged societies, are unknown.
Objective: To analyze trends in PoD in Japan over two decades.
Design: Population-based retrospective observational study.
Setting: All deaths reported in Japan, 1998-2017. PoD was defined as hospital, nursing home, or own home.
Results: All Japanese decedents (~22.6 million) over the past 20 years were analyzed. The proportion of hospital deaths was consistently high (>80%), with a significant decreasing trend from the mid-2000s. Although the proportion of deaths at home decreased in the first half of the study period, they later increased. There was a low proportion of deaths in nursing homes compared to other places of death; however, the proportion increased continually throughout the study period, particularly among women. In 2015, more women died in nursing homes than at home. Although the proportion of hospital deaths declined in the second half of the study period, their overall number continued to increase, reflecting an increase in total deaths in Japan.
Conclusions: This study highlighted rapid changes in trends in PoD in Japan, and the need to consider affordable end-of-life care in Japan as well as other countries with aging populations. The findings from this long-term epidemiological study provide important insights on this issue.
Purpose: Many patients with advanced cancer choose palliative chemotherapy. Considering its purpose of palliation and not treatment, it is important to consider the life of family caregivers. Family caregivers who experience bereavement undergo extreme stress, which is particularly high among patients’ spouses. The present study aims to clarify the experiences of the spouses of patients at the hospitals in Japan after the notification of palliative chemotherapy discontinuation until bereavement.
Method: We interviewed the spouses of 13 patients who received palliative chemotherapy using a semistructured interview guide. Each spouse was interviewed twice. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, and key concepts were identified using a grounded theory analytic approach.
Results: After the hospital's recommendation for palliative chemotherapy discontinuation, the spouses had “bewilderment over having to discontinue palliative chemotherapy” and experienced “difficulty in facing bereavement.” The spouses having “difficulty to give up hope for the patient's survival,” felt “bafflement over caregiving at the terminal stage,” which would be their responsibility in the future. Further, they had “hesitation in being honest to the patient” and were engaged in “knowing how to live with the patient until bereavement.“
Conclusion: Nurses need to encourage the patients and spouses to honestly express how they feel from the early stages of palliative chemotherapy. Furthermore, nurses should help spouses with how they face bereavement. This result may help prevent anticipatory grief, which may lead to excessive stress and emotional distress on the family caregivers.
Background: Palliative care (PC) is increasingly recognized as essential for oncology care, and several academic societies strongly recommend integrating oncology and palliative care (IOP) in daily practice. Similarly, the Japanese government encouraged the implementation of IOP through the Cancer Control Act of 2007; however, its detailed progress remains unclear. Therefore, this cross-sectional nationwide survey was conducted to investigate the current status and hospital executive physicians’ perception of IOP.
Methods: The questionnaire was developed based on IOP indicators with international consensus. It was distributed to executive physicians at all government-designated cancer hospitals (DCHs, n = 399) and matched non-DCHs (n = 478) in November 2017 and the results were compared.
Results: In total, 269 (67.4%) DCHs and 259 (54.2%) non-DCHs responded. The number of PC resources in DCHs was significantly higher than those in non-DCHs (e.g., full-time PC physicians and nurses, 52.8% vs. 14.0%, p < 0.001; availability of outpatient PC service =3 days per week, 47.6% vs. 20.7%, p < 0.001). Routine symptom screening was more frequently performed in DCHs than in non-DCHs (65.1% vs. 34.7%, p < 0.001). Automatic trigger for PC referral availability was limited (e.g., referral using time trigger, 14.9% vs. 15.3%, p = 0.700). Education and research opportunities were seriously limited in both types of hospitals. Most executive physicians regarded IOP as beneficial for their patients (95.9% vs. 94.7%, p = 0.163) and were willing to facilitate an early referral to PC services (54.7% vs. 60.0%, p < 0.569); however, the majority faced challenges to increase the number of full-time PC staff, and < 30% were planning to increase the staff members.
Conclusions: This survey highlighted a considerable number of IOP indicators met, particularly in DCHs probably due to the government policy. Further efforts are needed to address the serious research/educational gaps.
Background: Avoiding inappropriate care transition and enabling people with chronic diseases to die at home have become important health policy issues. Availability of palliative home care services may be related to dying at home.
Aim: after controlling for the presence of hospital beds and primary care physicians, we examined the association between availability of home palliative care services and dying at home in conditions requiring such services.
Design: Death certificate data in Japan in 2016 were linked with regional healthcare statistics.
Setting/participants: All adults (18 years or older) who died from conditions needing palliative care in 2016 in Japan were included.
Results: There were 922,756 persons included for analysis. Malignant neoplasm (37.4%) accounted for most decedents, followed by heart disease including cerebrovascular disease (31.4%), respiratory disease (14.7%) and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease/senility (11.5%). Of decedents, 20.8% died at home or in a nursing home and 79.2% died outside home (hospital/geriatric intermediate care facility). Death at home was more likely in health regions with fewer hospital beds and more primary care physicians, in total and per condition needing palliative care. Number of home palliative care services was negatively associated with death at home. The adjustment for home palliative care services disappeared in heart disease including cerebrovascular disease and reversed in respiratory disease.
Conclusion: Specialised home palliative care services may be suboptimal, and primary care services may serve as a key access point in providing baseline palliative care to people with conditions needing palliative care. Therefore, primary care services should aim to enhance their palliative care workforce.
BACKGROUND: Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is generally incurable, but patients can survive longer than those with other cancer types. Treatment strategies for MBC are complex, and it is difficult to establish evidence of efficacy since symptoms and patient backgrounds vary markedly. Some patients struggle to decide where to receive end-of-life care, despite palliative care intervention, and some die in unexpected places. With the aim of ascertaining the best way to intervene on behalf of patients with end-stage breast cancer, we retrospectively examined interventions provided by our palliative care team. We investigated factors influencing the decision-making processes of patients with MBC regarding end-of-life care locations and where patients actually died.
METHODS: Clinical records of 44 patients with MBC, all Japanese women, who received palliative care interventions at our hospital, were retrospectively investigated. We examined factors, such as age, possibly impacting decision-making processes regarding the final location and actual place of death.
RESULTS: Thirty-five (80%) patients were able to decide where to receive end-of-life care, while the others were not. For these 35 patients, desired locations were the palliative care unit (77%), home palliative care (14%), and the hospital (9%). Age and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were factors influencing patients' decision-making processes (P = .030 and .044, respectively). Of the 35 patients, 25 (71%) were able to receive end-of-life care at their desired locations.
CONCLUSIONS: Young patients and those with short RFS struggled with making decisions regarding where to receive end-of-life care. Such patients might benefit from prompt introduction of advanced care planning.