Background: Patients often view “palliative care” (PC) as an approach that is synonymous with end-of-life and death, leading to shock and fear. Differing cultural and social norms and religious affiliations greatly determine perception of PC among diverse populations.
Methods: This prospective observational study aimed to explore perceptions of PC among South Asian community members at one Canadian site. Patients who identified themselves as being of South Asian origin were consented and enrolled at a PC Clinic at a community hospital in Brampton, Ontario serving a large South Asian population. Participants filled out an 18-question survey created for the study and responded to a semi-structured interview consisting of 8 questions that further probed their perceptions of PC. Survey responses and semi-structured interviews content were analyzed by four authors who reached consensus on key exploratory findings.
Results: Thirty-four participants of South Asian origin were recruited (61.8% males), and they were distributed by their age group as follows: [(30–49) - 18%; (50–64) – 21%; (65–79) - 41%; (= 80) – 21%]. Five main exploratory findings emerged: (i) differing attitudes towards talking about death; (ii) the key role of family in providing care; (iii) a significant lack of prior knowledge of PC; (iv) a common emphasis on the importance of alleviating suffering and pain to maintain comfort; and (v) that cultural values, faith, or spiritual belief do not pose a necessary challenge to acceptance of PC services.
Conclusions: Observations from this study provide a source of reference to understand the key findings and variability in perceptions of palliative care in South Asian communities. Culturally competent interventions based on trends observed in this study could assist Palliative Physicians in delivering personalized care to South Asian populations.
Background: A systematic understanding of socio-economic inequalities in end-of-life (EOL) suffering among advanced cancer patients is required to inform efforts to reduce these inequalities as part of Universal Health Coverage goals.
Aims: To assess inequalities in multiple domains of EOL suffering among advanced cancer patients – physical, functional, psychological, social, and spiritual –, using two socio-economic status (SES) indicators, education and perceived economic status of the household.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data from surveys of stage IV cancer patients (n = 1378) from seven hospitals across five countries (China, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Myanmar). We conducted separate multivariable linear regression models for each EOL suffering domain. We also tested interactions between the two SES indicators and between each SES indicator and patient age.
Results: Patients living in low economic status households /with fewer years of education reported greater suffering in several domains. We also found significant interaction effects between economic status of the household and years of education for all EOL suffering outcomes. Age significantly moderated the association between economic status of the household and social suffering and between years of education and psychological, social, and spiritual suffering (p < 0.05 for all).
Conclusion: Results highlight that SES inequalities in EOL suffering vary depending on the suffering domain, the SES indicator assessed, and by patient age. Greater palliative care resources for patients with low SES may help reduce these inequalities.
BACKGROUND: It is not clear how lay people prioritize the various, sometimes conflicting, interests when they make surrogate medical decisions, especially in non-Western cultures. The extent such decisions are perspective-related is also not well documented.
METHODS: We explored the relative importance of 28 surrogate decision-making factors to 120 Middle-Eastern (ME) and 120 East-Asian (EA) women from three perspectives, norm-perception (N), preference as patient (P), and preference as surrogate decision-maker (S). Each respondent force-ranked (one to nine) 28 opinion-items according to each perspective. Items' ranks were analyzed by averaging-analysis and Q-methodology.
RESULTS: Respondents' mean (SD) age was 33.2 (7.9) years; all ME were Muslims, 83% of EA were Christians. "Trying everything possible to save patient," "Improving patient health," "Patient pain and suffering," and/or "What is in the best interests of patient" were the three most-important items, whereas "Effect of caring for patient on all patients in society," "Effect of caring for patient on patients with same disease," and/or "Cost to society from caring for patient" were among the three least-important items, in each ME and EA perspectives. P-perspective assigned higher mean ranks to family and surrogate's needs and burdens-related items, and lower mean rank to "Fear of loss" than S-perspective (p<0.001). ME assigned higher mean ranks to "Medical facts" and "Surrogate own wishes for patient" and lower mean rank to "Family needs" in all perspectives (p<0.001). Q-methodology identified models that were relatively patient's preference-, patient's religious/spiritual beliefs-, or emotion-dependent (all perspectives); medical facts-dependent (N- and S-perspectives), financial needs-dependent (P- and S-perspectives), and family needs-dependent (P-perspective).
CONCLUSIONS: 1) Patient's health was more important than patient's preference to ME and EA women; society interest was least important. 2) Family and surrogate's needs/ burdens were more important, whereas fear of loss was less important to respondents as patients than as surrogate decision-makers. 3) Family needs were more important to EA than ME respondents, the opposite was true for medical facts and surrogate's wishes for patient. 4) Q-methodology models that relatively emphasized various surrogate decision-making factors overlapped the ME and EA women' three perspectives.
Ageing has been recognized as one of the most critically important health-care issues worldwide. It is relevant to Asia, where the increasing number of older populations has drawn attention to the paramount need for health-care investment, particularly in end-of-life care. The advocacy of advance care planning is a mean to honor patient autonomy. Since most East Asian countries are influenced by Confucianism and the concept of 'filial piety,' patient autonomy is consequently subordinate to family values and physician authority. The dominance from family members and physicians during a patient's end-of-life decision-making is recognized as a cultural feature in Asia. Physicians often disclose the patient's poor prognosis and corresponding treatment options to the male, family member rather to the patient him/herself. In order to address this ethical and practical dilemma, the concept of 'relational autonomy' and the collectivism paradigm might be ideally used to assist Asian people, especially older adults, to share their preferences on future care and decision-making on certain clinical situations with their families and important others. In this review article, we invited experts in end-of-life care from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan to briefly report the current status of advance care planning in each country from policy, legal and clinical perspectives. According to the Asian experiences, we have seen different models of advance care planning implementation. The Asian Delphi Taskforce for advance care planning is currently undertaken by six Asian countries and a more detailed, culturally sensitive whitepaper will be published in the near future.
In the Western world including Canada, grievous and irredeemable health conditions, which cause unbearable suffering, has given support to the legalization of medical aid in dying (MAiD). It is unknown how Asian Buddhists who are in contact with the Western culture perceive MAiD. In this qualitative study, 16 Asian Buddhists living in Montreal took part in a semi-structured interview. Contrary to general findings in the literature, religious affiliation do not always determine moral stances and practical decisions when it comes to MAiD. Some participants were willing to take some freedom with the doctrine and based their approval of MAiD on the right to self-determination. Those who disapproved the use of MAiD perceived it as causing unnatural death, creating bad karma, and interfering with a conscious death. End-of-life (EoL) care providers have to remain sensitive to each patient's spiritual principles and beliefs to understand their needs and choices for EoL care.
BACKGROUND: The early integration of palliative care significantly improves quality of life for children with cancer. However, cultural, structural, and socioeconomic barriers can delay the integration of palliative care into cancer care, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries. To date, little is known regarding the timing of and barriers to palliative care integration in Eurasia.
METHODS: The Assessing Doctors' Attitudes on Palliative Treatment (ADAPT) survey evaluates physician perceptions regarding palliative care integration into pediatric oncology in Eurasia. This evidence-based survey was adapted to the regional context; iteratively reviewed by US and regional panelists; and piloted in English, Russian, and Mongolian. After distribution to physicians caring for children with cancer, statistical analysis was complemented by qualitative analysis of open-ended responses.
RESULTS: A total of 424 physician responses were received from 11 countries in the Eurasian region. Study findings demonstrated wide variability in access to palliative care experts across countries (18%-96%), with the majority of providers (64%) reporting that the initial palliative care consultation typically occurs when curative options are no longer available. Providers desired an earlier initial palliative care consultation than what currently occurs in their setting (P < .001). Primary barriers to timely consultation included limited access to palliative care services and specialists, lack of physician education, and perceived family resistance.
CONCLUSIONS: The current study is the first to identify physician perceptions of the delayed timing of palliative care integration into childhood cancer care and associated barriers in Eurasia. These findings will inform the development of targeted interventions to mitigate local structural and cultural barriers to access and facilitate earlier palliative care integration in the region.
Background: the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates for early integration of palliative care for all children with life-threatening illness. Provider awareness and misperceptions, however, can impede this imperative. In the Eurasian region, little is known about physician knowledge and perspectives on palliative care.
Methods: The Assessing Doctors' Attitudes on Palliative Treatment survey was developed as an evidence-based and culturally relevant assessment of physician perceptions on palliative care integration into childhood cancer care in Eurasia. Iteratively tested by American and Eurasian palliative care experts, the survey was culturally adapted, translated, and piloted in English, Russian, and Mongolian. The survey was distributed to physicians caring for children with cancer. Fifteen statements were scored in accordance with WHO guidelines to evaluate provider knowledge. The statistical analysis was complemented by a qualitative analysis of open-ended responses.
Results: This study received 424 responses from 11 countries in Eurasia. The mean alignment between provider perspectives and WHO recommendations was 70% (range, 7%-100%). Significant independent predictors of higher alignment included country, prior palliative care education, and greater experience with patient death. Respondents primarily described palliative care as end-o-life care and symptom management. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) reported not feeling confident about delivering at least 1 component of palliative care.
Conclusions: This is the first study assessing physician perspectives and knowledge of palliative care in Eurasia and reveals wide variability in alignment with WHO guidelines and limited confidence in providing palliative care. Study findings will inform targeted educational interventions, which must be tailored to the local political, economic, and cultural context.
BACKGROUND: Ethnicity may be associated with important aspects of end-of-life care, such as what treatments are received, access to palliative care and where people die. However, most studies have focused on end-of-life care of white, Hispanic and black patients. We sought to compare end-of-life care delivered to people of Chinese and South Asian ethnicity with that delivered to others from the general population, in Ontario, Canada.
METHODS: In this population-based cohort study, we included all people who died in Ontario, Canada, between Apr. 1, 2004, and Mar. 31, 2015. People were identified as having Chinese or South Asian ethnicity on the basis of a validated surname algorithm. We used modified Poisson regression analyses to assess location of death and care received in the last 6 months of life.
RESULTS: We analyzed 967 339 decedents, including 18 959 (2.0%) of Chinese and 11 406 (1.2%) of South Asian ethnicity. Chinese (13.6%) and South Asian (18.5%) decedents were more likely than decedents from the general population (10.1%) to die in the intensive care unit (ICU). The adjusted relative risk of dying in intensive care was 1.21 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.15 to 1.27) for Chinese and 1.25 (95% CI 1.20 to 1.30) for South Asian decedents. In their last 6 months of life, decedents of Chinese and South Asian ethnicity experienced significantly more ICU admission, hospital admission, mechanical ventilation, dialysis, percutaneous feeding tube placement, tracheostomy and cardiopulmonary resuscitation than the general population.
INTERPRETATION: Decedents of Chinese and South Asian ethnicity in Ontario were more likely than decedents from the general population to receive aggressive care and to die in an ICU. These findings may be due to communication difficulties between patients and clinicians, differences in preferences about end-of-life care or differences in access to palliative care services.
People with mental illness may be unable to provide critical input about the care they wish to receive during a psychiatric crisis because of altered mental states. It is therefore imperative that clinicians seek to understand service users' wishes for care while they are well and able to provide meaningful input into the discussion. Achieving such an end may be done by discussing and completing a psychiatric advance directive. However, very few Asian countries have legislation that supports such advance directives. The present article seeks to give physicians more information about advance psychiatric directives and the potential role they could play to improve the healthcare provided in Asia to people at risk of losing capacity due to a mental illness. The degree to which mental health legislation supports psychiatric advance directives is documented for each country of South East Asia and Eastern Asia.
Context: Programs identifying patients needing palliative care and promoting advance care planning (ACP) are rare in Asia.
Objectives: This interventional cohort study aimed to identify hospitalized patients with palliative care needs using a validated Palliative Care Screening Tool (PCST), examine the ability of the PCST to predict mortality, and explore effects of a pragmatic ACP program targeted by PCST on the utilisation of life-sustaining treatment during the last three months of life.
Methods: In this prospective study, we used PCST to evaluate patients’ palliative care needs between 2015 and 2016 and followed patients for 3 months. ACP with advance directives (AD) were systematically offered to all patients with PCST score =4.
Results: Of 47,153 hospitalized patients, 10.4% had PCST score =4. During follow-up, 2,121 individuals died within three months of palliative care screening: 1,225 (25.0%) with PCST score =4 and 896 (2.1%) with PCST score <4. After controlling for co-variates, PCST score =4 was significantly associated with a higher mortality within 3 months of screening (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 6.86; 95% confident interval [CI], 6.16-7.63). Moreover, ACP consultation (AOR=0.78, 95%CI: (0.66-0.92) and AD completion (AOR=0.49, 95%CI: 0.36-0.65) were associated with a lower likelihood of receiving life-sustaining treatments during the last 3 months of life.
Conclusions: We demonstrated the feasibility of implementing a comprehensive palliative care program to identify patients with palliative care needs and promote ACP and AD in East Asia. ACP consultation and AD completion were associated with reduced utilization of life-sustaining treatments during the last 3 months of life.
Death, disease and disaster can inflict anyone, anywhere and at any time. While occurrence of such an event could be absolved of any selective strike, the outcome reflects otherwise. Historical deprivations experienced by certain populations have caused more bereavement and sorrow to them than those who have experienced lesser or no deprivation. Therefore, the process which shapes the factors to yield such a result is important and needs to be understood for any policy suggestions and programmatic inputs. Loss of pregnancy and newborn inflicts sorrow and bereavement across space, time and social labyrinth. The degree of bereavement is likely to reduce with time, but space and social context govern the response to it. Therefore, factors contributing to the differentials vary in their demographic, social and economic characteristics. The loss of pregnancy and newborn remains inadequately addressed. Family and community play a significant role in coping. While the developed countries have institutional structure to address coping with the loss, the South Asian countries rely heavily on the family and the community for such support. The present review examines these trajectories across social groups.
OBJECTIVE: South Asian migrants have a higher burden of life-threatening diseases and chronic diseases compared to other ethnic groups. Yet, knowledge gaps remain around their palliative care needs in the host countries. The aim of the review was to present results from a systematic literature review of available international evidence on experiences with and perspectives on palliative care among older South Asian migrants, relatives, and healthcare providers.
METHODS: A systematic review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines was conducted in February 2018, searching PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, and EMBASE databases. PROSPERO #CRD42018093464. Studies included empirical research, providing international evidence on experiences and perspectives on palliative care of South Asian migrants and were published between 2000 and 2018. Thematic synthesis was used to analyze data.
RESULTS: A total of 30 articles were included: qualitative (24), quantitative (5), and mixed methods (1). Three main themes were discovered: 1) palliative care practice within the family, 2) trust as a precondition of palliative care, and 3) the importance of knowledge and cultural competency. All the themes, to a greater or lesser extent, are related to access to and use of palliative care services by South Asian migrant families.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS : Involvement of family members in palliative care decision making could improve the satisfaction of South Asian migrant families toward the service. For example, Advanced Care Planning involving family members could be a possible way to engage family members in palliative care decision making. Supportive interventions, e.g. providing knowledge, aimed at patients and their family members might improve knowledge and increase awareness among South Asian migrant families of palliative care. Knowledge gained from this review could be implemented with other ethnic minority groups.
Background: Persons of South Asian origin (SAs) are the fastest growing minority group in the United States. Culturally competent care for patients and families of SA origin necessitates an understanding of the cultural factors that affect decision-making for palliative and end-of-life care.
Objective: To better understand health-care providers' perspectives on decision-making among seriously ill persons of SA origin.
Method: Data were collected in a US Midwestern city, predominantly in 2 hospital-based health-care systems along with a few interviews of private practitioners. Researchers conducted a thematic analysis of data. Transcripts were coded individually, coding disagreements resolved through discussion and themes arrived upon by consensus.
Results: Health-care providers reported that numerous factors interact to influence decision-making among SAs. Patient-based factors include education, time spent in the United States, expectations of physician-directed care, and spiritual beliefs. Family-based factors include a norm of family-based decision-making and a complex distribution of decision-making responsibilities among family members. Provider-based factors include challenges reconciling SA and American approaches to decision-making. Community-based factors include negative attitudes and a lack of education regarding palliative care and the potential role of community support in health-care decision-making.
Conclusions: A rich cultural context influences health-care decision-making among seriously ill SAs. An understanding of this context will enhance providers' cultural competence and likely improve services to this growing population.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life (EOL) care in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) can vary depending on religious beliefs of health care providers and families as well as the sociocultural environment. Although guidelines exist for EOL care in NICUs, most are based on Western studies, and little is known about such care in Asian countries, which have different religious and social background.
OBJECTIVE: This review synthesized empirical research to reveal the state of the science on infant EOL care in Asian countries.
DESIGN: This was an integrative review.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Data were collected from studies identified in CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, and PubMed. The search was limited to current empirical studies involving infant EOL care in Asian countries and published in English between 2007 and 2016.
RESULTS: Of 286 studies initially identified, 11 empirical studies conducted in Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, and Turkey were included in the review. Four themes were captured: factors influencing decision making, trends in decision making, practical aspects of EOL care, and health care providers' preparation. In most NICUs, health care providers controlled decisions regarding use of life-sustaining treatment, with parents participating in decision making no more than 60% of the time. Although care decisions were gradually changing from "do everything" for patient survival to a more palliative approach, comfort care at the EOL was chosen no more than 63% of the time.
CONCLUSION: While infant EOL care practice and research vary by country, few articles address these matters in Asia. This integrative review characterizes infant EOL care in Asia and explores cultural influences on such care.
BACKGROUND: The state of palliative care research is closely linked to the development of palliative care services in a country or region.
OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the current state of palliative care research in the Asia Pacific region and analyze its relationship with the performance of each country in the region on the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2015 Quality of Death Index.
DESIGN: Systematic review and bibliographic analysis in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocol 2015 (PRISMA-P).
DATA SOURCES: The PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and PsychiNFO databases were searched on February 4, 2018.
RESULTS: One thousand six hundred sixty-seven articles were reviewed. Eighteen out of 32 countries in the region published research. Around 74.15% (1236) of the articles were produced by high-income countries. Research output (articles per 1 m population) was closely linked to country performance on the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2015 Quality of Death Index (adjusted R2= 0.85). Palliative care research in the region is overwhelmingly focused on cancer (80.13% of articles reviewed). The most common themes of research were “palliative care service (24.45%)” and “clinical” (15.38%).
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care research in the region is growing but remains largely centered on the high-income countries, with many low- and middle-income countries having little published research output. Much work is required to drive research in these countries to generate the evidence required for the development of palliative care services. The emphasis on cancer in research also indicates that the needs of patients suffering from noncancer-related diseases may be neglected.
Objective: Our aims were to report an analysis of the concept of cultural competency and to explore how the cultural competency of the palliative care workforce impacts the holistic care of young people with palliative care needs from South Asian cultures.
METHOD: Using keywords, we searched the online databases MEDLINE, CINAHL, ScienceDirect, and PubMed from January of 1990 through to December of 2016. Some 1543 articles were retrieved, and inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. A total of 38 papers were included in the concept analysis. The data were analyzed using Coad's (2002) adapted framework based on Rodgers's (1989) evolutionary concept analysis, focusing on the attributes, antecedents, consequences, and related terms in relation to culturally competent care. A model case of culturally competent care was also constructed.
RESULTS: The literature provides evidence that the concept of culturally competent care is a complex one, which is often expressed ambiguously. In addition, there is a paucity of research that involves service users as experts in defining their own needs and assessing their experiences related to cultural care.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Cultural care should be integral to holistic patient care, irrespective of a person's race or ethnicity. There is an urgent need to involve young BAME patients with palliative care needs and their families in the development of a robust tool to assess cultural competency in clinical practice.
Advance care directives situate persons as rational and self-determining actors who can make anticipatory plans about their futures. This paper critically examines how people interpret individual and future-oriented approaches to medical decision-making with limited access to information and knowledge, and reduced opportunities to prepare and document their care preferences. Based on ethnographic research with Asian migrant families living in Adelaide, South Australia (August 2015-July 2018), it reveals a discord between planning for a finite future and the contingencies and continuities of social life. It unsettles the detached reasoning that is privileged in end-of-life decision-making and reveals limitations to "do-it-yourself" approaches to advance care directives which, it will be argued, not only forecasts potential futures but also forecloses them. Taking Derrida's critique of death and decision-making as a point of departure, it develops the concept of temporal dissonance as a theoretical framework to articulate the tensions that are constituted in advance care directives. The paper suggests that attention to temporal incongruities may help to shed light on the many complex interpretations of advance care directives and the difficulties of promoting them in diverse contexts.
There is a woeful lack of access to pain relief and palliative care in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) across the world. Measured in terms of distribution of opioids, out of the 298.5 metric tonnes of morphine-equivalent distributed in the world (average distribution in 2010-2013), only 0.1 metric tonne is distributed to low-income countries. According to the Lancet Commission report on access to palliative care and pain relief, the
annual distribution of morphine-equivalent opioids in Haiti is 5 mg per patient in need of palliative care. This contrasts with 55,000 mg per patient in need of palliative care in the United States and over 68,000 mg per patient in need of palliative care in Canada, countries that are presently facing an opioid crisis because of inappropriate prescribing and use of opioids.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process of reflection on and communication of a person's future health-care preferences. Evidence suggests visible minorities engage less in ACP. The South Asian ethnic group is the largest visible minority group in Canada, and information is needed to understand how ACP is perceived and how best to approach ACP within this diverse community.
OBJECTIVE: To explore perspectives of South Asian community members towards ACP.
DESIGN: Peer-to-peer inquiry. South Asian community members who graduated from the Patient and Community Engagement Research programme (PaCER) at the University of Calgary utilized the PaCER method (SET, COLLECT and REFLECT) to conduct a focus group, family interviews and a community forum.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-seven community-dwelling men and women (22-86 years) who self-identified with the South Asian community in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
RESULTS: The concept of ACP was mostly foreign to this community and was often associated with other end-of-life issues such as organ donation and estate planning. Cultural aspects (e.g. trust in shared family decision making and taboos related to discussing death), religious beliefs (e.g. fatalism) and immigration challenges (e.g. essential priorities) emerged as barriers to participation in ACP. However, participants were eager to learn about ACP and recommended several engagement strategies (e.g. disseminate information through religious institutions and community centres, include families in ACP discussions, encourage family physicians to initiate discussions and translate materials).
CONCLUSIONS: Use of a patient engagement research model proved highly successful in understanding South Asian community members' participation in ACP.
BACKGROUND: The provision of pediatric palliative care in Asia Pacific varies between countries and availability of essential medications for symptoms at the end of life in this region is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To determine medications available and used in the management of six symptoms at the end of life among pediatric palliative care practitioners in Asia Pacific. To identify alternative pharmacological strategies for these six symptoms if the oral route was no longer possible and injections are refused.
DESIGN AND SETTING: An online survey of all Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) members was carried out to identify medications used for six symptoms (pain, dyspnea, excessive respiratory secretions, nausea/vomiting, restlessness, seizures) in dying children. Two scenarios were of interest: (1) hours to days before death and (2) when injectables were declined or refused.
RESULTS: There were 54 responses from 18 countries. Majority (63.0%) of respondents were hospital based. About half of all respondents were from specialist palliative care services and 55.6% were from high-income countries. All respondents had access to essential analgesics. Several perceived that there were no available drugs locally to treat the five other commonly encountered symptoms. There was a wide variation in preferred drugs for treating each symptom that went beyond differences in drug availability or formulations.
CONCLUSION: Future studies are needed to explore barriers to medication access and possible knowledge gaps among service providers in the region, so that advocacy and education endeavors by the APHN may be optimized.