Hospice volunteers are a high-risk group for anxiety and depression owing to their frequent exposure to patients at the end of life and their subsequent deaths. Resilience is known to be a powerful factor that affects the occurrence of anxiety and depression; however, research on this subject is scarce. We investigated the relationship of resilience with anxiety or depression in hospice volunteers. A total of 145 volunteers were included in the analysis. Participants completed self-reported scales, including the Korean version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and the Professional Quality of Life Scale version 5. Pearson correlation coefficients were analyzed to identify the relationship of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue with anxiety or depression. A PROCESS macro mediation analysis was used to investigate the mediation effects of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue on the relationship between resilience and anxiety or depression. There were significant associations of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue with anxiety and depression. The relationship between resilience and anxiety/depression was mediated by compassion fatigue, which had indirect effects on anxiety and depression. Efforts to reduce compassion fatigue and increase resilience could help prevent anxiety and depression in hospice volunteers.
This study aimed to identify the relationships of perception of hospice and palliative care with emotional intelligence and cognitive empathy in nursing students. The participants were 458 nursing students. Data were collected using structured questionnaires and analyzed with Pearson correlation coefficients, independent-samples t test, and binary logistic regression. Perception of hospice and palliative care was significantly and positively correlated with emotional intelligence (r = 0.224, P < .001) and cognitive empathy (r = 0.311, P < .001). Mean score differences of perception of hospice and palliative care by emotional intelligence and cognitive empathy were statistically significant (t = -3.973, P < .001; t = -4.109, P < .001, respectively). Logistic regression yielded an odds ratio of 1.860 (P < .001; 95% confidence interval, 1.283-2.698) between the perception of hospice and palliative care and emotional intelligence and an odds ratio of 2.028 (P < .001; 95% confidence interval, 1.394–2.951) between the perception of hospice and palliative care and cognitive empathy. Emotional intelligence and cognitive empathy should be cultivated to raise nursing students' perception of hospice and palliative care and must be included when developing related curricula and extracurricular programs.
Objectives: Facilitating a high quality of death is an important aspect of comfort care for patients in ICUs. The quality of death in ICUs has been rarely reported in Asian countries. Although Korea is currently in the early stage after the implementation of the “well-dying” law, this seems to have a considerable effect on practice. In this study, we aimed to understand the status of quality of death in Korean ICUs as perceived by medical staff, and to elucidate factors affecting patient quality of death.
Design: A multicenter cross-sectional survey study.
Setting: Medical ICUs of two tertiary-care teaching hospitals and two secondary-care hospitals.
Patients: Deceased patients from June 2016 to May 2017.
Interventions: Relevant medical staff were asked to complete a translated Quality of Dying and Death questionnaire within 48 hours after a patient’s death. A higher Quality of Dying and Death score (ranged from 0 to 100) corresponded to a better quality of death.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 416 completed questionnaires were obtained from 177 medical staff (66 doctors and 111 nurses) of 255 patients. All 20 items of the Quality of Dying and Death received low scores. Quality of death perceived by nurses was better than that perceived by doctors (33.1 ± 18.4 vs 29.7 ± 15.3; p = 0.042). Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using inotropes within 24 hours before death were associated with poorer quality of death, whereas using analgesics was associated with better quality of death.
Conclusions: The quality of death of patients in Korean ICUs was considerably poorer than reported in other countries. Provision of appropriate comfort care, avoidance of unnecessary life-sustaining care, and permission for more frequent visits from patients’ families may correspond to better quality of death in Korean medical ICUs. It is also expected that the new legislation would positively affect the quality of death in Korean ICUs.
CONTEXT: Providing hospice and palliative care (HPC) early in the course of care for patients with life-threatening illness is important for improving patient quality of life. However, little literature exists for factors affecting to the intention to use early palliative care (EPC) of general population.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to identify the sources of information about HPC, investigate whether they affect intention to use HPC and EPC, and examine the relationship between the components of a good death and the intention to use HPC and EPC.
METHODS: A stratified nationwide cross-sectional survey including 1,500 participants, 20 to 74 years old, was conducted to investigate their intentions to use HPC and EPC, available information sources, and perceived components of a good death.
RESULTS: The main sources of information about HPC were television and radio. Information acquired from health professionals was positively associated with the intention to use EPC. While regarding a good relationship with family as a component of a good death was related to low intention to use EPC, being able to trust medical staff, being involved in decisions about care, and being respected as an individual were associated with high intention to use EPC.
CONCLUSION: Information from healthcare providers and public awareness through education and publicity efforts are necessary to inform the public about the benefits of EPC. Furthermore, it is essential that medical staff cultivate the skills necessary to secure public trust and provide care that respects patients until the end of their lives.
Purpose: Life-sustaining treatment (LST) decisions for patients and caregivers at the end-of-life (EOL) process are supported by the “Act on Hospice and Palliative Care and Decisions on LST for Patients at the EOL,” enforced in February 2018. It remains unclear whether the act changes EOL decisions and LST implementation in clinical practice. For this study, we investigated patients’ decision-making regarding LSTs during the EOL process since the act’s enforcement.
Materials and Methods: Retrospective reviews were conducted on adult patients who were able to decide to terminate LST and died at Seoul National University Hospital between February 5, 2018, and February 5, 2019. We examined demographics, who made the decisions, the type and date of documentation confirming patient's LST, and whether the LST was withheld or withdrawn.
Results: Of 809 patients who were enrolled, 29% (n=231) completed forms regarding LST themselves, and 71% (n=578) needed family members to decide. The median time from confirmation of the EOL process to death and from the Advance Statement to death were 2 and 5 days, respectively (both ranges, 0 to 244). In total, 90% (n=727) of patients withheld treatment, and 10% (n=82) withdrew it. We found a higher withdrawal rate when family members made the decisions (13.3% vs. 1.7%, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: After the act’s enforcement, withdrawing LSTs became lawful and self-determination rates increased. Family members still make 71% of decisions regarding LSTs, but these are often inconsistent with the patients’ wishes; thus, further efforts are needed to integrate the new act into clinical practice.
The purpose of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Advance Directive Attitude Survey in Korean (K-ADAS), a measure of attitudes toward advance directives (ADs). A total of 118 low-income, community-dwelling older adults (mean age, 75.09 years) participated. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to determine the factor structure of the K-ADAS. Validity was further assessed by known associations of the K-ADAS with perceived susceptibility and severity using part of the Advance Care Planning surveys. Its reliability was examined by calculating alpha coefficients. EFA determined a three-factor structure model with good model fit. Validity was further supported with significant correlations between the K-ADAS and susceptibility and severity. Reliability was supported by adequate level of Cronbach's alpha. The K-ADAS was a valid and reliable measure for assessment of AD attitudes with a sound model fit. Thus, the K-ADAS can be used to assess AD attitudes among community-dwelling elders.
The increasing number of cancer patients and prolonged periods of illness have led to an increase in nurses' stress and various other problems. This research aimed to identify the stress resulting from caring for cancer patients and the methods for coping with stress among cancer care nurses. The research subjects were 180 clinical nurses caring for cancer patients in a hospital in Korea. Stress caused by excessive workloads, inappropriate compensation, and interpersonal conflicts with physicians was high. There was a difference in stress according to age. Coping strategies differed according to religion, education, occupation, hospice education, job satisfaction, and leisure activities. The higher the stress, the greater the number of coping strategies used. Problem-related coping was associated with more diverse stressors. Stress characteristics differed according to various factors, whereas stress coping strategies depended on the stress characteristics of clinical nurses caring for cancer patients. Future research following a critical approach will be needed to elucidate the compassion fatigue related to the stress strategies of clinical nurses. These findings could contribute to the development of interventions to reduce stress in clinical nurses by providing evidence on the stress and coping methods of nurses who provide palliative care for cancer patients.
Survival estimates are very important to patients with terminal cancer. The C-reactive protein (CRP)/albumin ratio is associated with cancer outcomes. However, few studies have investigated the dose-response association in terminal cancer patients. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the association between the CRP/albumin ratio and mortality in terminal cancer patients using a longitudinal analysis. We retrospectively investigated the electronic medical records of 435 inpatients with terminal cancer admitted to the palliative care unit of Yeouido St. Mary's Hospital between October 8, 2015, and January 17, 2018. In total, 382 patients with terminal cancer were enrolled in the study. The serum CRP/albumin ratio measured at admission had a linear dose-response relationship with the risk of death among the terminal cancer patients (P for linearity = .011). The multivariate analyses showed that the CRP/albumin ratio was an independent prognostic factor (Model 1, CRP/albumin ratio >48.53 × 10-4: HR = 2.68, 95% CI = 1.82–3.93; Model 2, tertile 2: HR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.31–2.82 and tertile 3: HR = 3.66, 95% CI = 2.24–5.97). The relationship between a high CRP/albumin ratio and poor survival was a flat L-shape for survival time with an inflection point at approximately 15 days, while the relationship was not significant in terminal cancer patients who survived beyond 30 days. This study demonstrated that high CRP/albumin ratios are significantly and independently associated with the short-term survival prognosis of terminal cancer patients within 30 days.
Aim: Volunteers play a key role in hospice and palliative service. This study was performed to investigate the motivations of Korean hospice volunteers and to identify the predictors that affect their service period.
Materials and Methods: The accomplished questionnaire sheets of 93 subjects were included in the analysis. Inventory of Motivations for Hospice Palliative Care Volunteerism to measure the motivations of the hospice volunteers was used. The collected data were subjected to a statistical analysis of the mean and standard deviation, a t-test, and multinomial logistic regression analysis.
Results: The motivation score of the hospice volunteers in South Korea is 75.57 ± 10.97, and the top three in the motivation list were altruism, civic responsibility, and self-promotion. Among the subdomains, altruism, 1-4-year working experience (B = 0.79, standard error (SE) = 0.26, P = 0.002, Exp (B) =0.45), and more than 10-year working experience (B = 1.00, SE = 0.30, P = 0.001, Exp (B) =0.36) had statistically significant influences.
Conclusions: The finding of this study can be used as basic information for the recruitment and management of hospice volunteers in South Korea.
Background: Polypharmacy is an important issue in the care of older patients with cancer, as it increases the risk of unfavorable outcomes. We estimated the prevalence of polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, and drug–drug interactions (DDIs) in older patients with cancer in Korea and their associations with clinical outcomes.
Subjects, Materials, and Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective observational study of geriatric patients with cancer undergoing first-line palliative chemotherapy. Eligible patients were older adults (=70 years) with histologically diagnosed solid cancer who were candidates for first-line palliative chemotherapy. All patients enrolled in this study received a geriatric assessment (GA) at baseline. We reviewed the daily medications taken by patients at the time of GA before starting chemotherapy. PIMs were assessed according to the 2015 Beers criteria, and DDIs were assessed by a clinical pharmacist using Lexi-comp Drug Interactions. We evaluated the association between polypharmacy and clinical outcomes including treatment-related toxicity, and hospitalization using logistic regression and Cox regression analyses.
Results: In total, 301 patients (median age 75 years; range, 70–93) were enrolled; the most common cancer types were colorectal cancer (28.9%) and lung cancer (24.6%). Mean number of daily medications was 4.7 (±3.1; range, 0–14). The prevalence of polypharmacy (=5 medications) was 45.2% and that of excessive polypharmacy (=10 medications) was 8.6%. PIM use was detected in 137 (45.5%) patients. Clinically significant DDIs were detected in 92 (30.6%) patients. Polypharmacy was significantly associated with hospitalization or emergency room (ER) visits (odds ratio: 1.73 [1.18–2.55], p < .01). Neither polypharmacy nor PIM use showed association with treatment-related toxicity.
Conclusion: Polypharmacy, PIM use, and potential major DDIs were prevalent in Korean geriatric patients with cancer. Polypharmacy was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization or ER visits during the chemotherapy period.
Implications for Practice: This study, which included 301 older Korean patients with cancer, highlights the increased prevalence of polypharmacy in this population planning to receive palliative chemotherapy. The prevalence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy was 45.2% and 8.6%, respectively. The prescription of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) was detected in 45.5% and clinically significant drug–drug interaction in 30.6% of patients. Given the association of polypharmacy with increased hospitalization or emergency room visits, this study points to the need for increased awareness and intervention to minimize polypharmacy in the geriatric cancer population undergoing chemotherapy. Moreover, specific criteria for establishing PIMs should be adopted for the treatment of older adults with cancer.
Paediatric palliative care (PPC) is regarded as standard care for children and young people (CYP) with life-limiting conditions (LLCs). There is a lack of knowledge about the rate of CYP with LLCs, hampering the development of PPC. This retrospective study aimed to examine population-based statistics of South Korean CYP with LLCs and the pattern of healthcare use and costs in their last year of life, analysing the National Health Insurance Service claims database for the period 2013–2015. In 2015, the number of CYP (=24 years old) living with LLCs was 133,177, with those who died accounting for 1,032. Prevalence of LLC and mortality rate per 100,000 were highest among under-1-age group (2,151.7 and 82.7, respectively). In the last year of life, 91.8% of deceased CYP with LLCs were hospitalized at least once and the average length of stay was 101.2 days (standard deviation = 104.1). Deceased CYP with cancer spent more on healthcare than non-cancer CYP (64,266 vs. 40,694 US dollar, p < 0.001). The average relevance index for CYP death related to LLCs was 55.9%. Our results provide baseline information on healthcare utilization and expenditure among CYP with LLCs, which is crucial data for designing evidence-based PPC policy and services.
AIM: The awareness for the need for end-of-life care has increased among noncancer patients. However, studies on the topic have rarely targeted the needs of noncancer patients who want to die at home. This study assessed the end-of-life care needs of noncancer patients who were receiving care and wanted to die at home.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study design was used and involved 200 participants who were diagnosed as noncancer patients and receiving home care nursing. Data were collected on demographics, disease, Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) scores, and end-of-life care needs, in April and May, 2016.
RESULTS: Among the six areas of care, "supporting fundamental needs" of patients required the most care, followed by "coordination among family or relatives." Multivariate analysis revealed that the duration of home care nursing held a significant association with end-of-life care needs.
CONCLUSION: By reflecting on the comprehensive care needs of patients with chronic illnesses and including them in the care process, it will be possible to provide better quality palliative care to patients at home in the end-of-life stages.
Despite the alarming suicide rate among South Korean emerging adults, relatively little is known about their unfettered perspectives on death and suicide. Therefore, an innovative data collection technique was developed to apprehend the meanings that emerging adults attribute to death and suicide in their explorations of the phenomena through a selection of short stories. A convenience sample (N = 114) responded to a survey in which participants transferred their feelings toward death and suicide to characters or events in the short stories. A qualitative content analysis revealed relatively permissive perspectives toward death and suicide. Negative perspectives on death are associated with societal victimization and positive perspectives with naturalistic fatalism. Positive perspectives on suicide are overwhelmingly rooted in existential, individual choices while negative perspectives focus on societal pressures. These perspectives contribute to illuminating tensions between traditionalist collectivism and contemporary individualism in Korean society that could inform suicide prevention initiatives for emerging adults.
Background: To identify the necessary care for dying patients in intensive care units (ICUs), we designed a retrospective study to evaluate the quality of dying and death (QODD) experienced by the surrogates of patients with medical illness who died in the ICU of a tertiary referral hospital.
Methods: To achieve our objective, the authors compared the QODD scores as appraised by the relatives of patients who died of cancer under hospice care with those who died in the ICU. For this study, a Korean version of the QODD questionnaire was developed, and individual interviews were also conducted.
Results: Sixteen people from the intensive care group and 23 people from the hospice care group participated in the survey and completed the questionnaire. The family members of patients who died in the ICU declined participation at a high rate (50%), with the primary reason being to avoid bringing back painful memories (14 people, 87.5%). The relatives of the intensive care group obtained an average total score on the 17-item QODD questionnaire, which was significantly lower than that of the relatives of the hospice group (48.7±15.5 vs. 60.3±14.8, P=0.03).
Conclusions: This work implies that there are unmet needs for the care of dying patients and for the QODD in tertiary hospital ICUs. This result suggests that shared decision making for advance care planning should be encouraged and that education on caring for dying patients should be provided to healthcare professionals to improve the QODD in Korean ICUs.
Background: Access to consultation or referral for decisions about advance care planning (ACP) is limited, particularly for nonmalignant models pertinent to palliative care in heart failure (HF).
Objectives: The aim of this study was to solicit professional opinions about the feasibility of using an exemplary context-oriented communication algorithm for ACP discussions.
Methods: Using a panel of expert physicians and nurses in cardiovascular care, a 3-round Delphi study was conducted to evaluate the proposed model.
Results: A consensus was determined based on a content validity ratio (CVR) of 0.318 or greater, a critical value for selection of an item scored as important (=4 on a 5-point Likert scale). A total of 50, 44, and 38 experts in Korea completed each round, respectively. Item evaluation did not differ across rounds (Friedman 2 > P = .05), except for timing of the ACP discussion. A lack of consensus was observed on the issue of after HF diagnosis for right timing of the ACP discussion across rounds (CVRs from -0.80 to -0.83); consensus was reached on the expectation of a terminal state (CVRs from 0.60 to 0.78). Content validity ratios were moderately high for Korean advance directive, ranging from 0.59 to 0.91. Experts also reached consensus about each of 5 steps of a communication model—patients’ determination of decisional capacity (CVR, 0.72–1.0), awareness (CVR, 0.95–1.0), willingness for advance care planning (CVR, 0.76–0.84), family dynamics (CVR, 0.92–1.0) and patient readiness for advance care planning (CVR, 0.76–0.95).
Conclusions: A context-oriented communication model could be used to facilitate the decision-making process for palliative care and continuity of care in HF.
BACKGROUND: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses in Korea often experience challenges in providing care for dying infants and their families. However, there is limited understanding about what contributes to the challenges related to end-of-life care.
PURPOSE: To describe NICU nurses' perceived roles and challenges faced while providing end-of-life care in South Korea.
METHODS: A qualitative descriptive study was conducted with 20 NICU nurses in South Korea using semi-structured interviews. Participants were recruited from two NICUs in Seoul, where infant mortality is the highest in South Korea. Transcribed interviews were coded by two research personnel, and subsequently, a developed coding book was translated by three research personnel. The codes developed were categorized and peer-reviewed to develop themes using conventional content analysis.
RESULTS: Nurses' roles during end-of-life care were grouped into four categories: providing information and support, enhancing attachment between the parents and infants, providing direct care to the infant, and completing documentation. Nurses' perceived challenges during end-of-life care included providing end-of-life care without adequate experience and knowledge, environmental constraints on end-of-life care, and conflicted situations during end-of-life care.
CONCLUSION: Although the nurses provided the best care they could, their end-of-life care practice was hindered for various reasons. To enhance NICU nurses' ability to provide and make them more capable of providing high quality EOL care, hospitals need to support nurse education and improve staffing level, and create in NICUs an environment that is favorable for providing EOL care.
BACKGROUND: "End of life" is a difficult topic of conversation in East Asian cultures, even among patients and doctors who share a good rapport. In 2016, the Hospice, Palliative Care, and Life-Sustaining Treatment Decision-Making Act, which took the form of "Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment," was introduced in South Korea. This study was conducted to investigate the completion rate of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment in patients with advanced cancer on the active recommendation of physicians, as well as patients' general attitudes toward end-of-life care.
METHODS: We conducted a preliminary, cross-sectional descriptive survey on patients with advanced cancer. A total of 101 patients with advanced solid cancer agreed to participate in the study. The primary endpoint was the rate of completion of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment based on a doctor's suggestion. Written interviews were conducted to understand the perceptions and factors influencing patients' decisions.
RESULTS: Of the 101 patients, 72 (71.3%) agreed to prepare Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. Patients who had an educational level of high school or higher were more likely to agree to complete Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment documentation as compared to the lower educational status group. More than half of the respondents who completed Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment documentation reported that they had more than a fair understanding of "life-sustaining care" or "Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment." Participants' reasons for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment completion were diverse.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that highly educated patients, who understood the concept behind the policy well, tended to accept Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment without hesitation. Better education, information shared through the media, and conversations with health care providers might improve understanding of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment in patients with cancer.
Background: Despite advances in medical technology, resources for pediatric palliative care (PPC) for children with serious illnesses are limited in South Korea. Physicians' awareness of and willingness to provide general palliative care and refer to specialized palliative care are key elements for providing PPC.
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore physicians' perceptions of PPC and the differences therein between nononcologists and oncologists.
Design: A nationwide survey was conducted among physicians caring for children in 45 tertiary hospitals in South Korea.
Measurements: A questionnaire was developed to identify the confidence in and need for PPC, appropriate timing for PPC referrals, and perceived barriers to PPC.
Results: Overall, 141 physicians responded (response rate: 10.4%). Physicians' confidence in PPC was low, although most reported a high need for PPC. Lack of workforce and facilities specialized in PPC (60.2%) and patients' or caregivers' negative recognition (55.9%) were reported as the main barriers to PPC implementation. Specialized PPC services in children's hospitals were preferred as the model of care (84.2%). Compared with nononcologists, oncologists showed higher confidence levels in decision making and communication with patients and families with poor prognosis (p = 0.041) and education and providing end-of-life care (p < 0.001). Furthermore, oncologists preferred earlier referrals than did nononcologists.
Conclusions: To promote PPC provision and improve the quality of life of pediatric patients and their families, it is important to introduce PPC early into disease-modifying treatment at any level of health care. Developing education and training curricula regarding PPC for health care providers caring for children with severe illnesses is crucial.
Background: Prognostication is an essential component of palliative care for patients with advanced cancer but also poses challenges. Little is known about physicians’ perspectives on prognostication and prognostic tools used in palliative care practice in Eastern countries.
Objectives: To explore Korean physicians’ perspectives and experiences with prognostication in their palliative care practices.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Korea in 11 palliative care physicians. A constant comparative and grounded theory approach was used to derive themes from interview transcripts.
Results: Participants on average had 6.4 (SD = 4.5, range 0.5-15) years of hospice and palliative care experience. We identified 4 main themes about prognostication: (1) the importance of prognostication (to help patients and their families prepare for death, to determine the appropriate time of transition to hospice care, to facilitate appropriate decision making, and to facilitate communication with patients and their families); (2) difficulties of prognostication (discomfort estimating the exact date of death); (3) basis of prognostication (clinical prediction of survival as well as prognostic scores); and (4) areas for further research (need for a simpler scoring system or parameters to predict survival with greater certainty).
Conclusion: Palliative care physicians in Korea reported similar perceptions about the role and challenges inherent in prognostication compared to clinicians in Western cultures. However, they emphasize the need to predict final days to keep families with dying patients, reflecting family-centered aspects of Asian culture. They reported frustrations with inaccurate prognostication schemas and called for the development of simpler, more accurate predictors as a focus of future research.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the characteristics of posttraumatic growth arising from losing an immediate family member to suicide in Korea. We used interpretative phenomenological analysis for data collection and analysis and conducted in-depth interviews with 11 participants in Korea to evaluate the positive changes subsequent to the suicide. Participants revealed positive outcomes in response to losing an immediate family member to suicide after suffering the “most unimaginable pain” including (a) “Now I know what the most important thing in life is,” (b) “Warm and intimate relationships matter,” and (c) “Survivors of suicide’s search for meaning.” The implications of these findings and avenues for future research are discussed.