IMPORTANCE: In the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, there are no advance care planning (ACP) protocols being used to document patient preferences for end-of-life (EoL) care. There is a general avoidance of the topic and contemplating ACP in healthcare-limited regions can be an ethically complex subject. Nonetheless, evidence from similar settings indicate that an appropriate quality of life is valued, even as one is dying. What differs amongst cultures is the definition of a 'good death'.
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate perceptions of quality of death and advance EoL preparation in Moshi, Tanzania.
DESIGN: 13 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in Swahili using a semi-structured guide. These discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed, translated, and coded using an inductive approach.
SETTING: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), referral hospital for northern Tanzania.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 122 participants, including patients with life-threatening illnesses (34), their relatives/friends (29), healthcare professionals (29; HCPs; doctors and nurses), and allied HCPs (30; community health workers, religious leaders, and social workers) from KCMC, or nearby within Moshi, participated in this study.
FINDINGS: In characterizing Good Death, 7 first-order themes emerged, and, of these themes, Religious & Spiritual Wellness, Family & Interpersonal Wellness, Grief Coping & Emotional Wellness, and Optimal Timing comprised the second-order theme, EoL Preparation and Life Completion. The other first-order themes for Good Death were Minimal Suffering & Burden, Quality of Care by Formal Caregivers, and Quality of Care by Informal Caregivers.
INTERPRETATION: The results of this study provide a robust thematic description of Good Death in northern Tanzania and they lay the groundwork for future clinical and research endeavors to improve the quality of EoL care at KCMC.