Good Quality Care for Cancer Patients Dying in Hospitals, but Information Needs Unmet: Bereaved Relatives’ Survey within Seven Countries
Keywords: 
Materias Investigacion::Ciencias de la Salud::Oncología
Terminal care
Palliative care
Survey and questionnaire
Proxy
Bereaved relatives
Quality of health care
Issue Date: 
2021
Publisher: 
Wiley Periodicals LLC
Note: 
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
Citation: 
Haugen, D.F. (Dagny Faksvåg); Hufthammer, K.O. (Karl Ove); Gerlach, C. (Christina); et al. "Good Quality Care for Cancer Patients Dying in Hospitals, but Information Needs Unmet: Bereaved Relatives’ Survey within Seven Countries". The Oncologist. 26, 2021, e1273 - e1284
Abstract
Background. Recognized disparities in quality of end-of-life care exist. Our aim was to assess the quality of care for patients dying from cancer, as perceived by bereaved relatives, within hospitals in seven European and South American countries. Materials and Methods. A postbereavement survey was conducted by post, interview, or via tablet in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, U.K., Germany, Norway, and Poland. Next of kin to cancer patients were asked to complete the inter- national version of the Care Of the Dying Evaluation (i- CODE) questionnaire 6–8 weeks postbereavement. Pri- mary outcomes were (a) how frequently the deceased patient was treated with dignity and respect, and (b) how well the family member was supported in the patient’s last days of life. Results. Of 1,683 potential participants, 914 i-CODE questionnaires were completed (response rate, 54%). Approximately 94% reported the doctors treated their fam- ily member with dignity and respect “always” or “most of the time”; similar responses were given about nursing staff (94%). Additionally, 89% of participants reported they were adequately supported; this was more likely if the patient died on a specialist palliative care unit (odds ratio, 6.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.3–17.8). Although 87% of participants were told their relative was likely to die, only 63% were informed about what to expect during the dying phase. Conclusion. This is the first study assessing quality of care for dying cancer patients from the bereaved relatives’ perspective across several countries on two continents. Our findings suggest many elements of good care were practiced but improvement in communication with relatives of imminently dying patients is needed. (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03566732).

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