Are cancer patients living alone more or less likely to achieve a good death? Two cross-sectional surveys of bereaved families

Naoko Igarashi, Maho Aoyama, Kento Masukawa, Tatsuya Morita, Yoshiyuki Kizawa, Satoru Tsuneto, Yasuo Shima, Mitsunori Miyashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined differences in sociodemographic characteristics and the achievement of a good death between cancer patients who live alone and those who do not live alone prior to death in different settings. Secondary analysis of data collected across two cross-sectional self-reported questionnaire surveys was undertaken. The participants were bereaved family members of cancer patients who had died in palliative care units (PCUs), acute hospitals or homes. We stratified the data by the place of death and examined the differences in sociodemographic characteristics to determine the relationship between cancer patients achieving a “good death” and whether they were living alone. The data were collected through 15,949 surveys. On the Good Death Inventory, significantly higher total scores emerged for cancer patients who were living alone than for those who not living alone in PCUs (effect size [ES] = 0.11, Student's t-test: p <.0001), but not in acute hospitals (ES = −0.03, p = 0.74) or home care services (ES = 0.02, p = 0.86). Cancer patients who were living alone were more likely to have been female, been older and have earned a lower annual income than those who were not living alone. Thus, among those who had received specialized palliative care, there was no difference in the quality of palliative care between cancer patients who were or were not living alone.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cancer
  • end of life
  • good death
  • living alone
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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