Factors contributing to evaluation of a good death from the bereaved family member's perspective

Mitsunori Miyashita, Tatsuya Morita, Kazuki Sato, Kei Hirai, Yasuo Shima, Yosuke Uchitomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although it is important to achieve a good death in Japan, there have been no studies to explore factors associated with a good death. The aim of this study was to explore factors contributing to a good death from the bereaved family members' perspectives, including patient and family demographics and medical variables. Methods: A cross-sectional anonymous questionnaire survey for bereaved family members of cancer patients who had died in a regional cancer center and a medical chart review were conducted. We measured the results from the Good Death Inventory and family demographics. In addition, we extracted patient demographics, medical variables, and medical interventions in the last 48 h before death from a medical chart review. Results: Of the 344 questionnaires sent to bereaved family members, 165 responses were analyzed (48%). We found, first, that death in the palliative care unit was more likely to be described as a good death compared with death on a general ward. Some significant characteristics were 'environmental comfort,' 'physical and psychological comfort,' 'being respected as an individual,' and 'natural death.' Second, we found that a patient's and family member's age and other demographic factors significantly correlated with an evaluation of a good death. In addition, life prolongation treatment and aggressive treatment such as chemotherapy in the last 2 weeks of life were barriers to attainment of a good death. Moreover, appropriate opioid medication contributed to a good death. Conclusion: Withholding aggressive treatment and life-prolonging treatment for dying patients and appropriate opioid use may be associated with achievement of a good death in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-620
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • End-of-life care
  • Good death
  • Hospice
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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