Talking about home hospices with terminally III cancer patients-a multicenter survey of bereaved families

Akemi Yamagishi, Tatsuya Morita, Shohei Kawagoe, Megumi Shimizu, Taketoshi Ozawa, Emi An, Makoto Kobayakawa, Satoru Tsuneto, Yasuo Shima, Mitsunori Miyashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Communicating with patients is clearly an integral part of physicians' practice, and introducing home hospice care is sometimes a difficult task for oncologists. The primary aims of this study were to clarify family-reported degree of emotional distress and the necessity for improvement in communication when introducing home hospice care, and to identify factors contributing to distress levels. Methods: A multicenter questionnaire survey was conducted involving 1,052 family members of cancer patients who died at home at 15 home-based hospice services throughout Japan. Results: A total of 616 responses were analyzed (effective response rate of 60%). Fifty-nine percent of the bereaved family members reported that they were distressed or very distressed in receiving information about home hospice care, and 30% reported considerable or much improvement was necessary. There were 6 determinants of family-reported degree of emotional distress and the necessity for improvement : 1 ) Family distress was experienced when the physician stated that the disease progression defeated medicine and nothing could be done for the patient. 2 ) The physicians' explanation did not match with the state of family preparation. 3) There was no intimacy between hospital physician and home physician. 4) Physicians did not make the atmosphere relaxing enough to allow families to ask questions. 5 ) Nurses did not follow up to generate additional ideas to supplement the physician's statement. 6 ) Family members experienced pressure to make a rash decision. Conclusion : In receiving information about transition of home care, a considerable number of families experienced high levels of emotional distress and felt a need for improvement in the communication style. This study proposes 6 strategies to alleviate family distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
JournalJapanese Journal of Cancer and Chemotherapy
Volume42
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Home palliative care
  • Transition of home care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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