Context. Many surveys have evaluated patient-related barriers to pain management.
Objectives. To explore associations between a preference for opioids and general attitudes toward drugs, the experience and information received as a bereaved family, and beliefs regarding a good death.
Methods. A cross-sectional survey, performed in 2010, of bereaved families of patients with cancer in palliative care units across Japan. Questionnaires were sent to 997 families.
Results. A total of 66% of families responded. Of these, 224 responses were excluded because the family declined to participate in the study (n = 38), the patient was not receiving any opioid analgesics, and there were missing data (n = 164), or data were missing for the primary end points (n = 22). Thus, 432 responses were finally analyzed (43%). In total, 26%, 41%, and 31% of family members stated that they strongly want to receive, want to receive, or slightly want to receive opioids if needed in the future, respectively. Determinants associated with a preference for receiving opioid treatment were the following: a general appreciation of the drugs (P = 0.005), witnessing an improvement in the patient's quality of life as a result of pain relief (P = 0.003), information provided by medical professionals that the opioid could be discontinued if side effects developed (P = 0.042), and the belief that a good death was one that was free from pain and physical distress (P < 0.001).
Conclusion. More than 90% of bereaved families whose relatives were treated with opioid analgesics reported a preference to receive opioid analgesics for the treatment of cancer pain, if necessary, in the future.
- bereaved family
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine