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Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 3479–3488 | Cite as

Priorities of a “good death” according to cancer patients, their family caregivers, physicians, and the general population: a nationwide survey

  • Young Ho YunEmail author
  • Kyoung-Nam Kim
  • Jin-Ah Sim
  • EunKyo Kang
  • Jihye Lee
  • Jiyeon Choo
  • Shin Hye Yoo
  • Miso Kim
  • Young Ae Kim
  • Beo Deul Kang
  • Hyun-Jeong Shim
  • Eun-Kee Song
  • Jung Hun Kang
  • Jung Hye Kwon
  • Jung Lim Lee
  • Soon Nam Lee
  • Chi Hoon Maeng
  • Eun Joo Kang
  • Young Rok Do
  • Yoon Seok Choi
  • Kyung Hae Jung
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding the concept of a “good death” is crucial to end-of-life care, but our current understanding of what constitutes a good death is insufficient. Here, we investigated the components of a good death that are important to the general population, cancer patients, their families, and physicians.

Methods

We conducted a stratified nationwide cross-sectional survey of cancer patients and their families from 12 hospitals, physicians from 12 hospitals and the Korean Medical Association, and the general population, investigating their attitudes toward 10 good-death components.

Findings

Three components—“not be a burden to the family,” “presence of family,” and “resolve unfinished business”—were considered the most important components by more than 2/3 of each of the three groups, and an additional three components—“freedom from pain,” “feel that life was meaningful,” and “at peace with God”—were considered important by all but the physicians group. Physicians considered “feel life was meaningful,” “presence of family,” and “not be a burden to family” as the core components of a good death, with “freedom from pain” as an additional component. “Treatment choices’ followed, “finances in order,” “mentally aware,” and “die at home” were found to be the least important components among all four groups.

Conclusion

While families strongly agreed that “presence of family” and “not be a burden to family” were important to a good death, the importance of other factors differed between the groups. Health care providers should attempt to discern each patient’s view of a good death.

Keywords

Good death Attitudes toward death End-of-life Cancer 

Notes

Funding

This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant number: HC15C1391) and Seokchun Daewoong Foundation (grant number: 80020160249). The funding agreement ensured the authors’ independence in designing the study, interpreting the data, writing, and publishing the report.

Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures in this study were performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or with comparable ethical standards. All participants provided written informed consent except for the general population, and the study was approved by the institutional review board of each hospital (IRB number: E-1612-102-815).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Young Ho Yun
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Kyoung-Nam Kim
    • 4
  • Jin-Ah Sim
    • 1
  • EunKyo Kang
    • 2
  • Jihye Lee
    • 3
  • Jiyeon Choo
    • 1
  • Shin Hye Yoo
    • 5
  • Miso Kim
    • 5
  • Young Ae Kim
    • 6
  • Beo Deul Kang
    • 7
  • Hyun-Jeong Shim
    • 8
  • Eun-Kee Song
    • 9
  • Jung Hun Kang
    • 10
  • Jung Hye Kwon
    • 11
  • Jung Lim Lee
    • 12
  • Soon Nam Lee
    • 13
  • Chi Hoon Maeng
    • 14
  • Eun Joo Kang
    • 15
  • Young Rok Do
    • 16
  • Yoon Seok Choi
    • 17
  • Kyung Hae Jung
    • 18
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical ScienceSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical InformaticsSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Public Health Medical ServiceSeoul National University HospitalSeoulSouth Korea
  5. 5.Department of Internal MedicineSeoul National University HospitalSeoulSouth Korea
  6. 6.National Cancer Control InstituteNational Cancer CenterGoyangSouth Korea
  7. 7.Department of Internal MedicineSeoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of MedicineSeongnamSouth Korea
  8. 8.Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Internal MedicineChonnam National University School of MedicineHwasunSouth Korea
  9. 9.Division of Hematology/OncologyChonbuk National University Medical SchoolJeonjuSouth Korea
  10. 10.Department of Internal Medicine, Postgraduate Medical SchoolGyeongsang National UniversityJinjuSouth Korea
  11. 11.Department of Internal Medicine, Kangdong Sacred Heart HospitalHallym University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  12. 12.Department of Hemato-oncologyDaegu Fatima HospitalDaeguSouth Korea
  13. 13.Department of Internal MedicineEwha Womans University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  14. 14.Department of Medical Oncology and HematologyKyung Hee University HospitalSeoulSouth Korea
  15. 15.Department of Internal MedicineKorea University Guro HospitalSeoulSouth Korea
  16. 16.Department of Internal Medicine, Dongsan Medical CenterKeimyung University School of MedicineDaeguSouth Korea
  17. 17.Department of Internal MedicineChungnam National University HospitalDaejeonSouth Korea
  18. 18.Department of Oncology, Asan Medical CenterUniversity of Ulsan College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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