Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2018 Dec;21(4):137-143. 10.14475/kjhpc.2018.21.4.137.

The Characteristics of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients in Hospice and Palliative Care according to Family Composition

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Family Medicine, St. Paul Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. hw97med@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Biostatistics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE
The purpose of this study was to investigate the family composition of terminally ill cancer patients admitted to the hospice unit and how it affects their hospice care.
METHODS
We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of terminal cancer patients who died in one hospice unit between January 2009 and March 2014. The demographic and clinical characteristics of the patients were examined, and any different made by their marital status was evaluated. We calculated the time interval between cancer diagnosis and hospice admission and the survival period from hospice admission to death and analyzed their association with family composition.
RESULTS
When divided by the median time of 13 months between diagnosis and admission, Group B (>13 months) had a significantly higher proportion of patients living with their spouses; (P < 0.01). The main decision maker was a spouse (52.9%) in Group B; (P=0.04).
CONCLUSION
Among the characteristics of the family composition, the presence of spouse was an important factor associated with admission to a hospice unit. Clinicians need to be aware of the impact of marital status on end-of-life care. This study indicates that it is helpful to understand family composition of terminally-ill cancer patients for an effective palliative and hospice care.

Keyword

Family; Spouses; Terminally ill; Hospices

MeSH Terms

Diagnosis
Hospice Care
Hospices*
Humans
Marital Status
Medical Records
Palliative Care*
Retrospective Studies
Spouses
Terminally Ill*
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