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End-of-life care in Italian hospitals: quality of and satisfaction with care from the caregivers' point of view--results from the Italian Survey of the Dying of Cancer



End-of-life care in Italian hospitals: quality of and satisfaction with care from the caregivers' point of view--results from the Italian Survey of the Dying of Cancer



Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 39(6): 1003-1015



A number of studies have highlighted the poor quality of end-of-life (EOL) care provided in hospital settings, leading to a reduction in the quality of EOL care and increase in patient and caregiver dissatisfaction levels. The aims of this study were the evaluation of the prevalence of major symptoms, treatment, outcomes, information, and care provided to dying cancer patients in Italian hospitals; and an analysis of clinical and socio-demographic factors associated with caregiver satisfaction with the health care provided. This is a mortality follow-back survey of 2,000 cancer deaths representative of the country. Caregivers were interviewed about patients' experiences by using a tailored version of the View of Informal Carers-Evaluation of Services questionnaire. Valid interviews were obtained for 84% (n=364) of the cancer patients who died in hospital. Most Italian cancer patients dying in hospital suffered from a number of untreated or poorly treated symptoms, and only a few reported an acceptable control over physical suffering. Moreover, only two-thirds of patients and one-third of caregivers received basic information on therapies and care. About one-third of the caregivers expressed dissatisfaction with the health care received. The probability of being satisfied was more likely for caregivers of patients living in the north of Italy; caregivers of patients who had not experienced or were only slightly distressed by fatigue; and caregivers who were generally satisfied with hospital facilities and when the health care professionals had provided appropriate information to both patients and caregivers. This study revealed poor quality of EOL care in Italian hospitals, with almost one-third of the caregivers expressing their clear dissatisfaction. A national policy is, therefore, urgently called for to improve the quality of EOL care in Italian hospitals.

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Accession: 052957453

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PMID: 20538184

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.11.317


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