Knowledge, beliefs, and concerns about opioids, palliative care, and homecare of advanced cancer patients: A nationwide survey in Japan

Miki Akiyama, Toru Takebayashi, Tatsuya Morita, Mitsunori Miyashita, Kei Hirai, Motohiro Matoba, Nobuya Akizuki, Yutaka Shirahige, Akemi Yamagishi, Kenji Eguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose Patients' knowledge, beliefs, or concerns about opioids, palliative care, and homecare can be potential barriers to providing quality palliative care. The primary aim of this study was to clarify knowledge about opioids, beliefs about palliative care, and concerns about homecare in advanced cancer patients. Methods An anonymous questionnaire was sent to 1,619 outpatients with advanced cancer at 25 hospitals in four different regions of Japan. The respondents were asked to report their knowledge about opioids, beliefs about palliative care, and concerns about homecare, in addition to the levels of their sense of security regarding receiving cancer care in the region. Results A total of 925 responses were received. In total, 28% believed that opioids are addictive and/or shorten life; 52% believed that palliative care is only for terminally ill patients; 75% agreed that being taken care of at home puts a heavy burden on the family; and 61% agreed that homevisit services cannot respond to sudden changes in a patient's condition. Levels of patients' sense of security were significantly higher in those who agreed that "opioids can relieve most pain caused by cancer" "palliative care relieves pain and distress", "palliative care is provided along with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy", and "pain can be alleviated as effectively through home-visit services as it can at the hospital", and those who disagreed with the statements that "home-visit services cannot respond to sudden changes in a patient's condition" and "being taken care of at home puts a burden on the family". Conclusions Advanced cancer patients frequently had incorrect knowledge about opioids, a belief that palliative care is only for terminally ill patients, and concerns about homecare, especially the family burden and responses to sudden changes. Providing appropriate information about the safety of opioids, the availability of palliative care during the entire course of the disease, and realistic information about homecare is of marked importance to promote patients' sense of security.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-931
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Homecare
  • Knowledge
  • Opioids
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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