Nephrologists' Perspectives on Decision Making About Life-Sustaining Treatment and Palliative Care at End of Life: A Questionnaire Survey in Korea
- Hong, Yu Ah; Chung, Sungjin; Park, Woo Yeong; Bae, Eun Jin; Yang, Jae Won; Shin, Dong Ho; Kim, Sang Wook; Shin, Sung Joon
- Issue Date
- MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC
- dialysis; end of life; palliative care; withdrawal; withhold
- JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE, v.24, no.4, pp.527 - 535
- Journal Title
- JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE
- Start Page
- End Page
- Background:Nephrologists commonly engage in decision making regarding the withholding or withdrawal of dialysis and palliative care in patients at end of life (EoL). However, these issues remain an unsolved dilemma for nephrologists. Objective:To explore nephrologists' perceptions on the decision-making process about withholding or withdrawing dialysis and palliative care in Korea. Design:A nationwide 25-item questionnaire online survey via e-mail. Setting/Subjects:A total of 369 Korean nephrologists completed the survey. Results:The proportions of respondents who stated that withholding or withdrawing dialysis at EoL is ethically appropriate were 87.3% and 86.2%, respectively. A total of 72.4% respondents thought that withdrawal of dialysis in a maintenance dialysis patient is ethically appropriate. Responses regarding patient features that should be considered to withhold or withdraw dialysis were as follows: dialysis intolerance (84.3%), poor performance status (74.8%), patient's active request (47.2%), age (28.7%), very severe dementia (27.1%), and several comorbidities (16.5%). Among those nephrologists who responded to the question about the minimum age, at which dialysis should be withheld or withdrawn, most specified an age between 80 and 90 years (94.3%). Fifty-eight percent of respondents stated that terminally ill dialysis patients should be allowed to use palliative care facilities. In addition, a number of nephrologists thought that adequate palliative care facilities, specific treatment guidelines, enough time to manage patients, financial support, and adequate medical experts are necessary. Conclusions:Korean nephrologists thought that withholding or withdrawing dialysis at EoL is ethically appropriate, even in maintenance dialysis patients. Therefore, consensus guidelines for palliative care after withholding or withdrawal of dialysis are needed.
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