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

Young Ho Yun, Kyoung Nam Kim, Jin Ah Sim, Eun Kyo 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 ChoiKyung Hae Jung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3479-3488
    Number of pages10
    JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 1


    • Attitudes toward death
    • Cancer
    • End-of-life
    • Good death

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oncology


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