Physicians’ decreased tendency to choose palliative care for patients with advanced dementia between 1999 and 2015

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkeliScientificvertaisarvioitu

2 Lataukset (Pure)


Background: Physicians’ decision-making for seriously ill patients with advanced dementia is of high importance, especially as the prevalence of dementia is rising rapidly, and includes many challenging ethical, medical and juridical aspects. We assessed the change in this decision-making over 16 years (from 1999 to 2015) and several background factors influencing physicians’ decision. Methods: A postal survey including a hypothetical patient-scenario representing a patient with an advanced dementia and a life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding was sent to 1182 and 1258 Finnish physicians in 1999 and 2015, respectively. The target groups were general practitioners (GPs), surgeons, internists and oncologists. The respondents were asked to choose between several life-prolonging and palliative care approaches. The influence of physicians’ background factors and attitudes on their decision were assessed. Results: The response rate was 56%. A palliative care approach was chosen by 57 and 50% of the physicians in 1999 and 2015, respectively (p = 0.01). This change was statistically significant among GPs (50 vs 40%, p = 0.018) and oncologists (77 vs 56%, p = 0.011). GPs chose a palliative care approach less often than other responders in both years (50 vs. 63% in 1999 and 40 vs. 56% in 2015, p < 0.001). In logistic regression analysis, responding in 2015 and being a GP remained explanatory factors for a lower tendency to choose palliative care. The impact of family’s benefit on the decision-making decreased, whereas the influence of the patient’s benefit and ethical values as well as the patient’s or physician’s legal protection increased from 1999 to 2015. Conclusions: Physicians chose a palliative care approach for a patient with advanced dementia and life-threatening bleeding less often in 2015 than in 1999. Specialty, attitudes and other background factors influenced significantly physician decision-making. Education on the identification and palliative care of the patients with late-stage dementia are needed to make these decisions more consistent.

JulkaisuBmc Palliative Care
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - heinäk. 2021
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä


  • Jufo-taso 1

!!ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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