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Knowledge and Attitudes toward Palliative Terminal Cancer Care among Thai Generalists

  • Budkaew, Jiratha (Family Physician, Department of Social Medicine, Khon Kaen Center Hospital) ;
  • Chumworathayi, Bandit (Gynecologic Oncologist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University)
  • Published : 2013.10.30

Abstract

Background: Our objective was to determine the knowledge and attitudes of Thai generalists (general physicians) toward palliative terminal cancer care (PC) in a primary care setting. Materials and Methods: We performed a cross-sectional descriptive survey using a self-administered questionnaire. The total number of completed and returned questionnaires was 63, giving a 56% response rate. Data analysis was based on these (Cronbach's alpha=0.82) and percentages and mean values were assessed using the Fisher's exact test to determine the correlation of variables. Results: Overall, attitude and knowledge levels were slightly satisfactory. Results indicated that general physicians had moderate scores in both attitudes (84.1%) and knowledge (55.7%) regarding palliative terminal cancer care. However, they had insufficient knowledge regarding truth telling, pain control and management with morphine, emergency management in terminal cancer care and treatment of fluid intake in terminal stages. Attitude and knowledge scores were statistically correlated (p=0.036). Knowledge scores were further positively associated with being taught palliative care in their medical curriculum (p=0.042). Conclusions: Formal education in palliative care and development of palliative care services are very much needed in Thailand to provide holistic care to terminally ill patients.

Keywords

Palliative care;generalist;general physicians;knowledge;attitudes

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