Knowledge and Awareness of End-of-life Care among Doctors Working in Intensive Care Units at a Tertiary Care Center: A Questionnaire-based Study
Kritika Agrawal, Rakesh Garg, Sushma Bhatnagar
Awareness, Critical care unit, Doctors, End-of-life care, Intensivist, Knowledge, Palliative care
Citation Information :
Agrawal K, Garg R, Bhatnagar S. Knowledge and Awareness of End-of-life Care among Doctors Working in Intensive Care Units at a Tertiary Care Center: A Questionnaire-based Study. Indian J Crit Care Med 2019; 23 (12):568-573.
Introduction: End-of-life care (EOLC) is an increasingly important concern in the management of terminally ill patients. Effective EOLC depends significantly on the physicians working in the critical care units. Thus, adequate knowledge of critical care professionals regarding EOLC is important. We conducted this study to evaluate the awareness and knowledge of doctors working in critical care units toward EOLC.
Materials and methods: Doctors working in critical care units were invited to fill paper-based questionnaire. The validated questionnaire was constructed based on the existing literature on EOLC and expert opinion. The questionnaire comprised four sections: demographic details, experience with EOLC situations, general awareness of EOLC, and specific awareness of EOLC in clinical practice. The collected data were analyzed by descriptive analysis.
Results: Most respondents had not counseled more than five families regarding EOLC over 1 month. Majority of the respondents (81.7%) had heard of EOLC; the major source of information being their work in the concerned specialty. Only 29.2% of the respondents applied EOLC principles in their clinical practice. Main barriers were lack of information and training. Only 20.3% of the respondents were aware of Indian guidelines about EOLC. Majority of the respondents disagree regarding the usage of critical care units and resuscitation of terminally ill patients and were in favor of home care. One-third respondents felt uncomfortable in discussing EOLC issues with the families. Half of the respondents felt that they were only somewhat competent in managing EOLC issues. Most respondents opined that training and education in medical curriculum for terminally ill patients are lacking and were in strong favor of inclusion of specific training for the same.
Conclusion: The EOLC needs to be an integral part of critical care management and teaching curriculum. An integral referral system may also be an option for various advance disease patients getting treatment from critical care specialists for EOLC decision.
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