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Oncology social workers’ attitudes toward hospice care and referral behavior

Publication year
2004
Author(s)
Becker, J. E.
Pages
36-45
Volume
29
Number
1

Members of the Association of Oncology Social Workers completed a survey, which included the Hospice Philosophy Scale (HPS) assessing the likelihood of the worker referring a terminally ill patient to hospice, background and experience, and demographics. The respondents held overwhelmingly favorable attitudes toward hospice philosophy and care, yet the average proportion of terminally ill patients whom they referred to hospice was only 49.5 percent. The worker’s HPS score was related significantly, although weakly, to the likelihood of referral. A follow-up study was undertaken to determine the reasons for the discrepancy between the workers’ self-reported favorable attitudes toward hospice and their relatively low rate of patient referral. The factor identified most frequently was resistance from families because of the requirement that hospice patients discontinue active treatment.

Research abstracts