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Place of death of pediatric cancer patients in a single institute during 7 years

Journal title
The Kobe journal of medical sciences
Publication year
Yanai, T.; Hirase, S.; Matsunoshita, N.; Yamamoto, N.; Ninchoji, T.; Kubokawa, I.; Mori, T.; Hayakawa, A.; Takeshima, Y.; Iijima, K.; Matsuo, M.

Place of death is an important issue at the end-of-life. It is poorly understood in pediatric cancer patients in Japan. This study aimed to clarify place of death of children with cancer as well as variables associated with place of death. Study population was pediatric cancer patients who died in the Department of Pediatrics at Kobe University Hospital during the last 7 years. The medical records were retrospectively reviewed regardless of cause of death to derive data relating to patients’ characteristics and disease. 18 patients were included. Median age at death was 12.2 years old. 6 patients including 5 children in complete remission had hematological disease and 12 patients suffered from solid tumors. 4 patients (22.2%) died at home, whereas 14 patients (77.8%) died in the hospital including 6 ICU deaths. No one died in hospices. Preference of patients was unavailable due to the lack of inquiry. Factors influencing place of death (home, ICU, non-ICU) were disease (hematological disease vs. solid tumor, p=0.010, brain tumor vs. non-brain tumor, p=0.023), disease status (complete remission vs. non-complete remission, p=0.0014) and preference of families (p=0.029). Among 6 families who expressed preference, no disparity was observed between actual and preferred place of death. This is the first English publication of place of death of pediatric cancer patients in Japan. The low percentage of home death, factors influencing place of death and the lack of disparity between actual and preferred place of death were indicated. Further studies are required to better understand place of death.

Research abstracts