Palliative Care: Perceptions, Experiences, and Attitudes in a Peruvian Neurologic Hospital

Anastasia Vishnevetsky, Carla Zapata Del Mar, Juan Luis Cam, Mario Cornejo-Olivas, Claire J. Creutzfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The development of palliative care in Peru remains limited, particularly for nononcological services, such as neurology. The goal of this study was to explore attitudes toward and knowledge about palliative and end-of-life care among patients, families, nurses, and doctors in a specialized neurological institute in Lima, Peru. Materials and Methods: We used a mixed methods approach consisting of 78 surveys and 21 qualitative, semistructured interviews that were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Surveys identified a substantial need for palliative care in the neurological institute (63% of doctors and 77% of nurses reported palliative care needs in >30% of their patients), and for training (82% of doctors and 69% of nurses reported inadequate palliative care education). The key themes emerging from qualitative interviews concerned transparency of communication about prognosis and end-of-life choices in neurological disease. Familiarity with advance directives was limited among both clinicians and families, and participants were divided about whether or not patients should be informed of serious diagnoses and prognoses, and who should inform them. Barriers to transparency in patient-physician communication included (1) expectation of cure; (2) physician's lack of training in communication and end-of-life care; (3) a paternalistic culture; and (4) the nature of neurological diseases. Conclusions: Our study highlights opportunities to enhance palliative care and communication education for neurology providers and the public in Peru, a country that currently has no palliative care training program and no legal basis for advance directives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Latin America
  • Peru
  • communication
  • end of life
  • neurology
  • neuropalliative care
  • palliative care
  • transparency

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