Barriers of healthcare providers against end-of-life discussions with pediatric cancer patients

Saran Yoshida, Ken Shimizu, Mariko Kobayashi, Hironobu Inoguchi, Yoshio Oshima, Chikako Dotani, Rika Nakahara, Tomomi Takahashi, Masashi Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: End-of-life discussions with patients can be one of the most dif?cult and stressful tasks for the oncologist. However, little is known about the discussions that healthcare providers have with patients in such situations and the dif?culties they face. The primary end points of this study were to describe the contents of end-of-life discussion in the pediatric setting and the barriers to end-of-life discussion for pediatric patients, as perceived by pediatric healthcare providers. Methods: Participants were 10 healthcare providers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the KJ method was performed to analyze the data. Results: We found 23 barriers against end-of-life discussion with pediatric cancer patients. These barriers were classi?ed as follows: healthcare provider factors, patient factors, parent factors and institutional or cultural factors. In addition to barriers found in previous studies, some unique barriers were uncovered such as, 'Lack of con?dence to face the patient after the discussion', 'Uncertain responsibility for treatment decision-making' and 'No compelling reason to discuss'. Healthcare providers actively discussed the purpose of treatment and the patients' wishes and concerns; however, they were reluctant to deal with the patients' own impending death and their estimated prognosis. Conclusions: End-of-life discussion with pediatric patients differs from that with adult patients. Further studies are required to analyze pediatric cases associated with end-of-life discussion and carefully discuss its adequacy, pros and cons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-735
Number of pages7
JournalJapanese journal of clinical oncology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Barrier
  • End-of-life discussion
  • Pediatric cancer
  • Qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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