Growth and Challenges in Hospital Palliative Cancer Care Services: An Analysis of Nationwide Surveys Over a Decade in Japan

Yoko Nakazawa, Masahi Kato, Mitsunori Miyashita, Tatsuya Morita, Asao Ogawa, Yoshiyuki Kizawa

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Context: The development of palliative care services is a public health priority. The Japanese Cancer Control Act has been promoting palliative care services nationwide for over 10 years. Objectives: To evaluate long-term changes in the structure and processes of hospital palliative cancer care services nationwide. Methods: This was an observational study using three representative questionnaire surveys between 2008 and 2018. The questionnaire consisted of domains on the structure and process regarding hospital palliative cancer care services. The changes over time were assessed using the MacNemar test. The differences between groups, namely community hospitals and designated cancer hospitals, were determined using χ2 tests. Results: We analyzed changes over time from 281 designated cancer hospitals and compared the services between 1395 community hospitals and 380 designated cancer hospitals. The development of the structure and processes for designated cancer hospital's palliative cancer care services was greater for 10 years including the number of Palliative Care Consultation Teams (PCTs) with more than 50 patient referrals annually (from 2010 to 2018: 76.2% to 85.4%, P < 0.001). The palliative cancer care services of community hospitals were poorly prepared compared with designated cancer hospitals in 2018, such as the “direct medical care by any member of the Palliative Care Consultation Team at least 3 times a week (41.7% vs. 81.3%; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Hospital palliative cancer care services in designated cancer hospitals have developed significantly from 2008 to 2018. Building a system to promote palliative care services in community hospitals is a challenge for the next decade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • Palliative care
  • evaluation
  • hospital service
  • nationwide survey
  • public health


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