Attitudes and preferences of Korean-American older adults and caregivers on end-of-life care

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Nov;55(11):1867-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01394.x. Epub 2007 Aug 28.


A growing body of literature suggests that diverse attitudes toward the end of life exist across and within ethnic minority groups. This focus-group pilot study examined social and cultural factors influencing views of Korean-American older adults and caregivers on advance care planning and hospice care. A total of 20 older adults and 16 caregivers in west central Florida participated in one of four focus groups. This study found diverse attitudes among Korean Americans toward end-of-life care and cultural and structural barriers to advance care planning and hospice use. Older adults and caregivers both expressed a lack of knowledge about advance care planning and hospice and agreed that the family would make the final decision about the end-of-life care, while acknowledging the challenge of initiating communications about treatment preferences. They interpreted the Korean value of filial piety to support both curative and palliative treatment. The traditional norm of home death and importance of physician communication influenced preferences for hospice and advance care planning, respectively. Future outreach and education efforts should include development of culturally sensitive educational and communication tools and collaboration with ethnic community organizations and healthcare providers in the dissemination and education of these instruments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advance Directives / ethnology
  • Advance Directives / psychology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian Americans / ethnology*
  • Asian Americans / psychology
  • Attitude to Death / ethnology*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Communication
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Family Relations / ethnology
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Hospice Care / psychology
  • Humans
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pilot Projects
  • Terminal Care / psychology*
  • United States