Culture and end-of-life care: an epidemiological evaluation of physicians

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2012 Mar;29(2):106-11. doi: 10.1177/1049909111410294. Epub 2011 May 25.


Beneficence is a fundamental concept of medicine, which embodies the notion above all, do no harm. While this principle illustrates the health care professional's duty to contribute to the patient's welfare, the principle becomes convoluted when the wishes of the patient directly conflict with that of the physician. The purpose of the study was to determine the degree to which cultural beliefs influence a physician's decision to introduce the concept of hospice to terminally ill patients. This phenomenological study explored the perceptions of 14 physicians practicing medicine in Mercer County, New Jersey. Analysis of the textural data revealed the following 5 themes: (a) physician personal perspectives, (b) physician perspectives on culture, (c) perspectives on hospice care, (d) communication with patients, and (e) training and experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel / ethnology*
  • Communication
  • Culture*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Hospice Care / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Jersey
  • Patient Preference / ethnology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Qualitative Research