The purpose of this study was to gauge the attitudes of internal medicine (IM) physicians and hospice nurses on the hospice programs in a Southeastern US county. A postal survey sought views on the following issues: (1) the level of control that hospice affords dying patients; (2) health care professionals' education and communication involving the dying process; (3) the hospice referral process; (4) characteristics of a "good death"; and (5) gender versus professional role regarding hospice attitudes. The data revealed that occupational role in hospice care has a more significant function in the development of cognitive attitudes than of gender regarding hospice programs and that professional education needs more emphasis on the study of end-of-life issues, as well as open communication between health care professionals and patients during the dying process. Physicians were less likely than nurses to agree that patient control was important. Additionally, what constitutes a good death was similar to previous studies.
Keywords: a good death; control by hospice patients; education preparation; gender versus professional role; hospice; patient referrals; physicians’ and nurses’ attitudes.
© The Author(s) 2014.