Preferences in end of life care substantially differ between the Netherlands and Japan: Results from a cross-sectional survey study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Oct 30;99(44):e22743. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000022743.


Strategies to increase appropriateness of EoL care, such as shared decision making (SDM), and advance care planning (ACP) are internationally embraced, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, individuals preferences regarding EoL care may differ internationally. Current literature lacks insight in how preferences in EoL care differ between countries and continents. This study's aim is to compare Dutch and Japanese general publics attitudes and preferences toward EoL care, and EoL decisions. Methods: a cross-sectional survey design was chosen. The survey was held among samples of the Dutch and Japanese general public, using a Nationwide social research panel of 220.000 registrants in the Netherlands and 1.200.000 in Japan. A quota sampling was done (age, gender, and living area). N = 1.040 in each country.More Japanese than Dutch citizens tend to avoid thinking in advance about future situations of dependence (26.0% vs 9.4%; P = .000); say they would feel themselves a burden for relatives if they would become dependent in their last phase of life (79.3% vs 47.8%; P = .000); and choose the hospital as their preferred place of death (19.4% vs 3.6% P = .000). More Dutch than Japanese people say they would be happy with a proactive approach of their doctor regarding EoL issues (78.0% vs 65.1% JPN; P = .000).Preferences in EoL care substantially differ between the Netherlands and Japan. These differences should be taken into account a) when interpreting geographical variation in EoL care, and b) if strategies such as SDM or ACP - are considered. Such strategies will fail if an international "one size fits all" approach would be followed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advance Care Planning
  • Aged
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Terminal Care / psychology*
  • Young Adult