Knowledge of Palliative Care Among Community-Dwelling Adults

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Abstract

Objective:

To identify what laypersons know about palliative care using the Palliative Care Knowledge Scale (PaCKS). A secondary aim was to establish preliminary normative data for the PaCKS.

Methods:

A sample of 301 adults were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk database. Participants were administered the PaCKS along with a demographic questionnaire.

Results:

The mean score on the 13-item PaCKS was 5.25 (standard deviation = 4.77, range: 0-13), the median was 5, and the mode was 0, with a significant proportion of participants selecting “I don’t know” for every item. Women scored significantly higher than men, and 45- to 54- and 55- to 64-year-olds scoring highest. The PaCKS was also significantly positively correlated with education.

Conclusion:

Broadly, laypersons lack knowledge about some key aspects of palliative care, though palliative care knowledge is highly variable across individuals and some groups. Targeted educational interventions are essential to improve knowledge of palliative care in order to increase access to this type of life-enhancing, supportive service.

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