End-of-life care for HIV-infected patients with malignancies: A questionnaire-based survey

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Abstract

Background:

The number of HIV-infected patients who require palliative or end-of-life care is increasing, and the status of end-of-life care for HIV patients with malignancies is unclear.

Aim:

This study aimed to evaluate the end-of-life care provided to HIV patients with malignancies in Japan.

Design:

National cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey.

Setting/participants:

Questionnaires were delivered to the medical staff of 378 regional core hospitals/core hospitals for AIDS and 285 palliative care units in Japan. Data were collected between August and October 2013.

Results:

Overall, 226 regional core hospitals/core hospitals for AIDS (59.8%) responded. A total of 55 institutions (24.3%) provided end-of-life care to HIV patients with malignancies. Regarding the place of death of the patients, 69.1% died at the institution whereas 18.2% were transferred to palliative care units. The requests of 16 (29.1%) institutions to transfer patients to palliative care units were rejected. Of the 378 palliative care units, 179 (62.8%) responded. While 13 palliative care units (4.6%) provided care to hospitalized HIV patients with malignancies, 20 (11.2%) refused to accept these patients for treatment because of a lack of experience in treating these patients and a lack of knowledge regarding HIV infection.

Conclusion:

Our findings suggest that in Japan, HIV patients with malignancies have difficulties obtaining hospitalization at a palliative care unit, which is likely due to a lack of experience among the professionals in treating such patients as well as a lack of knowledge about HIV.

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