Indexed on: 24 Sep '14Published on: 24 Sep '14Published in: European journal of public health
Giving the public and the patients good information enables them to make effective choices about their care. This study describes public preferences for both themselves and their relatives on receiving information on end-of-life care topics when faced with a life-limiting illness and to identify associated factors.This study used data from the cross-sectional Health Interview Study (HIS) 2008 that collected data from a representative sample (N = 9651) of the Belgian population.Around 82% of respondents wanted to be informed always about diagnosis, chances of cure and available treatments, 77% wanted to be informed on life expectancy, 72% on options regarding palliative care and 67% on possibilities of prolonging or shortening life. Around 55% wanted their relative to be informed always about diagnosis, chances of cure, life expectancy and different treatments available, whereas 50% wanted this in relation to the options regarding palliative care and 46% on the possibilities of prolonging or shortening life. Younger adults, people with more education and people with a regular GP were more likely to want to be informed always. Younger adults and women were less likely to want their relatives to be informed always.The majority of the Belgian population wants to be informed always about end-of-life care topics when faced with a life-limiting illness. Physicians should be aware of the desired level of information and tailor information to individual patient preferences. Understanding population preferences may help to tailor patient education and health promotion programmes appropriately.