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Korea’s ‘death culture’ less than 60 points out of 100
  • By Choi Gwang-seok
  • Published 2017.05.30 15:37
  • Updated 2017.05.30 17:15
  • comments 0

Koreans do not have positive views of the situation concerning their final moments, a recent survey has shown. Notably, doctors who treat patients expressed most negative views about the nation’s “deathbed culture.”

Seoul National University College of Medicine (SNUCM)서울의대conducted a survey on 1,241 healthy people, 1,001 patients, 1,008 family members, and 928 medical workers, about hospice, palliative care, and death culture, and released the result Monday.

The survey was designed to know people’s awareness of the deathbed culture, as well as their agreement to government policies on hospice and palliative care and intention to take part in supportive activities.

According to the opinion poll, most Koreans do not have positive views of deathbed situations.

The survey assumed a situation in which everyone leads a happy and meaningful life and dies a comfortable and beautiful death as 100 points, and a situation in which everyone lives unhappily and without meaning and dies a painful and miserable death, as 0 point. The respondents’ evaluation stood at 58.3 points on average. By group, ordinary people and patients gave above-average marks of 65 and 59.9 points, but their family members and doctors gave below-average marks of 58.1 and 47.7 points, respectively.

Source : Seoul National University College of Medicine

Asked about what are important factors for a “beautiful end to life,” healthy people (22.4 percent) and patients (22.7 percent) cited “not burdening others,” while doctors (31.9 percent) and family members (25.9 percent) pointed to “sharing time with family members or meaningful people.”

As the place of preference to spend time in the terminally-ill stage, healthy people (37 percent), patients (31.8 percent) and family members (33.8 percent) cited “highest-class general hospitals, while doctors (45.8 percent) preferred “small- and medium-sized hospitals.”

When they expect death within weeks or days, healthy people (31.3 percent) said they would use “clinic-grade medical organizations,” while patients (36.3 percent) preferred small- and medium-sized hospitals, and family members 37.6 percent) cited clinic-class medical institutions. In the case of doctors, the largest share of respondents (58.4 percent) said they would use small- and medium-sized hospitals.

The respondents mostly agreed on the need to provide support for the training of nursing. On the support for nursing terminally-ill patients, more than 94 percent of respondents said they wanted a nursing assistant and financial assistance.

As to the mandatory nursing of terminally-ill patients by volunteer workers for hospice and palliative care, patients and their family members showed the highest rate of approval with 86.9 percent, followed by healthy people (84.9 percent) and doctors (72.4 percent).

About subsidizing the training of volunteer worker, 90.5 percent of healthy people, 91.3 percent of patients and 92.8 percent of patients’ families made positive replies, and doctors’ approval rate was even higher than them all, with 93.9 percent.


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