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Palliative care screening tools in Japan: cross-sectional utility study
  1. Mami Minato1,
  2. Youkie Shiozawa2,
  3. Shintaro Kosaka3,
  4. Masaya Higuchi4 and
  5. Kei Ouchi2
  1. 1Division of General Medicine, Itabashi Chuo Medical Center, Itabashi-ku, Japan
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Division of Internal Medicine, Nerima Hikarigaoka Hospital, Nerima-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  4. 4Palliative Care and Geriatric Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Youkie Shiozawa, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 02115 Boston, Massachusetts, USA; youkie_shiozawa{at}


Objectives In Japan’s ageing society, the utility of US-based and UK-based palliative care screening tools in the inpatient setting is unknown. The purpose of this study is to identify the unmet palliative care needs of patients who are admitted to an acute care hospital using the US-based and UK-based screening tools.

Methods This single-centre, cross-sectional study included patients who were admitted to an acute care hospital in Tokyo, Japan, from November 2019 to January 2020. We used the Supportive and Palliative Care Indicator Tool and Palliative Care Screening Tool in the Emergency Department among admitted patients.

Results 126 patients (51.6%) were screened positive in total. Among these patients, the main comorbid conditions were dementia/frailty (85.7%) and neurological disease (50.8%).

Conclusions One out of every two internal medicine inpatients at acute care hospitals may have palliative care needs. Given the lack of adequate palliative care workforce in Japan, a modified screening tool to capture the most high-risk patients may be necessary.

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  • Contributors MM—conceptualisation, data curation, formal analysis, writing (original draft). YS—conceptualisation, writing (original draft), methodology. SK—review and editing (equal). MH—review and editing (equal).

  • Funding KO is supported by the National Institute on Aging (K76AG064434) and Cambia Health Foundation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.