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Palliative care screening tools in Japan: cross-sectional utility study

Abstract

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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