Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Knowledege And Attitudes Of Terminally Ill Patents And Their Family To Pallative Care And Hospice Services In Nigeria

A Adenipekun, A Onibokun, TN Elumelu, OA Soyannwo


Background: A palliative care and Hospice service is a neglected aspect of medical discipline especially in a developing country like Nigeria. With the global increase in incidence of cancer and HIV/AIDS and 70% of them presenting late, coupled with limited resources, for effective symptom control, palliative care therefore remains the only option left to improve the quality of life of the patients.

Objective: To asses the knowledge and attitudes of patients and their relations to palliative care and hospice services [PC&H] and to fashion out appropriate services for the patients.

Materials and methods: A total of 130 participants were studied using a questionnaire which comprised of three parts: Socio-demographic variables, Information about Knowledge and Attitudes towards PC&H.

Results: Sixty nine were patients, while 61 were family members. Ninety four [72.3%] had no knowledge of PC&H regardless of level of education and social status. 109 [84%] agreed that symptoms of the terminally ill patients should be treated to improve their quality of life and 75% of the participants agreed that this will be better done in a Hospice. 106 [83%] participants desire to have hospice established in every community, this again was regardless of tribe.

Conclusion: There is a gross lack of knowledge about PC&H in our community as evidenced among the participants studied. However, there is a positive attitude towards PC&H suggesting a general acceptance, since there is presently no well established Hospice in Nigeria; we recommend that government and Non governmental organizations should assist in this area. A hospital based Hospice might be a starting point.

Key words: Knowledge, Palliative care, Hospice.

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol 8(1) 2005: 19-22

AJOL African Journals Online