Spirituality and end-of-life care in disadvantaged men dying of prostate cancer
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Spirituality and end-of-life care in disadvantaged men dying of prostate cancer


Despite the positive influence of spiritual coping on the acceptance of a cancer diagnosis, higher spirituality is associated with receipt of more high intensity care at the end of life. The purpose of our study was to assess the association between spirituality and type of end-of-life care received by disadvantaged men with prostate cancer. We studied low-income, uninsured men in IMPACT, a state-funded public assistance program, who had died since its inception in 2001. Of the 60 men who died, we included the 35 who completed a spirituality questionnaire at program enrollment. We abstracted sociodemographic and clinical information as well as treatment within IMPACT, including zolendroic acid, chemotherapy, hospice use, and palliative radiation therapy. We measured spirituality with the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spiritual Well-Being questionnaire (FACIT-Sp) and compared end-of-life care received between subjects with low and high FACIT-Sp scores using chi-squared analyses. A higher proportion of men with high (33%) versus low (13%) spirituality scores enrolled in hospice, although our analysis was not adequately powered to demonstrate statistical significance. Likewise, we saw a trend toward increased receipt of palliative radiation among those with higher spirituality (37% vs. 25%, P = 0.69). The differences in end-of-life care received among those with low and high spirituality varied little by the FACIT-Sp peace and faith subscales. End-of-life care was similar between men with lower and higher spirituality. Men with higher spirituality trended toward greater hospice use, suggesting that they redirected the focus of their care from curative to palliative goals.

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