Comparing end-of-life care for hospitalized patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer in Taiwan

Wen Chi Chou, Yu Te Lai, Yun Chin Huang, Chen Ling Chang, Wei Shan Wu, Yu Shin Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

17 Scopus citations


When it comes to end-of-life care, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are often treated differently from lung cancer patients. However, few reports have compared end-of-life care between these two groups. We investigated the differences between patients with end-stage COPD and end-stage lung cancer based on end-of-life symptoms and clinical practice patterns using a retrospective study of COPD and lung cancer patients who died in an acute care hospital in Taiwan. End-stage COPD patients had more comorbidities and spent more days in the intensive care unit (ICU) than end-stage lung cancer patients. They were more likely to die in the ICU and less likely to receive hospice care. COPD patients also had more invasive procedures, were less likely to use narcotic and sedative drugs, and were less likely to have given do-not-resuscitate consent. Symptoms were similar between these two groups. Differences in treatment management suggest that COPD patients receive more care aimed at prolonging life than care aimed at relieving symptoms and providing end-of-life support. It may be more difficult to determine when COPD patients are at the end-of-life stage than it is to identify when lung cancer patients are at that stage. Our findings indicate that in Taiwan, more effort should be made to give end-stage COPD patients the same access to hospice care as end-stage lung cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Palliative Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • End of life
  • Hospice care
  • Lung cancer
  • Palliative care


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