Open Access Open Badges Research article

Collaboration between physicians and a hospital-based palliative care team in a general acute-care hospital in Japan

Nanako Tamiya1*, Mikako Okuno1, Masayo Kashiwakgi1, Mariko Nishikitani2 and Etsuko Aruga3

Author affiliations

1 Department of Health Services Research, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Care Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tenno-dai, Ibaraki 305-8575 Japan

2 Department of Hygiene and Public Health, Teikyo University School of Medicine, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku Tokyo 174-8605 Japan

3 Department of Palliative Care, International Medical Center of Japan, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 162-8655 Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Palliative Care 2010, 9:13  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-9-13

Published: 15 June 2010



Continual collaboration between physicians and hospital-based palliative care teams represents a very important contributor to focusing on patients' symptoms and maintaining their quality of life during all stages of their illness. However, the traditionally late introduction of palliative care has caused misconceptions about hospital-based palliative care teams (PCTs) among patients and general physicians in Japan. The objective of this study is to identify the factors related to physicians' attitudes toward continual collaboration with hospital-based PCTs.


This cross-sectional anonymous questionnaire-based survey was conducted to clarify physicians' attitudes toward continual collaboration with PCTs and to describe the factors that contribute to such attitudes. We surveyed 339 full-time physicians, including interns, employed in a general acute-care hospital in an urban area in Japan; the response rate was 53% (N = 155). We assessed the basic characteristics, experience, knowledge, and education of respondents. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine the main factors affecting the physicians' attitudes toward PCTs.


We found that the physicians who were aware of the World Health Organization (WHO) analgesic ladder were 6.7 times (OR = 6.7, 95% CI = 1.98-25.79) more likely to want to treat and care for their patients in collaboration with the hospital-based PCTs than were those physicians without such awareness.


Basic knowledge of palliative care is important in promoting physicians' positive attitudes toward collaboration with hospital-based PCTs.