MONDAY, June 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Knowledge levels of palliative care are low, especially for those without frequent health care utilization, according to a study published online June 4 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Motolani E. Ogunsanya, Ph.D., from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues used data from the 2018 National Cancer Institute Health Information National Trends Survey 5, Cycle 2, to assess factors associated with knowledge of palliative care. Data were included from 3,450 respondents who met the inclusion criteria.

The researchers found that approximately 89 percent of respondents had inadequate palliative care knowledge. Greater odds of having palliative care knowledge were seen in association with frequent health care utilization (defined as at least two times per year), female gender, being married, having a college degree or higher, and having a regular source of care (odds ratios, 3.01, 2.15, 2.02, 13.83, and 2.67, respectively). The likelihood of having adequate knowledge of palliative care was reduced for those without a cancer diagnosis (odds ratio, 0.49).

“We found that in addition to personal factors, such as education level or marital status, the frequency of health care utilization had a significant impact on an individual’s understanding of palliative care,” Ogunsanya said in a statement. “This is a novel finding for the palliative care field and provides important insight into how we might be able to improve knowledge of this service.”

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