Physician perspectives on end-of-life care: factors of race, specialty, and geography.

Cindy L. Carter, Jane G. Zapka, Suzanne O'Neill, Susan DesHarnais, Winnie Hennessy, Jerome Kurent, Rickey E. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To describe physicians' end-of-life practices, perceptions regarding end-of-life care and characterize differences based upon physician specialty and demographic characteristics. To illuminate physicians' perceptions about differences among their African-American and Caucasian patients' preferences for end-of-life care. DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty-four African-American and 16 Caucasian physicians (N=40) participated in an in-person interview including 23 primary care physicians, 7 cardiologists, and 10 oncologists. Twenty-four practices were in urban areas and 16 were in rural counties. RESULTS: Physicians perceived racial differences in preferences for end-of-life care between their Caucasian and African-American patients. Whereas oncologists and primary care physicians overwhelmingly reported having working relationships with hospice, only 57% of cardiologists reported having those contacts. African-American physicians were more likely than Caucasian physicians to perceive racial differences in their patients preferences for pain medication. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Demographic factors such as race of physician and patient may impact the provider's perspective on end-of-life care including processes of care and communication with patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-271
Number of pages15
JournalPalliative & supportive care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Nursing(all)

Cite this

Carter, C. L., Zapka, J. G., O'Neill, S., DesHarnais, S., Hennessy, W., Kurent, J., & Carter, R. E. (2006). Physician perspectives on end-of-life care: factors of race, specialty, and geography. Palliative & supportive care, 4(3), 257-271.