Physicians' knowledge about palliative care in Bangladesh: A cross-sectional study using digital social media platforms

  • Authors: Biswas J Banik PC Ahmad N.


"Introduction: Palliative care is still a new concept in many developing countries like Bangladesh. Basic knowledge about palliative care is needed for all physicians to identify and provide this care. This study aims to assess the preliminary knowledge level and the misconceptions about this field among physicians. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 479 physicians using a self-administered structured questionnaire adapted from Palliative Care Knowledge Scale (PaCKs) on various digital social media platforms from December 2019 to February 2020. Chi-square, Fisher's extract test, and the Monte Carlo extract test was done to compare the knowledge level with the study subjects' demographic variables. Results: An almost equal number of physicians of both genders from four major specialties and their allied branches took part in the study (response rate 23.9%). The majority (71%) of the respondents had an average to an excellent level of knowledge about palliative care, with a median score of 11.0. Although most physicians had average knowledge about the primary goals and general concepts of palliative care, misconceptions are highly prevalent. The commonly present misconceptions were that palliative care discourages patients from consulting other specialties (88.9%), refrains them from taking curative treatments (83.1%), and this care is only for older adults (74.5%), cancer patients (63%), and the last six months of life (56.4%). Age, educational qualifications, and specialties had significant relationships (P<0.05) with the level of knowledge. Conclusion: Despite having average or above knowledge about palliative care, the physicians' prevailing misconceptions act as a barrier to recognizing the need among the target populations. So, proper education and awareness among the physicians are necessary to cross this field's barrier and development."