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
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