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The Need for Advance Care Planning for Individuals with Dementia in South Korea (in Korean)

Ha, Jung-Hwa | Seoul National University

Lee, Changsook | Seoul National University


Despite growing attention to dignified death and end-of-life care decision making in Korea, little effort has been made to help persons with dementia (PwD) and their family caregivers engage in advance care planning (ACP) or discussions on end-of-life care. This study examined the felt needs for ACP among social workers working with PwDs and their families and the factors that need to be considered in introducing and utilizing ACP in dementia care. We conducted in-depth interviews with 7 social workers who work at day care centers (n=2), hospitals (n=3), and nursing homes (n=2) in Seoul and its vicinity in South Korea. Participants viewed ACP as a useful tool to engage individuals with dementia in decision making before they lose cognitive abilities. However, they pointed out many obstacles in implementing ACP, such as ‘gap between cognitive and physical death,’ ‘difficulty in assessing decision making capacity among inidividuals with dementia,’ ‘death-avoiding culture,’ and ‘people’s reluctance to discuss end-of-life care issues when individuals with dementia have decision-making capacity.’ Participants suggested that in order for ACP to be helpful for persons with dementia, various individual, family, cultural, and societal-level factors should be taken into account in its implementation.


Advance Care Planning, Dementia, Hospice, End-of-Life Care

Health and Social Welfare Review 39(3), 2019, 041-072

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