communication, end-of-life care, family



  1. Jo, Minjeong PhD, RN
  2. Yoo, Yang-Sook PhD
  3. Knafl, George PhD
  4. Van Riper, Marcia PhD, RN, FAAN
  5. Beeber, Linda PhD, RN, CS
  6. Song, Mi-Kyung PhD, RN, FAAN


Effective communication between family members and clinicians is one of the most important factors in end-of-life care, yet little is known about the extent of such communication in Korea. The purpose of this review was to describe the state of the science in family-clinician communication about end-of-life care in Korea, including the timing of communication, family members' communication needs, and perceived communication quality. The family-physician communication about do-not-resuscitate decision typically occurred near the patient's death. Receiving sufficient information about patient care was one of the top priorities of family members at the end of life, yet such needs were not met. Physicians and nurses reported they lack communication skills to provide information about patients' prognosis and end-of-life treatment options effectively. While empirical data are limited, our review suggests that family-clinician communication at the end of life in Korea is inadequate. This review provides an insight about the ways clinicians communicate with family members at the end of life in Korea, which may be helpful to determine components of communication that need to be improved.