Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2021 Jun;24(2):85-96. 10.14475/jhpc.2021.24.2.85.

Current Status of Complementary Therapies Provided by Hospice Palliative Care in South Korea

  • 1Department of Nursing, Gangdong University, Eumseong, Korea
  • 2Regional Hospice Center, Korea Cancer Hospital, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Science, Seoul, Korea
  • 3College of Nursing, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea


The aim of this study was to investigatecomplementary therapiesprovided at hospice palliative care facilities in South Koreaas designated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The survey was conducted via e-mail from September 2 to September 23, 2020, with responsesfrom 109 therapists and 59 managers from 55 different hospice care facilities.
Hospices provided an average of 3.67 different types of therapies, ranging from 1 to 7 different types. The most common types of therapies were horticultural therapy (81.4%), music therapy (79.7%), art therapy (76.3%), and aromatherapy (57.6%). The average frequency of sessions was once a week, the median duration was 60 minutes. Most therapists (96.3%) had qualifications, but the certification-issuing organizations and training intensiveness varied greatly. None of the therapists were employed on a full-time basis, and their average monthly income was KRW 270,000. Therapists and managers gave average scores of 8.90 and 8.38 out of 10, respectively, regarding the positive impact of complementary therapies on patients.
In order for patients and their families to benefit from complementary therapiesat hospice care facilities, in addition tobetter terms of employment for therapists, evidence-based guidelines for different types of therapies are needed so that therapy sessions can be conducted according to the theoretical underpinnings and characteristics of the type of therapy. It is expected that the results of this study will be used for policy-making in support of therapy as an essential hospice service.


Palliative care; Hospice care; Complementary therapies
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