Importance: Patients with chronic illness frequently use Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) to document treatment limitations.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between POLST order for medical interventions and intensive care unit (ICU) admission for patients hospitalized near the end of life.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study of patients with POLSTs and with chronic illness who died between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017, and were hospitalized 6 months or less before death in a 2-hospital academic health care system.
Exposures: POLST order for medical interventions (“comfort measures only” vs “limited additional interventions” vs “full treatment”), age, race/ethnicity, education, days from POLST completion to admission, histories of cancer or dementia, and admission for traumatic injury.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the association between POLST order and ICU admission during the last hospitalization of life; the secondary outcome was receipt of a composite of 4 life-sustaining treatments: mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, dialysis, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. For evaluating factors associated with POLST-discordant care, the outcome was ICU admission contrary to POLST order for medical interventions during the last hospitalization of life.
Results: Among 1818 decedents (mean age, 70.8 [SD, 14.7] years; 41% women), 401 (22%) had POLST orders for comfort measures only, 761 (42%) had orders for limited additional interventions, and 656 (36%) had orders for full treatment. ICU admissions occurred in 31% (95% CI, 26%-35%) of patients with comfort-only orders, 46% (95% CI, 42%-49%) with limited-interventions orders, and 62% (95% CI, 58%-66%) with full-treatment orders. One or more life-sustaining treatments were delivered to 14% (95% CI, 11%-17%) of patients with comfort-only orders and to 20% (95% CI, 17%-23%) of patients with limited-interventions orders. Compared with patients with full-treatment POLSTs, those with comfort-only and limited-interventions orders were significantly less likely to receive ICU admission (comfort only: 123/401 [31%] vs 406/656 [62%], aRR, 0.53 [95% CI, 0.45-0.62]; limited interventions: 349/761 [46%] vs 406/656 [62%], aRR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.71-0.87]). Across patients with comfort-only and limited-interventions POLSTs, 38% (95% CI, 35%-40%) received POLST-discordant care. Patients with cancer were significantly less likely to receive POLST-discordant care than those without cancer (comfort only: 41/181 [23%] vs 80/220 [36%], aRR, 0.60 [95% CI, 0.43-0.85]; limited interventions: 100/321 [31%] vs 215/440 [49%], aRR, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.51-0.78]). Patients with dementia and comfort-only orders were significantly less likely to receive POLST-discordant care than those without dementia (23/111 [21%] vs 98/290 [34%], aRR, 0.44 [95% CI, 0.29-0.67]). Patients admitted for traumatic injury were significantly more likely to receive POLST-discordant care (comfort only: 29/64 [45%] vs 92/337 [27%], aRR, 1.52 [95% CI, 1.08-2.14]; limited interventions: 51/91 [56%] vs 264/670 [39%], aRR, 1.36 [95% CI, 1.09-1.68]). In patients with limited-interventions orders, older age was significantly associated with less POLST-discordant care (aRR, 0.93 per 10 years [95% CI, 0.88-1.00]).
Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients with POLSTs and with chronic life-limiting illness who were hospitalized within 6 months of death, treatment-limiting POLSTs were significantly associated with lower rates of ICU admission compared with full-treatment POLSTs. However, 38% of patients with treatment-limiting POLSTs received intensive care that was potentially discordant with their POLST.
In this issue of JAMA, Lee and colleagues examine the association between Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), which involve portable medical orders that document treatment limitations for out-of-hospital emergency care and for limiting overtreatment at the end of life. The authors studied adults with chronic life-limiting illnesses who were hospitalized within the last 6 months of life and who had completed a POLST before their last inpatient admission. Among 1818 patients enrolled, 656 (36%) had POLST orders for “full treatment” and 1162 had orders for either “limited additional interventions” (761 [42%]) or “comfort measures only” (401 [22%]). Among the combined latter 2 groups, 472 (41%) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), 436 (38%) received POLST-discordant intensive care, and 204 (18%) received POLST-discordant life-sustaining treatments, defined as mechanical ventilation, vasoactive infusions, new renal replacement therapy, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Patients with cancer or dementia were less likely to receive POLST-discordant intensive care, whereas patients hospitalized for traumatic injuries were more likely to receive POLST-discordant intensive care. These results are sobering.
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Advanced cancer patients are at an increased risk of developing depressive symptoms, which can lead to major depressive disorder and a poor quality of life. It is important that symptoms of depression to be addressed early and frequently throughout the trajectory of the disease process. Depression is underdiagnosed and therefore undertreated in advanced cancer patients. Clinicians often fail to perform regular depression screenings as recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Depressive symptoms are overlooked as they tend to overlap with the effects of disease progression and cancer treatments. Patients' complaints of anorexia, chronic pain, and sleep disturbances do not necessarily trigger practitioners to perform depression screenings. African Americans with advanced cancer are at a higher risk of developing depression, but may not identify as depressed due to the stigma of mental health in the black community. Screening tools such as the 2- and 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory II, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Distress Thermometer and Problem List are common brief instruments that can screen for depression. Providing early symptom relief of depressive symptoms through psychotherapy and pharmacologic interventions will benefit the patient, family, and caregivers while improving the quality of life throughout the trajectory of the illness.
L’auteur Jacques Brotchi retrace, dans un dialogue avec sa petite-nièce, l’évolution de la notion d’euthanasie et ses implications morales en Belgique et ailleurs. Avec clarté et délicatesse, il explique dans quelles circonstances chacun peut bénéficier du droit de choisir sa n de vie et partir dans l’apaisement et la dignité.
Surrogate health care decision making is often a challenge for everyone involved. In the case of incapacitated patients, family members, nurses, health care providers, and other members of the health care team often grapple with determining the most appropriate clinical course of action. For these difficult patient scenarios, the expertise of clinical ethics consultants is sought to assist with complex health care decision making. Clinical ethics consultation is designed to provide a more objective “outside” opinion and offer advice to the patient, family, and entire care team to support and guide decisions. Nurses are well positioned to initiate assistance from Clinical Ethics Consult Services in support of patient and family advocacy. This article presents a case analysis based on the Stakeholder, Facts, Norms, and Options Framework to analyze the best interest course of action for Mr K., a patient diagnosed with abdominal pain due to end-stage liver cirrhosis and who lacks decisional capacity in regard to his own treatment decision making. The case analysis highlights specific examples of how nurses can provide information, facilitate discussion, and otherwise support patients and families to achieve best interest outcomes.
The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (Revised) (ESAS-r) contains 9 questions pertaining to symptoms/well-being. It is a standardized patient-reported assessment instrument, but inconsistently used in palliative care. Thus, a problem exists in knowledge translation regarding routine use of the ESAS-r in palliative practice. The objective was to understand clinicians' perspectives on the use of the ESAS-r in palliative care in hospitals and at home. Qualitative focus groups (n = 14 with 46 clinicians) and interviews (n = 24) elicited views regarding use of the ESAS-r in palliative practice. Interpretive description was used as a general approach to this qualitative analysis focused on understanding clinicians' views. Palliative clinicians presented multiple perspectives of the ESAS-r pertaining to their (1) underlying values, (2) disparate purposes, and (3) incommensurate responses toward use in daily practice. Benefits and challenges supported diversity within these themes, highlighting divergence among perspectives and complexity of integrating a standardized tool in patient care. Integration of the ESAS-r in palliative care requires (1) educational support for developing competence; (2) consideration of clinicians' existing, heterogeneous beliefs regarding the use of standardized assessment instruments; and (3) Consultation with multidisciplinary practitioners about optimal ways that ESAS-r results can be used in a person-centered approach to palliative care.
Lorsqu’un jeune étudiant en médecine décide de vivre, de l’intérieur, les joies et les peines d’un service de soins palliatifs, il fait un choix difficile. À distance de l’impératif thérapeutique, partant à la découverte des aspérités d’une humanité en suspens, Amaury Cinquin livre à Laennec une expérience forte. Durant ces semaines, il s’est exercé à l’empathie, a découvert des souffrances apparemment sans issue. Il s’est attaché à comprendre en quoi une certaine organisation institutionnelle permet à tous, soignants et patients, de mieux vivre des situations difficiles. Prenant du recul sur ses études et sa future pratique, il a quitté la Maison Jeanne-Garnier avec un autre regard sur la mort.
Ces recommandations de la Haute Autorité de Santé ont pour objectifs de mieux définir les modalités d'utilisation des traitements médicamenteux, en particulier hors AMM, en situation palliative et phase terminale chez l'adulte :
- pour l'antalgie des douleurs rebelles ou la prévention des douleurs rebelles provoquées ;
- pour la sédation, qu'elle soit proportionnée ou profonde et continue maintenue jusqu'au décès ;
- y compris, le cas échéant, les modalités spécifiques au domicile.
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Le chat d'Emma tue une mésange. Son ami, Jules Monsieur-Je-sais-tout, lui explique tout ce qu'il faut savoir sur le mystère de la mort dans touts les civilisations, les religions mais aussi les différents rites après la mort et notre condition d'être humain sur terre.
Ce magnifique album sous forme de bande dessinée explique, avec des mots simples et de sympathiques dessins, ce que doivent savoir les enfants sur le mystère de la mort.
Background: There is increasing interest in expanding palliative care (PC) services in the community-based outpatient oncology clinic. However, there is a paucity of data on the economics of integrating palliative medicine in this setting.
Objective: Provide scheduling and financial data on PC physician encounters, charges, and reimbursement in a community-based oncology practice.
Design: Retrospective review of billing data and scheduling software at a single practice.
Setting: A community-based oncology practice comprised of 25 medical oncologists in 8 suburban offices. PC physicians were integrated into the practice.
Measurement: Billed PC physician charges were analyzed on an annual basis for a four-year period from initial start-up of the PC clinic on September 2, 2014 to August 31, 2018.
Results: During year 1, a single PC physician saw 483 new patients and 827 follow-up encounters in four different office locations. In year 2, he saw 471 new patients and 1229 follow-up encounters. Actual collected revenue for those 1700 encounters was $228,168. In year 3, a second PC physician was added and services were expanded to a total of six offices. In year 4, two PC physicians billed for 832 new encounters and 2450 follow-up encounters for a total collected revenue of $454,356.
Conclusions: In a suburban community-based oncology practice, a PC physician can support a substantial part of his or her cost to an oncology practice.
Background: The Patient Dignity Question (PDQ) is a single question, which directly asks the patient, “What should I know about you as a person to help me take the best care of you that I can?” Research has demonstrated that the PDQ enhances quality health care within an inpatient palliative care setting; however, no research to date has examined the PDQ in an outpatient setting, particularly a psycho-oncology setting.
Objective: The PDQ was administered as part of routine clinical care in an outpatient psycho-oncology clinic to enhance patient-centered care.
Methods: Individuals diagnosed with cancer (n = 66) were referred for individual psychotherapy primarily for anxiety and/or depression. After gathering a thorough patient history during the initial psychology consult, patients were asked the PDQ as it was worded without further prompting. Patient responses were then qualitatively analyzed to measure the most common themes.
Results: The themes expressed by patients in response to the PDQ included Who I Am (59.7%), which referenced individual characteristics and core personality traits, What My Cancer Journey Has Been (21.7%) described how patients' lives have been impacted since receiving a cancer diagnosis, and What I Want to Achieve (18.4%) in which patients described what goals they wanted to achieve in their lives (both general and specific to psychotherapy).
Conclusions: Data from this small pilot study show promise that this brief assessment tool can be readily added to a psychological intake assessment and patients appreciated being asked about their personhood. Incorporating the PDQ into standard psychological care allows patients to be “seen” and helps us to acknowledge the person in the patient.
Cela fait trois ans que Matthieu n'a pas vu sa famille, depuis qu'il a claqué la porte de la maison, le jour de ses 18 ans. Il n'a pas répondu aux appels de sa mère, a évité de donner des nouvelles. Il vit de petits boulots avec sa compagne Emma.
Sa tante, Grazia, lui apprend que sa mère est morte d'un cancer foudroyant. Il décide alors de rentrer pour l'enterrement. Mais cela se complique lorsqu'il découvre que sa mère, Bianca Fois, a tout prévu pour son inhumation en Sardaigne, dans le caveau familial : c'est lui, Matthieu, qui doit aller là-bas, avec son frère et sa soeur, des jumeaux de 11 ans, Gavi et Lena, avec lesquels il a été élevé mais qu'il ne connaît plus et dont il a des choses à se faire pardonner.
Ce livre raconte le deuil de trois adolescents qui devront apprendre à mieux se connaître pour traverser cette épreuve et celles du passé.
Simon et Annabelle sont à l'école primaire ensemble et sont amoureux. Un jour, Simon tombe malade : une leucémie. Malgré les traitements, il meurt. L'album présente les émotions traversées par Annabelle.
Une fratrie de trois enfants (5, 8 et 9 ans) dialogue dans sa chambre de ce qu'elle vit. Les enfants sont orphelins de père, leur mère est malheureuse et le grand frère veut aller observer la nuit des étoiles l'été prochain. Sur plusieurs mois, leur relation, leurs dialogues montrent la surmontée du deuil.