Introduction: Although shortcomings in clinician–family communication and decision making for incapacitated, critically ill patients are common, there are few rigorously tested interventions to improve outcomes. In this manuscript, we present our methodology for the Pairing Re-engineered Intensive Care Unit Teams with Nurse-Driven Emotional support and Relationship Building (PARTNER 2) trial, and discuss design challenges and their resolution.
Methods and analysis: This is a pragmatic, stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial comparing the PARTNER 2 intervention to usual care among 690 incapacitated, critically ill patients and their surrogates in five ICUs in Pennsylvania. Eligible subjects will include critically ill patients at high risk of death and/or severe long-term functional impairment, their main surrogate decision-maker and their clinicians. The PARTNER intervention is delivered by the interprofessional ICU team and overseen by 4–6 nurses from each ICU. It involves: (1) advanced communication skills training for nurses to deliver support to surrogates throughout the ICU stay; (2) deploying a structured family support pathway; (3) enacting strategies to foster collaboration between ICU and palliative care services and (4) providing intensive implementation support to each ICU to incorporate the family support pathway into clinicians’ workflow. The primary outcome is surrogates’ ratings of the quality of communication during the ICU stay as assessed by telephone at 6-month follow-up. Prespecified secondary outcomes include surrogates’ scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Impact of Event Scale, the modified Patient Perception of Patient Centredness scale, the Decision Regret Scale, nurses’ scores on the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and length of stay during and costs of the index hospitalisation.
We also discuss key methodological challenges, including determining the optimal level of randomisation, using existing staff to deploy the intervention and maximising long-term follow-up of participants.
Ethics and dissemination: We obtained ethics approval through the University of Pittsburgh, Human Research Protection Office. The findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Background: When patients are likely to die in the coming hours or days, families often want prognostic information. Prognostic uncertainty and a lack of end-of-life communication training make these conversations challenging.
Aim: The objective of this study is to understand how clinicians and the relatives/friends of patients at the very end of life manage uncertainty and reference time in prognostic conversations.
Design: Conversation analysis of audio-recorded conversations between clinicians and the relatives/friends of hospice inpatients.
Setting/participants: Experienced palliative care clinicians and relatives/friends of imminently dying hospice inpatients. Twenty-three recorded conversations involved prognostic talk and were included in the analysis.
Results: Requests for prognostic information were initiated by families in the majority of conversations. Clinicians responded using categorical time references such as ‘days’, allowing the provision of prognostic estimates without giving a precise time. Explicit terms such as ‘dying’ were rare during prognostic discussions. Instead, references to time were understood as relating to prognosis. Relatives displayed their awareness of prognostic uncertainty when requesting prognostic information, providing clinicians with ‘permission’ to be uncertain. In response, clinicians often stated their uncertainty explicitly, but presented evidence for their prognostic estimates, based on changes to the patient’s function previously discussed with the family.
Conclusion: Prognostic uncertainty was managed collaboratively by clinicians and families. Clinicians were able to provide prognostic estimates while being honest about the related uncertainty, in part because relatives displayed their awareness of uncertainty within their requests. The conversation analytic method identified contributions of both clinicians and families, and identified strategies based on real interactions, which could inform communication training.
Background: Communication between clinicians and families of dying children in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is critically important for optimal care of the child and the family.
Objective: We examined the current state of clinician perspective on communication with families of dying children in the PICU.
Design: Prospective case series over a 15-month study period.
Setting/Subjects: We surveyed nurses, psychosocial staff, and physicians who cared for dying children in PICUs at five U.S. academic hospitals.
Measurements: Clinicians reported on the location of communication, perceived barriers to end-of-life care, and rated the quality of communication (QOC).
Results: We collected 565 surveys from 287 clinicians who cared for 169 dying children. Clinicians reported that the majority of communication occurred at the bedside, and less commonly family conferences and rounds. Ten barriers to care were examined and were reported with frequencies of 2%–32%. QOC was rated higher when the majority of conversations occurred during family conferences (p = 0.01) and lower for patients of non-white race (p = 0.03). QOC decreased when 8 of the 10 barriers to care were reported.
Conclusions: When a child is dying, clinicians report that communication with the family occurs most frequently at the child's bedside. This has important implications for future ICU communication research as the majority of previous research and education has focused on family care conferences. In addition, findings that QOC is perceived as lower for non-white patients and when clinicians perceive that barriers hindering care are present can help direct future efforts to improve communication in the PICU.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The proposed study aimed to answer the following question: What communication issues do nurses find challenging when caring for people with life-limiting illness?
BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that attitudes, skills and knowledge about how nurses communicate effectively with patients and their families could be improved. However, the literature predominantly focuses on nurses working in oncology and the medical profession.
DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive design was used.
METHODS: Focus groups were conducted with 39 nurses from three wards within a regional healthcare organisation in Victoria, Australia. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis. The COREQ checklist was used to document reporting of the study.
RESULTS: In their view, nurses have the potential to develop a strong bond with patients and their families. Three key themes were identified: (a) feeling unskilled to have difficult conversations with patients who have life-limiting illness; (b) interacting with family members adds complexity to care of patients who have life-limiting illness; and (c) organisational factors impede nurses' capacity to have meaningful conversations with patients and their families.
CONCLUSIONS: Caring for individuals with life-limiting illness is complex and often occurs in an emotionally charged environment. However, nurses report being hampered by time restraints and lack of information about the patient's condition and goals of care. Limitations in conversation structure and a comprehensive range of core communication skills affect their ability to confidently engage in conversations, particularly when they are responding to prognostic questions.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Whilst nurses are responsible for performing technical skills, they can maximise care by developing a trusting relationship with patients and their relatives. Increased acuity limits the time nurses have to talk with patients. In addition, they lack confidence to deal with difficult questions. Specific training may increase nurses' confidence and efficiency when communicating with patients and their families.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Clinicians are urged to optimize communication with families, generally without empirical practical recommendations. The objective of this study was to identify core behaviors associated with good communication during and after an unsuccessful resuscitation, including parental perspectives.
METHODS: Clinicians from different backgrounds participated in a standardized, videotaped, simulated neonatal resuscitation in the presence of parent actors. The infant remained pulseless; participants communicated with the parent actors before, during, and after discontinuing resuscitation. Twenty-one evaluators with varying expertise (including 6 bereaved parents) viewed the videos. They were asked to score clinician-parent communication and identify the top communicators. In open-ended questions, they were asked to describe 3 aspects that were well done and 3 that were not. Answers to open-ended questions were coded for easily reproducible behaviors. All the videos were then independently reviewed to evaluate whether these behaviors were present.
RESULTS: Thirty-one participants' videos were examined by 21 evaluators (651 evaluations). Parents and actors agreed with clinicians 81% of the time about what constituted optimal communication. Good communicators were more likely to introduce themselves, use the infant's name, acknowledge parental presence, prepare the parents (for the resuscitation, then death), stop resuscitation without asking parents, clearly mention death, provide or enable proximity (clinician-parent, infant-parent, clinician-infant, mother-father), sit down, decrease guilt, permit silence, and have knowledge about procedures after death. Consistently, clinicians who displayed such behaviors had evaluations >9 out of 10 and were all ranked top 10 communicators.
CONCLUSIONS: During a neonatal end-of-life scenario, many simple behaviors, identified by parents and providers, can optimize clinician-parent communication.
Effective communication between clinicians and seriously ill patients and their families about a patient's goals of care is essential to patient-centered, goal-concordant, end-of-life care. Effective goals-of-care communication between clinicians and patients is associated with improved patient and family outcomes, increased clinician satisfaction, and decreased health care costs. Unfortunately, clinicians often face barriers in goals-of-care communication and collaboration, including a lack of education, time constraints, and no standardized protocols. Without clear goals-of-care communication, patients may not be able to provide guidance to clinicians about their end-of-life preferences. The purpose of this integrative review was to examine the efficacy of goals-of-care communication interventions between patients, families, and clinicians in randomized controlled trials published between 2009 and 2018. Twenty-three studies met the inclusion criteria with an overall sample (N = 6376) of patients, family members, and clinicians. Results revealed of the 6 different intervention modes, patient decision aids and patient-clinician communication consistently increased comprehension and communication. Twelve of the studies had nurses facilitate or support the communication intervention. Because nurses are a critical, trusted nexus for communication about end-of-life care, focusing on nurse interventions may significantly improve clinical outcomes and the patient experience.
PURPOSE: The quality of the relationship between oncologists and cancer patients has been associated with caregiver bereavement outcomes, but no studies have examined whether the perceived quality of the relationship between cancer caregivers and oncologists is associated with caregiver experiences of end-of-life care or psychological adjustment after the patient's death.
METHODS: We conducted secondary analyses of data collected in the Values and Options in Cancer Care (VOICE) study, a randomized controlled trial of an intervention that improved communication between oncologists and patients/caregivers (n = 204 dyads). At study entry, we assessed caregivers' experiences with the oncologist using four items from the Human Connection Scale. Following patients' deaths, we assessed bereaved caregivers' experiences with end-of-life cancer care (Quality of Death; Peace, Equanimity, and Acceptance in the Cancer Experience [PEACE]; Caregiver Evaluation of the Quality of End-of-Life Care [CEQUEL]; and modified Decision Regret scales) and psychological adjustment (Prolonged Grief Disorder-13 and Purpose in Life scales). We conducted multivariable regressions examining prospective associations between caregiver experiences with the oncologist at study entry and outcome variables.
RESULTS: Data were collected from 105 caregivers of patients who died during the course of the study. Positive experience with the oncologist was prospectively associated with better experiences of end-of-life care, as reflected in better quality of death (estimate = 0.33, SE = 0.14, p = 0.02), PEACE (estimate = 0.11, SE = 0.05, p = 0.04), and decisional regret (estimate = - 0.16, SE = 0.06, p = 0.01). Caregivers' experience with the oncologist was not significantly associated with indicators of psychological adjustment.
CONCLUSION: Caregivers' early experiences with oncologists may affect their experiences of the patient's end-of-life care.
Proposer de l'art-thérapie en soins palliatifs, c'est amener le malade à vivre une aventure créative qui le place dans un autre rapport à la vie. Cette "aventure" permet de changer son rapport au temps qui reste, d'un temps subi vers un temps choisi. On observe une modification du rapport à soi, en passant de la personne malade vers la personne en création. Enfin, une transformation du rapport aux soignants et aux proches peut s'esquisser.
L'épreuve de la maladie grave transforme la dynamique du couple. Les professionnels témoignent des ressources et des difficultés des couples à maintenir un espace intime et sécurisant. Il est important pour les accompagnants de réfléchir à leurs représentations du couple et à leur positionnement, à veiller à ne pas violenter davantage ces unions déjà fortement éprouvées.
Scenario: Mrs. Murphy, a 78-year-old woman has a history of heartdisease. In the last 2 years, she has been hospitalized 3 times for a series of small heart attacks. Last night, she was rushed to the intensive care unit with a massive heart attack, disoriented, weak and confused. She had no advance directives (ADs) in her possession and there were none in her medical record. The admitting intensivist, worried that her heart may stop due to the extensive damage over the years, wrote an order for full resuscitation.
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BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is not well implemented in hospital. Implementation theory stresses the importance of knowing what hospitalised palliative patients and their families experience as barriers or as facilitators in the uptake of ACP with their treating physician.
AIMS: This study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of what hospitalised palliative patients and their families experienced as barriers or facilitators for having ACP conversations.
METHODS: We used a tape-assisted recall procedure to conduct 29 videotaped interviews with hospitalised patients and their families. We used content analysis based on grounded theory principles.
RESULTS: Four major fields of tension were discovered: not knowing what to expect from the treating physician; not being sure the treating physician can be a trusted partner; daring to speak about ACP; and staying loyal to one's own wishes.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients and families need physicians who are accessible and can be trusted ACP partners throughout the disease process.
BACKGROUND: Despite evidence that referral to pediatric palliative care reduces suffering and improves quality of life for patients and families, many clinicians delay referral until the end of life. The purpose of this article is to provide a conceptual model for why clinical teams delay discussing palliative care with parents.
DISCUSSION: Building on a prior model of parent regoaling and relevant research literature, we argue for a conceptual model of the challenges and facilitators a clinical team might face in shifting from a restorative-focused treatment plan to a plan that includes palliative aspects, resulting in a subspecialty palliative care referral. Like patients and families, clinicians and clinical teams may recognize that a seriously ill patient would benefit from palliative care and shift from a restorative mindset to a palliative approach. We call this transition "clinician regoaling". Clinicians may experience inhibitors and facilitators to this transition at both the individual and team level which influence the clinicians' willingness to consult subspecialty palliative care. The 8 inhibitors to team level regoaling include: 1) team challenges due to hierarchy, 2) avoidance of criticizing colleagues, 3) structural communication challenges, 4) group norms in favor of restorative goals, 5) diffusion of responsibility, 6) inhibited expression of sorrow, 7) lack of social support, 8) reinforcement of labeling and conflict. The 6 facilitators of team regoaling include: 1) processes to build a shared mental model, 2) mutual trust to encourage dissent, 3) anticipating conflict and team problem solving, 4) processes for reevaluation of goals, 5) sharing serious news as a team, 6) team flexibility.
CONCLUSIONS: Recognizing potential team level inhibitors to transitioning to palliative care can help clinicians develop strategies for making the transition more effectively when appropriate.
BACKGROUND: Persons with dementia (PwD) often have significant cognitive deficits and functional limitations, requiring substantial caregiver assistance. Given the high symptom burden and terminal nature of dementia, good prognostic awareness and integration of palliative care (PC) is needed.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate prognostic awareness, disease, and PC understanding among caregivers of PwD and to assess for improvements in routine care.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of 2 cohorts at a single-academic medical center. Surveys were mailed to 200 caregivers of PwD in 2012 (cohort 1). Surveys were sent to new subset of caregivers of PwD (n = 80) in 2018 (cohort 2) to assess trends over time.
RESULTS: A total of 154 of caregivers completed the survey (response rate 55%). Compared to 2012, a higher proportion of caregivers in 2018 reported having conversations about prognosis with PwD's physicians (25% in 2012 vs 45% in 2018; P = .027). However, a large percentage (43% in 2012 and 40% in 2018) of caregivers reported no understanding of the PwD's prognosis. Despite most stating dementia was not curable, only 39% in 2012 and 52% in 2018 (P = .015) understood that dementia was a terminal disease. In addition, only 32% in 2012 and 40% in 2018 (P = .39) felt that they were knowledgeable about PC.
CONCLUSIONS: Prognostic discussions between caregivers of PwD and the PwD's physicians may be occurring more often; however, a high percentage of caregivers report a poor understanding about the terminal nature of dementia and the role of PC.
BACKGROUND: Paediatric palliative care (PPC) is an active, total approach to the holistic care of the child and family. Close, long-lasting relationships between healthcare professionals and parents in paediatric palliative care enhance quality, provide emotional support and can influence how parents manage their role in the face of uncertainty.
AIM: To present a narrative literature review of long-term relationships between children's nurses and parents in PPC settings.
METHODS: Six databases (CINAHL, PsycINFO, ASSIA, Scopus, Medline and BNI) were searched, identifying 35 articles. A grey literature search produced seven additional relevant items.
FINDINGS: Four themes were identified: bonds; attachments and trust; sharing the journey; going the extra mile; and boundaries and integrity. All themes revealed an element of tension between closeness and professionalism.
CONCLUSION: Gaining a greater understanding of how closeness and professionalism are successfully managed by children's palliative care nurses could positively influence pre- and post-registration nurse education.
INTRODUCTION: Many children are born with life-limiting illnesses. Medical decision-making for these children by caregivers is complex and causes significant psychosocial distress, which can be partially alleviated by effective communication with medical providers. In order for providers to support caregivers, this study explores how caregivers make decisions regarding the medical care of their terminally ill children.
METHODS: Semistructured interviews were conducted among caregivers of terminally ill children. Participation was voluntary and confidential. The institutional review board approved the protocol. Transcripts were read and coded by 2 authors using inductive, concurrent analysis to reach thematic saturation and generate common themes.
RESULTS: Nine interviews were completed, discussing the care of 10 children. Caregivers described decision-making as impacted by their relationships with medical providers of 2 distinct types-trusting and nontrusting. Trusting relationships were notable for a longitudinal relationship with medical staff who empowered caregivers and treated the patient primarily as a child. Nontrusting relationships were noted when the medical team objectified their child as a "patient" and appeared to withhold information. Also, nontrusting relationships occurred when caregivers felt frustration with needing to educate health-care providers about their child's illness.
CONCLUSION: Decision-making by caregivers of terminally ill children is complex, and supporting families in this process is a critical role of all medical providers. A trusting relationship with medical team members was identified as an effective tool for well-supported decision-making, which can potentially alleviate the suffering of the child and distress of the caregivers during this emotionally charged time.
Context: Families are known to be involved in assisted dying and their involvement can be influenced by many factors.
Objectives: To explore how Swiss families interact with health care professionals and right-to-die associations regarding assisted suicide and their choices around disclosure.
Methods: A secondary data analysis on a cross-sectional qualitative interview study conducted in the Italian- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland was conducted. Interviews with 28 bereaved family members were analyzed using framework analysis.
Results: Two main themes were identified: (1) Interactions with physicians and right-to-die associations. (2) Choices about disclosing their experiences. In general, families believed that assisted suicide is a private matter, to be pursued mainly outside the medical field and involved physicians only when necessary. Families appeared to deliberately limit interaction with physicians and to be more comfortable interacting with the right-to-die associations. Some participants presumed a clear choice between assisted suicide or palliative care. Disclosing to others the decision, and preparation of assisted suicide emerged to be an important emotional burden for families. Some family members preferred to restrict disclosure before and after assisted suicide, by sometimes not informing other family members until the final days.
Conclusions : In Switzerland, there is limited interaction between families and health care professionals concerning assisted suicide decisions, whereas families reported more open interactions with right-to-die associations. It is recommended that the needs of families should be reflected in health policies, taking into consideration the different contexts where assisted dying is permitted.
INTRODUCTION: Family caregiver-provider communication is essential to making an effective hospice care transition for patients. Despite the importance of this topic, there is little information about how caregivers in rural US-Mexico border regions navigate hospice care transition and their needs. This study explores the family caregivers' experience relating to their end-of-life (EOL) communication and needs for hospice care transition.
METHODS: In-depth interviews using qualitative methods were conducted with 28 informal caregivers of patients who are enrolled in home hospice care in a rural US-Mexico border region. Thematic analysis was applied to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Qualitative themes that emerged include (1) lack of/insufficient EOL communication and (2) informational needs, including (a) signs of symptom changes, (b) EOL treatment options and goals of care, and (c) hospice care and its benefits. Limited caregiver-provider EOL communication was observed, in which the majority of the caregivers (n = 22, 78.6%) were informed of the patient's terminal condition, but only half (n = 15, 53.6%) had a discussion with the providers about hospice care.
CONCLUSION: Timely EOL communication between caregivers and the providers is key to the patient's optimal transition to hospice care. Providers need to be aware of the caregivers' informational needs relating to patient symptoms and health condition as well as hospice care. It is important to be aware of the impact of cultural values on hospice care placement. A clear explanation about the purpose and functions of hospice care and its benefit can better guide the family caregivers in making hospice care decisions.
Ce livre regroupe l'ensemble des informations nécessaires à la pratique des soins palliatifs pédiatriques : cadre réglementaire, concepts théoriques et projet de soin. Ayant pour fil conducteur les questions auxquelles le praticien et les équipes sont confrontés au quotidien, l'ouvrage prend en compte les interactions pluridisciplinaires.
Les émotions, un concept vaste, complexe, et surtout affectant tout être humain...
Nous avons décidé par ce mémoire de travailler sur les émotions des soignants dans le cadre des soins palliatifs car ce sujet nous semble délicat, subjectif mais omniprésent dans notre profession.
Nous avons tenté de définir ce concept, d'amener une réflexion sur ce sujet et sur les difficultés potentielles rencontrées par les soignants, ainsi que l'impact sur la relation de soin.
Nous avons défini également le concept de l'intelligence émotionnelle en réfléchissant sur le fait, que cette dernière pourrait être un atout de soin.
Puis, nous avons tenté de démontrer que l'dentification de ses propres émotions par les soignants permettait une présence authentique auprès de la personne en fin de vie, et que, la présence authentique du soignant permettait à la personne soignée d'exprimer son ressenti...
The aim of this article is to explore the concept of medical futility and the withdrawal of care for children in intensive care units. There have been several recent cases where medical staff have considered that there was no possibility of recovery for a child, yet their clinical judgments were challenged by the parents. The private anguish of these families became public, social media heightened emotions and this was followed by political and religious intrusion. Innovations in medical treatment and technological advances raise issues for all those involved in the care of children and young people especially when decisions need to be made about end of life care. Healthcare professionals have a moral and legal obligation to determine when treatment should cease in cases where it is determined to be futile. The aim should be to work collaboratively with parents but all decisions must be made in the best interests of the child. However, medical staff and parents may have differing opinions about care decisions. In part, this may be as a result of their unique relationships with the child and different understanding of the extent to which the child is in discomfort or can endure pain.