L’article est une approche anthropologique de la mort à l’hôpital. L’analyse s’appuie sur la littérature produite sur ce sujet, sur les enquêtes menées par les deux auteures, en France et ailleurs (Madagascar et Maroc) et sur la consultation de médecine transculturelle qu’elles animent au CHU de Bordeaux. La mort et son sens y sont examinés à travers l’histoire en Occident et par des exemples de médicalisation dans d’autres contextes. Les rituels funéraires s’avèrent indispensables dans certaines cultures pour le devenir du mort et la paix des vivants. En Occident, les rituels se sont amenuisés, et la médicalisation, l’individualisme, la marginalisation des croyances religieuses, font que le sens de la mort s’est modifié. La culture de fin de vie qui est mise en œuvre dans les hôpitaux est pensée pour que la personne puisse donner un sens à sa vie et non pour la préparer à un au-delà. Des exemples sont pris dans différents services du CHU de Bordeaux. Les équipes inventent collectivement des gestes, des accompagnements par les paroles, pour que la fin de vie soit la plus apaisée. En effet, le risque le plus grave à l’hôpital est de mourir seul, condition infâme et violente que redoutent tous, patients, familles et soignants.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the rate of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) and do-not-hospitalize (DNH) orders among residents newly admitted into long-term care homes. We also assessed the association between DNR and DNH orders with hospital admissions, deaths in hospital, and survival.
DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Admissions in all 640 publicly funded long-term care homes in Ontario, Canada, between January 1, 2010 and March 1, 2012 (n = 49,390).
MEASURES: We examined if a DNR and/or DNH was recorded on resident's admission assessment. All residents were followed until death, discharge, or end of study to ascertain rates of several outcomes, including death and hospitalization, controlling for resident characteristics.
RESULTS: Upon admission, 60.7% of residents were recorded to have a DNR and 14.8% a DNH order. Those who were older, female, widowed, lived in rural facilities, lived in higher income neighborhoods prior to entry, had higher health instability or cognitive impairment, and spoke English or French were more likely to receive a DNR or DNH. Survival time was only slightly shorter for those with a DNR and DNH with a mean of 145 and 133 days, respectively, vs 160 and 153 days for those without a DNR and DNH. After controlling for age, sex, rurality, neighborhood income, marital status, health instability, cognitive performance score, and multimorbidity, DNR and DNH were associated with an odds ratio of 0.57 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53-0.62] and 0.41 (95% CI 0.37-0.46) for dying in hospital, respectively. Those with a DNR and DNH, after adjustment, had an incidence rate ratio of 0.87 (95% CI 0.83-0.90) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.67-0.73), respectively, days spent in hospital.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: This study outlines identifiable factors influencing whether residents have a DNR and/or DNH order upon admission. Both orders led to lower rates, but not absolute avoidance, of hospitalizations near and at death.
CONTEXT: Providing nonbeneficial care at the end of life and delays in initiating comfort care have been associated with provider and nurse moral distress.
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate provider and nurse moral distress when using a comfort care order set and attitudes about timing of initiating comfort care for hospitalized patients.
METHODS: Cross-sectional survey of providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) and nurses at 2 large academic hospitals in 2015. Providers and nurses were surveyed about their experiences providing comfort care in an inpatient setting.
RESULTS: Two hundred five nurse and 124 provider surveys were analyzed. A greater proportion of nurses compared to providers reported experiencing moral distress "some, most, or all of the time" when using the comfort care order set (40.5% and 19.4%, respectively, P = .002). Over 60% of nurses and providers reported comfort care was generally started too late in a patient's course, with physician trainees (81.4%), as well as providers (80.9%) and nurses (84.0%) < 5 years from graduating professional school most likely to report that comfort care is generally started too late.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of providers and nurses reported that comfort care was started too late in a patient's course. Nurses experienced higher levels of moral distress than providers when caring for patients using a comfort care order set. Further research is needed to determine what is driving this moral distress in order to tailor interventions for nurses and providers.
BACKGROUND: Patients with terminal conditions are often admitted to the emergency department (ED) for acute medical services, but studies have suggested that multiple ED admissions may negatively impact end-of-life (EOL) care. Research have shown that incorporating palliative care (PC) is integral to optimal EOL care, but it is an aspect of medical practice that is often neglected. The current study sought to provide an overview of health outcomes and hospital costs of patients with cancer admitted to The Ottawa Hospital and/or received acute medical services during their final 2 weeks of life. Cost comparisons and estimates were made between hospital and hospice expenditures.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of palliative patients who died at The Ottawa Hospital in 2012. A total of 130 patients who visited the ED within 2 weeks of death were included in the analyses.
RESULTS: In this cohort of patients, 71% of admitted patients did not have advanced care directives and 85% experienced a metastasis, but only 18% had a PC medical doctor. Patients were hospitalized, on average, for 7 days and hospitalization costs exceeded the estimated hospice cost by approximately 2.5 times (Can$1 041 170.00 at Can$8009.00/patient vs Can$401 570.00 at Can$3089.00/patient, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Our study highlighted the importance of PC integration in high-risk patients, such as those in oncology. Patients in our sample had minimal PC involvement, low advanced care directives, and accrued high costs. Based on our analyses, we concluded that these patients would have likely benefited more from hospice care rather than hospitalization.
BACKGROUND: Person-centred palliative care poses high demands on professionals and patients regarding appropriate and effective communication and informed decision-making. This is even more so for patients with limited health literacy, as they lack the necessary skills to find, understand and apply information about their health and healthcare. Recognizing patients with limited health literacy and adapting the communication, information provision and decision-making process to their skills and needs is essential to achieve desired person-centred palliative care. The aim of this study is to summarize available strategies and tools for healthcare providers towards successful communication, information provision and/or shared decision-making in supporting patients with limited health literacy in hospital-based palliative care in Western countries.
METHODS: A scoping review was conducted. First, databases PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO were searched. Next, grey literature was examined using several online databases and by contacting national experts. In addition, all references of included studies were checked.
RESULTS: Five studies were included that showed that there are face-to-face, written as well as online strategies available for healthcare providers to support communication, information provision and, to a lesser extent, (shared) decision-making in palliative care for patients with limited health literacy. Strategies that were mentioned several times were: teach-back method, jargon-free communication and developing and testing materials with patients with limited health literacy, among others. Two supporting tools were found: patient decision aids and question prompt lists.
CONCLUSIONS: To guarantee high quality person-centred palliative care, the role of health literacy should be considered. Although there are several strategies available for healthcare providers to facilitate such communication, only few tools are offered. Moreover, the strategies and tools appear not specific for the setting of palliative care, but seem helpful for providers to support the communication, information provision and decision making with patients with limited health literacy in general. Future research should focus on which strategies or tools are (most) effective in supporting patients with limited health literacy in palliative care, and the implementation of these strategies and tools in practice.
The recent controversy around the hospital end of life care has highlighted the vulnerability of dying patients and their families. However, little is known about how social workers provide support and intervention around the end of life in the hospital. Eight hospital social workers provided qualitative descriptions of their clinical practice for adult patients and their families. Highlighting a theoretical orientation towards a person-in-environment approach, social workers develop unique interventions to contribute to multidisciplinary care. Findings emphasize the need to prepare social work students and clinicians for the reality of working with end of life issues.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the patterns of end-of-life (EOL) health care for older Mexican-Americans with or without a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD). Our objective was to investigate the frequency of acute hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) use, and ventilator use during the last 30-days of life for deceased older Mexican-American Medicare Beneficiaries with and without an ADRD diagnosis.
METHODS: We used Medicare claims data linked with survey information from 1,090 participants (mean age of death 85.1 years) of the Hispanic EPESE. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds for hospitalization, ICU use, and ventilator use in the last 30-days of life for decedents with ADRD compared to those without ADRD. Generalized linear models were used to estimate risk ratio for length of hospital stay (LOS).
RESULTS: Within the last 30-days of life, 64.5% of decedents had an acute hospitalization (59.1% ADRD, 68.3% no ADRD), 33.9% had an ICU stay (31.3% ADRD, 35.8% no ADRD), and 17.2% used a ventilator (14.9% ADRD, 18.8% no ADRD). ADRD was associated with significantly lower hospitalizations (OR=0.67, 95% CI=0.50-0.89) and shorter LOS (RR=0.77, 95% CI=0.65-0.90).
CONCLUSION: Hospitalization, ICU stay, and ventilator use are common at the end of life for older Mexican-Americans. The lower hospitalization and shorter LOS of decedents with ADRD indicate a modest reduction in acute care use. Future research should investigate the impact of EOL planning on acute-care use and quality of life in terminally ill Mexican-American older adults.
This study develops and examines the validity and reliability of 2 scales, respectively, for evaluating nursing care and the experience of difficulties providing nursing care for dying patients with cancer and their families. A cross-sectional anonymous questionnaire was administered to nursing staff caring for dying patients with cancer and their families in 4 general hospitals and a university hospital in Japan. The instruments assessed were the Nursing Care Scale for Dying Patients and Their Families (NCD) and the Nurse’s Difficulty Scale for Dying Patients and Their Families (NDD). Of the 497 questionnaires sent to nurses, 401 responses (80%) were analyzed. Factor analyses revealed that the NCD and NDD consisted of 12 items with 4 subscales: "symptom management," "reassessment of current treatment and nursing care," "explanation to family," and "respect for the patient and family’s dignity before and after death." These scales had sufficient convergent and discriminative validity, sufficient internal consistency (a of subscales: NCD, 0.71-0.87; NDD, 0.74-0.93), and sufficient test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient of subscales: NCD, 0.59-0.81; NDD, 0.67-0.82) to be used as self-assessments and evaluation tools in education programs to improve the quality of nursing care for the dying patients and their families.
BACKGROUND: Nurses in inpatient palliative care are frequently exposed to death and dying in addition to common stressors found in other nursing practice. Resilience may mitigate against stress but remains ill-defined and under-researched in the specialist palliative care setting.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic review was to understand resilience from the perspectives of inpatient palliative care nurses.
DESIGN: A thematic synthesis of qualitative studies was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.
DATA SOURCES: Academic Search Ultimate, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline Complete, PsycINFO and Scopus.
REVIEW METHODS: The review stages were searching for relevant literature, selecting relevant papers, data extraction, critical appraisal and thematic synthesis.
RESULTS: Eight studies revealed 10 subthemes, 3 descriptive themes and 1 analytical theme: resilience occurs when nurses incorporate stressful aspects of their personal or professional lives into a coherent narrative that enhances their ability to cope with the demands of their role.
CONCLUSION: Palliative care nursing is more stressful if patients or situations remind nurses of personal experiences. Nurses cope better with adequate support; however, coping does not necessarily imply increased resilience. Resilience occurs when nurses cognitively process their experiences, articulate their thoughts and feelings into a coherent narrative, and construct a sense of meaning or purpose. Future research could explore how nurses understand resilience and how it could be enhanced in the palliative care inpatient setting. With resilience, nurses may remain in the profession longer and improve the quality of care when they do.
Background: Important administrative-based measures of hospital quality, including those used by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, may not adequately account for patient illness and social factors that vary between hospitals and can strongly affect outcomes. Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order on admission (within the first 24 hours) is one such factor that may reflect higher preadmission illness burden as well as patients’ desire for less-intense therapeutic interventions and has been shown to vary widely between hospitals. We sought to evaluate how accounting for early DNR affected hospital quality measures for acute myocardial infarction.
Methods and results: We identified all patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction using the California State Inpatient Database, which captures early DNR use within 24 hours of admission. We generated hospital risk-standardized mortality and readmissions using random-effects logistic regression, before and after including early DNR status, to examine changes in overall model fit and hospital outlier designations. We included 109 521 patients from 289 hospitals and found that 8.5% (9356) patients had early DNR. Early DNR use varied widely, with median (interquartile range) hospital rates of 7.9% (4.1%–14.0%). Including early DNR in models used to assess hospital quality resulted in improvement in the mortality model (C statistics from 0.754 [0.748–0.759] to 0.784 [0.779–0.789]) but not the readmissions model. Of the hospitals designated high outliers for mortality and readmissions by the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services model, and therefore destined for a financial penalty, 6/25 (24%) were reclassified as nonoutliers for mortality and 2/14 (14.3%) for readmissions after including DNR status. Agreement in outlier status between the models before and after inclusion of early DNR status was moderate for mortality ( , 0.603 [0.482–0.724]; P<0.001) and high for readmissions ( , 0.888 [0.800–0.977]; P<0.001).
Conclusions: Including early DNR status in risk-adjustment models significantly improved model fit and resulted in substantial reclassification of hospital performance rankings for mortality and moderate reclassification for readmissions. DNR status at hospital admission should be considered when reporting risk-standardized hospital mortality.
Introduction: Stroke is the development of a focal neurological disturbance lasting >24 h, of vascular origin. In India, stroke is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Most stroke patients, during their duration of treatment and posthospitalization, want relief of suffering, a sense of control and minimized burden on the family.
Aim: The aim of this study is to describe treating doctors' perspectives on the palliative needs of stroke patients in India.
Methodology: This qualitative study was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in South India. A total of 17 doctors involved in the care of stroke patients were interviewed, using an interview guide. The interviews were audio recorded simultaneously. The audio recording was transcribed verbatim, and the data were coded using a grounded theory approach. An inductive approach using thematic analysis was used to manually analyze the data.
Results: Eight themes emerged. (1) Functional disability: loss of independence due to immobility, speech deficits, visual disturbances, feeding difficulties, and incontinence cause immense distress. (2) Physical burden: pain in the form of central poststroke pain, periarthritic shoulder, psychogenic pain, and various sequela of chronic bed bound state like bed sores and pneumonia add to the burden. (3) Psychological needs: depression is common in stroke patients along with other psychological issues such as anxiety, agitation, apathetic state, and behavioral disturbances (4) Social issues: Cost of treatment of stroke patients coupled with their loss of employment leads to huge economic burden. They also face abandonment by children or spouse, in all sections of socioeconomic strata. (5) Caregiver burden: caregiver has a major role in a setting of stroke and in the long-term affects all domains of their lives, compromising their psychological and physical health. (6) Counseling-an unmet need: counseling is particularly important in a setting of stroke for the patient as well as the caregivers and results in a better patient outcome. However, clinicians expressed that it was inadequate due to the huge patient load, time constraints, and lack of effective counseling skills. (7) Spiritual needs: few clinicians stated that existential distress and spiritual struggle are seen in debilitated stroke victims and are often unaddressed. (8) Issues at the end of life care: patients with massive stroke, multiple comorbidities, and poor rehabilitative potential requires end of life care.
Conclusions: From the interviews of the clinicians, we can conclude that care of a stroke patient is more than medical management and rehabilitation, as several other aspects of the patient's life are affected by the condition. The quality of life aspect has to be looked upon as an area that requires active intervention in a setting of stroke. Physical disabilities were viewed as the most significant factor in reducing the quality of life. Spiritual needs have a low priority in comparison to other physical needs. Due to high patient load and time constraints, many of the needs are unaddressed. Two important areas where palliative medicine has a major role in a setting of stroke are counseling and alleviating caregiver burden. However, referral of stroke patients to palliative medicine is low and further research to identify barriers to specialist palliative care of stroke patients will help in promoting the referrals to palliative medicine.
Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate palliative care needs and to describe the cohort of children with life-limiting illnesses (LLI) dying in hospitals.
Design: This study was a retrospective cohort study. The national hospital admissions database was reviewed and children who had died who had life-limiting illnesses were identified.
Setting: This study was conducted at Ministry of Health hospitals, Malaysia.
Patients: Children aged 18 years and below who had died between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014.
Main Outcome Measures: Life-limiting diagnoses based on Hain et al.'s directory of LLI or the ACT/RCPCH categories of life-limiting disease trajectories.
Results: There were 8907 deaths and 3958 (44.4%) were that of children with LLI. The majority, 2531 (63.9%) of children with LLI were neonates, and the most common diagnosis was extreme prematurity <28 weeks with 676 children (26.7%). For the nonneonatal age group, the median age at admission was 42 months (1-216 months). A majority, 456 (32.0%) had diagnoses from the ICD-10 chapter "Neoplasms" followed by 360 (25.3%) who had a diagnoses from "Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities" and 139 (9.7%) with diagnoses from "Disease of the nervous system." While a majority of the terminal admissions were to the general ward, there were children from the nonneonatal age group, 202 (14.2%) who died in nonpediatric wards.
Conclusion: Understanding the characteristics of children with LLI who die in hospitals could contribute toward a more efficient pediatric palliative care (PPC) service development. PPC service should include perinatal and neonatal palliative care. Palliative care education needs to extend to nonpediatric healthcare providers who also have to manage children with LLI.
Importance: The recent parenteral opioid shortage (POS) has potential implications for cancer-related pain management in hospitalized patients.
Objective: This study compared changes in opioid prescriptions and clinically improved pain (CIP) among patients treated by an inpatient palliative care (PC) team before and after our institution first reported the POS.
Design, Setting, and Participants: A cohort study of 386 eligible patients with cancer treated at a comprehensive cancer center 1 month before and after the announcement of the POS. We reviewed data from electronic health records, including patient demographics, opioid type, route of administration, and dose. Board-certified palliative care specialists assessed CIP at follow-up day 1.
Exposures: The announcement of the POS by the institution's pharmacy and therapeutics committee on February 8, 2018.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was to measure the change in opioid prescription patterns of physicians, and the secondary outcome was to measure the proportion of patients who achieved CIP before and after announcement of the POS.
Results: Of 386 eligible patients, 196 were men (51%), 270 were white (70%), and the median age was 58 years (interquartile range, 46-67 years). Parenteral opioids were prescribed less frequently by the referring oncology teams after the POS (56 of 314 [18%]) vs before the POS (109 of 311 [35%]) (P < .001). The PC team also prescribed fewer parenteral opioids after the POS (96 of 336 [29%]) vs before the POS (159 of 338 [47%]) (P < .001). After the POS (vs before the POS), significantly fewer patients achieved CIP on follow-up day 1 (119 [62%] vs 144 [75%] of 193; P = .01). Multivariate analysis showed that before the POS, patients had an 89% higher chance of achieving CIP on follow-up day 1 (odds ratio, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.22-2.94; P = .005).
Conclusions and Relevance: There was a significant change in opioid prescription patterns associated with the POS. Furthermore, after the POS, fewer patients achieved CIP. These factors have potential implications for patient satisfaction and hospital length of stay.
BACKGROUND: Respiratory distress protocols (RDPs) are protocolized prescriptions comprised of 3 medications (a benzodiazepine, an opioid, and an anticholinergic) administered simultaneously as an emergency treatment for respiratory distress in palliative care patients in the province of Quebec, Canada. However, data on appropriate use that justifies the combination of all 3 components is scarce and based on individual pharmacodynamic properties along with expert consensus.
OBJECTIVES: Our study aimed to evaluate the conformity and the effectiveness of RDPs prescribed and administered to hospitalized adult patients.
METHODS: This was a prospective and descriptive study conducted in a single center. Prescription and administration conformity were assessed based on predefined appropriateness criteria.
RESULTS: A total of 467 adult patients were prescribed a RDP, 175 administrations were documented, and 78 patients received at least 1 RDP. Prescription conformity was assessed on 1473 separate occasions over the trial period. Overall prescription conformity was found to be 37% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 33.6-40.4), and administration conformity was 37.7% (95% CI: 26.2-50.7). Low administration conformity was primarily explained by incorrect indications for RDP use. Seemingly important determinants of higher conformity were prescriber's speciality in palliative care, use of preprinted orders, pharmacist involvement, and hospitalization in the palliative care unit.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights important gaps in the use of RDPs in our institution. Health-care provider training appears necessary in order to ensure adequate conformity and allow for further evaluation of RDP effectiveness.
Severe chronic breathlessness in advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is undertreated and few patients access specialist palliative care in the years before death. This study aimed to determine if symptom palliation or a palliative approach were delivered during the final hospital admission in which death occurred. Retrospective medical record audits were completed at two Australian hospitals, with all patients who died from COPD over 12 years between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2015 included. Of 343 patients included, 217 (63%) were male with median age 79 years (IQR 71.4–85.0). Median respiratory function: FEV1 0.80L (42% predicted), FVC 2.02L (73% predicted) and DLco 9 (42% predicted). 164 (48%) used domiciliary oxygen. Sixty (18%) patients accessed specialist palliative care and 17 (5%) wrote an advance directive prior to the final admission. In the final admission, 252 (74%) patients had their goal of care changed to aim for comfort (palliation) and 99 (29%) were referred to specialist palliative care. Two hundred and eighty-six (83%) patients received opioids and 226 (66%) received benzodiazepines, within 1 or 2 days respectively after admission to palliate symptoms. Median starting and final opioid doses were 10 mg (IQR = 5–20) and 20 mg (IQR = 7–45) oral morphine equivalent/24 h. Hospital site and year of admission were significantly associated with palliative care provision. Respiratory and general physicians provided a palliative approach to the majority of COPD patients during their terminal admission, however, few patients were referred to specialist palliative care. Similarly, there were missed opportunities to offer symptom palliation and a palliative approach in the years before death.
OBJECTIVE: To examine a rural-serving HBPC program's 12-year experience and historical trends to inform future program direction and expansion.
BACKGROUND: There is limited information about longitudinal trends in mature hospital-based palliative care (HBPC) programs serving racially diverse rural populations.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study of operational and patient-reported outcomes from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Center for Palliative and Supportive Care (CPSC) inpatient (n=11,786) and outpatient (n=315) databases from October 2004 to March 2016.
RESULTS: Inpatients were a mean age of 63.7 years, male (50.1%), white (62.3%), general medicine referred (19.5%), primarily for goals of care (84.4%); 47.1% had "do not resuscitate/do not intubate" status and 46.9% were transferred to the Palliative Care and Comfort Unit (PCCU) after consultation. Median time from admission to consultation was three days, median PCCU length of stay (LOS) was four days, and median hospital LOS was nine days. Increased emergency department and cardiology referrals were notable in later years. Outpatients' mean age was 53.02 years, 63.5% were female, 76.8% were white, and 75.6% had a cancer diagnosis. Fatigue, pain, and disturbed sleep were the most common symptoms at the time of the visit; 34.6% reported mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. Of patients reporting pain (64.8%), one-third had 50% or less relief from pain treatment.
DISCUSSION: The CPSC, which serves a racially diverse rural population, has demonstrated robust growth. We are poised to scale and spread our lessons learned to underserved communities.
BACKGROUND: Opioid errors are a leading cause of patient harm and adversely impact palliative care inpatients' pain and symptom management. Yet, the factors contributing to opioid errors in palliative care are poorly understood. Identifying and better understanding the individual and system factors contributing to these errors is required to inform targeted strategies.
OBJECTIVES: To explore palliative care clinicians' perceptions of the factors contributing to opioid errors in Australian inpatient palliative care services.
DESIGN: A qualitative study using focus groups or semi-structured interviews.
SETTINGS: Three specialist palliative care inpatient services in New South Wales, Australia.
PARTICIPANTS: Inpatient palliative care clinicians who are involved with, and/or have oversight of, the services' opioid delivery or quality and safety processes.
METHODS: Deductive thematic content analysis of the qualitative data. The Yorkshire Contributory Factors Framework was applied to identify error-contributing factors.
FINDINGS: A total of 58 clinicians participated in eight focus groups and 20 semi-structured interviews. Nine key error contributory factor domains were identified, including: active failures; task characteristics of opioid preparation; clinician inexperience; sub-optimal skill mix; gaps in support from central functions; the drug preparation environment; and sub-optimal clinical communication.
CONCLUSION:: This study identified multiple system-level factors contributing to opioid errors in inpatient palliative care services. Any quality and safety initiatives targeting safe opioid delivery in specialist palliative care services needs to consider the full range of contributing factors, from individual to systems/latent factors, which promote error-causing conditions.
Objective: the aim of this study was to map end-of-life care in acute hospital settings against Elements 1-5 of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care's (ACSQHC) Essential Elements for Safe and High-Quality End-of-Life Care.
Methods: A retrospective medical record audit of deceased in-patients was conducted from 2016 at one public (n = 320) and one private (n = 132) hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Ten variables, key to end-of-life care according to the ACSQHC's Elements 1-5 were used to evaluate end-of-life care.
Results: Most patients (87.2%) had a limitation of medical treatment. In 91.97% (P < 0.0001) of cases, a written entry indicating poor prognosis preceded a documented decision to provide end-of-life care, with a documented decision noted in 81.1% of cases (P < 0.0001). Evidence of pastoral care involvement was found in 41.6% of cases (P < 0.0001), with only 33.1% of non-palliative care patients referred to specialist palliative care personnel (P = 0.059). An end-of-life care pathway was used in 51.1% of cases (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: There is clear scope for improvement in end-of-life care provision. Health services need to mandate and operationalise Elements 1-5 of the ACSQHC's Essential Elements into care systems and processes, and ensure nationally consistent, high-quality end-of-life care.What is known about the topic? Acute care settings provide the majority of end-of-life care. Despite the ACSQHC's Ten Essential Elements, little is known about whether current end-of-life care practices align with recommendations. What does this paper add? There is room for improvement in providing patient-centred care, increasing family involvement and teamwork, describing and enacting goals of care and using triggers to prompt care. Differences between public and private hospitals may be the result of differences in standard practice or policy and differences in cultural diversity.What are the implications for practitioners? The Essential Elements need to be mandated and operationalised into mainstream care systems and processes as a way of ensuring safe and high-quality end-of-life care.
Purpose: Patients with haematological malignancies are more likely to die in hospital, and less likely to access palliative care than people with other cancers, though the reasons for this are not well understood. The purpose of our study was to explore haematology nurses' perspectives of their patients’ places of care and death.
Method: Qualitative description, based on thematic content analysis. Eight haematology nurses working in secondary and tertiary hospital settings were purposively selected and interviewed. Transcriptions were coded and analysed for themes using a mainly inductive, cross-comparative approach.
Results: Five inter-related factors were identified as contributing to the likelihood of patients’ receiving end of life care/dying in hospital: the complex nature of haematological diseases and their treatment; close clinician-patient bonds; delays to end of life discussions; lack of integration between haematology and palliative care services; and barriers to death at home.
Conclusions: Hospital death is often determined by the characteristics of the cancer and type of treatment. Prognostication is complex across subtypes and hospital death perceived as unavoidable, and sometimes the preferred option. Earlier, frank conversations that focus on realistic outcomes, closer integration of palliative care and haematology services, better communication across the secondary/primary care interface, and an increase in out-of-hours nursing support could improve end of life care and facilitate death at home or in hospice, when preferred.