Context: Evidence-based resource allocation is receiving increasing attention as we strive for equity, transparency, and cost-effectiveness across health care. In the context of finite resources, which of our patients with terminal illness should be prioritized for urgent palliative care?
Objectives: To develop the scoring system for the novel Responding to Urgency of Need in Palliative Care triage tool.
Methods: Online international discrete choice experiment involving palliative care clinicians to establish the relative importance of seven key attributes of palliative care triage identified during an earlier qualitative study.
Results: Participants (n = 772) were mainly female (79.9%) with a decade of clinical experience. All attributes contributed significantly (all P-values < 0.001) and independently to clinician assessment of urgency. This study found physical suffering (coefficient 3.45; 95% confidence interval: 3.24 to 3.66) was the most important determinant of urgency, followed by imminent dying (coefficient 1.56; 1.43 to 1.69), psychological suffering (coefficient 1.49; 1.37 to 1.60), caregiver distress (coefficient 1.47; 1.35 to 1.59), discrepancy between care needs and care arrangements (coefficient 1.14; 1.02 to 1.26), mismatch between current and desired site of care (coefficient 0.94; 0.85 to 1.03), and unmet communication needs (coefficient 0.84; 0.76 to 0.92).
Conclusion: Palliative care triage, which is complex and contextual, has been made more transparent through this discrete choice experiment. The Responding to Urgency of Need in Palliative Care triage tool provides an important step toward evidence-based assessment of priority for palliative care. Further research is underway to determine the validity of the tool in clinical practice and its impact on patient and caregiver outcomes.
Dans cette réflexion sur les soins palliatifs, nous pointons la parole médicale comme structurellement traumatique.
Fréquemment, elle bloque le sujet à l’Éternel présent et rend difficile la projection vers l’à-venir.
Nous avançons ici l’idée que l’accompagnement palliatif aide à se dégager de ce traumatisme. Nous distinguerons deux positions relationnelles différentes dans le rapport au patient, positions qui occasionnent des modalités distinctes de maniement de la parole...
Hospital palliative care is an essential part of the COVID-19 response but data are lacking. We identified symptom burden, management, response to treatment, and outcomes for a case series of 101 in-patients with confirmed COVID-19 referred to hospital palliative care. Patients (64 male, median [IQR] age 82 [72-89] years, Elixhauser Comorbidity Index 6 [2-10], Australian-modified Karnofsky Performance Status 20 [10-20]), were most frequently referred for end of life care or symptom control. Median [IQR] days from hospital admission to referral was 4 [1-12] days. Most prevalent symptoms (n) were breathlessness (67), agitation (43), drowsiness (36), pain (23) and delirium (24). Fifty-eight patients were prescribed a subcutaneous infusion. Frequently used medicines (median-maximum dose/24h) were opioids (morphine, 10-30mg; fentanyl, 100-200mcg; alfentanil 500-1000 mcg) and midazolam (10-20mg). Infusions were assessed as at least partially effective for 40/58 patients, while 13 patients died before review. Patients spent a median [IQR] of 2 [1-4] days under the palliative care team, who made 3 [2-5] contacts across patient, family and clinicians. At March 30 2020, 75 patients had died, 13 been discharged back to team, home or hospice, and 13 continued to receive inpatient palliative care. Palliative care is an essential component to the COVID-19 response, and teams must rapidly adapt with new ways of working. Breathlessness and agitation are common but respond well to opioids and benzodiazepines. Availability of subcutaneous infusion pumps is essential. An international minimum dataset for palliative care would accelerate finding answers to new questions as the COVID-19 pandemic develops.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought a tsunami of suffering that is devastating even well resourced countries. The disease has wreaked havoc on health systems and generated immense losses for families, communities, and economies, in addition to the growing death toll. Patients, caregivers, health-care providers, and health systems can benefit from the extensive knowledge of the palliative care community and by taking heed of long-standing admonitions to improve access to essential medicines, particularly opioids for the relief of breathlessness and pain.
Introduction: Many patients and their families are hesitant to consult a palliative care (PC) team. In 2014, approximately 6,000,000 people in the United States could benefit from PC, and this number is expected to increase over the next 25 years.
Objectives: The purpose of this review is to shed light on the significance of PC and provide a holistic view outlining both the benefits and existing barriers.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE (PubMed), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science to identify articles published in journals from 1948 to 2019. A narrative approach was used to search the grey literature.
Discussion: Traditionally, the philosophy behind PC was based on alleviating suffering associated with terminal illnesses; PC was recommended only after other treatment options had been exhausted. However, the tenets of PC are applicable to anyone with a life-threatening illness as it is beneficial in conjunction with traditional treatments. It is now recognized that PC services are valuable when initiated alongside disease-modifying therapy early in the disease course. Studies have shown that PC decreased total symptom burden, reduced hospitalizations, and enabled patients to remain safely at home.
Conclusion: As the population ages and chronic illnesses become more widespread, there continues to be a growing need for PC programs. The importance of PC should not be overlooked despite existing barriers such as the lack of professional training and the cost of implementation. Education and open discussion play essential roles in the successful early integration of PC.
Background : Despite significant developments in palliative care in recent decades, we still find important differences in access to and delivery of care in rural Norway.
Objective : The aim of this study was to explore what healthcare professionals consider necessary to provide equality in care for palliative patients in rural areas.
Methods : A qualitative approach with focus group discussions and individual interviews with 52 health professionals was used, starting with 5 uniprofessional focus groups of general practitioners and nurses/cancer nurses, followed by 5 interprofessional groups and 6 individual interviews. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically.
Results : We found local variations in organization, competence and access to palliative care, and challenging geographical conditions. It was essential to be proactive, flexible and willing to go the extra mile, but this may conceal the need for a stronger focus on competence and organization of palliative care. Access to written guidelines and practical tools was important, as was forming palliative teams for particular situations.
Conclusions : palliative care needs strengthening in rural areas, and increased competence for all healthcare professionals is vital to increase equality in care. Geographical conditions require locally adapted solutions. Access to guidelines and interprofessional collaboration are essential.
Implications for Practice : Rural palliative care needs in Norway are improving, as exemplified by at least 1 cancer nurse assigned to each local authority, and access to guidelines and palliative tools and interprofessional collaboration.
Caregiving and bereavement outcomes are strongly influenced by socio-cultural context. Past research has found higher levels of caregiver burden and psychological morbidity in Portuguese compared to Brazilian caregivers. This study compared Brazilian and Portuguese family caregivers in palliative care to identify differences in psychological morbidity and caregiver burden and their relationship with psychosocial factors such as sociodemographic variables, circumstances of end-of-life care and dying, social support, family functioning, and perception of quality of care. Prospective data were collected from convenience samples of family caregivers in Brazil (T0 n = 60; T1 n = 35) and Portugal (T0 n = 75; T1 n = 29) at two separate time points—during caregiving (T0), and during the first two months of bereavement (T1). The study samples consisted mostly of women, offspring, and spouses. In both countries, family caregivers devoted most of their day to taking care of their sick relatives and reported a lack of practical support. Portuguese caregivers had higher levels of burden than Brazilian caregivers, and in both populations a greater burden was associated with more psychopathological symptoms. Higher caregiver burden among Portuguese caregivers was associated with the circumstances of death and the perceived lack of emotional support. Among Portuguese caregivers, symptomatology persisted during bereavement, reaching significantly higher levels of anxiety, somatization, and peritraumatic symptoms compared to the Brazilian sample. These results show differences between family caregiver samples in Portugal and Brazil during the bereavement process. Understanding the underlying cultural patterns and mechanisms requires future research.
Objective: this metaresearch of the clinicaltrials.gov database aims to evaluate how clinical research on palliative care is conducted within the setting of advanced cancer.
Methods: clinicaltrials.gov was searched to identify registered studies recruiting patients with cancer, and investigating issues relevant to palliative care. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C15-PAL (Quality of Life in palliative cancer care patients) questionnaire was taken into account to define the research domains of interest. Studies investigating cancer-directed therapy, management of cancer treatment-related adverse events and diagnostic tests were excluded. Publication status was crosschecked using PubMed.
Results: Of 3950 identified studies, 514 were included. The most frequent reason for exclusion was cancer-directed therapy (2491). In 2007–2012, 161 studies were registered versus 245 in 2013–2018. Included studies were interventional (84%) or observational (16%). Most studies were monocentric (60%), sponsored by academia (79%), and conducted in North America (57%) or Europe (25%). Seventy-nine per cent of studies evaluated a heterogeneous population (>1 tumour type). Interventional studies most frequently investigated systemic drugs (34%), behavioural interventions (29%) and procedures for pain (24%). Pain, quality of life and physical function were the most frequently studied research domains (188, 95 and 52 studies, respectively). The most applied primary outcome measures were efficacy/symptom control (61%), quality of life (14%) and feasibility (12%). Only 16% of the closed studies had published results in PubMed.
Conclusions: Our study describes the heterogeneous landscape of studies conducted to address the issues of patients with advanced cancer in palliative care. Albeit the observed increase in the number of studies over the last decade, the generalisation of the results brought by the existing trials is limited due to methodological issues and lack of reporting. A greater effort is needed to improve clinical research that supports evidence-based palliative cancer care.
While the whole population is at risk from infection with the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), older people – often frail and subject to multimorbidity – are at highest risk for severe and fatal disease. Experience from Italy shows a median age at death of 79 years for men and 82 for women. Severe illness with an uncertain outcome and end-of-life situations call for good palliative care for the patients concerned. The Association for Geriatric Palliative Medicine (FGPG) promotes the integration of a palliative care approach and skills into the care of elderly and very elderly people – both in the inpatient setting and at home. The current pandemic and the publication of the SAMS Guidelines “COVID-19 pandemic: triage for intensive-care treatment under resource scarcity” have prompted the FGPG to prepare these recommendations for practice.
Background: Providing end of life care (EoLC) is an important aspect of primary care, which reduces the risk of hospital admission for most patients. However, general practitioners (GPs) seem to have low confidence in their ability to provide EoLC. Little is known about an adequate volume and kind of training in EoLC among GP trainees.
Methods: We performed a before-after comparison in all post-graduate GP trainees who were registered in the vocational training program (KWBW VerbundweiterbildungPLUS). They were offered participation within a two-day seminar focussing on palliative care in 2017. Those who attended the seminar (intervention group I) completed a paper-based questionnaire directly before the intervention (T1) and 6 months after (T2). None-attendees (group C) were also asked to fill out the questionnaire once. The questionnaire covered previous experiences in palliative care, self-assessment of competencies in EoLC in the organisation of patient care as well as in control of symptoms, attitudes towards death and caring for dying patients and questions about GPs’ role in EoLC.
Results: In total, 294 GP trainees (I: n = 219; C: n = 75) participated in the study. Of those, more than 90% had previously gained experience in EoLC mainly during vocational training in the hospital rotation. Around a third had previously gained competencies in EoLC in medical school. Between groups I (T1) and C no significant differences were observed in socio-demographic characteristics, pre-existing experience or overall expertise. At T2, 75% of participants of group I declared they have extended their competencies in EoLC after the intervention and 70% classified the intervention as helpful or very helpful. Overall, they rated their competencies significantly higher than at T1 (p < 0.01). In detail, competencies in organisation of EoLC and competencies in handling of symptoms significantly improved (p < 0.01). Due to the intervention, 66% could reflect their attitudes towards dying, death and grief and 18% changed their attitudes. Group I highlighted palliative care as one of GPs tasks (Likert 4.47/5, SD 0.75).
Conclusions: The intervention fostered personal competencies, understanding and self-confidence in EoLC among GP trainees. This is crucial for the aim to broadly provide EoLC.
Background: early involvement of palliative care and advance care planning improves quality of life outcomes and survival for patients with advanced lung cancer, however there are barriers to implementation.
Aims and Methods: A single-centre prospective audit reviewing “Goals of Care” (GOC) form completion and palliative care referrals in an oncology clinic was undertaken with the aim of increasing GOC completion and palliative care referrals for patients with advanced lung cancer. Involved physicians attended a communication skills course and then received a communication-priming interventions. Clinicopathological factors associated with GOC completion and palliative care referral were explored.
Results: 84 patients receiving palliative treatment for advanced lung cancer were enrolled. Clinicopathological factors, such as poorer performance status were associated with higher likelihood of GOC completion (p = 0.018) prior to the intervention. Male sex (p = 0.023), absence of a sensitising EGFR mutation or ALK rearrangement (p = 0.017), type of systemic therapy (p = 0.031) and poorer performance status (p < 0.001) were associated with higher likelihood of palliative care referral. The intervention improved GOC completion (RR 1.29 p = 0.004), however this was not sustained in a follow-up audit (RR 0.98 p = 0.92) and there was no change in palliative care referral rate (RR 2.5, p = 0.16). Predictors of palliative referral following clinical review included age (RR 1.16, p = 0.001), male sex (RR 14.2, p = 0.02) and poorer performance status (RR 1.76, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: communication-priming interventions can improve GOC completion for patients with advanced lung cancer. Further investigation is needed to pursue sustainable options for managing this complex patient group and improve guideline-adherence and patient care.
Objectives: An increasing number of children are living with complex chronic diseases (CCDs) due to medical advances. Despite a need for code status discussions (CSDs), there is great variability in the frequency and documentation of such conversations. The objective was to identify gaps in the documentation of CSDs within the electronic health record (EHR), focusing on patients with CCDs.
Methods: This was a retrospective review of all patients admitted from the emergency department of a tertiary care children's hospital in 2016. An EHR query using the Apache Hadoop cluster and manual review identified documentation of CSDs, including (1) code status orders, (2) advance directives, and (3) CSDs in provider notes. Patient complexity was stratified using the Pediatric Medical Complexity Algorithm 3.0. Comparative analysis was performed using chi-square, Kruskal–Wallis tests and multivariable logistic regression.
Results: There were 12,648 unique patients of whom 4157 (32.9%) had CCD. Only 209 (1.7%) patients had a code status documented, of whom 200 (95.7%) had CCD. Of 528 (4.2%) patients =18 years of age, 428 (81.1%) had CCD and only 65 (12.3%) had CSDs. Palliative care consultation increased odds of CSDs (OR: 21.4, 95% CI: 13.8–33.2, p < 0.0001), whereas African American race decreased odds of CSDs (OR: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.27–0.64, p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Among admitted pediatric patients, most do not have documentation of CSDs, including those with CCD and patients =18 years of age. Improvements in both frequency and consistency of CSD documentation are needed to inform the family-centered care of patients living with CCDs.
Background: Outcome measurement is an essential part of the evaluation of palliative care and the measurements need to be reliable, valid and adapted to the culture in which they are used. The Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS) is a widely used tool for assessing personal-level outcomes in palliative care. The aim of this study was to provide Czech version of IPOS and assess its psychometric properties.
Methods: Patients receiving palliative care in hospice or hospitals completed the IPOS. The reliability of Czech IPOS was tested with Cronbach alpha (for internal consistency), the intraclass correlation coefficient for total IPOS score and weighted Kappa (for test-retest reliability of individual items). Factor analysis was used for elucidating the construct (Exploratory Factor Analysis). Convergent validity was tested with correlation analysis (Spearman correlation) in a part of the sample, who completed also the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) and the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS).
Results: The sample consisted of 140 patients (mean age 72; 90 women; 81% oncological disease). The Cronbach alpha was 0.789; intraclass correlation was 0.88. The correlations of IPOS with ESAS was R = 0.4 and PPS R = - 0.2. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a 2-factor solution on our data. The first factor covers emotional and information needs and the second factor covers physical symptoms.
Conclusion: Czech IPOS has very good reliability regarding both internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Together with an item analysis results, we can conclude that the Czech adaptation of the tool was successful. The convergent validity needs to be assessed on the larger sample and the proposed 2-factor internal structure of the questionnaire has to be confirmed by using CFA.
Objectives: Research suggests that clinicians are not very accurate at prognosticating in palliative care. The ‘horizon effect’ suggests that accuracy ought to be better when the survival of patients is shorter. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of specialist palliative care clinicians at identifying which patients are likely to die within 72 hours.
Design In a secondary data analysis of a prospective observational study, specialist palliative care doctors and nurses (in a hospice and a hospital palliative care team) provided survival predictions (yes/no/uncertain) about which patients would die within 72 hours.
Results: Survival predictions were obtained for 49 patients. A prediction from a nurse was obtained for 37/49 patients. A prediction from a doctor was obtained for 46/49 patients. In total, 23 (47%)/49 patients actually died within 72 hours of assessment. Nurses accurately predicted the outcome in 27 (73%)/37 cases. Doctors accurately predicted the outcome in 30 (65%)/46 cases. When comparing predictions given on the same patients (27 [55%]/49), nurses were slightly better at recognising imminent death than doctors (positive predictive value (the proportion of patients who died when the clinician predicted death)=79% vs 60%, respectively). The difference in c-statistics (nurses 0.82 vs doctors 0.63) was not significant (p=0.13).
Conclusion: Even when patients are in the terminal phase and close to death, clinicians are not very good at predicting how much longer they will survive. Further research is warranted to improve prognostication in this population.
Xerostomia remains one of the most common and impactful side effects associated with radiotherapy for head and neck malignancies. With improvements in oncologic therapy and an improved prognosis for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) overall, the long-standing effects of therapy have become even more significant. Recent efforts have primarily focused on prevention of this morbidity through technological advances, reductions in radiotherapy fields, and radioprotectants. The promises of de-intensified strategies and proton radiation warrant ongoing investigation. However, palliative care for and active management of xerostomia before, during, and after treatment deserve further attention and research to define optimal approaches.
Background: Patients with cancer have high symptom burden and unmet needs and therefore can benefit from palliative care. Oncology nurses are consistent providers of care to patients with cancer and can provide palliative care to these patients. However, oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care has not been systematically evaluated.
Objective: To synthesize the current state of the science of oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care.
Methods: A systematic literature search was completed using PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and PsycINFO databases using the following key words: (oncology nurs*) AND (knowledge OR attitude OR belief OR perception) and (palliative care OR supportive care OR terminal care OR end-of-life care OR hospice). The quality of identified studies was rated on a 7-point scale using Fineout-Overholt’s hierarchy of evidence.
Results : Twenty studies from 10 different countries were identified and synthesized for this review. Seventeen studies were quantitative, whereas 3 were qualitative studies. Results revealed that oncology nurses lacked knowledge on several aspects of palliative care.
Conclusions : Overall oncology nurses did not possess adequate knowledge on palliative care. Factors influencing oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care included nurses’ sociodemographic factors, educational status, years of experience, palliative care education/training, and clinical setting.
Implications for practice : This review provides evidence on gaps of oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care and helps inform the design of interventions targeted toward enhancing oncology nurses’ knowledge on palliative care.
Context and Objectives: The myriad of benefits of early palliative care (PC) integration in oncology are well established, and emerging evidence suggests that PC improves symptom burden, mood, and quality of life for hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. Specific impact of PC consultation on outcomes of older allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT) recipients, a historically high-risk population vulnerable to transplant-related complications and mortality, has not been explored.
Design and Methods: In this single institution, retrospective analysis of 527 first allo-HCT recipients aged =60 years, we characterized 75 patients who had received post-HCT PC consultation and its association with geriatric vulnerabilities identified by pre-HCT geriatric assessment. We also examined end-of-life care outcomes among patients who died within one-year of allo-hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Results: In multivariate analysis, higher disease risk, female gender, and, importantly, pre-HCT functional limitation (hazard ratio 2.35, 95% confidence interval, 1.35–4.09, p = 0.003) were associated with post-HCT PC utilization. Within one-year of hematopoietic cell transplantation, 127 patients died; among those, recipients of early PC consultation had significantly higher rates of hospice enrollment (25% vs. 9%, p = 0.019) and lower rates of hospital death (71% vs. 90%, p = 0.013), intensive care unit admission (44% vs. 75%, p = 0.001), and high-intensity medical care in last 30 days of life (46% vs. 77%, p = 0.001).
Conclusions: Our results highlight important pre-HCT risk factors associated with increased PC needs posthematopoietic cell transplantation and benefits of PC involvement for older allo-HCT recipients at the end of life. Prospective studies should examine the optimal timing of PC consultation and its multidimensional benefits for older allo-HCT patients.
Background: Data quality is fundamental to the integrity of quantitative research. The role of external researchers in data quality assessment (DQA) remains ill-defined in the context of secondary use for research of large, centrally curated health datasets. In order to investigate equity of palliative care provided to Indigenous Australian patients, researchers accessed a now-historical version of a national palliative care dataset developed primarily for the purpose of continuous quality improvement.
Objectives: (i) To apply a generic DQA framework to the dataset and (ii) to report the process and results of this assessment and examine the consequences for conducting the research.
Method: The data were systematically examined for completeness, consistency and credibility. Data quality issues relevant to the Indigenous identifier and framing of research questions were of particular interest.
Results: The dataset comprised 477,518 records of 144,951 patients (Indigenous N = 1515; missing Indigenous identifier N = 4998) collected from participating specialist palliative care services during a period (1 January 2010–30 June 2015) in which data-checking systems underwent substantial upgrades. Progressive improvement in completeness of data over the study period was evident. The data were error-free with respect to many credibility and consistency checks, with anomalies detected reported to data managers. As the proportion of missing values remained substantial for some clinical care variables, multiple imputation procedures were used in subsequent analyses.
Conclusion and implications: In secondary use of large curated datasets, DQA by external researchers may both influence proposed analytical methods and contribute to improvement of data curation processes through feedback to data managers.
Purpose: Lack of appreciation of cultural differences may compromise care for seriously ill minority patients, yet culturally appropriate models of palliative care (PC) are not currently available in the United States. Rural patients with life-limiting illness are at high risk of not receiving PC. Developing a PC model that considers the cultural preferences of rural African Americans (AAs) and White (W) citizens is crucial. The goal of this study was to develop and determine the feasibility of implementing a culturally based PC tele-consult program for rural Southern AA and W elders with serious illness and their families, and assess its acceptability to patients, their family members, and clinicians.
Methods: This was a three-phase study conducted in rural Beaufort, South Carolina, from January 2013 to February 2016. We used Community-Based Participatory Research methods, including a Community Advisory Group (CAG) with equal numbers of AA and W members, to guide the study. Phase 1: Cultural values and preferences were determined through ethnic-based focus groups comprising family members (15 W and 16 AA) who had cared for a loved one who died within the past year. We conducted a thematic analysis of focus group transcripts, focused on cultural values and preferences, which was used as the basis for the study protocol. Phase 2: Protocol Development: We created a protocol team of eight CAG members, two researchers, two hospital staff members, and a PC physician. The PC physician explained the standard clinical guidelines for conducting PC consults, and CAG members proposed culturally appropriate programmatic recommendations for their ethnic group for each theme. All recommendations were incorporated into an ethnic-group specific protocol. Phase 3: The culturally based PC protocol was implemented by the PC physician via telehealth in the local hospital. We enrolled patients age =65 with a life-limiting illness who had a family caregiver referred by a hospitalist to receive the PC consult. To assess feasibility of program delivery, including its acceptability to patients, caregivers, and hospital staff, using Donebedian's Structure-Process-Outcome model, we measured patient/caregiver satisfaction with the culturally based consult by using an adaptation of FAMCARE-2.
Results: Phase 1: Themes between W and AA were (1) equivalent: for example, disrespectful treatment of patients and family by hospital physicians; (2) similar but with variation: for example, although religion and church were important to both groups, and pastors in both ethnic groups helped family face the reality of end of life, AA considered the church unreservedly central to every aspect of life; (3) divergent, for example, AAs strongly believed that hope and miracles were always a possibility and that God was the decider, a theme not present in the W group. Phase 2: We incorporated ethnic group-specific recommendations for the culturally based PC consult into the standard PC consult. Phase 3: We tested feasibility and acceptability of the ethnically specific PC consult on 18 of 32 eligible patients. The telehealth system worked well. PC MD implementation fidelity was 98%. Most patients were non-verbal and could not rate satisfaction with consult; however, caregivers were satisfied or very satisfied. Hospital leadership supported program implementation, but hospitalists only referred 18 out of 28 eligible patients.
Conclusions: The first culturally based PC consult program in the United States was developed in partnership with AA and W Southern rural community members. This program was feasible to implement in a small rural hospital but low referral by hospitalists was the major obstacle. Program effectiveness is currently being tested in a randomized clinical trial in three southern, rural states in partnership with hospitalists. This method can serve as a model that can be replicated and adapted to other settings and with other ethnic groups.
Background: Few studies have investigated the content of interventions provided in early specialised palliative care (SPC).
Objectives: To characterise the content of interventions delivered in early SPC in the Danish Palliative Care Trial (DanPaCT), a multicentre trial with six participating sites.
Methods: A retrospective qualitative and quantitative study coding all new interventions initiated by the palliative teams and documented in the medical records during the 8-week study period of DanPaCT. Interventions were categorised according to (a) symptom/problem prompting the intervention, (b) type of intervention and (c) professional(s) providing the intervention.
Results: In total, 145 patients were randomised to the SPC teams. According to the medical records, patients received a median of 3.5 (range 0–22) new interventions in the 8-week intervention-period from the palliative teams. For 24 (18%) of the patients there was no documented interventions in the medical records. The most frequent symptom/problems treated were pain, (100 interventions; 20% of interventions given) and impaired physical function (62; 13% of interventions given). The most frequent type of intervention was pharmacological (232; 42% of interventions given).
Conclusions: This is one of the first studies to meticulously investigate the content of interventions documented in the medical records for patients receiving early SPC. Diverse symptoms were treated with many different interventions. However, a relatively low number of interventions were documented. This may explain the lack of effect in DanPaCT but also questions whether all interventions were adequately documented
Trial registration number: NCT01348048