PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the supportive care needs of family caregivers (FCs) of advanced cancer patients and their support service use at the beginning of specialist inpatient palliative care (SIPC), near the patient's death, and during bereavement.
METHODS: FCs reported their needs using the Family Inventory of Needs (FIN), along with their utilization of psychosocial and bereavement support services at the beginning (N = 232) and 6-9 months after SIPC (N = 160).
RESULTS: At the beginning of SIPC, mean of 16.9 of 20 needs were reported to be highly important, and 12.2 were reported to be met. At the time of the patient's death, 16.8 needs were highly important, and 13.8 were met. At both time points, the highest ranked need was related to information about changes in the patient's condition (100% vs. 99%), and the most frequently unmet need was related to feeling hope (73% vs. 71%). Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed a low education level to be consistently related to a greater number of highly important needs. Higher satisfaction with care and better social support was related to a greater number of met needs. Twenty-five percent of FCs had accessed at least one psychosocial support service prior to SIPC, and 30% had done so during bereavement. Among non-users of support services, > 75% indicated sufficient informal support as a barrier to service use.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings offer a useful guide for adequately addressing FCs' needs in an effort to optimize FC support. However, only a subgroup of the FCs used support services. Better information and provision of tailored services might improve FCs' situations in the future.
BACKGROUND: Despite improvements in medical care, patients with advanced cancer still experience substantial symptom distress. There is increasing interest in the use of medicinal cannabinoids but little high-quality evidence to guide clinicians. This study aims to define the role of a 1:1 delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol (THC/CBD) cannabinoid preparation in the management of symptom burden in patients with advanced cancer undergoing standard palliative care.
METHODS AND DESIGN: One hundred fifty participants will be recruited from five sites within the Queensland Palliative Care Research Group (QPCRG) and randomly assigned to an active treatment or placebo group. This study is a pragmatic multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled, two-arm trial of escalating doses of an oral 1:1 THC/CBD cannabinoid preparation. It will compare efficacy and safety outcomes of a titrated dose (10 mg/10 mg/mL oral solution formulation, dose range 2.5 mg/2.5 mg-30 mg/30 mg/day) against placebo. There is a 2-week patient-determined titration phase, using escalating doses of 1:1 THC/CBD or placebo, to reach a dose that achieves symptom relief with tolerable side effects. This is then followed by a further 2-week assessment period on the stable dose determined in collaboration with clinicians. The primary objective is to assess the effect of escalating doses of a 1:1 THC/CBD cannabinoid preparation against placebo on change in total symptom score, with secondary objectives including establishing a patient-determined effective dose, the change in total physical and emotional sores, global impression of change, anxiety and depression, opioid use, quality of life and adverse effects.
DISCUSSION: This will be the first placebo-controlled clinical trial to rigorously evaluate the efficacy, safety and acceptability of 1:1 THC/CBD for symptom relief in advanced cancer patients. This study will allow the medical community to have some evidence to present to patients wishing to access cannabis for their symptoms caused by advanced malignancy.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN, ACTRN12619000037101 . Registered on 14 January 2019. Trial Sponsor: Mater Misericordiae Limited (MML) and Mater Medical Research Institute Limited (MMRI)-Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
The health care decisions of families of children who have life-limiting genetic diseases are impacted by multiple factors including religious and ethical values, education and knowledge, emotional trauma, availability of support, and accessibility of care. Palliative care nurses must practice the highest standards by delivering nonbiased, nonjudgmental support to patients and families; however, nurses may experience moral distress if their personal values conflict with a family's decisions and needs. This case focuses on a family receiving community-based palliative care for a child with a genetic life-limiting disease. They had a family history of this disease, which had caused the deaths of previous children, and the mother had a current unplanned pregnancy. The care team overcame language barriers and cultural obstacles to establish a trusting relationship with the vulnerable pregnant mother. They were able to support her decision to terminate her pregnancy safely by helping her to navigate a complex health care system. Using 5 crucial pillars to assist health care members with the delivery of nonjudgmental family-centered palliative care is recommended: (1) identification of biases, (2) utilization of a culturally safe approach, (3) effective communication, (4) assessment and support, and (5) knowledge of community resources.
Nearly all reports of interprofessional education (IPE) in palliative care have excluded pharmacy students. This article describes an IPE event between pharmacy and nursing students and assesses its impact on IPE competencies. Second-year nursing students and third-year pharmacy students participated in an evening-long event, focused on a married couple who each require palliative care—one for end-of-life planning and one for chronic disease progression. The impact of the event was assessed using the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Scale (ICCAS) and qualitative feedback. Two hundred nine (96.7%) completed the ICCAS, and 16 of the 20 statements of the ICCAS showed large positive effect sizes (Cohen d >= 0.8), with the remaining 4 showing moderate positive effect sizes (Cohen d >= 0.5). The greatest effect sizes were related to improved awareness of complementary skillsets and knowledge between the professions. Addressing team conflict and including the patient/family in decision-making showed the least improvement. While ongoing interactions are ideal for the development of skills related to conflict and team development, this article demonstrates that even a 1-time activity can have an impact on students' interprofessional care competence.
BACKGROUND: General Practitioners (GPs) face challenges when providing palliative care, including an ageing, multimorbid population, and falling GP numbers. A 'public health palliative care' approach, defined as "working with communities to improve people's experience of death, dying and bereavement", is gaining momentum. 'Compassionate communities' is one example, with a focus on linking professional health carers with supportive community networks. Primary care is central to the approach, which has been incorporated into United Kingdom GP palliative care guidance. No research to date, however, has investigated GP perspectives of these approaches. Our aim, therefore, was to explore GP perceptions of a public health approach to palliative care, and compassionate communities.
METHODS: GPs working in the United Kingdom were recruited through university teaching and research networks using snowball sampling. Purposive sampling ensured wide representation of gender, level of experience and practice populations. Semi-structured, digitally audio-recorded interviews were conducted with nine GPs. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was undertaken, informed by a qualitative descriptive methodology. Interviews continued until data saturation was reached.
RESULTS: Most participants were unfamiliar with the term 'compassionate communities', but recognised examples within their practice. Three major themes with seven subthemes were identified: 1) Perceived potential of compassionate communities, including: 'maximising use of existing community services'; 'influencing health outside of healthcare'; and 'combatting taboo', 2) Perceived challenges of compassionate communities, including: 'patient safety'; 'limited capacity of the community'; 'limited capacity of general practice', and 'applicability of public health to palliative care', and 3) The role of the GP in compassionate communities.
CONCLUSIONS: GPs recognised the importance of the wider community in caring for palliative care patients, however most were unfamiliar with the compassionate community approach. Participants held differing views regarding the application of the model, and the position of general practice within this. Further research into the approach's practical implementation, and exploring the views of other key stakeholders, would help establish the feasibility of compassionate communities in practice, and guide its future application.
With the daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and associated deaths rising exponentially, social fabrics on a global scale are being worn by panic, uncertainty, fear, and other consequences of the health care crisis. Comprising more than half of the global health care workforce and the highest proportion of direct patient care time than any other health professional, nurses are at the forefront of this crisis. Throughout the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, palliative nurses will increasingly exercise their expertise in symptom management, ethics, communication, and end-of-life care, among other crucial skills. The literature addressing the palliative care response to COVID-19 has surged, and yet, there is a critical gap regarding the unique contributions of palliative nurses and their essential role in mitigating the sequelae of this crisis. Thus, the primary aim herein is to provide recommendations for palliative nurses and other health care stakeholders to ensure their optimal value is realized and to promote their well-being and resilience during COVID-19 and, by extension, in anticipation of future public health crises.
OBJECTIVES: End-of-life hospitalisations may not be associated with improved quality of life. Studies indicate differences in end-of-life care for cancer and non-cancer patients; however, data on hospital utilisation are sparse. This study aimed to compare end-of-life hospitalisation and place of death among patients dying from cancer, heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
DESIGN: A nationwide register-based cohort study.
SETTING: Data on all in-hospital admissions obtained from nationwide Danish medical registries.
PARTICIPANTS: All decedents dying from cancer, heart failure or COPD disease in Denmark between 2006 and 2015.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Data on all in-hospital admissions within 6 months and 30 days before death as well as place of death. Comparisons were made according to cause of death while adjusting for age, sex, comorbidity, partner status and residential region.
RESULTS: Among 154 235 decedents, the median total bed days in hospital within 6 months before death was 19 days for cancer patients, 10 days for patients with heart failure and 11 days for patients with COPD. Within 30 days before death, this was 9 days for cancer patients, and 6 days for patients with heart failure and COPD. Compared with cancer patients, the adjusted relative bed day use was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.68) for heart failure patients and 0.68 (95% CI, 0.66 to 0.69) for patients with COPD within 6 months before death. Correspondingly, this was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.68) and 0.70 (95% CI, 0.68 to 0.71) within 30 days before death.Patients had almost the same risk of dying in hospital independently of death cause (46.2% to 56.0%).
CONCLUSION: Patients with cancer, heart failure and COPD all spent considerable part of their end of life in hospital. Hospital use was highest among cancer patients; however, absolute differences were small.
Background: Information routinely collected during a palliative care consultation request may help predict the level of complexity of that patient encounter.
Objectives: We examined whether patient and consultation characteristics, as captured in consultation requests, are associated with the number of unmet palliative care needs that emerge during consultation, as an indicator of complexity.
Design: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of palliative care consultations.
Setting: We analyzed quality-of-care data from specialty palliative care consultations contained in the Quality Data Collection Tool of the Global Palliative Care Quality Alliance from 2012 to 2017.
Measurements: Using 13 point-of-care assessments of quality of life, symptoms, advance care planning, and prognosis, we created a complexity score ranging from 0 (not complex) to 13 (highest complexity). Using multivariable linear regression, we examined the relationships of consultation setting and patient characteristics with complexity score.
Results: Patients in our cohort (N = 3121) had an average complexity score of 6.7 (standard deviation = 3.7). Female gender, nonwhite race, and neurological (e.g., dementia) and noncancer primary diagnosis were associated with increased complexity score. The hospital intensive care unit, compared with the general floor, was associated with higher complexity scores. In contrast, outpatient and residence, compared with the general floor, were associated with lower complexity scores.
Conclusion: Patient, disease, and care setting factors known at the time of specialty palliative care consultation request are associated with level of complexity, and they may inform teams about the right service provisions, including time and expertise, required to meet patient needs.
Conducting palliative care research can be personally and professionally challenging. While limitations in funding and training opportunities are well-described, a less recognized barrier to successful palliative care research is creating a sustainable and resilient team. In this special report, we describe the experience and lessons-learned in a single palliative care research lab. In the first few years of the program, 75% of staff quit, citing burnout and the emotional tolls of their work. To address our sustainability, we translated resilience theory to practice. First, we identified and operationalized shared mission and values. Next, we conducted a resilience resource needs assessment for both individual team-members and the larger team as a whole, and created a workshop based curriculum to address unmet personal and professional support needs. Finally, we changed our leadership approach to foster psychological safety and shared mission. Since then, no team-member has left and the program has thrived. As the demand for rigorous palliative care research grows, we hope this report will provide perspective and ideas to other established and emerging palliative care research programs.
OBJECTIVE: Schizophrenia is a severe and persistent mental illness with profound effects on patients, families, and communities. It causes immense suffering on personal, emotional, and socioeconomic levels. Individuals with schizophrenia have poorer health outcomes and die 10-20 years younger than the general population. Economic costs associated with schizophrenia are substantial and comprise 2.5% of healthcare expenditures worldwide. Despite psychosocioeconomic impacts, individuals with schizophrenia are subject to inequitable care, particularly at end of life. A systematic review was conducted to examine disparities in end-of-life care in schizophrenia and identify factors that can be targeted to enhance end-of-life care in this vulnerable population.
DESIGN: A comprehensive search was conducted using the databases Ovid MEDLINE(R), Ovid EMBASE, Ovid PsycINFO, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus from 2008-2018. Keywords included schizophrenia, palliative, end-of-life, and hospice. Two authors independently reviewed titles and abstracts; disagreements were resolved by consensus.
RESULTS: The search identified 123 articles; 33 met criteria: 13 case reports, 12 retrospective studies, 5 literature reviews, and 3 prospective studies. Articles were divided into major themes including healthcare disparities, ethics, and palliative care. Palliative care was the most frequent theme comprising >50% of the articles, and there was considerable thematic overlap with ethics and palliative care. Almost half the articles (45%) were related to schizophrenia and comorbid cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: Increased awareness of potential healthcare disparities in this population, creative approaches in multidisciplinary care, and provision of adequate palliative services and resources can enhance end-of-life care in schizophrenia.
BACKGROUND/AIM: Previous studies have shown discrepancies between patient's desired and actual death place. As planning of family support and involvement of palliative home care teams seem to improve the chance to meet patients preferences, geographical availability of specialized palliative home care could influence place of death.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data of patients diagnosed and deceased between January 2011 until December 2014 with lung, brain, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer was collected from Swedish national registers and multiple regression analyses were performed.
RESULTS: Patients with lung, brain, colorectal, and prostate cancer who resided in rural municipalities had a higher likelihood of dying at home than dying in hospital settings, compared to those who lived in urban areas.
CONCLUSION: Patients in Sweden, with the exception of breast cancer patients, have a higher likelihood of home death than inpatient hospital death when residing in rural areas compared to when residing in urban areas.
CONTEXT: Children with complex chronic conditions (CCCs) have high morbidity and mortality. While these children often receive palliative care services, little is known about parental preparedness for their child's end of life (EOL).
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to elucidate aspects important to preparedness at EOL among bereaved parents of children with CCCs.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, parents of children who received care at Boston Children's Hospital and died between 2006-2015 completed 21 open-response items querying communication, decision-making, and EOL experiences as part of the Survey of Caring for Children with CCCs. Additional demographic data were extracted from the child's medical record. An iterative multi-stage thematic analysis of responses was utilized to identify key contexts, conditions, and themes pertaining to preparedness.
RESULTS: 110/114 parents responded to open-ended items; 63% (n=69) had children with congenital or central nervous system progressive primary conditions for a median of 7.5 years (IQR 0.8-18.1) prior to death. 71% (n=78/110) had palliative care involvement and 65% (n=69/106) completed advance care planning. Parents described preparedness as a complex concept that extended beyond 'readiness' for their child's death. Three domains emerged that contributed to parents' lack of preparedness: (1) chronic illness experiences; (2) pretense of preparedness; and (3) circumstances and emotions surrounding their child's death.
CONCLUSIONS: Most bereaved parents of children with CCCs described feeling unprepared for their child's EOL, despite palliative care and advance care planning, suggesting preparedness is a nuanced concept beyond 'readiness.' More research is needed to identify supportive elements among parents facing their child's EOL.
CONTEXT: Most hospice nurses across Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi report significant discomfort with provision of pediatric palliative and hospice care (PPHC). How best to target and modify variables to increase nurse comfort levels is not well understood.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether modifiable variables are associated with increased hospice nurse comfort with PPHC provision in the community.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was developed, pilot-tested, and distributed to hospice nurses across a tristate region to assess nurse training experiences and comfort with PPHC provision. Targeted sub-analyses were conducted to investigate associations between nurse comfort level and clinical, training, and patient frequency variables.
RESULTS: A total of 551 respondents representing 71 hospices across Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi completed surveys. Hospice nurse comfort with provision of care to children was statistically significantly associated with exposure to prior PPHC clinical experiences (p<0.001), receipt of formal pediatric PPHC training (p<0.001), and higher hospice- (p=0.01) and individual-level frequency of PPHC provision (p<0.001). PPHC clinical experience was the most impactful variable with respect to comfort with overall and end-of-life PPHC provision; formal training was the most impactful variable with respect to comfort with management of severe symptoms at the end of life.
CONCLUSION: Modifiable variables exist that are readily targetable to improve hospice nurse comfort with PPHC provision. These findings should inform the development and investigation of clinical and educational interventions to empower both nurses and hospices to optimize the provision of quality care to children with serious illness and their families in the community.
BACKGROUND: A novel evidence-based Narrative e-Writing Intervention (NeW-I) has been developed and tested in Singapore to advance psychosociospiritual support for parents of children with chronic life-threatening illnesses. NeW-I is informed by an international systematic review and a Singapore-based qualitative inquiry on the lived experience of parental bereavement and supported by literature on anticipatory grief interventions for improving the holistic well-being of parent caregivers of seriously ill children.
OBJECTIVE: This study's aim was to provide an accessible platform, NeW-I-which is a strengths- and meaning-focused and therapist-facilitated mobile app and web-based counseling platform-that aims to enhance quality of life, spiritual well-being, hope, and perceived social support and reduce depressive symptoms, caregiver burden, and risk of complicated grief among parents of children with chronic life-threatening illnesses.
METHODS: The NeW-I therapist-facilitated web-based platform comprises a mobile app and a website (both of which have the same content and functionality). NeW-I has been implemented in Singapore as a pilot open-label randomized controlled trial comprising intervention and control groups. Both primary and secondary outcomes will be self-reported by participants through questionnaires. In collaboration with leading pediatric palliative care providers in Singapore, the trial aims to enroll 36 participants in each group (N=72), so that when allowing for 30% attrition at follow-up, the sample size will be adequate to detect a small effect size of 0.2 in the primary outcome measure, with 90% power and two-sided significance level of at least .05. The potential effectiveness of NeW-I and the accessibility and feasibility of implementing and delivering the intervention will be assessed.
RESULTS: Funding support and institutional review board approval for this study have been secured. Data collection started in January 2019 and is ongoing.
CONCLUSIONS: NeW-I aspires to enhance holistic pediatric palliative care services through a structured web-based counseling platform that is sensitive to the unique cultural needs of Asian family caregivers who are uncomfortable with expressing emotion even during times of loss and separation. The findings of this pilot study will inform the development of a full-scale NeW-I protocol and further research to evaluate the efficacy of NeW-I in Singapore and in other Asian communities around the world.
INTRODUCTION: Patients with cancer are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers at the end of life as a result of their underlying condition or cancer treatment. There are many guidelines which set out best practice with regard to end-of-life skin care. However, the complexity of palliative cancer care often means that it is challenging for nurses to make the appropriate person-centred decisions about end-of-life skin care. This study seeks to explore the perceived importance that nurses place on different factors in their end-of-life skin care for patients with cancer. The utility, face validity and content validity of a prototype decision-making tool for end-of-life skin care will also be evaluated.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A mixed-method design will be used to gather data from primary and secondary care nurses working in different hospitals and local authority areas across Wales. Clinical vignettes will be used to gather qualitative and quantitative data from nurses in individual interviews. Qualitative data will be subject to thematic analysis and quantitative data will be subject to descriptive statistical analysis. Qualitative and quantitative data will then be synthesised, which will enhance the rigour of this study, and pertinently inform the further development of an end-of-life skin care decision-making tool for patients with cancer.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval to undertake the study has been granted by Cardiff University School of Healthcare Sciences Research Governance and Ethics Screening Committee. Informed consent will be obtained in writing from all the participants in this study. The results of this study will be disseminated through journal articles, as well as presentations at national and international conferences. We will also report our findings to patient and public involvement groups with an interest in improving cancer care, palliative care as well as skin care.
BACKGROUND: Ideas of patient involvement are related to notions of self-determination and autonomy, which are not always in alignment with complex interactions and communication in clinical practice.
AIM: To illuminate and discuss patient involvement in routine clinical care situations in nursing practice from an ethical perspective.
METHOD: A case study based on an anthropological field study among patients with advanced cancer in Denmark.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Followed the principles of the Helsinki Declaration.
FINDINGS: Two cases illustrated situations where nurses refused patient involvement in their own case.
DISCUSSION: Focus on two ethical issues, namely 'including patients' experiences in palliative nursing care' and 'relational distribution of power and knowledge', inspired primarily by Hannah Arendt's concept of thoughtlessness and a Foucauldian perspective on the medical clinic and power. The article discusses how patients' palliative care needs and preferences, knowledge and statements become part of the less significant background of nursing practice, when nurses have a predefined agenda for acting with and involvement of patients. Both structurally conditioned 'thoughtlessness' of the nurses and distribution of power and knowledge between patients and nurses condition nurses to set the agenda and assess when and at what level it is relevant to take up patients' invitations to involve them in their own case.
CONCLUSION: The medical and institutional logic of the healthcare service sets the framework for the exchange between professional and patient, which has an embedded risk that 'thoughtlessness' appears among nurses. The consequences of neglecting the spontaneous nature of human action and refusing the invitations of the patients to be involved in their life situation call for ethical and practical reflection among nurses. The conditions for interaction with humans as unpredictable and variable challenge nurses' ways of being ethically attentive to ensure that patients receive good palliative care, despite the structurally conditioned logic of healthcare.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is a common cancer with a poor prognosis, associated with high economic costs and a significant burden of disease. While it is often asymptomatic in the early stages, patients may experience great discomfort from advanced disease, treatment adverse effects or decompensation of underlying cirrhosis. Palliative care has the potential to markedly improve quality of life, physical and psychological symptoms in patients with end-stage liver disease, and has been shown to prolong survival in some non-hepatocellular carcinoma malignancies. However, this service is underutilized in hepatocellular carcinoma and referrals are frequently late due to factors such as stigmatization, inadequate resources, lack of education for non-palliative care physicians and inadequate modelling for integration of palliative and supportive care within liver disease services. In the future, education workshops, population-based awareness campaigns, increased funding and improved models of care, may improve the uptake of palliative care and subsequently optimize patient care, particularly towards the end of life.
PURPOSE: Investigate whether Life Review Therapy and Memory Specificity Training (LRT-MST) targeting incurably ill cancer patients may also have a beneficial effect on caregiving burden, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and posttraumatic growth of the informal caregivers.
METHODS: Data was collected in the context of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) (secondary analyses) on the effect of LRT-MST among incurably cancer patients. Informal caregivers of participating patients were asked to complete outcome measures at baseline (T0), post-intervention (T1), and 1-month follow-up (T2): caregiver burden (caregivers reaction assessment scale (CRA)), symptoms of anxiety and depression (hospital anxiety and depression scale), and posttraumatic growth (posttraumatic growth inventory). Linear mixed models (intention to treat) were used to assess group differences in changes over time. Effect size and independent samples t tests were used to assess group differences at T1 and T2.
RESULTS: In total, 64 caregivers participated. At baseline, 56% of the caregivers experienced anxiety and 30% depression. No significant effect was found on these symptoms nor on posttraumatic growth or most aspects of caregiver burden. There was a significant effect of LRT-MST on the course of self-esteem (subscale CRA) (p = 0.013). Effect size was moderate post-intervention (ES = - 0.38, p = 0.23) and at 3-month follow-up (ES = 0.53, p = 0.083).
CONCLUSIONS: Many caregivers of incurably ill cancer patients experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. LRT-MST does not improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, negative aspects of caregiver burden, or posttraumatic growth. LRT-MST may have a protective effect on self-esteem of informal caregivers (positive aspect of caregiver burden).
OBJECTIVE: To determine factors associated with the utilization of palliative care (PC) in patients with metastatic gynecologic cancer who died while hospitalized.
METHODS: Data were abstracted from the National Inpatient Sample database for patients with cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancers from 2005 to 2011. Chi-squared and logistic regression models were used for statistical analyses.
RESULTS: Of 4559 women (median age: 65 years; range: 19-102), 1066 (23.4%) utilized PC. Patients were 24.9% low socioeconomic status (SES), 23.9% low-middle, 23.7% middle-high, and 25.1% high SES. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance coverage were listed at 46.2%, 37.5%, 11.3% of patients; 36.2%, 21.1%, 18.1%, 24.6% were treated in the South, West, Midwest, and Northeast. Over the 7 year study period, the use of PC increased from 12% to 45%. Older age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.11-1.68; P = .003), high SES (OR: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.12-1.78; P = .003), more recent treatment (OR: 9.22; 95% CI: 6.8-12.51; P < .0001), private insurance (OR: 1.81; 95% CI: 1.46-2.25; P < .001), and treatment at large-volume hospitals (OR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.04-1.77; P = .02), Western (OR: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.61-2.49; P < .001) and Midwestern hospitals (OR: 1.35; 95% CI: 1.08-1.68; P = .001) were associated with higher utilization of PC.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of inpatient PC for patients with gynecologic cancer increased over time. The lower utilization of PC for terminal illness was associated with younger age, lower SES, government-issued insurance coverage, and treatment in Southern and smaller volume hospitals, and warrants further attention.
The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the importance of palliative care to countless patients suffering with and dying from this disease, as well as to their families, communities, and the worldwide cadre of overburdened healthcare workers. Particularly urgent is the need for spiritual care specialists and generalists to address spiritual suffering given the degree of isolation, loneliness, and vulnerability caused by this pandemic. Although spiritual care has long been recognized as one of the domains of quality palliative care, it is often not fully integrated into practice. All disciplines are ultimately responsible for ensuring spiritual care is prioritized to improve quality of life and the experience of patients and families facing spiritual emergencies amid the complex life-and-death scenarios inherent to COVID-19. Although the pandemic has revealed serious fault lines in many healthcare domains, it has also underscored the need to recommit to spiritual care as an essential component of whole-person palliative care.