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: Advance care planning allows people to plan for their future care needs and can include medical, psychological and social aspects. However, little is known on the use, experience of and attitudes towards advance care planning in patients with Parkinsonian disorders, their family carers and in health care professionals.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of online databases in April 2019 using a narrative synthesis approach with thematic analysis and tabulation to synthesise the findings.
RESULTS: We identified 507 articles and 27 were included. There were five overarching themes: 1) what is involved in advance care planning discussions, 2) when and how advance care planning discussions are initiated, 3) barriers to advance care planning, 4) the role of healthcare professionals and 5) the role of the family carer. This evidence was used to highlight eight effective components to support optimal advance care planning in Parkinsonian disorders: advanced care planning discussions should be individualised in content, timing and approach, patients be invited to discuss advance care planning early and regularly, palliative care services be introduced early, a skilled professional deliver advance care planning, support to family carers be offered in the advance care planning process, healthcare professionals educated on Parkinsonian disorders and palliative care, advance care planning be clearly documented and shared with relevant services; and healthcare professionals enabled to conduct effective advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: These components can inform best practice in advance care planning in patients with Parkinsonian disorders.
BACKGROUND: During the terminal withdrawal of life-sustaining measures for intensive care patients, the removal of respiratory support remains an ambiguous practice. Globally, perceptions and experiences of best practice vary due to the limited evidence in this area.
AIM: To identify, appraise and synthesise the latest evidence around terminal withdrawal of mechanical ventilation in adult intensive care units specific to perceptions, experiences and practices.
DESIGN: Mixed methods systematic review and narrative synthesis. A review protocol was registered on PROSPERO (CRD42018086495).
DATA SOURCES: Four electronic databases were systematically searched (Medline, Embase, CENTRAL and CINAHL). Obtained articles published between January 2008 and January 2020 were screened for eligibility. All included papers were appraised using relevant appraisal tools.
RESULTS: Twenty-five papers were included in the review. Findings from the included papers were synthesised into four themes: 'clinicians' perceptions and practices'; 'time to death and predictors'; 'analgesia and sedation practices'; 'physiological and psychological impact'.
CONCLUSIONS: Perceptions, experiences and practices of terminal withdrawal of mechanical ventilation vary significantly across the globe. Current knowledge highlights that the time to death after withdrawal of mechanical ventilation is very short. Predictors for shorter duration could be considered by clinicians and guide the choice of pharmacological interventions to address distressing symptoms that patients may experience. Clinicians ought to prepare patients, families and relatives for the withdrawal process and the expected progression and provide them with immediate and long-term support following withdrawal. Further research is needed to improve current evidence and better inform practice guidelines.
Through a systematic review and meta-analyses, we aimed to determine predictors for place of death among children. We searched online databases for studies published between 2008 and 2019 comprising original quantitative data on predictors for place of death among children. Data regarding study design, population characteristics and results were extracted from each study. Meta-analyses were conducted using generic inverse variance method with random effects. Fourteen cohort studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising data on 106,788 decedents. Proportions of home death varied between countries and regions from 7% to 45%. Lower age was associated with higher odds of hospital death in eight studies (meta-analysis was not possible). Children categorised as non-white were less likely to die at home compared to white (pooled OR 0.6; 95% CI 0.5-0.7) as were children of low socio-economic position versus high (pooled OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.6-0.9). Compared to patients with cancer, children with non-cancer diagnoses had lower odds of home death (pooled OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.5-0.5).
Conclusion: Country and region of residence, older age of the child, high socio-economic position, 'white' ethnicity and cancer diagnoses appear to be independent predictors of home death among children.
What is Known: ; Home is often considered an indicator of quality in end-of-life care. ; Most terminally ill children die in hospitals.
What is New: ; Through a systematic review and meta-analyses, this study examined predictors for place of death among children. ; Country and region of residence, older age of the child, high socio-economic position, white ethnicity and having a cancer diagnosis appear to be independent predictors of home death among terminally ill children.
Africa is characterized by a high burden of disease and health system deficits, with an overwhelming and increasing demand for palliative care (PC). Yet only one African country is currently considered to have advanced integration of palliative care into medical services and generalized PC is said to be available in only a handful of others. The integration of PC into all levels of a health system has been called for to increase access to PC and to strengthen health systems. Contextually appropriate evidence to guide integration is vital yet limited. This qualitative systematic review analyses interventions to integrate PC into African health systems to provide insight into the ‘how’ of PC integration. Forty articles were identified, describing 51 different interventions. This study found that a variety of integration models are being applied, with limited best practices being evaluated and repeated in other contexts. Interventions typically focused on integrating specialized PC services into individual or multiple health facilities, with only a few examples of PC integrated at a population level. Four identified issues could either promote integration (by being present) or block integration (by their absence). These include the provision of PC at all levels of the health system alongside curative care; the development and presence of sustainable partnerships; health systems and workers that can support integration; and lastly, placing the client, their family and community at the centre of integration. These echo the broader literature on integration of health services generally. There is currently a strong suggestion that the integration of PC contributes to health system strengthening; however, this is not well evidenced in the literature and future interventions would benefit from placing health systems strengthening at the forefront, as well as situating their work within the context of integration of health services more generally.
Objective: Communication between patients and end-of-life care providers requires sensitivity given the context and complexity involved. This systematic review uses a narrative approach to synthesise clinicians’ understandings of communication in end-of-life care.
Methods: A systematic, narrative synthesis approach was adopted given the heterogeneity across the 83 included studies. The review was registered prospectively on PROSPERO (ID: CRD42019125155]. Medline was searched for all articles catalogued with the MeSH terms “palliative care,” “terminal care” or “end-of-life care,” and “communication”. Articles were assessed for quality using a modified JQI-QARI tool.
Results: The findings highlight the centrality and complexity of communication in end-of-life care. The challenges identified by clinicians in relation to such communication include the development of skills necessary, complexity of interpersonal interactions, and ways in which organisational factors impact upon communication. Clinicians are also aware of the need to develop strategies for interdisciplinary teams to improve communication.
Conclusion: Training needs for effective communication in end-of-life contexts are not currently being met.
Practice Implications: Clinicians need more training to address the lack of skills to overcome interactional difficulties. Attention is also needed to address issues in the organisational contexts in which such communication occurs.
Population ageing has rapidly increased the number of people requiring end-of-life care across the globe. Governments have responded by promoting end-of-life in the community. Partly as a consequence, older spouses are frequently providing for their partner’s end-of-life care at home, despite potentially facing their own health issues. While there is an emerging literature on young-old caregivers, less is known about spouse carers over 75 who are likely to face specific challenges associated with their advanced age and relationship status. The aim of this review, therefore, is to identify and synthesise the literature concerning the experiences of caregiver’s aged 75 and over whose partner is approaching end-of-life. We conducted a mixed-method systematic review and narrative synthesis of the empirical literature published between 1985 and May 2019, identified from six databases: Medline, PsychINFO, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Embase, Sociological Abstracts and Social Service Abstracts. Hand searching and reference checking were also conducted. Gough’s Weight of Evidence and Morgan’s Feminist Quality Appraisal tool used to determine the quality of papers. From the initial 7819 titles, 10 qualitative studies and 9 quantitative studies were included. We identified three themes: 1) “Embodied impact of care” whereby caring was found to negatively impact carers physical and psychological health, with adverse effects continuing into bereavement; 2) “Caregiving spouse’s conceptualisation of their role” in which caregiver’s navigated their self and marriage identities in relation to their partner’s condition and expectations about gender and place; 3) “Learning to care” which involved learning new skills and ways of coping to remain able to provide care. We identified a recent up-surge in published papers about very old spousal caregivers, which now comprise a small, medium-quality evidence base. This review outlines a range of potential lines of inquiry for future research including further clarification of the impact of caregiving on the likelihood of mortality, the incidence of men and women providing end-of-life care amongst this age group, and the role of anticipatory grief in shaping their perceptions of their relationship and their own longevity.
Background: Despite increasing evidence of the benefits of early access to palliative care, many patients do not receive palliative care in a timely manner. A systematic approach in primary care can facilitate earlier identification of patients with potential palliative care needs and prompt further assessment.
Aim: To identify existing screening tools for identification of patients with advanced progressive diseases who are likely to have palliative care needs in primary healthcare and evaluate their accuracy.
Design: Systematic review (PROSPERO registration number CRD42019111568).
Data sources: Cochrane, MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL were searched from inception to March 2019
Results: From 4,127 unique articles screened, 25 reported the use or development of 10 screening tools. Most tools use prediction of death and/or deterioration as a proxy for the identification of people with potential palliative care needs. The tools are based on a wide range of general and disease-specific indicators. The accuracy of five tools was assessed in eight studies; these tools differed significantly in their ability to identify patients with potential palliative care needs with sensitivity ranging from 3% to 94% and specificity ranging from 26% to 99%.
Conclusion: The ability of current screening tools to identify patients with advanced progressive diseases who are likely to have palliative care needs in primary care is limited. Further research is needed to identify standardised screening processes that are based not only on predicting mortality and deterioration but also on anticipating the palliative care needs and predicting the rate and course of functional decline. This would prompt a comprehensive assessment to identify and meet their needs on time.
Background: Refractory angina can have a significant effect on quality of life. Non-invasive interventions have been suggested but there are few guidelines on management. Our aim was to systematically review all studies that reported non-invasive interventions for refractory angina and report on their effectiveness and safety.
Methods: We performed a literature search of six databases and a grey literature search. Treatments considered first line or second line according to the European Society of Cardiology were excluded, as were interventions that had undergone review within the last 3 years. Design, setting and outcomes were extracted and quality was assessed. A narrative synthesis was undertaken, including an analysis of adverse effects.
Results: 4476 studies were screened, 14 studies were included in our analysis. Interventions were specialist multidisciplinary programmes, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), perhexiline, medical optimisation, morphine and intranasal alfentanil. The effects of specialist programmes and perhexiline treatment were mixed. Positive effects were reported with TENS, opioids and medical optimisation, with improvements in symptoms, exercise capacity and quality of life. No major adverse effects were noted in any of the treatments.
Conclusion: There are non-invasive treatments for refractory angina that are overlooked by current guidelines. While the quality of these studies varies, positive changes have been reported in symptoms, exercise tolerance and quality of life with few adverse effects. There is a need for further research into these treatments which could be useful within the contexts of cardiology and palliative care.
Background: Euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) based on a psychiatric disorder (psychiatric EAS) continue to pose ethical and policy challenges, even in countries where the practice has been allowed for years. We conducted a systematic review of reasons, a specific type of review for bioethical questions designed to inform rational policy-making. Our aims were twofold: (1) to systematically identify all published reasons for and against the practice (2) to identify current gaps in the debate and areas for future research.
Methods: Following the PRISMA guidelines, we performed a search across seven electronic databases to include publications focusing on psychiatric EAS and providing ethical reasons. Reasons were grouped into domains by qualitative content analysis.
Results: We included 42 articles, most of which were written after 2013. Articles in favor and against were evenly distributed. Articles in favor were mostly full-length pieces written by non-clinicians, with articles against mostly reactive, commentary-type pieces written by clinicians. Reasons were categorized into eight domains: (1) mental and physical illness and suffering (2) decisional capacity (3) irremediability (4) goals of medicine and psychiatry (5) consequences for mental health care (6) psychiatric EAS and suicide (7) self-determination and authenticity (8) psychiatric EAS and refusal of life-sustaining treatment. Parity- (or discrimination-) based reasons were dominant across domains, mostly argued for by non-clinicians, while policy reasons were mostly pointed to by clinicians.
Conclusions: The ethical debate about psychiatric EAS is relatively young, with prominent reasons of parity. More direct engagement is needed to address ethical and policy considerations.
The spread of pandemic COVID-19 has created unprecedented need for information. The pandemic is the cause of significant mortality and with this the need for rapidly disseminated information for palliative care professionals regarding the prevalence of symptoms, their intensity, their resistance or susceptibility to symptom control and the mode of death for patients.
Methods: we undertook a systematic review of published evidence for symptoms in patients with COVID-19 (with a specific emphasis on symptoms at end of life) and on modes of death. Inclusion: prospective or retrospective studies detailing symptom presence and/or cause or mode of death from COVID-19.
Results: 12 papers met the inclusion criteria and gave details of symptom burden: four of these specifically in the dying and two detailed the cause or mode of death. Cough, breathlessness, fatigue and myalgia are significant symptoms in people hospitalised with COVID-19. Dyspnoea is the most significant symptom in the dying. The mode of death was described in two papers and is predominantly through respiratory or heart failure.
Conclusions: There remains a dearth of information regarding symptom burden and mode of death to inform decisions regarding end-of-life care in patients dying with COVID-19. Rapid data gathering on the mode of death and the profile of symptoms in the dying and their prevalence and severity in areas where COVID-19 is prevalent will provide important intelligence for clinicians. This should be done urgently, within ethical norms and the practicalities of a public health, clinical and logistical emergency.
Background: Palliative care has been widely implemented in clinical practice for patients with cancer but is not routinely provided to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Aim: The study aims were to compare palliative care services, medications, life-sustaining interventions, place of death, symptom burden and health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer populations.
Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis (PROSPERO: CRD42019139425).
Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched for studies comparing palliative care, symptom burden or health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or populations with both conditions. Quality scores were assigned using the QualSyst tool.
Results: Nineteen studies were included. There was significant heterogeneity in study design and sample size. A random effects meta-analysis ( n = 3–7) determined that people with lung cancer had higher odds of receiving hospital (odds ratio: 9.95, 95% confidence interval: 6.37–15.55, p < 0.001) or home-based palliative care (8.79, 6.76–11.43, p < 0.001), opioids (4.76, 1.87–12.11, p = 0.001), sedatives (2.03, 1.78–2.32, p < 0.001) and dying at home (1.47, 1.14–1.89, p = 0.003) compared to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with lung cancer had lower odds of receiving invasive ventilation (0.26, 0.22–0.32, p < 0.001), non-invasive ventilation (0.63, 0.44–0.89, p = 0.009), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (0.29, 0.18–0.47, p < 0.001) or dying at a nursing home/long-term care facility (0.32, 0.16–0.64, p < 0.001) than people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Symptom burden and health-related quality of life were relatively similar between the two populations.
Conclusion: People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receive less palliative measures at the end of life compared to people with lung cancer, despite a relatively similar symptom profile.
Introduction: In light of this growing palliative care and end of life care patient population, as well as new (expensive) drugs and treatments, quality research providing evidence for decision-making is required. However, common research guidance is lacking in this field, especially in respect to the methods applied in economic evaluations. Therefore, the aim of the planned systematic review is to identify and summarise relevant information on methodological challenges, potential solutions and recommendations for conducting economic evaluations of interventions in adult patients, irrespective of their underlying disease and gender in the palliative or end of life care settings, with no restrictions in regards to countries/geographical regions. The results of this systematic review may help to clarify the current methodological questions and form the basis of new, setting specific methods guidelines and support ongoing applied economic evaluations in the field.
Methods and analysis: A systematic review will be conducted using Medline, Embase, Health Technology Assessment Database and NHS Economic Evaluation Database to identify the studies published from 1999 onwards with relevant information on methodological challenges, potential solutions and recommendations for conducting economic evaluations in the palliative or end of life care settings. Articles in English, German, Spanish, French or Dutch language will be considered. Two independent reviewers will conduct the screening of articles; any discrepancies will be resolved by discussion and involvement of a third reviewer. Predesigned data extraction forms will be applied, consequently narratively synthesised and categorised. Studies’ methodological quality will be critically appraised. Besides existing economic guidelines and checklists for specific information on the palliative and end of life care sector will be searched.
Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval is not required, as this is a planned systematic review of published literature. An article will be disseminated in a related peer-reviewed journal, as well as presented at leading palliative care and health economic conferences.
Objectives: To identify the types of factors included in research examining mortality in patients with dementia, and to stratify the identified factors by care settings.
Design: We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) databases, and identified grey literature from the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, Open Grey and Grey Literature Report. Two authors independently screened for eligibility of studies. Independent reviewers extracted relevant study information. We conducted a narrative synthesis of the data.
Results: We identified 8254 articles, of which 94 met the inclusion criteria. More than half (n=53) were published between 2009 and 2018 with half from Europe. Studies were conducted across hospices/nursing homes (n=25), hospital (n=23), outpatient clinics (n=21), mixed settings (n=15) and in the community (n=10). Nearly 60% adopted a prospective cohort study design with 87% performing multivariable analysis. Overall, 239 variables were identified and classified into six themes—individual factors, health status, functional ability, cognition and mental health, treatments and health system factors. Although a general set of factors were common across all studies, when stratified by care settings, variations were seen in the specific variables included.
Conclusion: Identifying prognostic variables relevant to the dementia population in each setting is key to facilitate appropriate care plans and to ensure timely access to palliative care options. Future research should also focus on ensuring the replicability of prognostic models and to generate a better understanding of the direct and interacting influence of the identified factors on mortality.
Background: General practitioners (GPs) and general practice nurses (GPNs) face increasing demands to provide palliative care (PC) or end-of-life care (EoLC) as the population ages. To enhance primary EoLC, the facilitators and barriers to their provision need to be understood.
Objective: To provide a comprehensive description of the facilitators and barriers to GP and GPN provision of PC or EoLC.
Method: Systematic literature review. Data included papers (2000 to 2017) sought from Medline, PsycInfo, Embase, Joanna Briggs Institute and Cochrane databases.
Results: From 6209 journal articles, 62 reviewed papers reported the GP’s and GPN’s role in EoLC or PC practice. Six themes emerged: patient factors; personal GP factors; general practice factors; relational factors; co-ordination of care; availability of services. Four specific settings were identified: aged care facilities, out-of-hours care and resource-constrained settings (rural, and low-income and middle-income countries). Most GPs provide EoLC to some extent, with greater professional experience leading to increased comfort in performing this form of care. The organisation of primary care at practice, local and national level impose numerous structural barriers that impede more significant involvement. There are potential gaps in service provision where GPNs may provide significant input, but there is a paucity of studies describing GPN routine involvement in EoLC.
Conclusions: While primary care practitioners have a natural role to play in EoLC, significant barriers exist to improved GP and GPN involvement in PC. More work is required on the role of GPNs.
Aims: This review aims to explore the extant literature on the current utilization of ACP in Kisin order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of their health disparities and to determine evidence-based best practices to integrate culturally-competent ACP for EOL care of KIs.
Design: A systematic integrative review of the literature Data Sources: Four electronic databases including PubMed, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, the Cochrane Library, and Embase.
Method: The detailed search strategy for databases implicated a combination of MeSHkeywords and associated terms, which can be found in Table A.
Results: Three themes emerged in relation to fundamental components in the integration of culturally-competent ACP for EOL of KIs: (1) cultural characteristics of KIs; (2) disparities in ethnic-oriented ACP and EOL care resources in KIs; and (3) KIs’ perspectives on ACP.
Conclusion: The findings of this review indicate that culturally-competent ACP resources for KIsare presently quite insufficient. It is determined that much future research is needed on how culturally-competent ACP can best augment the quality of EOL care for KIs, and on how specific interventions can effectively implement ACP in community settings. Impact: Such ongoing research dedicated to the development of feasible culturally competent practice guidelines is anticipated to markedly reduce health disparities and promote ACP in KIs. The recommendations in this review may support Korean primary HCPs, Korean health care center administrators, Korean health maintenance organizations (HMOs), Korean advance care nurse practitioners in hospice and palliative care, and nurse researchers in their work.
Background: There is evidence that people with intellectual disabilities experience healthcare inequalities, including access to specialist palliative care, but to date, there has not been a systematic review of empirical evidence.
Aim: To identify the palliative care needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and the barriers and facilitators they face in accessing palliative care.
Design: Systematic review using a narrative synthesis approach (International prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO) registration number: CRD42019138974).
Data sources: Five databases were searched in June 2019 (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, the Cochrane library and CINAHL) along with hand searches and a search of the grey literature. All study designs were included.
Results: A total of 52 studies were identified, all of which were conducted in high-income countries, the majority in the United Kingdom (n = 28). From a total of 2970 participants across all studies, only 1% were people with intellectual disabilities and 1.3% were family members; the majority (97%) were health/social care professionals. Identified needs included physical needs, psychosocial and spiritual needs, and information and communication needs. Barriers and facilitators were associated with education (e.g. staff knowledge, training and experience), communication (e.g. staff skill in assessing and addressing needs of people with communication difficulties), collaboration (e.g. importance of sustained multidisciplinary approach) and health and social care delivery (e.g. staffing levels, funding and management support).
Conclusion: This review highlights the specific problems in providing equitable palliative care for adults with intellectual disabilities, but there is a lack of research into strategies to improve practice. This should be prioritised using methods that include people with intellectual disabilities and families.
Communication between patients and family caregivers plays a key role in successful end-of-life (EOL) care. In the majority of cases, health-care providers (HCP) are responsible for leading this communication in clinical settings. This systematic review aimed to examine the evidence for the efficacy of HCP-led interventions in enhancing communication between patients and family caregivers. The review followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and involved a search of MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Embase, and PsycINFO as well as a manual search for additional articles on Google Scholar without date restrictions. Of 2955 articles retrieved, 8 meeting the eligibility criteria were included in the review. A quality appraisal of the selected studies was performed using the van Tulder Scale, with 5 of 8 studies rated as high quality. All 8 studies employed psychoeducational interventions involving both patients and surrogate/family caregivers. Common elements of the interventions reviewed included encouraging participant dyads to share their concerns about the patient’s medical condition, clarify their goals and values for EOL care, and discuss their EOL care preferences. Of 8 interventions reviewed, 6 measured EOL care preference congruence within dyads as a primary outcome, and all 6 interventions were effective in increasing congruence. Secondary outcomes measured included decisional conflict and relationship quality, with mixed outcomes reported. This review suggests that HCP-led EOL communication interventions show promise for improving EOL care preference congruence. However, further studies with improved methodological rigor are needed to establish the optimal timing, intensity, and duration of interventions.
Background: Palliative care exists in diverse healthcare settings. Nurses play a crucial role in its provision. Different levels of palliative care provision and education have been recognized in the literature. Therefore, nurses need a set of various competencies to provide high-quality palliative care.
Aims: To systematically synthesize the empirical evidence of (1) nursing competencies needed in palliative care and (2) whether these competencies differ across the level of palliative care.
Design: Systematic integrative review with thematic synthesis. Prospero: CRD42018114869.
Data sources: CINAHL, PubMed, Academic Search Premier, Scopus and Medic databases. Studies on nursing competencies linked to palliative care reported in English, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese or German were considered. Search terms: ‘palliative care or hospice care or end-of-life care’, ‘competency or professional competence or skills’ and ‘nursing’. Articles were independently screened and reviewed by two researchers. Quality appraisal was conducted following Hawker’s criteria.
Results: A total of 7454 articles were retrieved, 21 articles were included in the analysis. Six diverse nursing competencies dimensions, namely leadership, communication, collaboration, clinical, ethico-legal and psycho-social and spiritual were identified. The reports rarely defined the level of palliative care and covered a wide array of healthcare settings.
Conclusion: Nurses need a wide range of competencies to provide quality palliative care. Few studies focused on which competencies are relevant to a specific level of palliative care. Further research is needed to systematize the nursing competencies and define which nursing competencies are central for different levels of palliative care to enhance palliative care development, education and practice.
Background: Use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators is increasingly common. As patients approach the end of life, it is appropriate to deactivate the shock function.
Aim: To assess the prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming to deactivate the shock function at the end of life and the prevalence of advance directives among this population.
Design: Following a previously established protocol available in PROSPERO, we performed a narrative synthesis of our findings and used the logit transformation method to perform our quantitative synthesis.
Data sources: We searched seven bibliographic databases (Embase, Cochrane Central register of controlled Trials, Medline-Ovid, Web-of-Science, Scopus, PsychInfo, and CINAHL) and additional sources until April 2019.
Results: Of the references we identified, 14 were included. We found a pooled prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming at the end of life of 28% (95% confidence interval, 22%–36%) with higher reprogramming rates after the recommendations for managing the device at the end of life were published. Among patients with advance directives, the pooled prevalence of advance directives that explicitly mentioned the device was 1% (95% confidence interval, 1%–3%).
Conclusions: The prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming and advance directives that explicitly mentioned the device was very low. Study data suggested reprogramming decisions were made very late, after the patient experienced multiple shocks. Patient suffering could be ameliorated if physicians and other healthcare professionals adhere to clinical guidelines for the good management of the device at the end of life and include deactivating the shock function in the discussion that leads to the advance directive.