Background: The major growth of mobile technologies in the recent years has led to the development of medical-monitoring applications, particularly on smartphones.
Aim: The aim of this study was to review the use of m-health in the monitoring of patients with chronic pathologies in order to consider what could be adapted for palliative care patients at home.
Design: A systematic review of the English and French literature was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses criteria.
Date Sources: The review screened the following databases: PUBMED, SCOPUS, COCHRANE, SCIENCE DIRECT, SUDOC, and EM-Premium, screening studies published between 2008 and 2018. The selection of articles was done by the main investigator. All studies concerning the use of m-Health apps for patients with chronic diseases were included.
Results: From the 337 selected publications, 8 systematic reviews and 14 original studies were included. The main uses of m-Health apps were biological and clinical monitoring (particularly concerning the symptoms) in 75% of the applications, disease self-management in 64% of the applications, and therapeutic patient education in 50% of the applications, with remote monitoring.
Conclusions: The development of an m-Health application could become a complementary monitoring tool during palliative care. However, it seems important to question the impact of technique in the professional–patient relationship and avoid the pitfalls of standardizing palliative care and reducing the patient to a “sick” health technician. A future step would then be to define which health-care professional would be in charge of this “m-monitoring.”
CONTEXT: Although the literature recognizes the participation of patients in medical decisions as an important indicator of quality, there is a lack of consensus regarding the influence of advance directives (ADs) on reducing aggressive measures during end-of-life care involving cancer patients.
OBJECTIVE: A systematic review was conducted to analyze the influence of ADs on reducing aggressive end-of-life care measures for cancer patients.
METHOD: We searched the Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Lilacs databases for studies published until March 2018 using the following keywords, without language restrictions: "advance directives," "living wills," "terminal care," "palliative care," "hospice care," and "neoplasms." Article quality was assessed using study quality assessment tools from the Department of Health and Human Services (NHLBI).
RESULTS: A total of 1,489 studies were identified; 7 met the inclusion criteria. The studies were recently published (after 2014, 71.4%). Patients with ADs were more likely to die at the site of choice (n = 3) and received less chemotherapy in the last 30 days (n = 1). ADs had no impact on intensive care unit admission (n = 1) or hospitalization (n = 1). One study found an association between ADs and referral to palliative care, but other did not find the same result.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Of the seven articles found, four demonstrated effects of ADs on the reduction in aggressive measures at the end of life of cancer patients. Heterogeneity regarding study design and results and poor methodological quality are challenges when drawing conclusions.
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. In order to maximise the impact of GPs and GPNs, the impact of different models of care that have been developed to support their practice of EoLC needs to be understood.
OBJECTIVE: To examine published models of EoLC that incorporate or support GP and GPN practice, and their impact on patients, families and the health system.
METHOD: Systematic literature review. Data included papers (2000 to 2017) sought from Medline, Psychinfo, Embase, Joanna Briggs Institute and Cochrane databases.
RESULTS: From 6209 journal articles, 13 papers reported models of care supporting the GP and GPN's role in EoLC or PC practice. Services and guidelines for clinical issues have mixed impact on improving symptoms, but improved adherence to clinical guidelines. National Frameworks facilitated patients being able to die in their preferred place. A single specialist PC-GP case conference reduced hospitalisations, better maintained functional capacity and improved quality of life parameters in both patients with cancer and without cancer. No studies examined models of care aimed at supporting GPNs.
CONCLUSIONS: Primary care practitioners have a natural role to play in EoLC, and most patient and health system outcomes are substantially improved with their involvement. Successful integrative models need to be tested, particularly in non-malignant diseases. Such models need to be explored further. More work is required on the role of GPNs and how to support them in this role.
BACKGROUND: The global COVID-19 pandemic has left health and social care systems facing the challenge of supporting large numbers of bereaved people in difficult and unprecedented social conditions. Previous reviews have not comprehensively synthesised the evidence on the response of health and social care systems to mass bereavement events.
AIM: To synthesise the evidence regarding system-level responses to mass bereavement events, including natural and human-made disasters as well as pandemics, to inform service provision and policy during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
DESIGN: A rapid systematic review was conducted, with narrative synthesis. The review protocol was registered prospectively (www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero, CRD 42020180723).
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Global Health, PsycINFO and Scopus databases were searched for studies published between 2000 and 2020. Reference lists were screened for further relevant publications, and citation tracking was performed.
RESULTS: Six studies were included reporting on system responses to mass bereavement following human-made and natural disasters, involving a range of individual and group-based support initiatives. Positive impacts were reported, but study quality was generally low and reliant on data from retrospective evaluation designs. Key features of service delivery were identified: a proactive outreach approach, centrally organised but locally delivered interventions, event-specific professional competencies and an emphasis on psycho-educational content.
CONCLUSION: Despite the limitations in the quantity and quality of the evidence base, consistent messages are identified for bereavement support provision during the pandemic. High quality primary studies are needed to ensure service improvement in the current crisis and to guide future disaster response efforts.
BACKGROUND: Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) represents a serious medical condition requiring early and targeted therapy. Given the increasing number of elderly or multimorbid patients with a limitation of life-sustaining therapy (LOT) or within a palliative care setting (PCS), guidelines-oriented therapy escalation options for RSE have to be omitted frequently.
OBJECTIVES: This systematic review sought to summarize the evidence for fourth-line antiseizure drugs (ASDs) and other minimally or non-invasive therapeutic options beyond guideline recommendations in patients with RSE to elaborate on possible treatment options for patients undergoing LOT or in a PCS.
METHODS: A systematic review of the literature in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, focusing on fourth-line ASDs or other minimally or non-invasive therapeutic options was performed in February and June 2020 using the MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases. The search terminology was constructed using the name of the specific ASD or therapy option and the term 'status epilepticus' with the use of Boolean operators, e.g. "(brivaracetam) AND (status epilepticus)". The respective Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and Emtree terms were used, if available.
RESULTS: There is currently no level 1, grade A evidence for the use of ASDs in RSE. The best evidence was found for the use of lacosamide and topiramate (level 3, grade C), followed by brivaracetam, perampanel (each level 4, grade D) and stiripentol, oxcarbazepine and zonisamide (each level 5, grade D). Regarding non-medicinal options, there is little evidence for the use of the ketogenic diet (level 4, grade D) and magnesium sulfate (level 5, grade D) in RSE. The broad use of immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive treatment options in the absence of a presumed autoimmune etiology cannot be recommended; however, if an autoimmune etiology is assumed, steroid pulse, intravenous immunoglobulins and plasma exchange/plasmapheresis should be considered (level 4, grade D). Even if several studies suggested that the use of neurosteroids (level 5, grade D) is beneficial in RSE, the current data situation indicates that there is formal evidence against it.
CONCLUSIONS: RSE in patients undergoing LOT or in a PCS represents a challenge for modern clinicians and epileptologists. The evidence for the use of ASDs in RSE beyond that in current guidelines is low, but several effective and well-tolerated options are available that should be considered in this patient population. More so than in any other population, advance care planning, advance directives, and medical ethical aspects have to be considered carefully before and during therapy.
Bereavement is associated with many negative behavioural, psychological and physiological consequences and leads to an increased risk of mortality and morbidity. However, studies specifically examining neuroendocrine mechanisms of grief and bereavement have yet to be reviewed. This systematic review is a synthesis of the latest evidence in this field and aims to draw conclusions about the implications of neurobiological findings on the development of new interventions. PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews were used to search for articles assessing neuroendocrine correlates of grief. Findings were qualitatively summarised. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Study Assessment Tool was used to assess the quality of the included studies. Out of 460 papers, 20 met the inclusion criteria. However, most were of fair quality only. As a neuroendocrine marker, the majority of the studies reported cortisol as the outcome measure and found elevated mean cortisol levels, flattened diurnal cortisol slopes and higher morning cortisol in bereaved subjects. Cortisol alterations were moderated by individual differences such as emotional reaction to grief, depressive symptoms, grief severity, closeness to the deceased and age or gender. Research on neuroendocrine mechanisms of grief is still in its early stages regarding grief measures and the use and timing of neuroendocrine assessments. Most of the studies focus on cortisol as outcome, and only limited data exist on other biomarkers such as oxytocin. Future research might consider assessing a broader range of neuroendocrine markers and use longitudinal designs with a focus on the psychobiological reactions to loss. Based on this, individually tailored psychosocial interventions, possibly in the palliative care context, might be developed to prevent prolonged grief disorder.
Patients with heart failure have comparable illness burden and palliative care needs to those with cancer. However, few of them are offered timely palliative care. One main barrier is the difficulty in identifying those who require palliative care. Several palliative care needs-assessment/measurement tools were used to help identify these patients and assess/measure their needs, but it is not known which one is the most appropriate for this population. This review aimed to identify the most appropriate palliative care needs-assessment/measurement tools for patients with heart failure. Cochrane Library, MEDLINE Complete, AMED, PsycINFO, CINAHL Complete, EMBASE, EThOS, websites of the identified tools, and references and citations of the included studies were searched from inception to 25 June 2020. Studies were included if they evaluated palliative care needs-assessment/measurement tools for heart failure populations in terms of development, psychometrics, or palliative care patient/needs identification. Twenty-seven papers were included regarding nineteen studies, most of which were quantitative and observational. Six tools were identified and compared according to their content and context of use, development, psychometrics, and clinical applications in identifying patients with palliative care needs. Despite limited evidence, the Needs Assessment Tool: Progressive Disease - Heart Failure (NAT:PD-HF) is the most appropriate palliative care needs-assessment tool for use in heart failure populations. It covers most of the patient needs and has the best psychometric properties and evidence of identification ability and appropriateness. Psychometric testing of the tools in patients with heart failure and evaluating the tools to identify those with palliative care needs require more investigation.
Background: More medical residents and fellows outside of palliative care (PC) will need to be trained in primary PC (PPC) to meet an increasing patient need.
Objective: To systematically review surveys of program leadership in postgraduate medical training programs and their respective PPC curricula.
Methods: This review included all studies of program leadership surveyed about their PPC curricula in U.S. graduate medical education programs, published in English, and listed on MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE through January 2020.
Results: Data were extracted from eight studies that met the selection criteria out of 221 reviewed texts. PC domains of communication, symptom management, and end-of-life care were taught in all medical specialties most commonly through didactics and PC rotations. Program leadership supported expanding PPC curriculum, with lack of time being the most common barrier. There were differences by specialty in which trainees were exposed to PPC education, with most programs not using a formal curriculum.
Conclusions: Generally, there are positive attitudes about PPC education, but there remain significant numbers of trainees with no exposure, and heterogeneity in the content and delivery of PPC education across specialties. PPC Education in U.S. Residencies and Fellowships: A Systematic Review of Program Leadership Perspectives.
Background: Transitioning from the hospital to community is a vulnerable point in patients' care trajectory, yet little is known about this experience within the context of palliative care. While some studies have examined the patient and caregiver experience, no study to date has synthesized the literature on the healthcare provider's perspective on their role and experience facilitating these transitions.
Aim: The purpose of this systematic review was to understand the experience and perspective of healthcare providers who support the transition of patients receiving palliative care as they move from acute care to community settings.
Design: A qualitative systematic review of studies using thematic analysis as outlined by Thomas and Harden. PROSPERO: ID # CRD42018109662.
Data sources: We searched four databases: MEDLINE, Embase, ProQuest and CINAHL for studies published in English from 1995 until May 22, 2020. Four reviewers screened records using the following selection criteria: (1) peer-reviewed empirical study, (2) adult sample, (3) qualitative study design, (4) perspective of healthcare providers, and (5) included a component of transitions between acute to community-based palliative care. Study findings were analyzed using thematic analysis which entailed: (1) grouping the findings into recurring themes; (2) iteratively referring back to the articles to obtain nuances of the theme and quotations; and (3) defining and solidifying the themes.
Results: Overall 1,791 studies were identified and 15 met inclusion criteria. Studies were published recently (>2015, n = 12, 80%) and used a range of qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and field interviews. Three core themes related to the role and experience of healthcare providers were identified: (1) assessing and preparing for transition; (2) organizing and facilitating the logistics of transition; and (3) coordinating and collaborating transitional care across sectors. The majority of studies focused on the discharge process from acute care; there was a lack of studies exploring the experiences of healthcare providers in the community who receive patients from acute care and provide them with palliative care at home.
Conclusion: This review identified studies from a range of relatively high-income countries that included a diverse sample of healthcare providers. The results indicate that healthcare providers experience multiple complex roles during the transition facilitation process, and future research should examine how to better assist clinicians in supporting these transitions within the context of palliative care provision.
PURPOSE: Capitalizing on the promise of patient-reported outcomes (PROs), electronic implementations of PROs (ePROs) are expected to play an important role in the development of novel digital health interventions targeting palliative cancer care. We performed a systematic and mapping review of the scientific literature on the current ePRO-based approaches used for palliative cancer care.
METHODS: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement guidelines, the conducted review answered the research questions: "What are the current ePRO-based approaches for palliative cancer care; what is their contribution/value in the domain of palliative cancer care; and what are the potential gaps, challenges, and opportunities for further research?" After a screening step, the corpus of included articles indexed in PubMed or the Web of Science underwent full text review, which mapped the articles across 15 predefined axes.
RESULTS: The corpus of 24 mapped studies includes 9 study protocols, 7 technical tools/solutions, 7 pilot/feasibility/acceptability studies, and 1 evaluation study. The review of the corpus revealed (1) an archetype of ePRO-enabled interventions for palliative cancer care, which most commonly use ePROs as study end point assessment instruments rather than integral intervention components; (2) the fact that the literature has not fully embraced the modern definitions that expand the scope of palliative care; (3) the striking shortage of promising ubiquitous computing devices (eg, smart activity trackers); and (4) emerging evidence about the benefits of narrowing down the target cancer population, especially when combined with modern patient-centered intervention design methodologies.
CONCLUSION: Although research on exploiting ePROs for the development of digital palliative cancer care interventions is considerably active and demonstrates several successful cases, there is considerable room for improvement along the directions of the aforementioned findings.
BACKGROUND: People living with long-term neurological conditions (LTNC) often require palliative care. Rehabilitation medicine specialists often coordinate the long-term care of these patients.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present review was to undertake systematic literature searches to identify the evidence on palliative care for people with LTNC to guide rehabilitation medicine specialists caring for these patients in the UK.
METHODS: We searched for evidence for (1) discussion of end of life, (2) planning for end-of-life care, (3) brief specialist palliative care interventions, (4) support for family and carers, (5) training of rehabilitation medicine specialists in palliative care, and (6) commissioning of services. The databases searched were MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, NHS Economic Evaluation Database and Health Technology Assessment Database. Evidence was assimilated using a simplified version of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation method.
RESULTS: We identified 2961 records through database searching for neurological conditions and 1261 additional records through database searches for specific symptoms. We removed duplicate records and conference presentations. We screened 3234 titles and identified 330 potentially relevant abstracts. After reading the abstracts we selected 34 studies for inclusion in the evidence synthesis.
CONCLUSIONS: From the evidence reviewed we would like to recommend that we move forward by establishing a closer working relationship with specialists in palliative care and rehabilitation medicine and explore the implications for cross-specialty training.
OBJECTIVE: China is home to one-fifth of the world's population. In the setting of a growing and aging population as well as the designation of palliative care access as a human right in 2013, the implementation of palliative care in China gains special importance. Palliative care education is an important precondition to ensure a nationwide access to palliative care. This systematic review details the status of under- and postgraduate palliative care education in China, examining both the students' and physicians' perception, knowledge, and skills in palliative care, and the available educational interventions and programs.
METHOD: Four databases were searched in September 2018, using considered search terms. Titles, abstracts, and, if necessary, full texts were scanned to identify publications matching the inclusion criteria.
RESULTS: Nine publications were included. They revealed six findings: palliative care education is lacking in both under- and postgraduate medical education, only a few programs exist. Palliative care as a concept is well known, detailed knowledge, and practical skills are less developed. Chinese physicians consider palliative care an important field to be developed in cancer care, yet the majority of healthcare professionals are not willing to work in palliative care services. Communication should be a main emphasis in palliative care education, especially in undergraduate training. Finally, there is no highly qualified research on under- or postgraduate palliative care education in Mainland China.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: These findings suggest that palliative care education in China is in demand and should be systematically integrated into medical education. Further research on the topic is urgently needed.
PURPOSE: To review and summarize the most frequent medications and dosages used during withholding and withdrawal of life-prolonging measures in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Virtual Health Library from inception through March 2019. We considered any study evaluating pharmaceutical interventions for pain management during the withholding or withdrawing of life support in adult critically ill patients at the end-of-life. Two independent investigators performed the screening and data extraction. We pooled data on utilization rate of analgesic and sedative drugs and summarized the dosing between the moment prior to withholding or withdrawal of life support and the moment before death.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies met inclusion criteria. Studies were conducted in the United States (38%), Canada (31%), and the Netherlands (31%). Eleven studies were single-cohort and twelve had a Newcastle-Ottawa Scale score of less than 7. The mean age of the patients ranged from 59 to 71 years, 59-100% were mechanically ventilated, and 47-100% of the patients underwent life support withdrawal. The most commonly used opioid and sedative were morphine [utilization rate 60% (95% CI 48-71%)] and midazolam [utilization rate 28% (95% CI 23-32%)], respectively. Doses increased during the end-of-life process (pooled mean increase in the dose of morphine: 2.6 mg/h, 95% CI 1.2-4).
CONCLUSIONS: Pain control is centered on opioids and adjunctive benzodiazepines, with dosages exceeding those recommended by guidelines. Despite consistency among guidelines, there is significant heterogeneity among practices in end-of-life care.
CONTEXT: Terminally ill patients (TIP) frequently visit the emergency department (ED), but the prevalence of these visits is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of TIP visiting the ED.
METHODS: Systematic review of observational studies published between 1998 and 2018 reporting adults TIP who used the hospital ED, searching in PubMed, CINAHL, SciELO, LILACS, and Cochrane. Three evaluators selected and extracted data (kappa concordance 0.63). The quality of the studies was evaluated with the Newcastle-Ottawa scale and global estimates were made, calculating combined prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) and heterogeneity of the studies (I2).
RESULTS: We identified 2429 publications, ultimately including 31 studies in 14 countries; 79% were from high-income countries, 21% from medium-income countries and none from low-income countries. Most were from 2015. We found that 45% of cancer patients visited the ED in the last month of life (95% CI 37-54%) and 75% in the last 6 months of life (95% CI 62-83%); I2 100%. Overall, 17% of patients who visited the ED had a terminal illness (95% CI 12-23%); I2 98%. Few studies reported terminal non-oncologic illness, specific age groups or diseases, hospital admission rates, use of palliative care or non-resuscitation, or other criteria that could be used for grouping.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with terminal cancer frequently use the ED at the end of life, although use varies among patients and few studies have examined low-income countries or patients with non-oncologic terminal illness. The global prevalence of TIP in the ED cannot be calculated from limited reports.
Le champ des études sur la fin de la vie s’est peu penché jusqu’à maintenant sur la population trans. Pourtant, des études quantitatives mettent en lumière une planification moindre de la fin de vie au sein de celle-ci, comparativement à d’autres minorités sexuelles. Notre revue d’études qualitatives vise à mieux comprendre cette situation et, plus largement, à saisir les préoccupations des personnes trans relativement à la fin de la vie. Les treize publications retenues mettent en évidence leurs inquiétudes concernant les risques d’abus et de manque de respect de la part des professionnels dans les soins et les hébergements de fin de vie, leur isolement et le manque de soutien de leurs proches, l’importance qu’elles accordent au présent au détriment de la fin de vie et leurs craintes de voir leur identité de genre déniée après la mort.
INTRODUCTION: Caring for terminally ill children influences nurses' and allied health provider's quality of life, ability to provide personalized, dignified and empathetic care and even their concepts of personhood. In the absence of data this review utilizes the Ring Theory of Personhood (RToP) to evaluate how a physician's concept of personhood is affected caring for terminally ill children in order to better support them holistically.
METHODS: Using PRISMA Guidelines, 14 researchers carried out independent searches of PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library and gray literature databases for articles published between 2000 to 2019. Concurrent and independent employment of content and thematic analysis (Split Approach) was used to enhance the trustworthiness of the analysis.
RESULTS: 13,424 titles and abstracts were retrieved, 188 full texts were evaluated, and 39 articles were included and analyzed. Identical categories and themes identified using the Split Approach suggest that caring for dying children in PPC impacts the physician's professional identity, clinical decision making, personal well-being and relationships. The data also suggests that the magnitude of these effects depends on the presence of protective and risk factors.
CONCLUSION: Aside from providing a novel insight into the upon the physician, this review proffers a unique approach to accounting for the presence, magnitude and influence of incoming catalysts, resultant conflicts, and protective and risk factors upon the physician's personhood. Further studies into the changes in personhood are required. Design of a personalized assessment tool based on the RToP will help direct timely, appropriate and personalized support to these physicians.
BACKGROUND: Childhood bereavement after sibling death is common, but often unrecognized. The psychosomatic and socioeconomic outcomes of bereaved children can be compromised if appropriate care is unavailable during the formative years leading into adulthood.
AIM: This review aims to describe the methods, structures and procedures of bereavement care for children and adolescents after the loss of a sibling, and the impact on the families benefiting from these interventions.
DESIGN: A systematic review without restriction on study design was conducted.
DATA SOURCES: Four databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Cochrane Library) were searched for articles published from 2000 to 2019. The search was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines and the protocol is registered on PROSPERO under number CRD42019124675. Articles were assessed against eligibility criteria by both authors, and quality was appraised using CASP checklists and NHMRC grading guidelines.
RESULTS: Twenty-three studies met inclusion criteria. Bereavement care was most often accessed by children ages 6-18 who lost a sibling to cancer 6-12 months prior. The interventions were typically group sessions or weekend camps, run predominantly by unpaid staff from a variety of backgrounds. Some staff members received priori specific training. Grief education is taught through mediated discussion and bereavement-centered activities balanced with playful and relaxed activities. Several services have effectuated evaluations of their interventions, and preliminary results show a positive effect for families.
CONCLUSION: Existing literature most likely gives an incomplete picture of appropriate childhood bereavement care, and many interventions possibly remain unpublished or published in other non-scientific sources. An effective response to childhood grief would involve collaboration between medical resources and community services, reinforced through the development of outreach and training programs.
CONTEXT: Currently, systematic evidence of prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms in people with extremely short prognoses is not available to inform its global burden, assessment, and management.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms in people with advanced life-limiting illnesses and extremely short prognoses (range of days to weeks).
METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis (random effects model) were performed (PROSPERO: CRD42019125119). MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and CareSearch were searched for studies (1994-2019). Data were screened for prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms (assessed using validated depression-specific screening tools or diagnostic criteria) of adults with advanced life-limiting illnesses and extremely short prognoses (defined by survival or functional status). Quality assessment was performed using the Joanna Briggs Institute Systematic Reviews Checklist for Prevalence Studies for individual studies, and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) across studies.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies were included. The overall pooled prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms in adults with extremely short prognoses (n = 10 studies; extremely short prognoses: N = 905) using depression-specific screening tools was 50% (95%CI: 29%-70%; I2 = 97.6%). Prevalence of major and minor depression were 10% (95%CI: 4%-16%) and 5% (95%CI: 2%-8%), respectively. Major limitations included high heterogeneity, selection bias and small sample sizes in individual studies.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinically significant depressive symptoms were prevalent in people with advanced life-limiting illnesses and extremely short prognoses. Clinicians need to be proactive in the recognition and assessment of these symptoms to allow for timely intervention.
BACKGROUND: Guidelines recommend an early access to specialised palliative medicine services for patients with cancer, but studies have reported a continued underuse. Palliative care facilities deliver early care, alongside antineoplastic treatments, whereas hospice care structures intervene lately, when cancer-modifying treatments stop.
AIM: This review identified factors associated with early and late interventions of specialised services, by considering the type of structures studied (palliative vs hospice care).
DESIGN: We performed a systematic review, prospectively registered on PROSPERO (ID: CRD42018110063).
DATA SOURCES: We searched Medline and Scopus databases for population-based studies. Two independent reviewers extracted the data and assessed the study quality using Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal checklists.
RESULTS: The 51 included articles performed 67 analyses. Most were based on retrospective cohorts and US populations. The median quality scores were 19/22 for cohorts and 15/16 for cross-sectional studies. Most analyses focused on hospice care (n=37). Older patients, men, people with haematological cancer or treated in small centres had less specialised interventions. Palliative and hospice facilities addressed different populations. Older patients received less palliative care but more hospice care. Patients with high-stage tumours had more palliative care while women and patients with a low comorbidity burden received more hospice care.
CONCLUSION: Main disparities concerned older patients, men and people with haematological cancer. We highlighted the challenges of early interventions for older patients and of late deliveries for men and highly comorbid patients. Additional data on non-American populations, outpatients and factors related to quality of life and socioeconomic status are needed.
Objectives: This study was conducted before an evidence review on Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) to update the clinical practice guidelines (CPGs): "Deciding palliative and end-of-life (P/EoL) care for people with diabetes." The aim was to frame the PICO (population/problems, interventions/comparisons, and outcomes), ascertain their importance, and identify other modifying factors for grading recommendations.
Design: A systematic scoping review mapped information about diabetes P/EoL problems and outcomes, TCM use, provision, benefits and risks, and stakeholder preferences and values. Thirteen electronic databases were searched in 2017/18 until no new information was identified. Relevant data were extracted, rated for quality, directness, and relevance, and synthesized using triangulation methods. Excluded was diabetes prevention or treatment, as this is not an important P/EoL problem.
Results: Of the 228 included articles, except for diabetes P/EoL problems, insufficient direct evidence led to data being extrapolated from either adults with diabetes or any P/EoL diagnosis. The findings affirmed that caring for people with diabetes in need of P/EoL care is complex due to multiple fluctuating needs that are influenced by the P/EoL trajectories (stable, unstable, deteriorating, terminal, or bereaved), multimorbidity, and difficult-to-manage chronic and acute problems. The only problem specific to diabetes P/EoL care, was unstable glycemia. Over 50 TCM interventions commonly used by patients and/or provided by services were identified, of which, many might simultaneously address multiple problems and 18 had been appraised in systematic reviews. Physical and psychologic symptom reliefs were most often evaluated; however, these were only one aspect of a "good death." Other important outcomes were the quality and location of care, personal agency, relationships, preparations for the dying process, spirituality, and affirmation of the whole person. Other important modifying factors included opportunity costs, affordability, availability, preferences, cultural appropriateness, and alignment with beliefs about the meaning of illness and death.
Conclusions: There is a role for TCM in the multidisciplinary holistic P/EoL care of people with diabetes. Due to the paucity of evidence specific to this population, the generalizability of some of these results is broader and the updated CPG will also need to consider indirect evidence from other patient groups. Along with recommendations about indications for TCM use, the CGP should provide guidance on ceasing unnecessary interventions, reducing polypharmacy and managing unstable glycemia is required. Before ceasing a TCM, a broader risk-benefit analysis is recommended, as unlike many conventional therapies, there may be multiple benefits warranting its continuation.