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.
OBJECTIVE: In 2015, a Chaplaincy Research Consortium generated a model of human spirituality in the palliative care context to further chaplaincy research. This article investigates the clinical fit of (a) the model's fundamental premise of universal human spirituality and (b) its 4 proposed stage descriptors (Discovery, Dialogue, Struggle, and Arrival).
METHOD: First, we collected qualitative data from an interdisciplinary palliative care focus group. Participants (n = 5) shared responses to the statement "the human spirit has essential commonalities across [ … ] groups and [ … ] attributes." Participants also shared vignettes of spiritual care, and 48 vignettes illustrating patients' spiritual journeys were subsequently taken from the transcript of that group. Second, we invited different mixed discipline palliative care professionals (n = 9) to individually card sort these vignettes to the model's 4 stage descriptors; we conducted pattern analysis on the results. We then administered a third step, convening six physicians to complete the card sort again, this time allowing designation of cards to one or two of the 4 stage descriptors.
RESULTS: Focus group participants were supportive of the model's all-encompassing definition of spirituality. The concept of "connectedness" was a shared focus for all participants, connectedness and spirituality appearing almost synonymous. Pattern analysis of assigned 48 vignettes to the 4 stages showed stronger consensus around Discovery and Arrival than Struggle and Dialogue. Results of the additional card sort suggested Struggle and Dialogue involve oscillation and are harder to think of as a steady state as distinct from processes associated with Discovery or Arrival.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: "Connectedness" is a productive concept for modeling human spiritual experience near the end of life. As one healthcare professional said: "this connectedness piece is [ … ] what I always look for … " Although further work is needed to understand struggle and dialogue elements in peoples' spiritual journeys, discovery and arrival shared consensus among participants.
BACKGROUND: The mortality rate of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) patients with respiratory failure remains high. This study aimed to identify factors contributing to death in these patients, and develop a mortality prediction model for pulmonary TB patients with respiratory failure.
METHODS: A retrospective study of patients admitted consecutively to the medical ICU of Beijing Chest Hospital, (Beijing, China), Chaoyang Fourth Hospital (Liaoning, China) and Hebi Third People's Hospital (Henan, China) from May 2018 to May 2019 was conducted. 153 patients with pulmonary TB accompanied by respiratory failure were enrolled. A multivariate analysis was performed to identify risk factors for death. A predictive fatality score was determined. The utility of the score for predicting death was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
RESULTS: The patients' median age was 57.82±19.42 years (17.0-87.0 years) and there were 106 males (69.28%). The mortality rate was 39.22% (60 of 153). Independent predictive factors of mortality included the PaO2 (hazard ratio 0.928, 95% CI: 0.882 - 0.976, P=0.004), Albumin (hazard ratio 0.881, 95% CI: 0.792- 0.980, P=0.019), Apache II score (hazard ratio 1.120, 95% CI: 1.017-1.234, P=0.022) and C-reactive protein (hazard ratio 1.012, 95% CI: 1.004-1.019, P=0.003). Establishing a logistic model of the death risk grade of pulmonary TB with respiratory failure was Y=1.710 - 0.068*PaO2-0.163* albumin + 0.215* Apache II +0.012* C-reactive protein. The value was Y=-0.494. If the Y value was greater than or equal to -0.494, the patients belonged to the deceased group, and if less than -0.494 the patients belonged to the survival group. AUC=0.818, The sensitivity was 83.3%; specificity was 73.1%.
CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary TB patients with respiratory failure have a high mortality rate and poor prognosis, particularly those with high Apache II scores, high C-reactive protein levels, low PaO2 admission to ICU and low albumin level. The prediction model will help assess the risk of death in patients with TB and respiratory failure.
Ageing has been recognized as one of the most critically important health-care issues worldwide. It is relevant to Asia, where the increasing number of older populations has drawn attention to the paramount need for health-care investment, particularly in end-of-life care. The advocacy of advance care planning is a mean to honor patient autonomy. Since most East Asian countries are influenced by Confucianism and the concept of 'filial piety,' patient autonomy is consequently subordinate to family values and physician authority. The dominance from family members and physicians during a patient's end-of-life decision-making is recognized as a cultural feature in Asia. Physicians often disclose the patient's poor prognosis and corresponding treatment options to the male, family member rather to the patient him/herself. In order to address this ethical and practical dilemma, the concept of 'relational autonomy' and the collectivism paradigm might be ideally used to assist Asian people, especially older adults, to share their preferences on future care and decision-making on certain clinical situations with their families and important others. In this review article, we invited experts in end-of-life care from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan to briefly report the current status of advance care planning in each country from policy, legal and clinical perspectives. According to the Asian experiences, we have seen different models of advance care planning implementation. The Asian Delphi Taskforce for advance care planning is currently undertaken by six Asian countries and a more detailed, culturally sensitive whitepaper will be published in the near future.
BACKGROUND: Advanced care planning (ACP) provides an opportunity for individuals to explore and document their values concerning medical care decisions prior to an acute event. This manuscript explores the value of ACP and compares and contrasts 2 ACP models currently in practice.
METHODS: This hypothetical case describes an elderly, frail patient with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who is also a high user of health care resources. A new palliative care-led outpatient ACP clinic model is described using this example.
RESULTS: Using the ACP clinic model in this case reveals how different a patient's end of life experience may be when proper, proactive planning measures are in place. With proper education and discussion around this patient and family's wishes pertaining to the end of his life, this man was able to change his plan of care from aggressive resuscitation treatment in hospital to a peaceful palliative experience at home.
CONCLUSIONS: In this case description, the valuable role of ACP in preserving quality of life for patients, increasing satisfaction with care, and decreasing distress among family members during a medical event is demonstrated.
Background: Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States and when compared with non-Latino whites suffer from higher rates of certain chronic diseases. Latino community health workers (promotores de salud) are successful in improving the health of their communities. However, evidence of their effectiveness in increasing awareness of palliative care (PC) is limited.
Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of applying a promotores de salud model to improve PC awareness among Latinos within the context of chronic disease management.
Methods: Bilingual promotores from Familias en Acción trained 76 southern California promotores on PC and chronic disease management. Promotores agreed to disseminate the information learned to 10+ Latino community members. The strengths of the curriculum and the community's needs were identified during phone interviews six months post-training.
Results: In 406 diverse settings, 69 promotores trained 2734 community members. Interviews with promotores at follow-up established four themes: (1) holistic health in chronic disease management; (2) communication with doctors; (3) shared decision making, patients' rights, and control; and (4) need for PC information (awareness, access, and support groups).
Conclusion: Promotores proved effective at disseminating information related to PC within chronic disease management to Latino community members. Future training should include information on support groups and where caregivers can seek help while caring for those with a terminal disease.
AIM: The aim of the study was to identify barriers and benefits in establishing a model for integration of palliative care of cancer patients in daily clinical practice in tertiary health institutions.
METHODS: This was a qualitative design study using in-depth interviews with four stakeholders and focus group discussions with 19 nurse managers using purposive sampling to select the participants, utilizing interpretive paradigm method. Need was ascertained for a model that would guide nursing care for cancer patients.
RESULTS: Barriers identified in relation to integrating palliative care in daily clinical practice included lack of hospital policies about palliative care activities, cultural influences, denial or rejection of diagnosis by patients, inappropriate attitude of health care workers, patients failing to keep check-up appointments and financial implications of setting up a dedicated palliative care team. Benefits of the model were twofold: hospital outcomes and patients/family outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Quality care for cancer patients/families calls for the adoption of clearly set out principles of palliative care as an integral component of daily practice. Challenges to implementation of palliative care services in hospitals can be overcome by establishing workable policies and allocating adequate funds for palliative care activities.
BACKGROUND: Limited research has characterized team-based models of home palliative care and the outcomes of patients supported by these care teams.
CASE PRESENTATION: A retrospective case series describing care and outcomes of patients managed by the London Home Palliative Care Team between May 1, 2017 and April 1, 2019.
CASE MANAGEMENT: The London Home Palliative Care (LHPC) Team care model is based upon 3 pillars: 1) physician visit availability 2) active patient-centered care with strong physician in-home presence and 3) optimal administrative organization.
CASE OUTCOMES: In the 18 month study period, 354 patients received care from the London Home Palliative Care Team. Most significantly, 88.4% (n = 313) died in the community or at a designated palliative care unit after prearranged direct transfer; no comparable provincial data is available. 21.2% (n = 75) patients visited an emergency department and 24.6% (n = 87) were admitted to hospital at least once in their final 30 days of life. 280 (79.1%) died in the community. These values are better than comparable provincial estimates of 62.7%, 61.7%, and 24.0%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The London Home Palliative Care (LHPC) Team model appears to favorably impact community death rate, ER visits and unplanned hospital admissions, as compared to accepted provincial data. Studies to determine if this model is reproducible could support palliative care teams achieving similar results.
Background: There is an international drive towards increasing provision of community-led models of social and practical support for people living with advanced illness.
Aim: This feasibility project aims to develop, implement and evaluate a model of community volunteers, identified as Compassionate Communities Connectors, to support people living with advanced life limiting illnesses/palliative care needs. The aims also include the development and evaluation of a training programme for volunteers and assessment of the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of this model of care.
Methods: The approach seeks to map and mobilise people's personal networks of care through the Connectors enlisting Caring Helpers (community volunteers). Up to 10 Connectors will be trained to work with at least 30 families selected by the palliative care service as requiring support. The primary outcome is the effect of the intervention on social connectedness. Secondary outcomes are the intervention's effect on unplanned hospital utilisation, caregiver support needs, advance care plans and satisfaction with intervention for patients/carers, volunteers and service providers.
Conclusion: It is expected that this intervention will enhance patient, carer and family social, psychological and practical support and reduce the need for dying people to be admitted to a hospital.
Background: oral health problems among people receiving palliative care are common and can significantly affect quality of life. Nurses are at the frontline of palliative care in Australia. However, how optimal oral health care is addressed in clinical practice by palliative nurses is not known.
Aim: To explore the perceptions of nurses working in Australian palliative care settings to determine the acceptability, challenges and recommendations that need to be considered to develop and implement an oral health care model in palliative care settings.
Methods: Two focus groups were conducted with community (n = 8) and inpatient nurses (n = 10) working in urban palliative care settings.
Findings: Four main themes were developed through consensus: 1) Oral health is important in the palliative care setting; 2) Additional training could enhance what nurses already do; 3) Barriers to receiving oral care: a structural issue; 4) Exploring alternative pathways to dental services.
Discussion: Nurses recognised the importance of oral health in palliative care; however, the paucity of set protocols based on existing guidelines meant that oral care was often unstructured. Systemic factors reduced the number of available options for people receiving palliative care to access professional dental treatment. Although alternative solutions, including teledentistry services, were explored, there were some constraints.
Conclusion: A palliative care oral health model of care would need to integrate existing formal guidelines into a comprehensive framework specific for palliative care nurses and develop palliative care oral health training for them taking into consideration existing barriers for people to receive professional dental treatment.
Objective: Seriously ill adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC) who receive palliative care may benefit from improved symptom burden, health care utilization and cost, caregiver stress, and quality of life. To guide research involving serious illness and MCC, palliative care can be integrated into a conceptual model to develop future research studies to improve care strategies and outcomes in this population.
Methods: The adapted conceptual model was developed based on a thorough review of the literature, in which current evidence and conceptual models related to serious illness, MCC, and palliative care were appraised. Factors contributing to patients’ needs, services received, and service-related variables were identified. Relevant patient outcomes and evidence gaps are also highlighted.
Results: Fifty-eight articles were synthesized to inform the development of an adapted conceptual model including serious illness, MCC, and palliative care. Concepts were organized into 4 main conceptual groups, including Factors Affecting Needs (sociodemographic and social determinants of health), Factors Affecting Services Received (health system; research, evidence base, dissemination, and health policy; community resources), Service-Related Variables (patient visits, service mix, quality of care, patient information, experience), and Outcomes (symptom burden, quality of life, function, advance care planning, goal-concordant care, utilization, cost, death, site of death, satisfaction).
Discussion: The adapted conceptual model integrates palliative care with serious illness and multiple chronic conditions. The model is intended to guide the development of research studies involving seriously ill adults with MCC and aid researchers in addressing relevant evidence gaps.
Objective: To test the effectiveness of theoretically driven role model video stories in improving knowledge of palliative care among a diverse sample of older adults.
Method: We developed three 3–4 min long theoretically driven role model video stories. We then recruited cognitively intact, English-speaking adults aged 50 and older from senior centers, assisted living, and other community-based sites in the greater Los Angeles area. Using a pretest–posttest study design, we surveyed participants using the 13-item Palliative Care Knowledge Scale (PaCKS) and also asked participants about their intentions to enroll in palliative care should the need arise. Participants first completed the pretest, viewed the three videos, then completed the posttest comprised of the same set of questions.
Results: PaCKS score improved from an average of 4.5 at baseline to 10.0 following video screening (t(126) = 12.0, p < 0.001). Intentions to enroll oneself or a family member in palliative care rose by 103% ( 2 = 7.8, p < 0.01) and 110% ( 2 = 7.5, p < 0.01), respectively. Regression analysis revealed that participants who believed the role models are real people (ß = 2.6, SE = 1.2, p < 0.05) significantly predicted higher change in PaCKS score. Conversely, participants with prior knowledge of, or experience with, palliative care (ß = -5.9, SE = 0.8, p < 0.001), non-whites (ß = -3.6, SE = 0.9, p < 0.001), and widows (ß = -2.9, SE = 1.1, p < 0.01) significantly predicted lower changes in PaCKS score.
Significance of results: This study suggests that theoretically driven role model video stories may be an effective strategy to improve palliative care knowledge. Role model video stories of diverse palliative care patients provide one way to mitigate health literacy barriers to palliative care knowledge.
Context: During the course of March and April 2020, New York City experienced a surge of a 170,000 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, overwhelming hospital systems and leading to an unprecedented need for palliative care services.
Objectives: to present a model for rapid palliative care workforce expansion under crisis conditions, using supervised advanced psychiatry trainees to provide primary palliative services in the acute care and emergency setting.
Methods: In response to the New York City COVID-19 surge, advanced psychiatry trainees at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center were rapidly trained and redeployed to a newly formed psychiatry-palliative care liaison team. Under the supervision of consultation-liaison psychiatrists (who also served as team coordinators), these trainees provided circumscribed palliative care services to patients and/or their families, including goals-of-care discussions and psychosocial support. Palliative care attendings remained available to all team members for more advanced and specialized supervision.
Results: The psychiatry-palliative care liaison team effectively provided palliative care services during the early phase and peak of New York City's COVID-19 crisis, managing up to 16 new cases per day and provided longitudinal follow-up, thereby enabling palliative care specialists to focus on providing services requiring specialist-level palliative care expertise.
Conclusion: by training and supervising psychiatrists and advanced psychiatry trainees in specific palliative care roles, palliative care teams could more effectively meet markedly increased service needs of varying complexity during the COVID-19 crisis. As new geographic regions experience possible COVID-19 surges in the coming months, this may serve as a model for rapidly increasing palliative care workforce.
Background: Controlled donation after circulatory death (cDCD) is a major source of organs for transplantation. A potential cDCD donor poses considerable challenges in terms of identification of those dying within the predefined time frame of warm ischemia after withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment (WLST) to circulatory arrest. Several attempts have been made to develop models predicting the time between treatment withdrawal and circulatory arrest. This time window determines whether organ donation can occur and influences the quality of the donated organs. However, the selected patients used for these models were not always restricted to potential cDCD donors (eg, patients with cancer or severe infections were also included). This severely limits the generalizability of those data.
Objective: The objectives of this study are the following: (1) to develop a model predicting time to death within 60 minutes in potential cDCD patients; (2) to validate and update previous prediction models on time to death after WLST; (3) to determine timing and patient characteristics that are associated with prognostication and the decision-making process that leads to initiating end-of-life care; (4) to evaluate the impact of timing of family approach on organ donation approval; and (5) to assess the influence of variation in WLST processes on postmortem organ donor potential and actual postmortem organ donors.
Methods: In this multicenter observational prospective cohort study, all patients admitted to the intensive care unit of 3 university hospitals and 3 teaching hospitals who met the criteria of the cDCD protocol as defined by the Dutch Transplant Foundation were included. The target of enrolment was set to 400 patients. Previously developed models will be refitted in our data set. To further update previous prediction models, we will apply least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) as a tool for efficient variable selection to develop the multivariable logistic regression model.
Results: This protocol was funded in August 2014 by the Dutch Transplant Foundation. We expect to have the results of this study in July 2020. Patient enrolment was completed in July 2018 and data collection was completed in April 2020.
Conclusions: This study will provide a robust multimodal prediction model, based on clinical and physiological parameters, that can predict time to circulatory arrest in cDCD donors. In addition, it will add valuable insight in the process of WLST in cDCD donors and will fill an important knowledge gap in this essential field of health care.
ntroduction: Patients dying a short time after receiving palliative radiation are unlikely to have received benefit and may experience harm. To monitor the potential for avoidable harm, 30-day mortality following palliative radiation has been recommended for use as a quality indicator and the Royal College of Radiologist have recommended a rate of lower than 20%. At the Canterbury Regional Cancer and Haematology Service in Christchurch, New Zealand (CRCHS), we investigated 30-day mortality and evaluated the prognostic value of the TEACHH model in our population.
Methods: Palliative treatments from two, two-year periods (2012/2013 and 2016/2017) were retrospectively reviewed. We analysed 30-day mortality and several influencing variables. Patients were divided into three groups using the TEACHH model (type of cancer, performance status, age, prior palliative chemotherapy, prior hospitalizations and hepatic metastases).
Results: There were 1744 patients; 30-day mortality was 10% and was higher in patients with lung cancer (17% vs. 8% in non–lung cancer patients, P < 0.0001), patients having less than five fractions (13% vs. 9%, P : 0.0199) and patients in TEACHH group B/C (21% in C, 11% in B and 2% in group A, P < 0.0001). The majority of treatments (84%) used five fractions or less.
Conclusions: The mortality rate is within the suggested quality indicator, and the decreasing mortality with increasing fractionation demonstrates suitable selection of patients for longer treatment regimens. The TEACHH model can be used to increase precision in estimating prognosis, identifying patients who should not receive treatment and conversely identifying those for whom a prolonged fractionation schedule may be appropriate.
Background: the TEACHH and Chow models were developed to predict life expectancy (LE) in patients evaluated for palliative radiotherapy (PRT). We sought to validate the TEACHH and Chow models in patients who died within 90 days of PRT consultation.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on patients evaluated for PRT from 2017 to 2019 who died within 90 days of consultation. Data were collected for the TEACHH and Chow models; one point was assigned for each adverse factor. TEACHH model included: primary site of disease, ECOG performance status, age, prior palliative chemotherapy courses, hospitalization within the last 3 months, and presence of hepatic metastases; patients with 0-1, 2-4, and 5-6 adverse factors were categorized into groups (A, B, and C). The Chow model included non-breast primary, site of metastases other than bone only, and KPS; patients with 0-1, 2, or 3 adverse factors were categorized into groups (I, II, and III).
Results: A total of 505 patients with a median overall survival of 2.1 months (IQR: 0.7-2.6) were identified. Based on the TEACHH model, 10 (2.0%), 387 (76.6%), and 108 (21.4%) patients were predicted to live >1 year, >3 months to =1 year, and =3 months, respectively. Utilizing the Chow model, 108 (21.4%), 250 (49.5%), and 147 (29.1%) patients were expected to live 15.0, 6.5, and 2.3 months, respectively.
Conclusion: Neither the TEACHH nor Chow model correctly predict prognosis in a patient population with a survival <3 months. A better predictive tool is required to identify patients with short LE.
Objectives: To develop a mortality-predictive model for correct identification of patients with non-cancer multiple chronic conditions who would benefit from palliative care, recognise predictive indicators of death and provide with tools for individual risk score calculation.
Design: Retrospective observational study with multivariate logistic regression models.
Participants: All patients with high-risk multiple chronic conditions incorporated into an integrated care strategy that fulfil two conditions: (1) they belong to the top 5% of the programme’s risk pyramid according to the adjusted morbidity groups stratification tool and (2) they suffer simultaneously at least three selected chronic non-cancer pathologies (n=591).
Main outcome measure: 1 year mortality since patient inclusion in the programme.
Results: Among study participants, 201 (34%) died within the 1 year follow-up. Variables found to be independently associated to 1 year mortality were the Barthel Scale (p<0.001), creatinine value (p=0.032), existence of pressure ulcers (p=0.029) and patient global status (p<0.001). The area under the curve (AUC) for our model was 0.751, which was validated using bootstrapping (AUC=0.751) and k-fold cross-validation (10 folds; AUC=0.744). The Hosmer-Lemeshow test (p=0.761) showed good calibration.
Conclusions This study develops and validates a mortality prediction model that will guide transitions of care to non-cancer palliative care services. The model determines prognostic indicators of death and provides tools for the estimation of individual death risk scores for each patient. We present a nomogram, a graphical risk calculation instrument, that favours a practical and easy use of the model within clinical practices.
Oyster Care is the result of the search by caregivers in Flanders, Belgium, to develop quality care for patients with a Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI). This article offers a conceptual analysis of the Oyster Care model, based on experiences, analysis, and reflection of the authors, and on several examples. The starting point of the development of this new care model is the complex and difficult context of the care for SPMI patients. Their needs and suffering are very challenging on account of a wide variety of causes. At the same time they are in danger of being neglected by the care system. Paradoxically, the development and implementation of psychosocial rehabilitation in Belgian mental health care puts the care for these patients under pressure. In practice, they are often exposed to over- or under-treatment. Another aspect that has influenced the search for more qualitative care in cases of severe psychological suffering in general and palliative approaches in particular is the background of the legal regulation of euthanasia in Belgium. Oyster Care is an innovative form of the palliative approach and philosophy, tailored to the specific target group of SPMI patients. The caregivers create an “exoskeleton” or “shell” in which SPMI patients can “come to life”: they are mainly dependent on the “external structure” they receive in order to function, rather than on the “internal structure” of their abilities. It is a dynamic approach that responds to the needs, possibilities and pace of each patient: within this safety, people can fold back or take new steps. Oyster Care is also a holistic care approach, based on four pillars: physical care adequately responding to the somatic impairments of these patients; psychological care changing the scope of therapy by focusing on mental comfort and wellbeing; social care providing a structure of daily activities and contacts; existential care enhancing the experience of life as valuable and meaningful. The wellbeing of patients is paramount and requires a range of interventions, such as a highly personal approach, a flexible dealing with rules, a great dose of creativity in everyday life, extensive expertise in somatic care, and specific attention to existential needs and the search for meaning. The development of this care model in a number of care units in Flanders increases the wellbeing of the patients and creates a significant positive dynamic among caregivers. However, more research and resources are needed to further develop and integrate this model.
The COMFORT Model has recently been revised based on feedback from bedside nurses working in palliative care and oncology and includes the following components: Connect, Options, Making Meaning, Family Caregiver, Openings, Relating, and Team. Based on clinical and nonclinical research in hospital, hospice, palliative care, and interdisciplinary education settings, the authors present the updated COMFORT Model. Originally introduced in 2012 to support the work of the nurse, the model is not a linear guide, an algorithm, a protocol, or a rubric for sequential implementation by nurses, but rather a set of communication principles that are practiced concurrently and reflectively during patient/family care. In its restructuring, we focus on the role of health literacy throughout the COMFORT components in relationship to the health literacy attributes of a health care organization. A brief summary of COMFORT components is provided and includes strategies and competencies contributing to a health-literate care organization. Both health literacy and COMFORT are explored using specific communication challenges that underscore the role of the nurse in accomplishing person-centered and culturally responsive care, especially in chronic and terminal illness. The integration of the COMFORT Model into nursing education is proposed.
Heart failure (HF), a clinical syndrome with variable trajectory has become more common. As people with HF experience functional decline during periods of deterioration in their HF status, or with aging, their needs for palliative care increase. This review considers the palliative aspects of evidence-based HF care, which benefit patients while also addressing the underlying etiology of the HF. We also identify symptoms common to patients with HF and management beyond evidence-based HF care. Prognostic models and tools to identify patients appropriately evaluated by HF specialty experts might help clinicians understand the patient's status. Rather than trying to identify a point at which palliative care should be included in care for a patient with HF, we suggest that identifying specific needs of the patient and family is a better way to target palliative care interventions. We review available publications that have explored integration of palliative care into HF care, and propose an outpatient clinic model that assesses needs and symptoms and directs HF specialist or palliative care based on this assessment.