Background: New Orleans, Louisiana served as a central location for a surge of novel coronavirus cases during the months of March 2020 to May 2020. To provide guidance to palliative care teams naive to the palliative care demand associated with a surge of coronavirus cases, we document our protocol to best optimize palliative care resources. This report aims to present this information and reflect upon what was most beneficial/least beneficial to serve as a roadmap for palliative teams facing this pandemic.
Objective: To pilot a team-based structured protocol to categorize severity of COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and subsequently collaborate with the palliative interdisciplinary team to assess physical, spiritual, and psychosocial needs.
Design: New ICU consults were categorized into color-coded clinical severity "pots" during daily ICU interdisciplinary rounds. Clinical decision making and communication with patient/next of kin were based on "pot" classification.
Settings/Subjects: Palliative medicine consults were placed on all COVID-19 positive patients admitted to the ICU between March 29, 2020, and May 1, 2020.
Measurements: A retrospective chart review was performed to analyze the effect of palliative care consultation on completion of goals-of-care conversations and the life-sustaining treatment (LST) document, an advance directive form specific to the Veterans Affairs hospital system between March 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020.
Results: Of the palliative consults evaluated by a palliative provider, 74% resulted in completion of a LST document, 58% resulted in video contact with family members, and 100% incorporated a goals-of-care discussion.
Conclusions: We found that standardizing palliative care consultation on all COVID-19 positive ICU admissions subjectively alleviated the burden on ICU providers and staff in the midst of a crisis, resulted in increased documentation of patient goals-of-care preferences/LSTs, facilitated clinical updates to family members, and better distributed clinical burden among palliative team members.
L’Espace national de réflexion éthique sur la maladie d’Alzheimer et les maladies neuro-dégénératives EREMAND, animé par l’Espace de réflexion éthique de la région Île-de-France, a conduit au début de l’épidémie de Covid-19 une enquête nationale pour identifier les difficultés rencontrées par les professionnels du grand âge et de l’autonomie, les familles et les bénévoles, et les initiatives que ceux-ci ont mises en oeuvre. Sept difficultés
majeures sont identifiées : l’isolement induit par l’interdiction des visites, le manque de matériels de protection et de tests, les difficultés des personnes en difficulté cognitive à comprendre les mesures pour éviter la propagation de l’épidémie, la soutenabilité de la surcharge de travail pour les professionnels, l’inquiétude des familles des résidents, les
situations complexes à domicile et les difficultés d’accès aux soins. Quatre initiatives sont mises en oeuvre : information et formation des équipes, compensation de l’interruption des visites, concertations et échanges entre professionnels, actions au bénéfice des personnes vivant à domicile. L’épidémie de Covid-19 est venue percuter le secteur du grand
âge à un moment très particulier de son histoire, de plusieurs années d’effort du secteur pour se réinventer autour de valeurs fortes. Elles ont été des ressources au cours de cette période de crise. Une ambitieuse loi grand âge et autonomie, apparaît dès lors, comme une nécessité.
La vie du pôle de gériatrie de Mulhouse a basculé le 3 mars 2020.
Les premiers patients Covid-19 affluent dans les services de réanimation et de médecine interne du Groupe hospitalier de la Région de Mulhouse et Sud-Alsace (GHRMSA). Dès le 4 mars, le pôle de gériatrie de Mulhouse
est en marche pour le front. Il s’engage immédiatement dans une réorganisation de son fonctionnement pour transformer le court-séjour en une unité Covid initialement de 11 lits. Les 25 patients présents jusqu’alors dans l’unité sont transférés dans d’autres services du GHRMSA en moins de 48 heures. Une logistique intense se met en place et les premiers patients Covid-19 sont accueillis le 5 mars avec des formes graves d’emblée. Dès le 7 mars, le déferlement de patients contraint le court-séjour à ouvrir ses 25 lits pour les malades Covid-19 puis une unité supplémentaire de 13 lits quelques jours après.
L’épidémie de Covid-19 qui avait débuté en novembre en Chine est devenue une épidémie en France à partir du 16 mars 2020 avec la déclaration du confinement de la population afin de diminuer la propagation du virus. Dès le 17 mars et jusqu’au 27 mars 2020, la cellule de veille de la Société française de gériatrie et gérontologie décide de mener une enquête pour analyser la mise en place de la mobilisation des structures de gériatrie, étant donné que cette épidémie avait montré qu’elle entraînait une surmortalité majoritairement chez les personnes âgées. L’enquête a pu réunir la réponse de 34 structures, dont neuf étaient situées en zone cluster de forte épidémie. Des services de court séjour gériatriques
dédiés pour les patients infectés par le Covid-19 étaient présents dans huit établissements, uniquement hors des zones clusters. Neuf soins de suite et de rééducation gériatriques ont été dédiés, une activité supplémentaire de télémédecine concernait 35 % des établissements, et des moyens d’écoute des familles, d’animation et de communication par tablettes concernaient 36% des établissements. Cette enquête est une photographie d’un moment initial de l’épidémie. Elle donne l’occasion de décrire le contexte dans lequel cette épidémie est survenue en ce qui concerne la politique gériatrique, et d’apprécier la réactivité et l’inventivité de ces services pour répondre aux besoins des personnes âgées.
INTRODUCTION: Palliative care (PC) is a holistic philosophy of care that can only be obtained through the awareness of public and healthcare professionals, PC training and good integration into the health system. Depending on health system structures, there are differences in PC models and organisations in various countries. This study is designed to evaluate the current status of PC services in Turkey, which is strongly supported by national health policies.
METHODS: The data were collected through official correspondence with the Ministry of Health, Provincial Directorate of Health and hospital authorities. Numbers of patients who received inpatient PC, the number of hospital beds, diagnosis of disease, duration of hospitalisation, the first three symptoms as the cause of hospitalisation, opioid use, place of discharge and mortality rates were evaluated.
RESULTS: A total of 48,953 patients received inpatient PC support in 199 PC centres with 2,429 beds over a 26-month period. The most frequent diagnosis for hospitalisation was cancer (35%), and the most common symptom was pain (25%). Opioids were used in 26.7% of patients.
CONCLUSION: Steps should be taken for PC training and providing continuity through organisations outside the hospital and home care.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic determined the need for extreme measures of social distancing, thus family members’ visits are not allowed for hospitalized patients and communication can take place only by phone calls or, in some cases, by the use of video calls. During this period, amongst the requests emerged from the families of our patients, we were challenged in particular by one wife of a dying patient wishing to see him one last time.
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In palliative care, one of our favorite tools is the maxim “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” We wield it frequently, sometimes indiscriminately, when faced with patients who assert that “It isn’t time for palliative care yet.” We respond by saying something like, “We will continue to hope for [cure/disease response/transplantation/other positive outcome] and help you feel as well as you can. At the same time, we want to prepare just in case [cure/disease response/transplantation/other positive outcome] isn’t possible.” And with that, we encourage patients to begin addressing practicalities such as selecting a health care proxy and making sure bank-account passwords are accessible to next of kin — just in case. We liken this kind of preparation to car insurance: Buying car insurance doesn’t cause you to get into an accident, right? Well, making plans in case things don’t go well doesn’t cause them not to go well. It’s the same idea.
And then came Covid-19, and I, like many physicians, started to understand things differently. As clinical director of a large palliative care program in Boston, I read the reports from Wuhan, Bergamo, and New York, and I knew we would face challenges unlike any we had faced before. I was responsible for preparing our group to take care of the wave of critically ill and dying patients that would arrive on our doorstep soon, and I began to strategize.
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the central importance of palliative care to our increasingly strained healthcare system. Palliative care is specialized care for people struggling with serious illnesses. Its aim is to improve the patient's quality of life by providing expert-level symptom management and skilled communication and by supporting caregivers to ensure patients and their families receive goal-concordant care. Faced with a reality that patients with frailty and serious illness are the most vulnerable to critical illness and death, early inquiries into patient and family wishes were essential to avoid preventable suffering. To prevent spread of the virus, patients' loved ones were not allowed inside of hospitals across New York, further emphasizing the importance of proficient communication between patients, their families, and the healthcare teams.
As the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues worldwide, health care systems are facing increased demand with concurrent health care provider shortages. This increase in patient demand and potential for provider shortages is particularly apparent for palliative medicine, where there are already shortages in the provision of this care. In response to the developing pandemic, our Geriatrics and Palliative (GAP) Medicine team formulated a 2-team approach which includes triage algorithms for palliative consults as well as acute symptomatic management for both patients diagnosed with or under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. These algorithms provided a delineated set of guidelines to triage patients in need of palliative services and included provisions for acute symptoms management and the protection of both the patient care team and the families of patients with COVID-19. These guidelines helped with streamlining care in times of crisis, providing care to those in need, supporting frontline staff with primary-level palliative care, and minimizing the GAP team's risk of infection and burnout during the rapidly changing pandemic response.
The objective of this study was to understand the organizational context of nurses' use of advance care plans (ACPs). We use a modified version of Bandera's social cognitive theory model to understand relationships between organizational constructs such as experience with ACPs and satisfaction with organizational support and oncology nurses' knowledge, behaviors, and perceptions around ACPs. The sample included practicing registered nurses with a major focus in oncology who were members of the Oncology Nursing Society in the United States, and nurses at medical hospital or community care settings were included. Institutional review board approval was obtained, and permission was granted from the oncology nursing organization for online surveys. A validated ACP survey was used to measure nurses' experiences and perceptions of working with ACP. Perceptions of ACP by patients, vicarious experience with ACP, direct experience of ACP, having received training, and perceptions of organizational support for ACP were all predictive of total ACP behaviors in the workplace. The final regression model had 3 independent variables and accounted for 33% of the variance in total ACP behaviors. Both vicarious and direct experience with ACP was associated with ACP behaviors in workplaces. This implies the need for more vicarious and direct training experiences, as well as organization support, to build self-efficacy to perform ACP.
BACKGROUND: Innovative service models to facilitate end-of-life care for older people may be required to enable and bolster networks of care. The aim of this study was to understand how and why a new charitably funded service model of end-of-life care impacts upon the lives of older people.
METHODS: A multiple exploratory qualitative case study research strategy. Cases were 3 sites providing a new end-oflife service model for older people. The services were provided in community settings, primarily providing support in peoples own homes. Study participants included the older people receiving the end-of-life care service, their informal carers, staff providing care within the service and other stakeholders. Data collection included individual interviews with older people and informal carers at 2 time points, focus group interviews with staff and local stakeholders, nonparticipant observation of meetings, and a final cross-case deliberative panel discussion workshop. Framework analysis facilitated analysis within and across cases.
RESULTS: Twenty-three service users and 5 informal carers participated in individual interviews across the cases. Two focus groups were held with an additional 12 participants, and 19 people attended the deliberative panel workshop. Important elements contributing to the experience and impacts of the service included organisation, where services felt they were 'outsiders,' the focus of the services and their flexible approach; and the impacts particularly in enriching relationships and improving mental health.
CONCLUSION: These end-of-life care service models operated in a space between the healthcare system and the person's life world. This meant there could be ambiguity around their services, where they occupied a liminal, but important, space. These services are potentially important to older people, but should not be overly constrained or they may lose the very flexibility that enables them to have impact.
Background: Service provision is a key domain to assess national-level palliative care development. Three editions of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Atlas of Palliative Care monitored the changes in service provision across Europe since 2005.
Aim: To study European trends of specialized service provision at home care teams, hospital support teams, and inpatient palliative care services between 2005 and 2019.
Design: Secondary analysis was conducted drawing from databases on the number of specialized services in 2005, 2012, and 2019. Ratios of services per 100,000 inhabitants and increase rates on number of services for three periods were calculated. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) analyses were conducted to determine significant changes and chi-square to identify countries accounting for the variance. Income-level and sub-regional ANOVA analysis were undertaken.
Setting: 51 countries.
Results: Forty-two countries (82%) increased the number of specialized services between 2005 and 2019 with changes for home care teams (104% increase-rate), inpatient services (82%), and hospital support teams (48%). High-income countries showed significant increase in all types of services (p < 0.001), while low-to-middle-income countries showed significant increase only for inpatient services. Central–Eastern European countries showed significant improvement in home care teams and inpatient services, while Western countries showed significant improvement in hospital support and home care teams. Home care was the most prominent service in Western Europe.
Conclusion: Specialized service provision increased throughout Europe, yet ratios per 100,000 inhabitants fell below the EAPC recommendations. Western Europe ratios’ achieved half of the suggested services, while Central–Eastern countries achieved only a fourth. High-income countries and Western European countries account for the major increase. Central–Eastern Europe and low-to-middle-income countries reported little increase on specialized service provision.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare systems are experiencing an increased demand for palliative care (PC). To meet this challenge, the PC team at Cleveland Clinic designed an enterprise-wide response plan organized around 4 domains: staff (educational resources and tools), stuff (medications and supplies), space (recommendations for optimizing physical space and facilities), and systems to facilitate high-quality PC delivery to patients. To mitigate isolation during end-of-life care, the Clinic offers “compassionate exceptions” to strict visitation policies, provides personal protective equipment to visitors of these patients, and facilitates virtual visitation via electronic devices.
Background: Access to community palliative care ‘out-of-hours’ – defined as care provided after the normal hours of work – is advocated globally. Healthcare assistants, who provide care under the direction of a qualified professional, are increasingly employed to help deliver such care, yet there is a little understanding regarding their role, responsibilities or contribution.
Aim: The aim of this study was to identify the roles, responsibilities and contributions of healthcare assistants in out-of-hours community palliative care.
Design: Scoping review
Data sources: Five bibliographic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and Scopus) and grey literature were searched using a predefined search strategy. The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews statement.
Results: The search yielded six papers using quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. Results highlighted a lack of recognition of the role and contribution of healthcare assistants. A concurrent theme was that healthcare assistants continually monitored and responded to patient’s and family’s physical and emotional needs; there was also self-reported evidence indicating patient and family benefit, such as maintaining a sense of normality and support to remain at home.
Discussion: This review highlighted a dearth of evidence relating to the healthcare assistant role in out-of-hours palliative care. Limited evidence suggests they play a role, but that it is hidden and undervalued. Such invisibility will have a significant impact on the planning and delivery of out-of-hours palliative care. Future research is needed on role development for the benefit of patients and caregivers.
Purpose: Following the development of a service that consisted of a “single point of contact” to coordinate end-of-life care (EoLC), including EoLC facilitators and an urgent response team, we aimed to explore whether the provision of coordinated EoLC would support patients being cared or dying in their preferred place and avoid unwanted hospital admissions.
Design/methodology/approach: Using a realist evaluation approach, the authors examined “what worked for whom, how, in what circumstances and why”. Multiple data were collected, including activity/performance indicators, observations of management meetings, documents, satisfaction survey and 30 interviews with service providers and users.
Findings: Advance care planning (ACP) increased through the first three years of the service (from 45% to 83%) and on average 74% of patients achieved preferred place of death. More than 70% of patients avoided an emergency or unplanned hospital admission in their last month of life. The mechanisms and context identified as driving forces of the service included: 7/7 single point of contact; coordinating services across providers; recruiting and developing the workforce; understanding and clarifying new roles; and managing expectations.
Research limitations/implications: This was a service evaluation and the outcomes are related to the specific context and mechanisms. However, findings can be transferable to similar settings.
Practical implications: “Single point of contact” services that offer coordinated EoLC can contribute in supporting people to be cared and die in their preferred place.
Originality/value: This paper provides an evaluation of a novel approach to EoLC and creates a set of hypotheses that could be further tested in similar services in the future.
Background: A community palliative care service (CPCS) identified its after-hours support as sub-optimal in avoiding acute hospitalisation and supporting patients to remain at home. It created and conducted a pilot of an extended hours palliative care service (EHPCS) using current resources.
Aims: To evaluate the efficacy of an extended hours palliative care service pilot.
Methods: Retrospective chart review of after-hours calls taken before the trial, usual care, was undertaken. During the trial, quantitative data was gathered of the outcome of each after-hours call, including outcomes of occasion of service, reason for and length and times of calls.
Findings: The extended hours palliative care service, compared with usual care, showed an almost 50% decrease in acute hospitalisation, nearly doubled after-hours palliative care unit admission and a 17% increase in patients staying in their home. EHPCS was positively received by CPCS staff, despite cost and workforce impact.
Conclusions: EHPCS can positively impact on reducing avoidable hospitalisations and facilitate palliative care patients to be in their preferred place of care.
L’objectif de l’étude est d’identifier les freins et les leviers à la mise en place de la démarche palliative en EHPAD. C’est une étude ancillaire. Nous avons mené une enquête qualitative par entretiens semi-directifs auprès de médecins coordonnateurs d’EHPAD en Lorraine. Le recueil de données a débuté en janvier 2018 et s’est achevé en juin 2018. Les verbatim ont été analysés par théorisation ancrée. Onze médecins coordonnateurs ont participé à notre enquête. L’analyse met en évidence des contraintes structurelles et conjoncturelles propres à l’EHPAD dont l’absence de permanence médicale et infirmière, les limites des moyens matériels et personnels, ainsi que la possibilité des EHPAD intra-hospitaliers de s’affranchir de ces contraintes. La sensibilisation et la formation des acteurs de la prise en soins ont été identifiées comme des leviers majeurs dans la prise en charge palliative. À l’inverse, le manque de formation est apparu comme un obstacle. L’intervention des équipes ressources hospitalisation à domicile et équipe mobile de soins palliatifs est décrite comme un appui primordial. L’analyse a montré que l’organisation et la coopération des différents acteurs est un enjeu majeur pour la mise en place de la démarche palliative. Les dispositifs de personne de confiance et directives anticipées sont mal utilisés et ne sont d’aucune aide à la démarche palliative dans les EHPAD. Ainsi, la majorité des freins identifiés par l’enquête sont les contraintes structurelles et le manque de formation. Le principal levier à développer semble être celui de la formation, aux soins palliatifs et à l’utilisation des différents outils crées pour contourner les contraintes structurelles.
L’HAD permet de prodiguer au domicile des soins lourds et techniques et/ou requérant une importante coordination pluridisciplinaire, non réalisables par les seuls professionnels de ville, dans des conditions de sécurité et de qualité comparables à celles d’un hébergement en établissement de santé, dès lors que sont remplies des conditions de faisabilité. Elle est nécessairement prescrite par un médecin, en accord avec le patient et son entourage. Considérablement développée depuis 20 ans, elle intervient sur tous les départements de métropole et d’outre-mer (en 2019 : 295 établissements).
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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: To determine the feasibility of conducting a cluster randomized controlled trial providing individualized feedback reports to increase advance care planning (ACP) engagement in the primary care setting.
DESIGN: Pilot cluster randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: Two primary care practices selected for geographic colocation.
PARTICIPANTS: Adults aged 55 years and older.
INTERVENTION: Brief assessment of readiness to engage in (stage of change for) three ACP behaviors (healthcare agent assignment, communication with agent about quality vs quantity of life, and living will completion) generating an individualized feedback report, plus a stage-matched brochure.
MEASURES: Patient recruitment and retention, intervention delivery, baseline characteristics, and stage of change movement.
RESULTS: Recruitment rates differed by practice. Several baseline sociodemographic characteristics differed between the 38 intervention and 41 control participants, including employment status, education, and communication with healthcare agent. Feedback was successfully delivered to all intervention participants, and over 90% of participants completed a 2-month follow-up. More intervention participants demonstrated progression in readiness than did control participants, without testing for statistical significance.
CONCLUSIONS: This pilot demonstrates opportunities and challenges of performing a clustered randomized controlled trial in primary care practices. Differences in the two practice populations highlight the challenges of matching sites. There was a signal for behavior change in the intervention group.