What components of the physical examination (PE) are valuable when providing comfort-based care for an imminently dying patients? While patient factors must be individualized, this Fast Fact assimilates the sparse published evidence along with anecdotal experience to offer clinical pearls on how to tailor the PE.
Aims of the study: Blood coagulation parameters are colossally important for clinical evaluation of palliative chemotherapy; however, this niche was not explored earlier for advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Study focuses to explore the clinical relevancy of Coagulation parameters; prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), thrombin time (TT), fibrinogen (FIB), D-dimer and international normalised ratio (INR) and their response to palliative chemotherapy in advanced-stage NSCLC.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted between 2013 and 2019 in Jiangsu Cancer hospital, Nanjing, PR. China. Medical records of 5445 patients were succinctly reviewed and classified accordingly to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A total of 216 advanced NSCLC patients who used a first-line chemotherapy and antiangiogenic therapy regimen were enrolled in this study under ethical approval (JSCH-2020C-009). Blood samples were collected from these patients to measure the response levels of these coagulation parameters at time of admission to hospital and at the beginning of 4 cycles of Palliative therapy. We find the clinical value of all these coagulation parameters by using SPSS 24. Univariate Cox regression and Multivariate Cox regression models were used to identify the factors that were associated with progression-free survival (PFS) and the response to palliative chemotherapy.
Results: In the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis for overall median (95% CI) survival of high pre-treatment coagulation parameters showed shorter PFS compared with normal pre-treatment except TT and their overall median (95% CI) follow-up was 3.3 (3.12-3.47). Coagulation parameters have showed clinical relevance as a potential independent prognostic factor of PFS in the Univariate Cox regression. In multivariable model, Age (=60 years vs < 60 years), cancer differentiation (Unknown vs Poor), PT (High vs Normal) range, FIB (High vs Normal) range and D-dimer (High vs Normal) range, (P = .025, P = .045, P = .029, P = .049 and P = .011, respectively) were associated as a prognostic factor of PFS in NSCLC. Patients on 3-drugs regimen found to have better PFS compared with the ones taking the 2-drugs treatment regimen (P = .043).
Conclusion: The high range of PT, FIB and D-dimers was associated with poor prognosis of advanced-stage NSCLC. Our findings also confirmed that patients on 3-drugs regimen showed longer PFS compared with 2-drugs regimen.
Purpose: Unexpected death occurred in an unexpectedly high proportion of advanced cancer patients in the acute palliative care unit (APCU) setting and associated with fewer signs of impending death. Recognition of patients at high risk of approaching death, especially immediately after admitting APCU among clinicians, can improve the end-of-life trajectory. Our objective was accurate prognostication within a few days of admission.
Methods: Patients admitted to an APCU of the NTT Medical Center Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, between April 2009 and December 2016 were retrospectively examined. The Glasgow Prognostic Score (GPS) was optimized with concomitant neutrophilia, lymphocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, and monocytosis. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were estimated, and independent predictors for 3-day mortality were identified using univariate and multivariate analyses. The sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios (LRs) associated with imminent death were also assessed.
Results: Nine hundred ninety-one patients were included; 52.9% was male. The median age was 72 years. The median survival was 13 days (IQ range 6 to 26), and 11.7% died within 3 days of admission. Significant difference in survival with a GPS of 2 was observed in GPS optimized with concomitant thrombocytopenia, and it was the only significant predictor associated with 3-day mortality (p = 0.004), which had high specificity (> 95%) and high positive LR (> 5).
Conclusion: The prognostic value of the GPS was enhanced by adding thrombocytopenia. The concurrent use of the GPS and platelet count improved the prognostication of limited time of survival and could assist in the personal and clinical decisions for advanced cancer patients.
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.
PURPOSE: Malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) is common in advanced GI cancer, and MBO management, including drainage percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (dPEG), is palliative. How patients understand the goals of dPEG and its impact on disease is inadequately understood in the literature. Therefore, we analyzed these issues in patients with GI cancer.
METHODS: Demographics, clinical variables, and patient outcomes were abstracted from the medical record. Illness understanding and future expectations were retrieved from palliative care notes. We described additional treatment and outcomes after dPEG and estimated overall survival (OS).
RESULTS: From January 2015 to June 2017, 125 admitted patients with metastatic GI cancer underwent dPEG for MBO. Cancers were most commonly colorectal (34%) and pancreatic/ampullary (25%). During the dPEG admission, 32% (40 of 125) of patients had a palliative care consultation, and 22% (28 of 125) were asked about illness understanding and future expectations. All (28 of 28) reported good understanding of the advanced nature of their disease, but few were accurate about prognosis given their stage IV disease (10 of 28). Of the 117 (94%) discharged, 13% (15 of 117) received additional chemotherapy, which rarely prevented progression; half (63 of 117) had a do-not-resuscitate order; and most (101 of 117) were enrolled in hospice at death. Median time to death was 37 days (95% CI, 29 to 45 days); 6-month OS was 3.7% (95% CI, 1.2% to 8.4%).
CONCLUSION: dPEGs are placed close to end of life in patients with advanced GI cancer. A minority of patients receive additional chemotherapy post-dPEG. Many have adequate disease understanding, but chemotherapy benefit is low, and future expectations vary. This may be an opportunity for improved communication regarding palliative procedures in advanced cancer.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The use of chemotherapy at the end of life in advanced cancer patients has increased and end of life care has become increasingly aggressive. The aim of this study is to evaluate patients receiving chemotherapy in the last 3 months of life and the aggressiveness of end-of-life support of these patients.
METHODS: All adult patients with solid tumors who received chemotherapy in their last 3 months of life and died in our hospital between January 2015 to June 2019 were included. Detailed information on chemotherapy and toxicity was collected in patient records.
RESULTS: A total of 182 patients included. Median age was 58,9 years. The median survival from the docementation of metastatic disease was 9,98 months (0,95-64,3). Of these 182 patients, 95 (52%) were treated with chemotherapy in the last month of life and 52 (29%) in the last 2 weeks of life. The median number of days between the last administration of chemotherapy and patient death was 29 (0-90). A new chemotherapy regimen was started in the last 3 months of life in 102 patients (56%), in the last month of life in 43 patients (23,6%) and in the last 2 weeks in 23 patients (12.6%).
DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: There are many patients who received chemotherapy in the last 3 months of their life and the rates of chemotherapy initiation during this period are well above ideal rates. Whether such care has positive effects on survival or quality of life is questionable and deserves additional investigation.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced disease often overestimate their life expectancy, which potentially impacts decision making.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the nature and source of hospice patients' life expectancy estimates, about which little is known.
DESIGN: Using semi-structured interviews, patients were asked to estimate their life expectancy and elaborate on their response.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Participants were hospice patients (n = 20, 55% male; 60% cancer).
MEASUREMENT: We conducted thematic analysis using open and focused coding.
RESULTS: Many participants had difficulty answering the life expectancy question and expressed uncertainty about when they would die. One-third overestimated their length of life relative to actual survival. The most common source of patients' prognostic beliefs was knowledge about their body, including physical symptoms and change over time. Half of patients reported that a provider had given them a prognostic estimate, and one-third agreed with, or gave estimates consistent with, the provider's estimate. Some patients said providers do not know prognosis or that time of death was unknowable.
CONCLUSIONS: Key findings were that 1) many hospice patients had difficulty estimating life expectancy, and 2) hospice patients' life expectancy estimates were frequently based on their body and not on information from medical providers. These findings have implications for measuring prognostic awareness, as valid assessment is a necessary component of determining whether prognostic awareness is beneficial for patients. Future research should examine how life expectancy estimates are associated with well-being and whether results extend to larger samples of patients with advanced disease not in hospice.
CONTEXT: Many advanced cancer patients have unrealistic prognostic expectations.
OBJECTIVES: We tested whether offering life expectancy (LE) statistics within palliative chemotherapy (PC) education promotes realistic expectations.
METHODS: In this multicenter trial, patients with advanced colorectal and pancreatic cancers initiating first or second line PC were randomized to usual care versus a PC educational tool with optional LE information. Surveys at 2 weeks and 3 months assessed patients' review of the LE module and their reactions; at 3 months, patients estimated their LE and reported occurrence of prognosis and end-of-life (EOL) discussions. Wilcoxon tests and proportional odds models evaluated between-arm differences in LE self-estimates, and how realistic those estimates were (based on cancer type and line of treatment).
RESULTS: From 2015-2017, 92 patients were randomized to the intervention and 94 to usual care. At baseline most patients (80.9%) wanted "a lot" or "as much information as possible" about the impact of chemotherapy on LE. Among patients randomized to the intervention, 52.0% reviewed the LE module by 2 weeks and 66.7% by 3 months - of whom 88.2% reported the information was important, 31.4% reported it was upsetting, and 3.9% regretted reviewing it. Overall, patients' LE self-estimates were very optimistic; 71.4% of colorectal cancer patients estimated >5yrs; 50% pancreatic patients estimated >2yrs. The intervention had no effect on the length or realism of patients' LE self-estimates, or on the occurrence of prognostic or EOL discussions.
CONCLUSIONS: Offering LE information within a PC educational intervention had no effect on patients' prognostic expectations.
Background: Cognitive prognostic awareness (PA) and emotional preparedness for a loved one's death are distinct but related phenomena. However, the distinction between these two concepts has not been studied in family caregivers.
Objective: To examine whether these two concepts are distinct by comparing their evolution and predictors over cancer patients' last year.
Methods: Agreement between emotional preparedness for death and cognitive PA was longitudinally evaluated for 309 family caregivers by percentages and kappa coefficients. Predictors of the two outcomes were evaluated by multivariate logistic regression models with the generalized estimating equation.
Results: Agreement between family caregivers' emotional preparedness for death and cognitive PA decreased slightly (54.73%-43.64%) from 181-365 to 1-30 days before the patient's death, with kappa values (95% confidence interval) from -0.060 (-0.123 to 0.003) to 0.050 (-0.074 to 0.174), indicating poor agreement. Participants were more likely to report adequate emotional preparedness for death if they had financial sufficiency, more contact/communication with the patient, lower caregiving burden, and stronger perceived social support. Family caregivers were more likely to have accurate PA if they were 56-65 years old, the patient's adult child, and had more contact/communication with the patient and greater subjective caregiving burden.
Conclusions/Implications: Family caregivers' emotional preparedness for death and cognitive PA were distinct, as supported by their poor agreement, lack of reciprocal associations, and two different sets of predictors. Health care professionals should facilitate family caregivers' accurate PA and cultivate their emotional preparedness for death by enhancing patient-family contact/communication and easing their caregiving burden to improve quality of end-of-life care.
Purpose: The prognosis of patients with advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains dismal. New cytotoxic agents such as nab-paclitaxel and liposomal irinotecan (nal-Iri) have extended the armamentarium of therapeutic options in the last years. Nowadays, sequential therapeutic strategies with moderately toxic chemotherapeutic protocols can be administered to the patients. However, prognostic and predictive biomarkers are still missing to identify those patients, which profit most from a “continuum of care” concept rather than receiving intensive first-line protocols such as FOLFIRINOX. To this end, we retrospectively evaluated the impact of the systemic inflammation as one essential hallmark of cancer in patients with advanced PDAC treated with sequential systemic.
Methods: A cohort of 193 PDAC patients treated at our center from January 2005 to August 2011 were retrospectively evaluated for the following systemic inflammatory response (SIR) markers: neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio (NLR), lymphocyte–monocyte ratio (LMR) C-reactive protein (CRP), and the modified Glasgow Prognostic Score (mGPS). SIR markers were correlated with clinico-pathological findings, response to chemotherapy and overall survival (OS) using Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox proportional models.
Results: All evaluated SIR markers were significantly associated with OS in patients with metastatic disease but not in patients with locally advanced PDAC. Interestingly, all SIR markers were only prognostic in patients not receiving antibiotics as surrogate marker for systemic bacterial infections. Based on the evaluated SIR markers, we propose a new Systemic Inflammation Score (SIS), which significantly correlated with reduced OS (HR: 3.418 (1.802–6.488, p < 0.001)) and the likelihood of receiving further-line systemic therapies (p = 0.028).
Conclusion: Routinely assessed SIR biomarkers have potential to support therapeutic decision making in patients with metastatic PDAC.
BACKGROUND: The prediction of impending death is important for providing appropriate end-of-life care; however, limited information is currently available on the signs of impending death in non-cancer patients. Furthermore, although vital signs are routinely measured in clinical practice, changes in vital signs in the dying phase in non-cancer patients have not yet been elucidated in detail.
METHODS: We herein conducted a retrospective study to clarify changes in vital signs before death in noncancer patients. Non-cancer patients who died in a hospital in Japan between April 2017 and April 2018 were examined. Vital signs for up to seven days before death were analyzed, with the average value of each vital sign approximately every twelve hours being plotted. We divided data into two periods: from days -7 to -4 and from day -3 to death. We used a linear mixed model in the two periods, and t-tests were performed to assess whether the gradient of the line across the time variable significantly differed from zero.
RESULTS: Data from 47 non-cancer patients were analyzed. Systolic blood pressure (P<0.001), diastolic blood pressure (P<0.001), and oxygen saturation (P=0.001) significantly decreased from day -3 to death, whereas no significant changes were noted in any vital sign in days -7 to -4.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on the present results, changes in blood pressure and oxygen saturation may be useful indicators of prognosis within three days of death. Further research on clinical signs and their diagnostic characteristics for impending death in non-cancer patients is needed.
Introduction: For patients with brain metastases, palliative radiation therapy (RT) has long been a standard of care for improving quality of life and optimizing intracranial disease control. The duration of time between completion of palliative RT and patient death has rarely been evaluated.
Methods: A compilation of two prospective institutional databases encompassing April 2015 through December 2018 was used to identify patients who received palliative intracranial radiation therapy. A multivariate logistic regression model characterized patients adjusting for age, sex, admission status (inpatient versus outpatient), Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), and radiation therapy indication.
Results: 136 consecutive patients received intracranial palliative radiation therapy. Patients with baseline KPS <70 (OR = 2.2; 95%CI = 1.6–3.1; p < 0.0001) were significantly more likely to die within 30 days of treatment. Intracranial palliative radiation therapy was most commonly delivered to provide local control (66% of patients) or alleviate neurologic symptoms (32% of patients), and was most commonly delivered via whole brain radiation therapy in 10 fractions to 30 Gy (38% of patients). Of the 42 patients who died within 30 days of RT, 31 (74%) received at least 10 fractions.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that baseline KPS <70 is independently predictive of death within 30 days of palliative intracranial RT, and that a large majority of patients who died within 30 days received at least 10 fractions. These results indicate that for poor performance status patients requiring palliative intracranial radiation, hypofractionated RT courses should be strongly considered.
BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has a substantial mortality risk with increased rates in the elderly. We hypothesized that age is not sufficient, and that frailty measured by preadmission Palliative Performance Scale would be a predictor of outcomes. Improved ability to identify high-risk patients will improve clinicians' ability to provide appropriate palliative care, including engaging in shared decision-making about life-sustaining therapies.
AIM: To evaluate whether preadmission Palliative Performance Scale predicts mortality in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
DESIGN: Retrospective observational cohort study of patients admitted with COVID-19. Palliative Performance Scale was calculated from the chart. Using logistic regression, Palliative Performance Scale was assessed as a predictor of mortality controlling for demographics, comorbidities, palliative care measures and socioeconomic status.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Patients older than 18 years of age admitted with COVID-19 to a single urban public hospital in New Jersey, USA.
RESULTS: Of 443 admitted patients, we determined the Palliative Performance Scale score for 374. Overall mortality was 31% and 81% in intubated patients. In all, 36% (134) of patients had a low Palliative Performance Scale score. Compared with patients with a high score, patients with a low score were more likely to die, have do not intubate orders and be discharged to a facility. Palliative Performance Scale independently predicts mortality (odds ratio 2.89; 95% confidence interval 1.42-5.85).
CONCLUSIONS: Preadmission Palliative Performance Scale independently predicts mortality in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Improved predictors of mortality can help clinicians caring for patients with COVID-19 to discuss prognosis and provide appropriate palliative care including decisions about life-sustaining therapy.
Aims: choosing the optimal palliative lung radiotherapy regimen is challenging. Guidance from The Royal College of Radiologists recommends treatment stratification based on performance status, but evidence suggests that higher radiotherapy doss may be associated with survival benefits. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of fractionation regimen and additional factors on the survival of palliative lung cancer radiotherapy patients.
Materials and methods: A retrospective univariable (n = 925) and multivariable (n = 422) survival analysis of the prognostic significance of baseline patient characteristics and treatment prescription was carried out on patients with non-small cell and small cell lung cancer treated with palliative lung radiotherapy. The covariates investigated included: gender, age, performance status, histology, comorbidities, stage, tumour location, tumour side, smoking status, pack year history, primary radiotherapy technique and fractionation scheme. The overall mortality rate at 30 and 90 days of treatment was calculated.
Results: univariable analysis revealed that performance status (P < 0.001), fractionation scheme (P < 0.001), comorbidities (P = 0.02), small cell histology (P = 0.02), ‘lifelong never’ smoking status (P = 0.01) and gender (P = 0.06) were associated with survival. Upon multivariable analysis, only better performance status (P = 0.01) and increased dose/fractionation regimens of up to 30 Gy/10 fractions (P < 0.001) were associated with increased survival. Eighty-five (9.2%) and 316 patients (34%) died within 30 and 90 days of treatment, respectively.
Conclusion: In this retrospective single-centre analysis of palliative lung radiotherapy, increased total dose (up to and including 30 Gy/10 fractions) was associated with better survival regardless of performance status.
Context: At our institution, clinical pathways capture physicians’ prognostication of patients being evaluated for palliative radiotherapy (PRT). We hypothesize a low utilization rate of long-course RT (LCRT) and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SAbR) among patients seen at the end-of-life, especially those with physician predicted poor prognosis.
Objective: To analyze utilization rates and predictors of LCRT and SAbR at the end-of-life.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on patients who were evaluated for PRT between January 2017 to August 2019 and died within 90 days of consultation. Binary logistic regression was used to identify predictors for utilization of LCRT (=10 fractions) and SAbR.
Results: A total of 1,608 patients were identified, of which 1,038 patients (64.6%) were predicted to die within a year. 693 patients (66.8%) out of 1,038 were prescribed LCRT or SAbR. On multivariate analysis, patients were less likely to be prescribed LCRT if treated at an academic site (OR 0.30; 95% CI 0.23-0.39; p<0.01) and treated for bone metastases (OR 0.08; 95% CI 0.05-0.11; p<0.01) or other non-brain/non-bone metastases (OR 0.19; 95% CI 0.13-0.30; p<0.01). SAbR was less likely to be prescribed among patients predicted to die within a year (OR, 0.09; 95% CI 0.06-0.16; p<0.01), treated for bone metastases (OR, 0.13; 95% CI 0.07-0.22; p<0.01), with poor performance status (OR, 0.51; 95% CI 0.31-0.85; p=0.01), and with a breast primary (OR, 0.35; 95% CI 0.15-0.82; p=0.02).
Conclusion: Despite most patients predicted to have a limited prognosis, LCRT and SAbR were commonly prescribed at the end-of-life.
Background: Symptom assessment is essential in palliative care, but holds challenges concerning implementation and relevance. This study aims to evaluate patients’ main symptoms and problems at admission to a specialist inpatient palliative care (SIPC) ward using physician proxy- and patient self-assessment, and aims to identify their prognostic impact as well as the agreement between both assessments.
Methods: Within 12 h after admission, palliative care specialists completed the Symptom and Problem Checklist of the German Hospice and Palliative Care Evaluation (HOPE-SP-CL). Patients either used the new version of the minimal documentation system for patients in palliative care (MIDOS) or the Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale (IPOS) plus the Distress Thermometer (DT).
Results: Between 01.01.2016–30.09.2018, 1206 patients were included (HOPE-SP-CL 98%; MIDOS 21%, IPOS 34%, DT 27%) where of 59% died on the ward. Proxy-assessment showed a mean HOPE-SP-CL Total Score of 24.6 ± 5.9 of 45. Most frequent symptoms/problems of at least moderate intensity were weakness (95%), needs of assistance with activities of daily living (88%), overburdening of family caregivers (83%), and tiredness (75%). Factor analysis identified four symptom clusters (SCs): (1) Deteriorated Physical Condition/Decompensation of Home Care, (2) Emotional Problems, (3) Gastrointestinal Symptoms and (4) Other Symptoms. Self-assessment showed a mean MIDOS Total Score of 11.3 ± 5.3 of 30, a mean IPOS Total Score of 32.0 ± 9.0 of 68, and a mean distress of 6.6 ± 2.5 of 10. Agreement of self- and proxy-assessment was moderate for pain ( = 0.438) and dyspnea ( = 0.503), fair for other physical ( = 0.297 to 0.394) and poor for psychological symptoms ( = 0.101 to 0.202). Multivariate regression analyses for single symptoms and SCs revealed that predictors for dying on the SIPC ward included impaired ECOG performance status, moderate/severe dyspnea, appetite loss, tiredness, disorientation/confusion, and the SC Deteriorated Physical Condition/Decompensation of Home Care.
Conclusion: admissions to a SIPC ward are mainly caused by problems impairing mobility and autonomy. Results demonstrate that implementation of self- and reliability of proxy- and self-assessment is challenging, especially concerning non-physical symptoms/problems. We identified, specific symptoms and problems that might provide information needed for treatment discussions regarding the medical prognosis.
Objectives: To identify the types of factors included in research examining mortality in patients with dementia, and to stratify the identified factors by care settings.
Design: We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) databases, and identified grey literature from the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, Open Grey and Grey Literature Report. Two authors independently screened for eligibility of studies. Independent reviewers extracted relevant study information. We conducted a narrative synthesis of the data.
Results: We identified 8254 articles, of which 94 met the inclusion criteria. More than half (n=53) were published between 2009 and 2018 with half from Europe. Studies were conducted across hospices/nursing homes (n=25), hospital (n=23), outpatient clinics (n=21), mixed settings (n=15) and in the community (n=10). Nearly 60% adopted a prospective cohort study design with 87% performing multivariable analysis. Overall, 239 variables were identified and classified into six themes—individual factors, health status, functional ability, cognition and mental health, treatments and health system factors. Although a general set of factors were common across all studies, when stratified by care settings, variations were seen in the specific variables included.
Conclusion: Identifying prognostic variables relevant to the dementia population in each setting is key to facilitate appropriate care plans and to ensure timely access to palliative care options. Future research should also focus on ensuring the replicability of prognostic models and to generate a better understanding of the direct and interacting influence of the identified factors on mortality.
Introduction: Communication is considered a key skill for physicians globally and has formed a central part of medical curricula since the WHO identified it as a key attribute of the ‘5-star doctor’. Communication of poor prognosis to patients and caregivers is particularly challenging, yet an important example of physicians’ clinical communication, and a priority within palliative care research. Knowledge is scarce regarding the different positions physicians adopt during poor prognosis communication, especially in sub-Saharan countries.
Methods: This qualitative study took place at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital in Ghana’s Central Region. Physicians in the internal medicine department, with experience in communicating poor prognosis to patients and families on a weekly basis were purposively sampled. Based on the concept of information power, a maximum variation of participants, in terms of age, sex, seniority and experience was achieved after conducting 10 semistructured interviews in March 2019. Positioning theory was used as a theoretical lens to inform study design. The data were analysed through a constructivist thematic analysis approach.
Results: Physicians adopted six positions, considered as six different themes, during their communication of poor prognosis: clinical expert, educator, counsellor, communicator, protector and mentor. Physicians’ choice of position was fluid, guided by local context and wider health system factors. Physicians’ desire to communicate with patients and families in a way that met their needs highlighted three key challenges for communication of poor prognosis: linguistic difficulties, pluralistic health beliefs and the role of family. These challenges presented ethical complexities in relation to autonomy and non-maleficence.
Conclusion: Context is key to physicians’ communication of poor prognosis. Communication of poor prognosis is multifaceted, complex and unpredictable. Physicians’ communication training should be developed to emphasise contextual circumstances and physician support, and international policy models on physicians’ roles developed to include a greater focus on social accountability.
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.