BACKGROUND: Treatment options for childhood cancer have improved substantially, although in many low- and middle-income countries survival is lagging behind. Integral childhood cancer care involves the whole spectrum from detection and diagnosis to palliative and survivorship care.
METHODS: Based on a literature review and expert opinions, we summarized current practice and recommendations on the following aspects of childhood cancer in Latin America: diagnostic processes and time to diagnosis, stage at diagnosis, treatments and complications, survivorship programs and palliative care and end-of-life services.
RESULTS: Latin America is a huge and heterogeneous continent. Identified barriers show similar problems between countries, both logistically (time and distance to centers, treatment interruptions) and financially (cost of care, cost of absence from work). Governmental actions in several countries improved the survival of children with cancer, but difficulties persist in timely diagnosis and providing adequate treatment to all childhood cancer patients in institutions with complete infrastructure. Treatment abandonment is still common, although the situation is improving. Cancer care in the region has mostly focused on acute treatment of the disease and has not adequately considered palliative and end-of-life care and monitoring of survivors.
CONCLUSIONS: Decentralizing diagnostic activities and centralizing specialized treatment will remain necessary; measures to facilitate logistics and costs of transportation of the child and caretakers should be implemented. Twinning actions with specialized centers in high income countries for help in diagnosis, treatment and education of professionals and family members have been shown to work. Palliative and end-of-life care as well as childhood cancer survivorship plans are needed.
BACKGROUND: Medical Assistance in Dying comprises interventions that can be provided by medical practitioners to cause death of a person at their request if they meet predefined criteria. In June 2016, Medical Assistance in Dying became legal in Canada, sparking intense debate in the palliative care community.
AIM: This study aims to explore the experience of frontline palliative care providers about the impact of Medical Assistance in Dying on palliative care practice.
DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive design using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: We interviewed palliative care physicians and nurses who practiced in settings where patients could access Medical Assistance in Dying for at least 6 months before and after its legalization. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants with diverse personal views and experiences with assisted death. Conceptual saturation was achieved after interviewing 23 palliative care providers (13 physicians and 10 nurses) in Southern Ontario.
RESULTS: Themes identified included a new dying experience with assisted death; challenges with symptom control; challenges with communication; impact on palliative care providers personally and on their relationships with patients; and consumption of palliative care resources to support assisted death.
CONCLUSION: Medical Assistance in Dying has had a profound impact on palliative care providers and their practice. Communication training with access to resources for ethical decision-making and a review of legislation may help address new challenges. Further research is needed to understand palliative care provider distress around Medical Assistance in Dying, and additional resources are necessary to support palliative care delivery.
Background: There are no data on the provision of palliative nursing care in Egyptian adult intensive care units (ICUs). The Palliative and End-Of-Life (PEOL) Care Index is reliable and content valid; however, its construct and criterion validities have not been examined.
Aims and objectives: First, to assess palliative care education, practice, and perceived competence among adult ICU nurses in Egypt. Second, to explore factors related to palliative care nursing practice and perceived competence. Third, to assess the construct and criterion validities of the PEOL Care Index.
Design: A cross-sectional survey.
Methods: Nurse managers and staff nurses in 33 adult ICUs completed self-administered questionnaires. The questionnaires assessed nurses' palliative care practice and perceived competence. A multilevel regression analysis was used to determine the best predictors of palliative care practice and perceived competence. Theory evidence construct validity and predictive criterion validity of the PEOL Care Index were examined.
Results: Thirty-three nurse managers and 403 staff nurses participated in the study—response rate = 100% and 72.5%, respectively. On a 0-100 scale, the mean scores of undergraduate education, practice, and perceived competence were 54.0 ± 18.7, 49.7 ± 18.1, and 54.5 ± 17.0, respectively. Palliative care practice was significantly related to receiving in-service training on palliative care or end-of-life care (regression coefficients: 3.39), higher job satisfaction (0.97), and higher organizational support (1.85). Palliative care perceived competence was significantly related to older nurses' age (0.20), higher job satisfaction (0.97), and higher palliative care undergraduate education (0.63).
Conclusions: Palliative care education, practice, and perceived competence among adult ICU nurses in Egypt are inadequate, especially in terms of spiritual and cultural care. The PEOL Care Index is construct and criterion valid.
Relevance to clinical practice: Palliative care education should begin in nursing schools and extend through clinical in-services. Guidelines should be developed to maximize staff collaboration and the utilization of chaplains in ICUs.
BACKGROUND: Patient access to medicines at home during the last year of life is critical for symptom control, but is thought to be problematic. Little is known about healthcare professionals' practices in supporting timely medicines access and what influences their effectiveness. The purpose of the study was to evaluate health professionals' medicines access practices, perceived effectiveness and influencing factors.
METHODS: On-line questionnaire survey of health care professionals (General Practitioners, Community Pharmacists, community-based Clinical Nurse Specialists and Community Nurses) delivering end-of-life care in primary and community care settings in England. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: One thousand three hundred twenty-seven responses were received. All health professional groups are engaged in supporting access to prescriptions, using a number of different methods. GPs remain a predominant route for patients to access new prescriptions in working hours. However, nurses and, increasingly, primary care-based pharmacists are also actively contributing. However, only 42% (160) of Clinical Nurse Specialists and 27% (27) of Community Nurses were trained as prescribers. The majority (58% 142) of prescribing nurses and pharmacists did not have access to an electronic prescribing system. Satisfaction with access to shared patient records to facilitate medicines access was low: 39% (507) were either Not At All or only Slightly satisfied. Out-of-hours specialist cover was reported by less than half (49%; 656) and many General Practitioners and pharmacists lacked confidence advising about out-of-hours services. Respondents perceived there would be a significant improvement in pain control if access to medicines was greater. Those with shared records access reported significantly lower pain estimates for their caseload patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Action is required to support a greater number of nurses and pharmacists to prescribe end-of-life medicines. Solutions are also required to enable shared access to patient records across health professional groups. Coverage and awareness of out-of-hours services to access medicines needs to be improved.
INTRODUCTION: End-of-life care (EOLC) is necessary for patients who are not expected to live long. Nurses have positive attitudes toward EOLC, but they encounter difficulties in practice. That situation creates conflict, which can affect burnout. It is essential to manage nurses' conflict about their ability to practice EOLC by enhancing their individual strengths. Focusing on the role of self-compassion may help to prevent burnout related to the conflict about ability to practice EOLC.
OBJECTIVE: The study aim was to assess the mediating effect of self-compassion on the association between conflict about ability to practice EOLC and burnout.
METHODS: A correlational study was conducted with emergency department nurses who practiced EOLC. Self-report measures of conflict about ability to practice EOLC, burnout, and self-compassion were obtained.
RESULTS: Negative aspects of self-compassion mediated the relationship among conflict, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization (burnout). Self-compassion did not mediate the association between conflict and reduced personal accomplishment (burnout).
CONCLUSIONS: Negative aspects of self-compassion mediated the relationship between conflict and burnout (excluding reduced personal accomplishment). To prevent burnout, it is necessary to screen for nurses with low self-compassion and to provide opportunities to change their cognitive recognition and disclose their conflicts.
This study aimed to elucidate the predictors and the effects of path modeling on the knowledge, attitude, and practice toward do-not-resuscitate (DNR) among the Taiwanese nursing staff. This study was a cross-sectional, descriptive design using stratified cluster sampling. We collected data on demographics, knowledge, attitude, and practice as measured by the DNR inventory (KAP-DNR), Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, General Self-Efficacy Scale, and Dispositional Resilience Scale. Participants were 194 nursing staff from a medical center in northern Taiwan in 2019. The results showed that participation in DNR signature and education related to palliative care were significant positive predictors of knowledge toward DNR. The DNR predictors toward attitude included DNR knowledge, mindfulness, self-efficacy, dispositional resilience, and religious belief of nurses. Generally, the critical predictors of DNR practice were DNR attitude, dispositional resilience, and male nurses. In path modeling, we identified that self-efficacy, dispositional resilience, master's degree, and religious belief directly influenced practice constituting DNR. Based on the findings of this study, we propose that nurses should improve their self-efficacy and dispositional resilience through training programs. Encouraging staff to undertake further education and have religious beliefs can enhance the practice of DNR and provide better end-of-life care.
In 2017, Victoria became the first state in Australia to pass legislation permitting voluntary assisted dying. Under this law, only those people who are near the end of their lives may access voluntary assisted dying, and because many of these people require nursing care to manage the progression of their illness or their symptoms, it will invariably have an impact on nursing practice. The Victorian law includes a series of procedural steps as safeguards to ensure that the law operates as intended. To support people who choose voluntary assisted dying and to practice safely within boundaries of the law, nurses must be aware of these requirements and how they operate. However, there are often gaps in nurses' legal knowledge. This was demonstrated in an article that aimed to inform nurses about the operation of Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) but contained several errors and misstatements of the law. Our article corrects these errors and discusses how the law is intended to be applied by revisiting the fictional case of Chloe - a woman with a terminal illness who is seeking voluntary assisted dying. As the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) also protects nurses from liability if they act in accordance with its provisions, we conclude that sound knowledge and understanding of its operation support nurses to provide the safe, comprehensive and compassionate care their patients deserve at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the attitudes and practices of intensivists working in Lebanon regarding withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (LSTs). The objectives of the study were to assess the points of view and practices of intensivists in Lebanon along with the opinions of medical, legal and religious leaders regarding withholding withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments in Lebanese intensive care units (ICU).
METHODS: A web-based survey was conducted among intensivists working in Lebanese adult ICUs. Interviews were also done with Lebanese medical, legal and religious leaders.
RESULTS: Of the 229 survey recipients, 83 intensivists completed it, i.e. a response rate of (36.3%). Most respondents were between 30 and 49 years old (72%), Catholic Christians (60%), anesthesiologists (63%), working in Beirut (47%). Ninety-two percent of them were familiar with the withholding and withdrawal concepts and 80% applied them. Poor prognosis of the acute and chronic disease and futile therapy were the main reasons to consider withholding and withdrawal of treatments. Ninety-five percent of intensivists agreed with the "Principle of Double Effect" (i.e. adding analgesia and or sedation to patients after the withholding/withdrawal decisions in order to prevent their suffering and allow their comfort, even though it might hasten the dying process). The main withheld therapies were vasopressors, respiratory assistance and CPR. Most of the respondents reported the decision was often to always multidisciplinary (92%), involving the family (68%), and the patient (65%), or his advance directives (77%) or his surrogate (81%) and the nurses (78%). The interviewees agreed there was a law governing withholding and withdrawal decisions/practices in Lebanon. Christians and Muslim Sunni leaders declared accepting those practices (withholding or withdrawing LSTs from patients when appropriate).
CONCLUSION: Withholding and withdrawal of LSTs in the ICU are known concepts among intensivists working in Lebanon and are being practiced. Our results could be used to inform and optimize therapeutic limitation in ICUs in the country.
BACKGROUND: Nurses have a primary role in providing palliative and end-of-life (EOL) care. Their knowledge of EOL care, attitudes toward care of the dying, and palliative care self-efficacy are important in care delivery. Little is known regarding palliative care preparedness among Mongolian nurses. This study examines palliative care knowledge, attitude towards death and dying, and self-efficacy among Mongolian nurses, and examines predictors of self-efficacy.
METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted. Participants were 141 nurses employed at the National Cancer Center in Mongolia. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire.
RESULTS: The median score for the knowledge of palliative care was 8.0/20. "Psychosocial and spiritual care" was the lowest score on the palliative care knowledge subscale. The mean score for attitude toward care of the dying was 69.1%, indicating positive attitudes. The mean score for the palliative care self-efficacy was 33.8/48. Nurses reported low self-efficacy toward communicating with dying patients and their families, and managing delirium. Palliative care knowledge and duration of experience as an oncology nurse significantly predicted self-efficacy toward palliative care, accounting for 14.0% of the variance.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative education for nurses should address the knowledge gaps in EOL care and focus in increasing palliative care self-efficacy. Considering palliative care knowledge and nursing experience as an oncology nurse were significant predictors of self-efficacy toward palliative care, more effort is needed to fill the knowledge gaps in EOL care among nurses, especially for less experienced nurses.
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.
Dementia patients in the moderate-late stage of the disease can, and often do, express different preferences than they did at the onset of their condition. The received view in the philosophical literature argues that advance directives which prioritize the patient's preferences at onset ought to be given decisive moral weight in medical decision-making. Clinical practice, on the other hand, favors giving moral weight to the preferences expressed by dementia patients after onset. The purpose of this article is to show that the received view in the philosophical literature is inadequate and is out of touch with real clinical practice. I argue that having dementia is a cognitive transformative experience and that preference changes which result from this are legitimate and ought to be given moral weight in medical decision-making. This argument ought to encourage us to reduce our confidence in the moral weight of advance directives for dementia patients.
Providing quality care for those dying in hospital is challenging for health professionals who receive little training in this. "End of Life Essentials" (EOLE) was developed to address gaps in health professionals' knowledge, skills and confidence in end-of-life care via the provision of online learning modules and practice resources. This study aimed to determine whether respondents could describe clinical practice change as a result of module completion. Deidentified data were collected between October and November 2018 from learners registered for the online learning modules. Both quantitative and qualitative data were extracted and analysed. The survey design and conduct were reviewed, and ethical approval was obtained. Although the response rate was very low, results from n = 122 learners show improvements in knowledge, skills, awareness and confidence as a result of the undertaking of the learning modules. Two thirds self-reported practice changes (71%, n = 59) following the education, with "communication" cited most commonly (n = 19). The findings suggest that the EOLE education modules can help to improve end-of-life care by increasing health professionals' awareness of good practice as well as their knowledge, skills and confidence. Online learning has also been reinforced as an appropriate forum for end-of-life education. Following education, implementing what has been learned occurs more easily at a personal level rather than at a team and organisational level. Barriers to and enablers of clinical practice change in hospital are described, including the fact that the organisation may not be responsive to changes or have the relevant resources to support change.
Critical care clinicians strive to reverse the disease process and are frequently faced with difficult end-of-life (EoL) situations, which include transitions from curative to palliative care, avoidance of disproportionate care, withholding or withdrawing therapy, responding to advance treatment directives, as well as requests for assistance in dying. This article presents a summary of the most common issues encountered by intensivists caring for patients around the end of their life. Topics explored are the practices around limitations of life-sustaining treatment, with specific mention to the thorny subject of assisted dying and euthanasia, as well as the difficulties encountered regarding the adoption of advance care directives in clinical practice and the importance of integrating palliative care in the everyday practice of critical-care physicians. The aim of this article is to enhance understanding around the complexity of EoL decisions, highlight the intricate cultural, religious, and social dimensions around death and dying, and identify areas of potential improvement for individual practice.
BACKGROUND: Early palliative care referral for patients with advanced cancer has demonstrable benefits but is underutilized. We sought to characterize medical oncologists' perceptions about palliative care referral in their clinical practices.
METHODS: We conducted 4 focus groups with a national sample of medical oncologists to elicit perspectives about the optimal timing of and barriers to palliative care referral for patients with cancer. We used qualitative content analysis to uncover themes related to early integration of palliative care into standard oncologic practice.
RESULTS: Study participants readily acknowledged the evidence supporting early palliative care referral. However, medical oncologists identified patient-centered and physician-centered barriers to widespread adoption of early palliative care. Patient-centered barriers included patients' and families' perceptions or misperceptions of the role of palliative care. Additionally, physicians themselves described acting as a barrier to palliative care referral because they were concerned that palliative care physicians may interfere with the plan of care, or offer options that were not endorsed by the medical oncologist. Medical oncologists depicted themselves having authority over the timing of palliative care referral, and as granting limited autonomy to other clinical team members in counseling patients about advanced care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical oncologists are hesitant to adopt the practice of early palliative care referral because they are concerned that other physicians may disrupt a patient's treatment plan. Physician-centered barriers may delay integration of palliative care, and future efforts to promote a collaborative approach to advanced care planning may improve patient-centered outcomes through access to early palliative care.
Studies on end-of-life care reveal different practices regarding withholding and/or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments between countries and regions. Available data about physicians' practices regarding end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is scarce. This study aimed to investigate physicians' attitudes toward end-of-life care and the reported practice in adult ICUs in Ain Shams University Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt. 100 physicians currently working in several ICU settings in Ain Shams University Hospitals were included. A self-administered questionnaire was used for collection of data. Most of the participants agreed to implementation of "do not resuscitate" (DNR) orders and applying pre-written DNR orders (61% and 65% consecutively), while only 13% almost always/often order DNR for terminally-ill patients. 52% of the participants agreed to usefulness of limiting life-sustaining therapy in some cases, but they expressed fear of legal consequences. 47% found withholding life-sustaining treatment is more ethical than its withdrawal. 16% almost always/often withheld further active treatment but continued current ones while only 6% almost always/often withdrew active therapy for terminally-ill patients. The absence of legislation and guidelines for end-of-life care in ICUs at Ain Shams University Hospitals was the main influential factor for the dissociation between participants' attitudes and their practices. Therefore, development of a consensus for end-of-life care in ICUs in Egypt is mandatory. Also, training of physicians in ICUs on effective communication with patients' families and surrogates is important for planning of limitation of life-sustaining treatments.
Context: In most jurisdictions where medical-aid-in-dying (MAiD) is available, this option is reserved for individuals suffering from incurable physical conditions. Currently, in Canada, people who have a mental illness are legally excluded from accessing MAiD.
Methods: We developed a questionnaire for mental health care providers to better understand their perspectives related to ethical issues in relation to MAiD in the context of severe and persistent suffering caused by mental illness. We used a mixed-methods survey approach, using a concurrent embedded model with both closed and open-ended questions.
Findings: 477 healthcare providers from the province of Québec (Canada) completed the questionnaire. One third of the sample (34.4%) were nurses, one quarter psychologists (24.3%) and one quarter psycho-educators (24%). Nearly half of the respondents (48.4%) considered that people with a severe mental illness should be granted the right to opt for MAiD as a way to end their suffering. Respondents were more likely to feel comfortable listening to the person and participating in discussions related to MAiD for a mental illness than offering care or the means for the person to access MAiD. Most (86.2%) reported that they had not received adequate/sufficient training, education or preparation in order to address ethical questions surrounding MAiD.
Conclusions: The findings highlight how extending MAiD to people with a mental illness would affect daily practices for mental healthcare providers who work directly with people who may request MAiD. The survey results also reinforce the need for adequate training and professional education in this complex area of care.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life care is high on policy and political agendas in the UK and internationally. Nurses are at the forefront of this, caring for dying patients, 'managing' the dead body, and dealing with the corporeal, emotional and relational dimensions of death. Little is known about nurses' prior or early professional experiences of and reactions to death, dying and the corpse and how these might influence practice.
AIMS: To appraise the international literature on nurses' early experiences of death, dying and the dead body, to better understand how these might influence subsequent practice, and how this might inform our teaching of death, dying and last offices.
METHODS: A scoping review was undertaken of peer-reviewed publications between, 2000 and 2019, which included nurses working in hospital, care homes and the community. Medline, PubMed, PsychINFO and CINAHL databases were searched and 23 papers meeting the inclusion criteria were read. Arksey and O'Malley's (2005) five-stage approach was adopted to scope the relevant international literature, using where relevant the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Selected papers were independently reviewed and subjected to thematic analysis, leading to the generation of five overarching themes.
RESULTS: The five themes were: different philosophies of care; relationships; knowledge; impact of death; and giving care. The studies came from diverse geographical locations across different settings and were primarily qualitative in design.
CONCLUSIONS: Students and registered nurses are impacted both positively and negatively by their early encounters with death and dying. Good communication with patients, families and between professionals, understanding of what constitutes a 'good' death, and high-quality mentorship and support were of particular importance.
BACKGROUND: Worldwide, pharmacy practice is changing to include new roles and responsibilities. Laws enabling the implementation of assisted dying are expanding in international jurisdictions. Pharmacy practice in assisted dying is subsequently expanding. However, studies of how pharmacists experience their practice when engaged in assisted dying are absent. To progress research into the lived experiences of pharmacists practicing in assisted dying, the development of an inquiry framework to guide such research is the first step.
OBJECTIVE: The objective was to develop a theoretical framework of inquiry for use in subsequent continuing research which may explore the actual experience of pharmacy practice in assisted dying.
METHODS: Perspectives were gathered from expert and senior pharmacists who were anticipating the imminent implementation of assisted dying practice. Analysis focused on understanding what aspects of practice experience were important to them. Interview-conversations centred on the question: If you had the chance to talk to experienced pharmacist practitioners who have been involved in the practice of assisted dying, what aspects regarding their experiences, would you like to know about? A conventional approach to qualitative content analysis was utilized to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Findings summarized questions posed by pharmacists contemplating the implementation of assisted dying practice. These perspectives formed the foundation of a theoretical inquiry framework constituted by 8 inter-related dimensional range-continuums. Each range-continuum, designed to explore the lived experiences of pharmacists in practice, is defined. Examples of how the inquiry dimensions will be used to inform future exploratory research are offered within the framework.
CONCLUSIONS: The theoretical inquiry framework will be used to develop knowledge for pharmacists contemplating participation (or not) in assisted dying practice. It is timely to progress research that reveals the informed experiences of pharmacists that are actually practicing in this area. The framework may be adapted for researching pharmacists' experience in other practice areas and contexts.
District nurses are core providers of palliative care, yet little is known about the way that they provide care to people at home. This study aimed to investigate the role and practice of the district nurse in palliative care provision. This was an ethnographic study, with non-participant observation of district nurse-palliative care patient encounters, and post-observation interviews. District nurse teams from three geographical areas in northwest England participated. Data were analysed iteratively, facilitated by the use of NVivo, using techniques of constant comparison. Some 17 encounters were observed, with 23 post-observation interviews (11 with district nurses, 12 with patients/carers). Core themes were ‘planning for the future’ and ‘caring in the moment’. District nurses described how they provided and planned future care, but observations showed that this care focused on physical symptom management. District nurses engaged in friendly relationship building, which allows detailed management of symptomatology, but with little evidence of advance care planning.