CONTEXT: COVID-19 led to increased attention nationally on advance care planning.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the impact COVID-19 had on advance care planning based on changes in the calls to the WV Center for End-of-Life Care (Center) and in the volume and types of documents requested from and submitted to the Center and its e-Directive Registry (Registry).
METHODS: A retrospective, observational analysis between January 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020 of 1) calls to the Center, 2) advance directives downloaded from the Center's website as well as mailed to the public and medical orders mailed to health care professionals upon request to the Center, and 3) advance directives and medical orders submitted to the Registry.
RESULTS: The nature of calls changed to COVID-19-related topics including confirmation of forms on the Registry, urgent desire to initiate advance care planning, temporary rescindment of treatment-limiting forms, and questions on how to honor patients' wishes in advance directives and medical orders in light of their COVID-19 status. Also in the first six months of 2020, the Center distributed more advance directives than it had during the same months in the last five years and more medical orders than it had in the preceding four years when there were not revisions to the medical order forms required by changes to the state law.
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 resulted in a new sense of urgency regarding advance care planning by West Virginians with increased attention to document their wishes and ensure that they were in the Registry.
Background: Palliative care is expanding as part of treatment, but remains underutilized in trauma settings. Palliative care consultations (PCC) have shown to reduce nonbeneficial, potentially inappropriate interventions (PII), as decision for their use should always be made in the context of both the patient's prognosis and the patient's goals of care.
Objective: To characterize trauma patients who received PCC and to analyze the effect of PCC and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders on PII in severely injured patients.
Setting/Subjects: Retrospective cohort study of 864 patients admitted to two level 1 trauma centers: 432 patients who received PCC (PCC group) were compared with 432 propensity score match-controlled (MC group) patients who did not receive PCC.
Measurements: PCC in a consultative palliative care model, PII (including tracheostomy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) rate and timing, DNR orders.
Results: PCC rate in trauma patients was 4.3%, with a 5.3-day average time to PCC. PII were done in 9.0% of PCC and 6.0% of MC patients (p = 0.09). In the PCC group, 74.1% of PII were done before PCC, and 25.9% after. PCC compared with MC patients had significantly higher mechanical ventilation (60.4% vs. 18.1%, p < 0.001) and assisted feeding requirements (14.1% vs. 6.7%, p < 0.001). We observed a statistically significant reduction in PII after PCC (p = 0.002). Significantly less PCC than MC patients had PII following DNR (26.3% vs. 100.0%, p = 0.035).
Conclusions: PCC reduced PII in severely injured trauma patients by factor of two. Since the majority of PII in PCC patients occurred before PCC, a more timely administration of PCC is recommended. To streamline goals of care, PCC should supplement or precede a DNR discussion.
CONTEXT: Cancer patients' comfort near the end of life is often undermined by unnecessary and burdensome treatments. There is a need for more research examining racial disparities in end-of-life care, especially in regions with a history of racial discrimination.
OBJECTIVES: To examine whether Black adults received more burdensome end-of-life care than White adults in a population-based data set of cancer decedents in Louisiana, a state with a history of slavery and long-standing racial disparities.
METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of end-of-life care from the Research Action for Health Network (REACHnet), a regional PCORI-funded database. The sample consisted of 875 White and 415 Black patients with metastatic cancer who died in Louisiana from 2011-2017. We used logistic regression to examine whether race was associated with five indicators of burdensome care in the last 30 days of life: chemotherapy use, inpatient hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, emergency department (ED) admission, and mechanical ventilation.
RESULTS: Most patients (85.0%) received at least one indicator of burdensome care: hospitalization (76.5 %), ICU admission (44.1%), chemotherapy (29.1%), mechanical ventilation (23.0%), ED admission (18.3%). Odds Ratios (ORs) indicated that Black individuals were more likely than White individuals to be hospitalized (OR=1.66, 95% CI: 1.21 to 2.28, p=.002) or admitted to the ED (OR=1.57, 95% CI: 1.16 to 2.13, p=.004) during their last month of life.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings have implications for informing healthcare decision making near the end of life for patients, families, and clinicians, especially in regions with a history of racial discrimination and disparities.
CONTEXT: Hospital readmissions, frequent medication changes, and polypharmacy are common issues for hospice patients. It is important to consider if close monitoring of medications by pharmacists could help these patients avoid hospital readmissions.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to determine the incidence and types of medication-related problems that contributed to hospital readmissions from hospice settings.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted from October 1, 2018 to January 31, 2020. Patients admitted from hospice settings (i.e. Home, ALF, LTCF) and who were seen by the palliative care teams at 9 Maryland and Washington DC MedStar hospitals were included. Demographic information was collected: age, gender, race, primary hospice diagnosis, prognosis determined by provider prior to hospice disposition, reason for readmission, and medication list at readmission. The primary outcomes were the incidence and types of medication-related problems. Secondary outcomes included patient characteristics associated with readmission, and classes/number of medications changed before readmission. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data.
RESULTS: Seventy-five hospice patients were readmitted and seen by palliative care during the study period. Forty-three patients (57%) were found to have medication-related problems at readmission. The most common problem identified was needing additional drug therapy. Dose too low, dose too high, incorrect drugs, adverse drug reactions, and non-adherence were also identified. Additional reasons for readmission were: unanticipated new medical issue (n = 46, 61%) and uncontrolled symptoms (n = 34, 34%).
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that deprescribing practices possibly contributeto readmissions from hospice settings.
Background: In 2007, Cancer Care Ontario began standardised symptom assessment as part of routine care using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS).
Aim: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of ESAS on receipt of palliative care when compared with a matched group of unexposed patients.
Design: A retrospective-matched cohort study examined the impact of ESAS screening on initiation of palliative care services provided by physicians or homecare nurses. The study included adult patients diagnosed with cancer between 2007 and 2015. Exposure was defined as completing =1 ESAS during the study period. Using 4 hard and 14 propensity score-matched variables, patients with cancer exposed to ESAS were matched 1:1 to those who were not. Matched patients were followed from first ESAS until initiation of palliative care, death or end of study.
Results: The final cohort consisted of 204 688 matched patients with no prior palliative care consult. The pairs were well matched. The cumulative incidence of receiving palliative care within the first 5 years was higher among those exposed to ESAS compared with those who were not (27.9% (95% CI: 27.5% to 28.2%) versus 27.9% (95% CI: 27.5% to 28.2%)), when death is considered as a competing event. In the adjusted cause-specific Cox proportional hazards model, ESAS assessment was associated with a 6% increase in palliative care services (HR: 1.06, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.08).
Conclusion: We have demonstrated that patients exposed to ESAS were more likely to receive palliative care services compared with patients who were not exposed. This observation provides real-world data of the impact of routine assessment with a patient-reported outcome.
Background: Patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) have a considerable symptom burden and may require extensive care for a long period of time. Palliative care (PC) has the potential to improve their quality of care and reduce their use of medical services. However, the role of specialised PC (SPC) in patients with MBC remains unclear.
Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the medical records of patients diagnosed with breast cancer (BC) from 2008 to 2018 at an university-based referral centre to examine the extent of early and late integration of SPC services for patients with MBC. A descriptive analysis of the patients was also established.
Results: In all, 932 patients were diagnosed with BC from 2008 to 2018; 225 of these patients had or developed metastases related to their BC. In addition, 132 patients received SPC (58.7%) and 93 patients did not receive SPC (41.3%). The median probability of overall survival (OS) for patients who did not receive SPC services was 3.6 years (95% CI 2.0 to 5.1) and 1.8 years (95% CI 1.3 to 2.3) (p<0.0001) for patients who did receive SPC. In multivariate analysis, referral to SPC services was independently associated with OS (HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.22, p=0.004).
Conclusion: Patients who received SPC lived significantly shorter amounts of time than patients not referred for SPC services at our hospital. We concluded that the referral to SPC services was often too late and should be implemented earlier in the course of the disease. We suggest that patients with MBC should participate in a consultation by a SPC team =60 days after the start of systemic palliative anticancer therapy in addition to endocrine treatment. Larger prospective studies are needed to evaluate the benefit of the early integration of SPC services for patients with MBC.
CONTEXT: Improving end-of-life care (EOLC) quality among heart failure patients is imperative. Data are limited as to the hospital processes of care that facilitate this goal.
OBJECTIVES: To determine associations between hospital-level EOLC quality ratings and the EOLC delivered to heart failure patients.
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of the Veterans Health Administration (VA) and the Bereaved Family Survey data of heart failure patients from 2013-2015 who died in 107 VA hospitals. We calculated hospital-level observed-to-expected casemix-adjusted ratios of family-reported "excellent" EOLC, dividing hospitals into quintiles. Using logistic regression, we examined associations between quintiles and palliative care consultation (PCC), receipt of chaplain and bereavement services, inpatient hospice, and intensive care unit (ICU) death.
RESULTS: Of 6,256 patients, mean age was 77.4 (standard deviation=11.1), 98.3% were male, 75.7% white and 18.2% were black. Median hospital scores of "excellent" EOLC ranged from 41.3% (Interquartile range (IQR) 37.0-44.8%) in the lowest quintile to 76.4% (IQR 72.9-80.3%) in the highest. Patients who died in hospitals in the highest quintile, relative to the lowest, were slightly though not significantly more likely to receive a PCC (adjusted proportions 57.6% vs. 51.2%; p=0.32); but were more likely to receive chaplaincy (92.6% vs. 81.2%), bereavement (86.0% vs. 72.2%) and hospice (59.7% vs. 35.9%) and were less likely to die in the ICU (15.9% vs. 31.0%; p<0.05 for all).
CONCLUSION: Patients with heart failure who die in VA hospitals with higher overall EOLC quality receive more supportive EOLC. Research is needed that integrates care processes and develops scalable best-practices in EOLC across healthcare systems.
Background: Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) are increasingly utilized to assist patients approaching the end of life in documenting goals of care. We evaluated the association of POLST, resource utilization, and costs to 1 year among injured older adults requiring emergency services.
Methods: This was a retrospective cohort of injured older adults =65 years with continuous Medicare fee-for-service coverage transported by emergency medical services (EMS) in 2011 across 4 counties in Oregon. Data sources included EMS, Medicare claims, vital statistics, and state POLST, inpatient and trauma registries. Outcomes included hospital admission, receipt of aggressive medical interventions, costs, and hospice use. We matched patients on patient characteristics and comorbidities to control for bias.
Results: We included 2116 patients of which 484 (22.9%) had a POLST form prior to 911 contact. Of POLST patients, 136 (28.1%) had orders for full treatment, 194 (40.1%) for limited interventions, and 154 (31.8%) for comfort measures. There were no significant associations for care during the index event. However, in the year after the index event, patients with care limitations had higher adjusted hospice use (limited interventions OR 1.7 [95% CI: 1.2–2.6]; comfort OR, 2.0 [95% CI: 1.3–3.0]) and lower adjusted post-discharge costs (no POLST, $32,399 [95% CI: 30,041–34,756]; limited interventions, $18,729 [95% CI: 12,913–24,545]; and comfort $15,593 [95% CI: 12,091–19,095]). There were no significant associations for all other outcomes.
Conclusions: Care limitations specified in POLST forms among injured older adults transported by EMS are associated with increased use of hospice and decreased costs to 1 year.
BACKGROUND: Local radiation therapy (RT) can provide pain relief and reduce bleeding resulting from pleural or peritoneal dissemination of primary tumors. However, the optimal RT exposure dose for such tumors is unclear and the response rate is unknown. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of palliative RT for pleural or peritoneal disseminated tumors to determine the optimal dose in these patients.
METHODS: The data of 22 patients with pleural- or peritoneal-disseminated tumors who were treated with local RT at our institution between 2011 and 2019 were retrospectively reviewed.
RESULTS: Among these patients, 9 (40.9%) had pleural tumors, 13 (59.1%) had peritoneal tumors and 2 had tumors in the peritoneum and umbilicus. The most common primary tumors were lung (22.8%) and pancreatic cancer (18.2%). RT was mainly administered for pain alleviation (72.7%). Three patients (13.6%) received RT for hemostasis. Thirteen patients (59.1%) received a regimen of 30 Gy/10 fractions (fr), with the total dosage for all patients ranging from 27 to 56 Gy. No grade 2 or higher RT-related adverse events occurred. Three and four patients obtained complete and partial responses, respectively. The timing of the measurement of response to pain relief ranged from 0 to 232 (median, 21) days upon completion of RT. Overall response to pain relief occurred in nine of 16 patients (56.3%) with pain before RT. Hemostasis was confirmed in 2 of the 3 patients (66.7%) with bleeding before RT. Twelve of 20 (60%) patients with symptoms before RT responded to RT. Disease-specific survival (DSS) time after RT ranged from 1 to 656 (median, 106) days.
CONCLUSIONS: Prompt palliative administration of RT to patients with advanced disease to alleviate pain from disseminated tumors may achieve therapeutic efficacy.
Background: There is controversy regarding the practical implementation of symptom-focused oncological cancer therapies to hospice residents. In this study, we aim to analyse the use and indication of supportive-oncological cancer therapies in hospices.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective survey of all residents of two hospice centres in the government district of Lower Bavaria, Germany. Hospice 1 (H1) was a member of an oncological–palliative medical network, and hospice 2 (H2) was independently organized. The evaluation period was the first 40 months after the opening of the respective hospice care centre. Demographical and epidemiological data as well as indications and type of supportive-oncological cancer therapies were recorded. A descriptive analysis and statistical tests were performed.
Results: Of the 706 residents, 645 had an underlying malignant disease. The average age was 72 years and the mean residence time was 28 days. The most frequent cancer types were gastrointestinal cancers, gynaecological cancers and bronchial carcinomas. Overall 39 residents (33 in H1 and 6 in H2, p < 0.01) received symptom-focused oncological cancer therapy. The average age of these residents was 68 years, and the mean residence time was 55 days. The most common therapeutic indications were dyspnoea and pain. The most common symptom-focused oncological cancer therapies were bisphosphonates, transfusions (erythrocyte- and platelet- concentrates), radiotherapy and anti-proliferative drugs (chemotherapy, anti-hormonal- and targeted- therapies). Patients with therapy lived significantly longer than patients without therapy (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Symptom-focused oncological cancer therapies can be implemented in hospices; however, their implementation seems to require certain structural and organizational prerequisites as well as careful patient selection. As a palliative medical approach, the focus is to ameliorate the symptoms and not prolong life. Symptom-focused oncology treatment could be a further and important part for the therapy of hospice patients in the future.
Background: A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order should only impede the performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in case of cardiac or respiratory arrest; it should not interfere with any other treatment decisions.
Aims: To study the impact of DNR order placement on daily clinical care of patients.
Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 72 patients in a tertiary care centre in Saudi Arabia. Daily clinical care measures were collected for 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after DNR order placement and included vital signs, nursing care, comfort measures, documentation, visits by senior and junior physicians, and tests completed.
Results: Malignancy was the most common diagnostic category (43.1%). There was a significant reduction in vital signs documentation, tests completed, documentation, and visits by physicians after DNR orders, with no change in nursing care and comfort measures. No differences were seen for place of DNR order (intensive care unit vs medical ward), category of disease, or sex, but there were differences for documentation (more in females) and vital signs (more in males). More vital signs were documented and more tests were done in patients who survived compared to those who died. Regression analysis showed that the frequency of post-DNR order vital signs measurements and investigations done was not related to sex, age, diagnosis, time from admission to DNR order, or location of patients. Time to death was only related to sex and post-DNR order summary documentation.
Conclusions: Placement of DNR orders significantly reduced vital signs measurements, investigations done, documentation and visits by physicians but not nursing care and comfort measures.
BACKGROUND: The marketing authorisation for many injectable drugs used in palliative care does not cover the frequently preferred subcutaneous route. Consequently, subcutaneous off-label drug administration is often practised.
AIM: To assess the use, safety and tolerability of subcutaneous label and subcutaneous off-label drug administration in a Danish hospice.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Retrospective data from hospice inpatient records registered with subcutaneous drug administration. Prospective data of subcutaneous drug administration registered to hospice inpatients over a period of 2 months.
RESULTS: Drugs were administered subcutaneously to 90% of patients in both studied cohorts. Thirty different drugs were administered subcutaneously. Ten (33%) drugs were authorised for subcutaneous administration, 14 (47%) for intramuscular and 6 (20%) for intravenous administration only. A search in major palliative literature and scientific publications revealed that 11 of the 20 subcutaneous off-labelled drugs were administered with little to no support from these sources. In seven patients, 11 adverse drug reactions (ADRs) were registered. ADRs were all minor local reactions and led to drug discontinuation in two patients only.
CONCLUSION: Subcutaneous drug administration was frequently used in the hospice. Two-thirds of the drugs were administered subcutaneously off-label. The findings of only a few and minor ADRs indicate that the drugs identified in this study, although often subcutaneously off-label and with little support from palliative literature, were administered with acceptable safety and tolerability. Off-label treatment practised in the clinic should be identified, reported and serve as inspiration for future scientific research and incentives for extension of marketing authorisations.
OBJECTIVES: Patients with haematological malignancies (HM) receive more aggressive treatments near the end-of-life (EOL) than patients with solid tumours. Palliative care (PC) needs are less widely acknowledged in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) than in other HM. The main objective of our study was to describe EOL care and PC referral in a population of older patients with MM.
METHODS: We retrospectively included deceased inpatients and outpatients with an MM previously diagnosed at the age of 70 and over in two tertiary centres in France. We reported EOL characteristics regarding treatments considered to be aggressive-antimyeloma therapies, hospitalisations, blood product transfusions, intensive care units (ICUs) or emergency admissions-and PC referral.
RESULTS: We included 119 patients. In their last month of life, 75 (63%) were hospitalised for fever, pain, asthenia, anaemia or bleeding, 49 (41%) were admitted in the emergency department and 12 (10%) in ICU, 76 (64%) still received antimyeloma therapy and 45 (38%) had at least two transfusions. Only 24 (20%) received PC intervention for pain, global care, family support, anxiety, social care or confusion. Median follow-up until death was 20 days.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study found a high rate of hospitalisations and antimyeloma therapies in the last month of life. The PC referral rate was low, often once specific treatments were stopped. Our results suggest the need for more effective collaboration between PC teams and haematologists in order to respond to the specific needs of these patients and to improve their quality of care at EOL.
Background: Prognostication is important for patients and their family members as they need this information for the preparation and planning of their future. It is important for physicians as they desire to be accurate in their prognostication skills in order to plan and deliver better care to their patients; healthcare managers require it as they need this information for planning and distribution of hospital resources. We intended to study the accuracy of imminent death diagnosis (IDD) in a palliative care setting in all patients who died at the Palliative Care Unit (PCU) at King Fahad Medical City between December 2012 and December 2014.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all consecutive patients who died in the PCU between 2012 and 2014. We studied the percentage of patients who were diagnosed with imminent death. We further looked at the accuracy of IDD by calculating the time between the diagnosis of imminent death and death. The primary outcomes were the percentage of patients who had an IDD and the proportion of those who died within 14 days of IDD. The secondary outcomes were the difference between patients who die after IDD and patients who die without imminent death diagnosis (NIDD) at the end of life interventions.
Results: During the period from December 2012 until December 2014, 48 patients died in the PCU. The majority of 28/48 (58%) died with IDD. However, 20/48 (42%) died NIDD. In the IDD group, 25/28 (89.3%) died within 14 days of diagnosis while 3/28 (10.3%) died after 14 days Conclusions: IDD is a critical skill for palliative care physicians to make an advance care plan. Our study showed a high degree of accuracy of prediction of fourteen-day mortality in PCU patients. The median survival was two days. However, a large proportion of patients still died without a documented IDD. Multidisciplinary team input improves the accuracy of IDD. We recommend further studies be done to explore how IDD could improve care planning for dying patients and families.
Context: Hospice facilities are increasingly preferred as a location of death, but little is known about the characteristics of patients who die in these facilities in the U.S.
Objectives: We sought to examine the trends and factors associated with death in a hospice facility.
Methods: Retrospective cross-sectional study using mortality data for years 2003–2017 for deaths attributed to natural causes in the U.S.
Results: The proportion of natural deaths occurring in hospice facilities increased from 0.2% in 2003 to 8.3% in 2017, resulting in nearly 1.7 million deaths during this time frame. Females had increased odds of hospice facility deaths (odds ratio [OR] = 1.04; 95% CI = 1.04, 1.05). Nonwhite race was associated with lower odds of hospice facility death (black [OR = 0.915; 95% CI = 0.890, 0.940]; Native American [OR = 0.559; 95% CI = 0.515, 0.607]; and Asian [OR = 0.655; 95% CI = 0.601, 0.713]). Being married was associated with hospice facility death (OR = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.04, 1.07). Older age was associated with increased odds of hospice facility death (85 and older [OR = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.39, 1.41]). Having at least some college education was associated with increased odds of hospice facility death (OR = 1.13; 95% CI = 1.11, 1.15). Decedents from cardiovascular disease had the lowest odds of hospice facility death (OR = 0.278; 95% CI = 0.274, 0.282).
Conclusion: Hospice facility deaths increased among all patient groups; however, striking differences exist by age, sex, race, marital status, education level, cause of death, and geography. Factors underlying these disparities should be examined.
Background: The outcome and tolerability of palliative second line chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer (APC) in real life patients are largely unknown. Prognostic parameters for risk stratification and treatment guidance are lacking.
Materials and Methods: A population based multicenter retrospective cohort study was conducted, covering all APC patients who received palliative second-line chemotherapy between 2011 and 2018 at any cancer center in the South East Region of Sweden. Primary outcome was overall survival after second-line therapy (OS2). Time to treatment failure after second-line therapy (TTF2), hematological toxicity, and unplanned hospitalizations were key secondary outcomes. A number of baseline potentially prognostic parameters were assessed.
Results: A total of 509 patients received first-line palliative chemotherapy, and of these 167 (33%) received at least one dose of second-line therapy and formed the final study population. Median OS2 was 5.2 months (95% CI = 4.7–5.7) and median TTF2 was 1.9 months (1.5–2.2). OS2 and TTF2 were similar regardless regimen, including comparison of the two most common regimens (fluoropyrimidine monotherapy vs. fluoropyrimidine/oxaliplatin doublet). Multivariate analysis revealed that normal plasma albumin (=35) and serum CA-19-9 above median (>1,550) were independent predictors for OS2 (HR = 0.21, p < 0.001 and HR = 2.03, p = 0.009) and TTF2 (HR = 0.22, p < 0.001 and HR = 2.03, p = 0.01), while ECOG performance status >1 was predictive for TTF2 (HR = 2.05, p = 0.032). Grade 3–4 hematological toxicity was registered in 17 patients (10%). 50 (30%) had at least one event of hospitalization.
Conclusion: The real world outcome of second line palliative chemotherapy for refractory APC remains dismal. Baseline plasma albumin, serum CA-19-9, and performance status emerge as key prognostic factors, and should be further studied as tools for individualized treatment decisions.
BACKGROUND: Pediatric patients with sarcomas experience significant morbidity and compromised quality of life throughout their course. These times could be viewed as opportunities for increased subspecialty palliative care (PC). Systematically defining opportunities for additional PC support has not occurred in pediatric oncology. The frequency, timing, and associated factors for palliative opportunities in pediatric patients with sarcomas are unknown.
METHODS: A priori, nine palliative opportunities were defined (disease progression or relapse, admission for symptoms, social concerns or end-of-life, intensive care or bone marrow transplant admission, phase 1 trial or hospice enrollment, do-not-resuscitate status). A single-center retrospective review was conducted on patients aged 0-18 years with bone/soft tissue sarcomas who died from January 1, 2012 to November 30, 2017. Demographic, disease, and treatment data were collected. Descriptive statistics were performed. Opportunities were evaluated over quartiles from diagnosis to death.
RESULTS: Patients (n = 60) had a mean of nine (SD = 4) palliative opportunities with the majority occurring in the last quartile of the disease course. Number and type of opportunities did not differ by demographics or diagnosis. Eighteen patients (30%) received PC consultation a median of 2.2 months (interquartile range [IQR] 11.5) prior to death. Consultation was unrelated to diagnosis or total opportunities.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with sarcomas incur repeated events warranting subspecialty PC, which increase toward the end-of-life. Increased PC utilization may help decrease suffering and bolster family coping during these episodes. Additional work should further refine if opportunities differ across cancers, and how to incorporate this framework into clinical oncology care to prevent missed opportunities for PC.
Background: To investigate the use of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and the association with mortality.
Methods: We assembled a cohort of 1317 adults hospitalized with radiographically confirmed CAP in three Danish hospitals. Patients were grouped into no DNR order, early DNR order (=48 h after admission), and late DNR order (> 48 h after admission). We tested for associations between a DNR order and mortality using a cox proportional hazard model adjusted for patient and disease related factors.
Results: Among 1317 patients 177 (13%) patients received a DNR order: 107 (8%) early and 70 (5%) late, during admission. Patients with a DNR order were older (82 years vs. 70 years, p < 0.001), more frequently nursing home residents (41% vs. 6%, p < 0.001) and had more comorbidities (one or more comorbidities: 73% vs. 59%, p < 0.001). The 30-day mortality was 62% and 4% in patients with and without a DNR order, respectively. DNR orders were associated with increased risk of 30-day mortality after adjustment for age, nursing home residency and comorbidities. The association was modified by the CURB-65 score Hazard ratio (HR) 39.3 (95% CI 13.9–110.6), HR 24.0 (95% CI 11.9–48,3) and HR 9.4 (95% CI: 4.7–18.6) for CURB-65 score 0–1, 2 and 3–5, respectively.
Conclusion: In this representative Danish cohort, 13% of patients hospitalized with CAP received a DNR order. DNR orders were associated with higher mortality after adjustment for clinical risk factors. Thus, we encourage researcher to take DNR orders into account as potential confounder when reporting CAP associated mortality.
INTRODUCTION: Studies have suggested 5-20% of paediatric ICU patients may receive care felt to be futile. No data exists on the prevalence and impact of futile care in the Paediatric Cardiac ICU. The aim is to determine the prevalence and economic impact of futile care.
MATERIALS AND METHOD: Retrospective cohort of patients with congenital cardiac disease 0-21 years old, with length of stay >30 days and died (2015-2018). Documentation of futility by the medical team was retrospectively and independently reviewed.
RESULTS: Of the 127 deaths during the study period, 51 (40%) had hospitalisation >30 days, 13 (25%) had received futile care and 26 (51%) withdrew life-sustaining treatment. Futile care comprised 0.69% of total patient days with no difference in charges from patients not receiving futile care. There was no difference in insurance, single motherhood, education, income, poverty, or unemployment in families continuing futile care or electing withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Black families were less likely than White families to elect for withdrawal (p = 0.01), and Hispanic families were more likely to continue futile care than non-Hispanics (p = 0.044).
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to examine the impact of futile care and characteristics in the paediatric cardiac ICU. Black families were less likely to elect for withdrawal, while Hispanic families more likely to continue futile care. Futile care comprised 0.69% of bed days and little burden on resources. Cultural factors should be investigated to better support families through end-of-life decisions.
Background: This retrospective cohort study aims to define the clinical findings and outcomes of every patient admitted to a district general hospital in Surrey with COVID-19 in March 2020, providing a snapshot of the first wave of infection in the UK. This study is the first detailed insight into the impact of frailty markers on patient outcomes and provides the infection rate among healthcare workers.
Methods: Data were obtained from medical records. Outcome measures were level of oxygen therapy, discharge and death. Patients were followed up until 21 April 2020.
Results: 108 patients were included. 34 (31%) died in hospital or were discharged for palliative care. 43% of patients aged over 65 died. The commonest comorbidities were hypertension (49; 45%) and diabetes (25; 23%). Patients who died were older (mean difference ±SEM, 13.76±3.12 years; p<0.0001) with a higher NEWS2 score (median 6, IQR 2.5–7.5 vs median 2, IQR 2–6) and worse renal function (median differences: urea 2.7 mmol/L, p<0.01; creatinine 4 µmol/L, p<0.05; eGFR 14 mL/min, p<0.05) on admission compared with survivors. Frailty markers were identified as risk factors for death. Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) was higher in patients over 65 who died than in survivors (median 5, IQR 4–6 vs 3.5, IQR 2–5; p<0.01). Troponin and creatine kinase levels were higher in patients who died than in those who recovered (p<0.0001). Lymphopenia was common (median 0.8, IQR 0.6–1.2; p<0.005). Every patient with heart failure died (8). 26 (24%) were treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP; median 3 days, IQR 2–7.3) and 9 (8%) were intubated (median 14 days, IQR 7–21). All patients who died after discharge (4; 6%) were care home residents. 276 of 699 hospital staff tested were positive for COVID-19.
Conclusions: This study identifies older patients with frailty as being particularly vulnerable and reinforces government policy to protect this group at all costs.