BACKGROUND: Patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) have limited treatment options and have a deteriorated quality of life with an uncertain prognosis. Early identification of ESLD patients with a poor prognosis is valuable, especially for palliative care. However, it is difficult to predict ESLD patients that require either acute care or palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to create a machine-learning monitoring system that can predict mortality or classify ESLD patients. Several machine-learning models with visualized graphs, decision trees, ensemble learning, and clustering were assessed.
METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using electronic medical records of patients from Wan Fang Hospital and Taipei Medical University Hospital. A total of 1214 patients from Wan Fang Hospital were used to establish a dataset for training and 689 patients from Taipei Medical University Hospital were used as a validation set.
RESULTS: The overall mortality rate of patients in the training set and validation set was 28.3% (257/907) and 22.6% (145/643), respectively. In traditional clinical scoring models, prothrombin time-international normalized ratio, which was significant in the Cox regression (P<.001, hazard ratio 1.288), had a prominent influence on predicting mortality, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve reached approximately 0.75. In supervised machine-learning models, the concordance statistic of ROC curves reached 0.852 for the random forest model and reached 0.833 for the adaptive boosting model. Blood urea nitrogen, bilirubin, and sodium were regarded as critical factors for predicting mortality. Creatinine, hemoglobin, and albumin were also significant mortality predictors. In unsupervised learning models, hierarchical clustering analysis could accurately group acute death patients and palliative care patients into different clusters from patients in the survival group.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical artificial intelligence has become a cutting-edge tool in clinical medicine, as it has been found to have predictive ability in several diseases. The machine-learning monitoring system developed in this study involves multifaceted analyses, which include various aspects for evaluation and diagnosis. This strength makes the clinical results more objective and reliable. Moreover, the visualized interface in this system offers more intelligible outcomes. Therefore, this machine-learning monitoring system provides a comprehensive approach for assessing patient condition, and may help to classify acute death patients and palliative care patients. Upon further validation and improvement, the system may be used to help physicians in the management of ESLD patients.
Background: A minority of individuals use a large portion of health system resources, incurring considerable costs, especially in acute-care hospitals where a significant proportion of deaths occur. We sought to describe and contrast the characteristics, acute-care use and cost in the last year of life among high users and non-high users who died in hospitals across Canada.
Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective-cohort study of Canadian adults aged =18 who died in hospitals across Canada between fiscal years 2011/12–2014/15. High users were defined as patients within the top 10% of highest cumulative acute-care costs in each fiscal year. Patients were categorized as: persistent high users (high-cost in death year and year prior), non-persistent high users (high-cost in death year only) and non-high users (never high-cost). Discharge abstracts were used to measure characteristics and acute-care use, including number of hospitalizations, admissions to intensive-care-unit (ICU), and alternate-level-of-care (ALC).
Results: We identified 191,310 decedents, among which 6% were persistent high users, 41% were non-persistent high users, and 46% were non-high users. A larger proportion of high users were male, younger, and had multimorbidity than non-high users. In the last year of life, persistent high users had multiple hospitalizations more often than other groups. Twenty-eight percent of persistent high users had =2 ICU admissions, compared to 8% of non-persistent high users and only 1% of non-high users. Eleven percent of persistent high users had =2 ALC admissions, compared to only 2% of non-persistent high users and < 1% of non-high users. High users received an in-hospital intervention more often than non-high users (36% vs. 19%). Despite representing only 47% of the cohort, persistent and non-persistent high users accounted for 83% of acute-care costs.
Conclusions: High users – persistent and non-persistent – are medically complex and use a disproportionate amount of acute-care resources at the end of life. A greater understanding of the characteristics and circumstances that lead to persistently high use of inpatient services may help inform strategies to prevent hospitalizations and off-set current healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes.
Objectives: There is scarce information about sedation in nursing homes at the end of life. We aimed to assess (1) the use of sedatives generally and “sedatives with continuous effect,” based on objective operational criteria, within the last week of life in nursing homes and (2) factors associated with this treatment.
Design: Retrospective cohort study, using the nursing homes' medical records.
Setting and Participants: Residents who died in 4 German nursing homes from January 2015 to December 2017 and whose medical records were available (n = 512).
Methods: Sedatives analyzed were those recommended by guidelines for “palliative sedation”: benzodiazepines, levomepromazine, haloperidol (=5 mg/d), and propofol. The definition of “sedatives with continuous effect” and doses judged as at least moderately sedating were consented by palliative care clinicians and pharmacists, based on the literature. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed (R version 3.6.1).
Results: Overall, 110/512 (21%) deceased residents received a sedative at least once during the last week of life, 46/512 (9%) “sedatives with continuous effect.” Oral lorazepam was used most frequently. Eleven of 512 (2%) residents received doses judged as at least moderately sedating. The term sedation was not used. Most frequent indications were agitation (58/110; 53%) and anxiety (35/110; 32%); no indication was noted for 36/110 (33%) residents. The resident's involvement in the decision for sedatives was documented in 3/110 (3%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed significant associations between use of sedatives and age (OR = 0.94, P < .001) as well as institution (P < .001).
Conclusions and Implications: Our data indicate a lower prevalence of sedation compared to international data and considerable differences regarding prevalence between institutions. These differences, potential setting-specific challenges, and need for support measures for consistent best practice of sedation in nursing homes should be further explored.
PURPOSE: Understanding the end-of-life psychosocial needs of cancer patients at home is a knowledge gap. This study describes the trajectory of psychosocial symptoms in the last 6 months of life among cancer decedents who were receiving home care.
METHODS: Observational population-based cohort study of cancer decedents who were receiving home care services between 2007 and 2014. Decedents had to have at least one home care assessment in the last 6 months of life for inclusion. Outcomes were the presence of psychosocial symptoms (i.e., anxiety, loneliness, depression, social decline, caregiver distress, and cognitive decline) at each week before death.
RESULTS: Our cohort included 27,295 unique cancer decedents (30,368 assessments), of which 58% died in hospital. Fifty-six percent were older than 74, and 47% were female. The prevalence of all symptoms increased approaching death, except loneliness. Social decline (48%-78%) was the most prevalent psychosocial symptom, though loneliness was reported in less than 10% of the cohort. Caregiver distress rose over time from 15%-27%. A third of the cohort reported issues with cognitive impairment. Multivariate regression showed that physical symptoms such as uncontrolled pain, impairment in independent activities of daily living, and a high level of health instability all significantly worsened the odds of having a psychosocial symptom in the last 3 months of life.
CONCLUSION: In this large home care cancer cohort, trajectories of psychosocial symptoms worsened close to death. Physical symptoms, such as uncontrolled pain, were associated with having worse psychosocial symptoms at end of life.
Aim: We validated the NUE rule, using three criteria (Non-shockable initial rhythm, Unwitnessed arrest, Eighty years or older) to predict futile resuscitation of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of all recorded OHCA in Marion County, Indiana, from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2019. We described patient, arrest, and emergency medical services (EMS) response characteristics, and assessed the performance of the NUE rule in identifying patients unlikely to survive to hospital discharge.
Results: From 2014 to 2019, EMS responded to 4370 patients who sustained OHCA. We excluded 329 (7.5%) patients with incomplete data. Median patient age was 62 years (IQR 49 - 73), 1599 (39.6%) patients were female, and 1728 (42.8%) arrests were witnessed. The NUE rule identified 290 (7.2%) arrests, of whom none survived to hospital discharge.
Conclusion: In external validation, the NUE rule (Non-shockable initial rhythm, Unwitnessed arrest, Eighty years or older) correctly identified 7.2% of OHCA patients unlikely to survive to hospital discharge. The NUE rule could be used in EMS protocols and policies to identify OHCA patients very unlikely to benefit from aggressive resuscitation.
Background: Many studies report on the patient-caregiver relationship during palliative care (PC); however, this relationship has yet to be examined following traumatic injury.
Methods : This prospective cohort study included trauma patients (=55 years) and their primary caregivers admitted at two level I trauma centers over two years (11/16-11/18), who received PC and who completed satisfaction surveys prior to discharge; surveys were analyzed by four domains: information giving, availability of care, physical care, and psychosocial care; and by PC assessments: consultations, prognostications, formal family meetings, and advanced goals of care discussions. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients and caregivers who were satisfied (defined as =80%) and was analyzed using McNemar’s test. Adjusted mixed models identified PC assessments that were associated with satisfaction =80% for patients and caregivers.
Results : Of the 441 patient- and 441 caregiver-pairs, caregivers were significantly less satisfied than patients during prognostications, (information giving; physical care), formal family meetings (information giving; physical care), and consultations (physical care), while caregivers were significantly more satisfied than patients during advanced goals of care discussions (availability of care; psychosocial care). After adjustment, significant predictors of caregiver satisfaction (=80%) included longer patient hospital LOS (>4 days), caring for a male patient (physical care; availability of care), higher caregiver age (=55 years: availability of care), and higher patient age (=65 years: psychosocial care). Conversely, all PC assessments decreased odds of satisfaction for caregivers in every domain except physical care. Significant predictors of higher patient satisfaction included formal family meetings (for every domain) and PC consultations (psychosocial care), and decreased odds included advanced goals of care discussions and prognostication assessments (information giving; psychosocial care).
Conclusions : PC increased satisfaction of patients, especially family meetings and consultations, while assessments were predictive of lower caregiver satisfaction, suggesting that caregivers may be experiencing some of the patient burden.
CONTEXT: Malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) is a complication of advanced malignancy. For inoperable patients, symptoms are often treated using analgesics, anticholinergics, and anti-emetics. There are, however, few published guidelines for the medical management of MBO.
OBJECTIVE: To measure the effect of the combination of dexamethasone, octreotide, and metoclopramide ("triple therapy") in patients with MBO, compared to patients who received none of the 3 medications ("no drug therapy").
METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of patients with MBO admitted in a single-center comprehensive cancer center. Patients who received dexamethasone, octreotide, and metoclopramide during their hospitalization for treatment of inoperable MBO were selected for analysis. Patients were excluded if they received a venting gastric tube. Rate of de-obstruction as well as time to de-obstruction were measured.
RESULTS: There were 20 patients identified who received all 3 drugs of interest, and 29 patients identified who received none of the 3 medications. There was no statistically significant difference in rates of de-obstruction between the 2 groups, though there was a non-significant trend toward patients who received triple therapy were more likely to reach de-obstruction, compared to patients who had no drug therapy (95% vs. 83%, p = 0.379); there was no significant difference in adjusted analysis.
CONCLUSION: In patients with inoperable MBO, there was no statistically significant difference in rates of de-obstruction with triple drug therapy compared to patients who received none of the 3 drugs, though the study may not have been powered to detect a difference and further investigation is warranted.
PURPOSE: Cancer treatment for those nearing death has become increasingly aggressive over time despite evidence that less aggressive approaches are associated with better quality of life and sometimes longer survival. Chemotherapy administration in the last 14 days of life is one of the proposed benchmarks for quality of cancer care. The purpose of our study is to evaluate factors associated with aggressive cancer treatment in patients who died within 2 weeks of receiving chemotherapy.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study evaluated adult patients who died between 1 February 2018 and 1 March 2019 after receiving cancer treatment in the preceding 14 days at the Prisma Health Cancer Institute. This project was approved by our institutional review board. Data was obtained by review of electronic medical records and analyzed using commercial software.
RESULTS: We identified 92 patients who met inclusion criteria for the study. Of those who were staged, 57% had metastatic disease. A majority received treatments with only palliative intent (54%). These patients overwhelmingly died in the hospital (62%). Few had documented advanced directives (28%) or dedicated palliative care for longer than 1 week (28%). Overall, this cohort reflects a rate of 11.7% of patients who received cancer treatment during the study time period.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Patients receiving aggressive cancer treatment at the end of life elucidate significant gaps in quality cancer care, particularly the early involvement of dedicated palliative care. Systematic review helped identify multiple gaps and assisted in implementing interventions to improve this outcome.
CONTEXT: Hospice deaths in the U.S. are increasing. Dying hospice patients may have rapidly emerging needs the hospice team cannot immediately meet, exposing family caregivers to fright-inducing (i.e., scary) situations.
OBJECTIVE: Examine relationships between hospice care and family caregiver exposures and psychological responses to witnessing common, distressing patient symptoms near the end of life.
METHODS: Secondary analysis of prospective, cohort study of 169 patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers were analyzed. Multivariable regression analyses modeled associations between hospice use and caregiver exposures and psychological responses (fear and helplessness) to witnessing distressing symptoms common near death, adjusting for potential confounding influences (e.g. home death, patient characteristics, and suffering). Caregiver self-reported exposures and responses to observing patient symptoms during the last month of life were assessed using the validated Stressful Caregiving Response to Experiences of Dying (SCARED) scale.
RESULTS: Hospice care was significantly, positively associated with more exposures and negative psychological responses to distressing patient symptoms, adjusting for home death, patient characteristics and physical and mental suffering. On average, hospice patients' caregivers scored 1.6 points higher on the SCARED exposure scale and 6.2 points higher on the SCARED psychological response scale than caregivers of patients without hospice (exposure: 10.53 versus 8.96; psychological responses: 29.85 versus 23.67). Patient pain/discomfort, delirium, and difficulty swallowing/choking were reported by three-fourths of caregivers and were associated with the most fear and helplessness among caregivers.
CONCLUSION: Hospice care is associated with more exposures to and caregiver fear and helplessness in response to "scary" patient experiences. Research is needed to understand how better to support family caregivers of hospice patients to enable them to cope with common, distressing symptoms of dying cancer patients. Hospice clinicians providing additional education and training about these symptoms might enable caregivers to better care for dying loved ones and reduce the stresses of end-of-life caregiving.
Background: Patients dying with cancer can experience various physical and psychological symptoms. We aimed to determine the type and severity of symptoms within the last 6 months of life in a large real-world cohort of patients with cancer.
Methods: We examined prospectively collected patient-reported outcomes of patients with lung, colorectal, breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer using the revised Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESASr) questionnaire from a large province in Canada from 2016 to 2017. The ESASr was categorized into physical and psychological symptom subscores and total symptom score, and each was classified as none to mild (0–3) or moderate to severe (4–10) based on intensity. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between clinical characteristics and symptom scores.
Results: We identified 1159 patients eligible for analysis, of whom 52.2% were men and median age was 68 years. There were 613, 192, 149, 111 and 94 patients with lung, colorectal, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer, respectively. While approximately half of patients reported moderate to severe physical symptom subscores and total symptom scores, only one-third reported moderate to severe psychological subscores. On multivariable logistic regression analyses, women were more likely to report moderate to severe physical (odds ratio [OR], 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–2.12; P = 0.016), psychological (OR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.14–2.26; P = 0.006) and total symptom scores (OR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.28–2.51; P = 0.001). Patients with lung cancer were also more likely to report moderate to severe physical and psychological subscores (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.28–2.96; P = 0.002 and OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.13–2.81; P = 0.013) and total symptom scores (OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.20–2.81; P = 0.005). Finally, those closer to death were more likely to report moderate to severe physical symptom subscores (OR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.33–3.23; P = 0.001) and total symptom scores (OR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.46–3.60; P < 0.001), but not psychological symptom scores (OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 0.84–2.14; P = 0.210).
Conclusions: There is significant symptom burden in patients with cancer near the end-of-life. Further, physical symptoms appear to be more intense than psychological symptoms. Symptom-directed care is still needed to improve the quality of end-of-life.
Background: Early referral of cancer patients for palliative care significantly improves the quality of life. It is not clear which patients can benefit from an early referral, and when the referral should occur. A Delphi Panel study proposed 11 major criteria for an outpatient palliative care referral.
Objective: To operationalize major Delphi criteria in a cohort of lung cancer patients, using a prospective approach, by linking health administrative data.
Design: Population-based observational cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: The study population comprised 38,851 cases of lung cancer in the Ontario Cancer Registry, diagnosed from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2016.
Measurements: We operationalized 6 of the 11 major criteria (4 diagnosis or prognosis based and 2 symptom based). Patients were considered eligible (index event) for palliative care if they qualified for any criterion. Among eligible patients, we identified those who received palliative care.
Results: Twenty-eight thousand one hundred sixty-four patients were eligible for palliative care by qualifying for either the diagnosis- or prognosis-based criteria (n = 21,036, 76.5%), or for symptom-based criteria (n = 7128, 23.5%). A total of 23,199 (82.4%) patients received palliative care. The median time from palliative care eligibility to the receipt of first palliative care or death or maximum study follow-up was 56 days (range = 17–348).
Conclusions: We operationalized six major criteria that identified the majority of lung cancer patients who were eligible for palliative care. Most eligible patients received the palliative care before death. Future research is warranted to test these criteria in other cancer populations.
Background: Tumor fever and infection are common febrile etiologies among advanced cancer patients. To date, only few studies have been conducted to differentiate between tumor fever and infections.
Objective: This study aimed to identify discriminating factors that provide rapid results and are feasible and minimally invasive for discriminating between tumor fever and infection in advanced cancer patients.
Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study. Advanced cancer patients with clinically diagnosed tumor fever or infection, who received medical treatment from palliative care specialists in 10 nationwide Japanese hospitals, were consecutively identified during August 2012 and November 2014. The symptoms, physical findings, blood test results at baseline and during fever, imaging findings, and sociodemographic factors of these patients were retrospectively extracted.
Results: Thirty-three patients with tumor fever and 72 patients with infection were identified. Their mean age was 68.8 years, 68 (64.8%) were men, and the median palliative performance status (PPS) was 50. Statistically significant factors predicting tumor fever by logistic regression analysis were as follows: deterioration of PPS (odds ratio, 0.078), shaking chills during fever (0.067), and change from baseline data of neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio of =5 (0.14).
Conclusions: Shaking chills during fever, and changes from baseline of performance status and white blood cell differentiation can be useful to differentiate between tumor fever and infection among advanced cancer patients. Further confirmatory studies are needed.
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.
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: African Americans have low engagement in advance care planning (ACP). This has been attributed to healthcare distrust and skepticism about ACP. A better understanding of these attitudes is needed to address health disparities related to end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the ACP-related values and beliefs of diverse African American communities across the USA and then the perceived value of an inexpensive end-of-life conversational game.
DESIGN: Prospective, convergent, mixed methods cohort study involving fifteen underserved, African American communities across the USA.
PARTICIPANTS: Of the 428 who attended events at purposively sampled sites, 90% consented to the research; 37% participated in one of 15 focus groups (n = 141).
INTERVENTION: An end-of-life conversation game, played in groups of 4-6.
MAIN MEASURES: The validated, 7-item ACP values and beliefs questionnaire (scaled 7 = least skeptical, 49 = most skeptical) was administered pre-game. Post-game focus groups explored perceptions about ACP and the intervention.
KEY RESULTS: Participants had positive attitudes (low skepticism) about ACP with a median score of 12.00 (7.00, 20.00). Values and beliefs did not significantly differ by geographical region; however, rural areas were observed to be slightly more skeptical than urban areas (median score 14.00 vs. 11.00, p = 0.002). Themes from focus groups converged with survey data showing participants valued the ACP process and consider further engagement in ACP to be worthwhile. Subthemes emphasized the need for and value of ACP.
CONCLUSIONS: Skepticism about ACP may contribute to low rates of ACP engagement in underserved African American communities. The positive attitudes uncovered in our study either negate previous findings or suggest reduced skepticism.
Objectives: Patients with terminal illness are at high risk of developing delirium, in particular, those with multiple predisposing and precipitating risk factors. Delirium in palliative care is largely under-researched, and few studies have systematically assessed key aspects of delirium in elderly, palliative-care patients.
Methods: In this prospective, observational cohort study at a tertiary care center, 229 delirious palliative-care patients stratified by age: <65 (N = 105) and =65 years (N = 124), were analyzed with logistic regression models to identify associations with respect to predisposing and precipitating factors.
Results: In 88% of the patients, the underlying diagnosis was cancer. Mortality rate and median time to death did not differ significantly between the two age groups. No inter-group differences were detected with respect to gender, care requirements, length of hospital stay, or medical costs. In patients =65 years, exclusively predisposing factors were relevant for delirium, including hearing impairment [odds ratio (OR) 3.64; confidence interval (CI) 1.90–6.99; P < 0.001], hypertonia (OR 3.57; CI 1.84–6.92; P < 0.001), and chronic kidney disease (OR 4.84; CI 1.19–19.72; P = 0.028). In contrast, in patients <65 years, only precipitating factors were relevant for delirium, including cerebral edema (OR 0.02; CI 0.01–0.43; P = 0.012).
Significance of results: The results of this study demonstrate that death in delirious palliative-care patients occurs irrespective of age. The multifactorial nature and adverse outcomes of delirium across all age in these patients require clinical recognition. Potentially reversible factors should be detected early to prevent or mitigate delirium and its poor survival outcomes.
BACKGROUND: The general in-hospital mortality and interrelationship with delirium are vastly understudied. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the rates of in-hospital mortality and terminal delirium.
METHOD: In this prospective cohort study of 28,860 patients from 37 services including 718 in-hospital deaths, mortality rates and prevalence of terminal delirium were determined with simple logistic regressions and their respective odds ratios (ORs).
RESULTS: Although overall in-hospital mortality was low (2.5%), substantial variance between services became apparent: Across intensive care services the rate was 10.8% with a 5.8-fold increased risk, across medical services rates were 4.4% and 2.4-fold, whereas at the opposite end, across surgical services rates were 0.7% and 87% reduction, respectively. The highest in-hospital mortality rate occurred on the palliative care services (27.3%, OR 19.45). The general prevalence of terminal delirium was 90.7% and ranged from 83.2% to 100%. Only across intensive care services (98.1%, OR 7.48), specifically medical intensive care (98.1%, OR 7.48) and regular medical services (95.8%, OR 4.12) rates of terminal delirium were increased. In contrast, across medical services (86.4%, OR 0.32) and in particular oncology (73.9%, OR 0.25), pulmonology (72%, OR 0.31) and cardiology (63.2%, OR 0.4) rates were decreased. For the remaining services, rates of terminal delirium were the same.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Although in-hospital mortality was low, the interrelationship with delirium was vast: most patients were delirious at the end of life. The implications of terminal delirium merit further studies.
OBJECTIVES: For parents, family or clinicians of children with rare, life-threatening conditions there is little information regarding likely symptoms, illness trajectory and end-of-life care. This descriptive analysis of a bereaved cohort recruited in the Charting the Territory (CTT) study describes patient characteristics, symptoms, use of medications, discussion of resuscitation orders and care provided preceding and during the end-of-life.
METHODS: Of the 275 children enrolled in the CTT study, 54 died between 2009 and 2014. Baseline demographic information, symptoms, interventions and medical information were collected via chart review, interviews and surveys.
RESULTS: 51 of the 54 children had complete medical records. Of the seven symptoms evaluated, children were found to have an increase in median symptoms from baseline (n=2) to time of death (n=3). Opioids were used in the last 48 hours of life in 29 (56.9%) children, whereas only eight (15.7%) were receiving opioids at baseline. Do Not Attempt Resuscitation orders were in place at baseline in 17 (33.3%) children, increasing to 33 (64.7%) at time of death. Death occurred in a hospice setting in 16 (31.4%) children.
CONCLUSIONS: While much emphasis on pediatric palliative care has been on supportive treatment and symptom management, when faced with a lack of sound understanding of a rare illness, the mode of care can often be reactive and based on critical needs. By developing greater knowledge of symptoms and illness trajectory, both management and care can be more responsive and anticipatory, thereby helping ease illness burden and suffering.
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: 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.