Background: Incorporating patient narratives into the electronic health record (EHR) is an opportunity to integrate patients' values and beliefs into their care and improve patient–clinician communication.
Objective: The study's aims were to (1) identify barriers and facilitators influencing the implementation of a cocreated patient narrative intervention and (2) assess the acceptability/usability of the patient's narrative from the perspective of key stakeholders—the patient and acute care bedside nurse.
Design: We used an implementation design using mixed methods.
Setting/Subjects: Twenty patients and 18 nurses were enrolled from five units in an acute care hospital.
Results: For patients, the narrative intervention provided an avenue to discuss and share how illness has impacted their life in psychological, social, and spiritual belief domains. For nurses, the ability to read the patient's narrative provided benefits that fostered improved communication and more connection with their patients. Despite successfully meeting recruitment targets, time was the largest barrier for patient and nurse participants. Overall, the nurse participants gave high ratings on most of the items on the System Usability Scale with one exception—EHR integration. The lack of EHR integration on the System Usability Survey corresponds with the nurses' stated desire for a prominent location of patient narratives in the EHR.
Conclusions: The patient narrative intervention was acceptable and usable for hospitalized patients and nurse participants. Our study demonstrates that a cocreated patient narrative intervention provides avenues for patients and nurses to connect despite being in hectic acute care settings.
Introduction: Increased clinician training on advance care planning (ACP) is needed. Common barriers to ACP include perceived lack of confidence, skills, and knowledge necessary to engage in these discussions. Furthermore, many clinicians feel inadequately trained in prognostication. Evidence exists that multimodality curricula are effective in teaching ACP and can be simultaneously targeted to trainees and practicing clinicians with success.
Methods: We developed a 3-hour workshop incorporating lecture, patient-oriented decision aids, prognostication tools, small-group discussion, and case-based role-play to communicate a values-based approach to ACP. Cases included discussion of care goals for a patient with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and one with mild cognitive impairment. The workshop was delivered to fourth-year medical students, then adapted in two primary care clinics. In the clinics, we added an interprofessional case applying ACP to management of dental pain in advanced dementia. We evaluated the workshops using pre-post surveys.
Results: Thirty-four medical students and 14 primary care providers participated. Self-reported knowledge and comfort regarding ACP significantly improved; attitudes toward ACP were strongly positive both before and after. The workshop was well received. On a 7-point Likert scale (1 = unacceptable, 7 = outstanding), the median overall rating was 6 (excellent).
Discussion: We developed an ACP workshop applicable to students and primary clinicians and saw improvements in self-reported knowledge and comfort regarding ACP. Long-term effects were not studied. Participants found the role-play especially valuable. Modifications for primary care clinics focused on duration rather than content. Future directions include expanding the workshop's content.
Physicians have a responsibility to discuss do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decisions and end-of-life (EOL) care with patients and family members. The aim of this study was to explore the DNR and EOL care discussion experience among physicians in Taiwan. A qualitative study was conducted with 16 physicians recruited from the departments of hospice care, surgery, internal medicine, emergency, and the intensive care unit. The interview guidelines included their DNR experience and process and EOL care discussions, as well as their concerns, difficulties, or worries in discussions. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. Four themes were identified. First, family members had multiple roles in the decision process. Second, the characteristics of the units, including time urgency and relationships with patients and family members, influenced physicians' work. Third, the process included preparation, exploration, information delivery, barrier solution, and execution. Fourth, physicians shared reflections on their ability and the conflicts between law, medical professionals, and the best interests of patients. Physicians must consider not only patients' but also family members' opinions and surmount several barriers in decision-making. They also experienced negative and positive impacts from these discussions.
The Japan Geriatrics Society has so far announced "The Japan Geriatrics Society Position Statement 2012" and "Guidelines for the Decision-Making Processes in Medical and Long-Term Care for the Elderly - Focusing on the Use of Artificial Hydration and Nutrition" related to end-of-life care for older adults. In 2018, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare revised the "Guidelines for the Decision-Making Processes in Medical and Long-Term Care in the End of Life," recommending the practice of advance care planning (ACP). This was the first time when the Japanese government publicized its stance on ACP. Immediately after the government's announcement, the Japan Medical Association announced its committee report, "The Super-aged Society and the End-of-life Care," which also recommended the practice of ACP. The guidelines were published when the society was experiencing substantial changes related to geriatric care in Japan, and required timely and ethically appropriate decision-making processes. However, because ACP is a concept imported from English-speaking countries, some Japanese people could find it difficult to understand the role and methodology of ACP because of differences in culture and the medical/long-term care system. Therefore, the Japan Geriatrics Society has decided to publish the "Recommendations for the Promotion of Advance Care Planning" for medical and long-term care professionals nationwide with the aim of using the recommendations on a daily basis. The society recognizes ACP as indispensable to improve end-of-life care for individuals, particularly for older adults. We anticipate that the recommendations will provide practical guidance for those strenuously working toward this goal.
Background: Advance care planning (ACP) can help to enhance the care of patients with limited life expectancy. Despite physicians’ key role in ACP, the ways in which physicians estimate and communicate prognosis can be improved.
Aim: To determine how physicians in different care settings self-assess their performance in estimating and communicating prognosis to patients in palliative care, and how they perceive their communication with other physicians about patients’ poor prognosis.
Design & setting: A survey study was performed among a random sample of GPs, hospital physicians (HPs), and nursing home physicians (NHPs) in the southwest of the Netherlands (n = 2212).
Method: A questionnaire was developed that had three versions for GPs, HPs, and NHPs. Each specialism filled in an appropriate version.
Results: A total of 547 physicians participated: 259 GPs, 205 HPs, and 83 NHPs. In the study, 61.1% of physicians indicated being able to adequately estimate whether a patient will die within 1 year, which was associated with use of the Surprise Question (odds ratio [OR] = 1.65, P = 0.042). In the case of a prognosis of <1 year, 75.0% of physicians indicated that they communicate with patients about preferences regarding treatment and care, which was associated with physicians being trained in palliative care (OR = 2.02, P=0.007). In cases where patients with poor prognosis are discharged after hospital admission, 83.4% of HPs indicated that they inform GPs about these patients’ preferences compared with 29.0% of GPs, and 21.7% of NHPs, who indicated that they are usually adequately informed about the preferences.
Conclusion: The majority of physicians indicated that they believe they can adequately estimate patients’ limited life expectancy and that they discuss patients’ preferences for care. However, more physicians should be trained in communicating about patients’ poor prognosis and care preferences.
BACKGROUND: Although family-centered communication about end-of-life care has been recognized to promote palliative-oriented care in nursing home (NH), how this communication may work is still unknown. Therefore, we explored the mechanisms by which end-of-life communication may contribute to palliative-oriented care in NH from the perspective of bereaved family carers.
METHODS: A descriptive qualitative design was performed. Interviews were conducted with 32 bereaved family carers whose relative had died between 45 days to 9 months prior from 13 different NHs. A two-steps analysis process firstly with deductive and then with inductive content analysis was adopted.
RESULTS: Four mechanisms by which end-of-life communication contributed to palliative-oriented care were identified: a) promoting family carers understanding about their relative's health conditions, prognosis, and treatments available; b) fostering shared decision-making between healthcare professionals and residents/family carers; c) improving knowledge of residents' preferences; and d) improving knowledge of family carers' preferences.
CONCLUSION: Clear and in-depth communication provides insight into residents' and family carers' preferences for care and treatment at the end-of-life, and increases understanding and shared decision-making.
Many people move in and out of hospital in the last few weeks of life. These care transitions can be distressing for family members because they signify the deterioration and impending death of their ill relative and forthcoming family bereavement. Whilst there is evidence about psychosocial support for family members providing end-of-life care at home, there is limited evidence about how this can be provided in acute hospitals during care transitions. Consequently, family members report a lack of support from hospital-based healthcare professionals.
Introduction: Discussing the evolution of life-threatening diseases and end-of-life issues remains difficult for patients, relatives and professionals. Helping people discuss and formalise their preferences in end-of-life care, as planned in the Go Wish intervention, could reduce health-related anxiety in the advance care planning (ACP) and advance directive (AD) process. The aims of this study are (1) to test the effectiveness of the Go Wish intervention among outpatients in early-stage palliative care and (2) to understand the role of defence mechanisms in end-of-life discussions among nurses, patients and relatives.
Methods and analysis: A mixed-methods study will be performed. A cluster randomised controlled trials with three parallel arms will be conducted with 45 patients with chronic progressive diseases impacting life expectancy in each group: (1) Group A, Go Wish intervention for patients and their relatives; (2) Group A, Go Wish intervention for patients alone and (3) Group B, for patients (with a waiting list), who will receive the standardised information on ADs (usual care). Randomisation will be at the nurse level as each patient is referred to one of the 20 participating nurses (convenience sample of 20 nurses). A qualitative study will be conducted to understand the cognitive and emotional processes and experiences of nurses, patients and relatives confronted with end-of-life discussions. The outcome measurements include the completion of ADs (yes/no), anxiety, quality of communication about end-of-life care, empowerment, quality of life and attitudes towards ADs.
Ethics and dissemination: The study protocol has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland (no. 2019–00922). The findings will be disseminated to practice (nurses, patients and relatives), to national and international scientific conferences, and peer-reviewed journals covering nursing science, psychology and medicine.
OBJECTIVES: To develop a generalizable advance care planning ACP intervention for children and children, adolescents, and young adults with serious illness using a multi-stage stakeholder driven approach.
STUDY DESIGN: We first convened an expert panel of multidisciplinary HCPs, researchers, and parents to delineate key ACP intervention elements. We then adapted an existing adult guide for use in pediatrics and conducted focus groups and interviews with HCPs, parents and seriously ill AYAs to contextualize perspectives on ACP communication and our pediatric serious illness communication program (PediSICP). Using thematic analysis, we identified guide adaptations, preferred content and barriers for PediSICP implementation. Expert panelists then reviewed, amended and finalized the guide.
RESULTS: Stakeholders (34 HCPs, 9 parents, and 7 seriously ill AYAs) participated in focus groups and interviews. Stakeholders validated and refined the guide and PediSICP intervention and identified barriers to PediSICP implementation including need for HCP training, competing demands, uncertainty regarding timing and documentation of ACP discussions.
CONCLUSION: The finalized PediSICP intervention includes a structured HCP and family ACP conversation occasion supported by a three-part communication tool and bolstered by focused HCP training. We also identified strategies to ameliorate implementation barriers. Future research will determine feasibility of the PediSICP and whether it improves care alignment with patient and family goals.
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.
Adequate interprofessional collaboration is essential to provide high quality palliative dementia care across different settings. Within interprofessional collaboration, nurses are the frontline healthcare professionals (HCPs), who interact closely with people with dementia, their loved ones, and other HCPs. A survey was conducted to explore the needs of nurses regarding interprofessional collaboration in home care (HC) organisations, nursing homes (NHs) and during NH admissions. The survey identified the perceived quality of and preferred needs regarding interprofessional collaboration. In total, 384 participants (53.9% home care nurses) completed the survey. The most frequently reported collaboration needs in HC organisations and NH were optimal communication content e.g. information transfer and short communication lines (being able to easily contact other disciplines), and coordination e.g. one contact person, and clear task division and responsibilities). During NH admissions, it was important to create transparency about agreements concerning end-of-life wishes, optimize nurse-to-nurse handover during NH admissions (through performing visits prior to admissions, and receiving practical information on how to guide relatives), and improve coordination (e.g. one contact person). In conclusion, the key collaboration needs were organising central coordination, establishing optimal communication, and creating transparency on end-of-life care agreements.
BACKGROUND: Many patients receive unwanted, low-value, high-intensity care at the end of life because of poor communication with health care providers. Our aim was to evaluate the feasibility of using a physician assistant and an electronic tool to facilitate discussions about goals of care.
METHOD: We conducted a pilot study for the intervention (physician assistant-led discussion using an electronic tool) from Apr. 1 to Aug. 31, 2019. Patients aged 79 years or older admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital (Barrie, Ontario) with either (i) no documented resuscitation preferences or (ii) a request for life-sustaining treatments in the event of a life-threatening illness were eligible for the intervention. The goal of this study was to complete more than 30 interventions. The primary outcomes included the proportion of consenting eligible patients, the time required and the proportion of patients changing their resuscitation preferences.
RESULTS: A total of 763 patients met the inclusion criteria, with 337 eligible for the intervention. Of these, 49 cases were contacted for consent, and 37 interventions were completed (75.5%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 61.1%-86.6%). On average, the intervention required 50 minutes (standard deviation 21) to complete. Overall, 31 interventions resulted in a change in resuscitation preferences (83.7%, 95% CI 68.0%-93.8%), with 22 patients choosing to forgo any access to life-sustaining treatments in the event of a life-threatening illness (59.4%, 95% CI 42.1%-75.2%).
INTERPRETATION: In this pilot study, the intervention was completed in a minority of eligible patients and required substantial time; however, it led to many changes in resuscitation preferences. Before designing a study to evaluate its impact, the intervention needs to be revised to make it more efficient to administer.
BACKGROUND: Shared decision-making (SDM) is the process in which healthcare professionals and patients jointly discuss and decide which care and treatment policy is to be followed. The importance of SDM is increasingly being recognised across health settings, including palliative care. Little is known about SDM with people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) in the last phase of life. This review aimed to explore to which extent and in which way people with ID in the last phase of life are involved in decision-making about their care and treatment.
METHOD: In this scoping review, we systematically searched in the Embase, Medline and PsycINFO databases for empirical studies on decision-making with people with ID in the last phase of life.
RESULTS: Of a total of 281 identified titles and abstracts, 10 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. All focused on medical end-of-life decisions, such as foregoing life-sustaining treatment, do-not-attempt-resuscitation orders or palliative sedation. All studies emphasise the relevance of involving people with ID themselves, or at least their relatives, in making decisions at the end of life. Still, only two papers described processes of decision-making in which persons with ID actively participated. Furthermore, in only one paper, best practices and guidelines for decision-making in palliative care for people with ID were defined.
CONCLUSION: Although the importance of involving people with ID in the decision-making process is emphasised, best practices or guidelines about what this should look like are lacking. We recommend developing aids that specifically support SDM with people with ID in the last phase of life.
OBJECTIVE: The aims of the study were to examine patients' experiences of end-of-life (EOL) discussions and to shed light on patients' perceptions of the transition from curative to palliative care.
METHODS: This study was based on a qualitative methodology; we conducted semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer patients admitted to the palliative care unit (PCU) of the Medical University of Vienna. Interviews were recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed based on thematic analysis, using the MAXQDA software.
RESULTS: Twelve interviews were conducted with patients living with terminal cancer who were no longer under curative treatment. The findings revealed three themes: (1) that the medical EOL conversation contributed to the transition process from curative to palliative care, (2) that patients' information preferences were ambivalent and modulated by defense mechanisms, and (3) that the realization and integration of medical EOL conversations into the individual's personal frame of reference is a process that needs effort and information from different sources coming together.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study offer insight into how patients experienced their transition from curative to palliative care and into how EOL discussions are only one element within the disease trajectory. Many patients struggle with their situations. Therefore, more emphasis should be put on repeated offers to have EOL conversations and on early integration of aspects of palliative care into the overall treatment.
In nursing homes, discussions between family members and staff regarding the end of life for residents with cognitive impairment are crucial to the choice of treatment and care consistent with residents' wishes. However, family members experience burden in such discussions, and communication with staff remains inadequate. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to elucidate the meaning of continuous end-of-life discussion for family members. Data were collected using semistructured individual interviews. Thirteen family members of residents from 3 nursing homes in Kyoto, Japan, participated in the study. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis, which focused on both explicit and implicit meanings. Four themes emerged regarding the experience of end-of-life discussion: “the end of life soaking in,” “hardship of making the decision to end my family member's life,” “wavering thoughts about decisions made and actions taken,” and “feeling a sense of participation about the care.” Family members had come to accept the deaths of residents through continuous discussion and experienced strong conflict in facing the death of their family members. Moreover, staff members should understand family members' beliefs and the burden they experience in facing residents' death.
Although patient satisfaction scores have been used in the inpatient setting for more than a decade, they are new to the hospice and home care setting. Hospice organizations began tracking Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS) scores in 2017, and beginning in 2019, the scores became accessible by the public. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to determine whether improved communication techniques had a positive effect on CAHPS scores at an outpatient nonprofit hospice organization. The intervention was divided into 2 parts, improving communication among staff and improving education provided to patients and their caregivers. This pilot project was implemented over a 4-month period, and the CAHPS scores were compared with those from the 4 months before preceding implementation.
Hospice agencies serve an expanding population of patients with varying disease conditions and sociodemographic characteristics. Patients with heart failure represent a growing share of hospice deaths in the United States. However, limited research has explored the perspectives of hospice interdisciplinary team members regarding how patients with heart failure and their families navigate hospice care. We sought to address this research gap by conducting qualitative interviews with hospice interdisciplinary team members at a large, not-for-profit hospice agency in New York City (N = 32). Five overarching themes from these interviews were identified regarding components that members of the hospice interdisciplinary team perceived as helping patients with heart failure and their families navigate hospice care. These themes included (1) “looking out: caregiving support in hospice care,” (2) “what it really means: patient knowledge and understanding of hospice,” (3) “on board: acceptance of death and alignment with hospice goals,” (4) “on the same page: communication with the hospice team,” and (5) “like a good student: symptom management and risk reduction practices.” Interdisciplinary team members delineated several components that influence how patients with heart failure and their families navigate hospice services and communicate with care providers. Hospice agencies should consider policies for augmenting services among patients with heart failure to improve their understanding of hospice, supplement available caregiving supports for patients without them, and remove communication barriers.
Due to isolation and social distancing to maintain patient and staff safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, an alternative to face-to-face interaction was needed. Nurses facilitated critical patient-family communication. Video conferencing applications aided socially distanced families to connect with dying loved ones. This article will explore the use of these popular apps.
Developing solid communication-based partnerships through obtaining illness narratives allows for an understanding of patients' social resources, values, and beliefs and allows an opportunity to provide person-centered care. This study aimed to elicit cocreated illness narratives from persons of color who have serious illness. Twenty patients receiving care for serious illness were interviewed at a large academic medical center. The interviews focused on how illness affected patients' lives and were followed by formation of illness narratives. From the persons living with serious illness, 3 main themes emerged: (1) time, (2) life changes, and (3) family. Participants described how illness did influence their lifestyles and identities but did not define their personhood. Family influence had a lasting effect on participants' values and beliefs, and family presence was viewed as valuable in their current lives. Narratives from persons of color with serious illness can provide an intimate account informing nurses' understanding of patients' illness experiences and may enhance communication between nurses and patients.