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.
Objectives: Despite a number of studies on effectiveness of palliative care, there is a lack of complex updated review of the impact of in-hospital palliative care consult service. The objective is to update information on the impact of palliative care consult service in inpatient hospital setting.
Methods: This study was a systematic literature review, following the standard protocols (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, Joanna Briggs Institute tools) to ensure the transparent and robust review procedure. The effect of palliative care consult service was classified as being associated with improvement, no difference, deterioration or mixed results in specific outcomes. PubMed, Scopus, Academic Search Ultimate and SocINDEX were systematically searched up to February 2020. Studies were included if they focused on the impact of palliative care consult service caring for adult palliative care patients and their families in inpatient hospital setting.
Results: After removing duplicates, 959 citations were screened of which 49 full-text articles were retained. A total of 28 different outcome variables were extracted. 18 of them showed positive effects within patient, family, staff and healthcare system domains. No difference was observed in patient survival and depression. Inconclusive results represented patient social support and staff satisfaction with care.
Conclusions: Palliative care consult service has a number of positive effects for patients, families, staff and healthcare system. More research is needed on factors such as patient spiritual well-being, social support, performance, family understanding of patient diagnosis or staff stress.
BACKGROUND: Early palliative care (PC) physician involvement alongside standard oncologic care has been recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guidelines for all advanced cancer patients, although adherence to these guidelines is variable. Radiation oncologists (ROs) could help facilitate early PC referral for patients treated with palliative radiation, particularly those with brain metastasis (BRM), and the aim of this study was to evaluate the circumstances of PC referral at our institution to better understand the multidisciplinary approaches to facilitate it.
METHODS: Patients diagnosed with BRM from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from 2012 to 2018 whose primary RO and MO were at our institution were reviewed. Overall survival and time to PC consultation from the first oncologic visit following BRM diagnosis was determined using the KaplanMeier method. Mann-Whitney U and Chi-Squared assessed for predictive factors for shorter time to PC consultation. For these factors, the overall survival, rate of PC consultation, and PC setting was used to determine utilization of early PC.
RESULTS: Among 103 eligible patients, only 48% underwent a PC consultation in their lifetime, with the initial evaluation being as an outpatient for 37%, and within 1 month of death for 35%. Median survival from BRM diagnosis was 9.0 months. The median time from oncologic appointment to PC referral was 2.8 months, and from initial PC consultation to death was 1.6 months. Only more recent BRM diagnosis (2016-2018 vs. 2012-2015) was associated with shorter time to PC consultation (1.0 vs. 5.6 months, P=0.013), increased PC consult rate (60% vs. 42%, P=0.105), and increased outpatient PC consultation (56% vs. 26%, P=0.037).
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients did not undergo early PC consultation, though utilization has improved over time. As ROs are commonly involved in BRM management, they may be in a position to proactively support early PC consultations in this patient population.
Background: Emergency department (ED) initiated palliative consultation impacts downstream care utilization. Various admission consult triggers have been proposed without clear best practice or outcomes.
Objective: This 18-month single-center study evaluated the clinical, operational, and financial impact of simplified admission triggers for ED-initiated palliative consults as compared to downstream Floor and intensive care unit (ICU) palliative consults initiated per usual practice.
Methods: We distilled ED admission triggers into three criteria to ensure bedside actionability and sustainability: (1) end-stage illness, (2) functional limitation, and (3) clinician would not be surprised if the patient died this hospitalization. Eligible patients met all criteria, and received consultation within 24 hours of admission. We compared ED-initiated consults against Floor and ICU consults from March 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019, with matched cohort analysis to evaluate financial outcomes.
Results: While overall palliative consult volume remained intentionally steady, the proportion of ED-initiated consults significantly increased (7% vs. 19%, p < 0.001). ED consistently comprised 15–25% of all monthly palliative consults. Compared with Floor, ED had similar ED length of stay (LOS) and inpatient mortality. Among live discharges, ED were more likely to be referred to hospice than Floor (59% vs. 47%, p = 0.24) or ICU (59% vs. 34%, p = 0.02). In a matched cohort analysis, ED demonstrated median cost avoidance of $9,082 per patient versus Floor ($5,578 vs. $14,660, p < 0.001) and $15,138 per patient versus ICU ($5,578 vs. $20,716, p < 0.001). ED had significantly shorter median LOS before consult than Floor (0 vs. 3 days, p < 0.001) or ICU (0 vs. 3 days, p < 0.001), which did not differ between live discharges or inpatient deaths. Overall hospital LOS was disproportionately shorter for ED, with a net difference-in-differences of 1–3.5 days compared to Floor and ICU.
Conclusions: Simple ED admission triggers to expedite palliative engagement are associated with a 50–75% reduction in both hospital LOS and costs when compared against usual palliative consultation practice. ED initiation reduces both lead time before consultation and subsequent downstream hospitalization length.
A qualitative case-series review was conducted in a nurse-led home-based hospice service to evaluate the impact of specialist psychiatric consultations on patients’ well-being and management. The impact on patients’ care was assessed via analysis of case notes and psychiatrist reports, and interviews with both hospice nurses and the psychiatrist. 18 visits were made by the psychiatrist for 16 patients over a period of 12 months. Nine patients were referred for mood disorders, four for severe agitation, one for review of schizophrenia, one for dementia assessment, and one for possible patient abuse. Three patients already had psychiatric conditions prior to admission; long-standing anxiety, depression on a background of dementia, and chronic schizophrenia. Analysis of medical documentation revealed nine (half) of those visits led to positive psychological outcomes while the remainder were equivocal. Six positive cases involved the management of mood disorders, two related to the treatment of behavioural issues, while the last was for titration of medication. Almost all nurses gave positive feedback, expressing greater confidence and comfort in managing difficult mental health symptoms or family issues. However, short patient prognoses and limited psychiatrist visits prevented optimisation of interventions suggested. Overall, psychiatric consultations can improve patient well-being and enhance existing care.
Background: New Orleans, Louisiana served as a central location for a surge of novel coronavirus cases during the months of March 2020 to May 2020. To provide guidance to palliative care teams naive to the palliative care demand associated with a surge of coronavirus cases, we document our protocol to best optimize palliative care resources. This report aims to present this information and reflect upon what was most beneficial/least beneficial to serve as a roadmap for palliative teams facing this pandemic.
Objective: To pilot a team-based structured protocol to categorize severity of COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and subsequently collaborate with the palliative interdisciplinary team to assess physical, spiritual, and psychosocial needs.
Design: New ICU consults were categorized into color-coded clinical severity "pots" during daily ICU interdisciplinary rounds. Clinical decision making and communication with patient/next of kin were based on "pot" classification.
Settings/Subjects: Palliative medicine consults were placed on all COVID-19 positive patients admitted to the ICU between March 29, 2020, and May 1, 2020.
Measurements: A retrospective chart review was performed to analyze the effect of palliative care consultation on completion of goals-of-care conversations and the life-sustaining treatment (LST) document, an advance directive form specific to the Veterans Affairs hospital system between March 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020.
Results: Of the palliative consults evaluated by a palliative provider, 74% resulted in completion of a LST document, 58% resulted in video contact with family members, and 100% incorporated a goals-of-care discussion.
Conclusions: We found that standardizing palliative care consultation on all COVID-19 positive ICU admissions subjectively alleviated the burden on ICU providers and staff in the midst of a crisis, resulted in increased documentation of patient goals-of-care preferences/LSTs, facilitated clinical updates to family members, and better distributed clinical burden among palliative team members.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses clinicians for advance care planning (ACP) discussions with Medicare patients. The objective of the study was to examine the association of CMS-billed ACP visits with end-of-life (EOL) healthcare utilization.
DESIGN: Patient-level analyses of claims for the random 20% Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) sample of decedents in 2017. To account for multiple comparisons, Bonferroni adjusted P value <.008 was considered statistically significant.
SETTING: Nationally representative sample of Medicare FFS beneficiaries.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 237,989 Medicare FFS beneficiaries who died in 2017 and included those with and without a billed ACP visit during 2016–17.
INTERVENTION: The key exposure variable was receipt of first billed ACP (none, >1 month before death).
MEASUREMENTS: Six measures of EOL healthcare utilization or intensity (inpatient admission, emergency department [ED] visit, intensive care unit [ICU] stay, and expenditures within 30 days of death, in-hospital death, and first hospice within 3 days of death). Analyses was adjusted for age, race, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Index, expenditure by Dartmouth hospital referral region (high, medium, or low), and dual eligibility.
RESULTS: Overall, 6.3% (14,986) of the sample had at least one billed ACP visit. After multivariable adjustment, patients with an ACP visit experienced significantly less intensive EOL care on four of six measures: hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] = .77; 95% confidence interval [CI] = .74–.79), ED visit (OR = .77; 95% CI = .75–.80), or ICU stay (OR = .78; 95% CI = .74–.81) within a month of death; and they were less likely to die in the hospital (OR = .79; 95% CI = .76–.82). There were no differences in the rate of late hospice enrollment (OR = .97; 95% CI = .92–1.01; P = .119) or mean expenditures ($242.50; 95% CI = -$103.63 to $588.61; P = .169).
CONCLUSION: Billed ACP visits were relatively uncommon among Medicare FFS decedents, but their occurrence was associated with less intensive EOL utilization. Further research on the variables affecting hospice use and expenditures in the EOL period is recommended to understand the relative role of ACP.
Importance: National guidelines recommend early palliative care for patients with advanced heart failure, which disproportionately affects rural and minority populations.
Objective: To determine the effect of an early palliative care telehealth intervention over 16 weeks on the quality of life, mood, global health, pain, and resource use of patients with advanced heart failure.
Design, Setting, and Participants: A single-blind, intervention vs usual care randomized clinical trial was conducted from October 1, 2015, to May 31, 2019, among 415 patients 50 years or older with New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure or American College of Cardiology stage C or D heart failure at a large Southeastern US academic tertiary medical center and a Veterans Affairs medical center serving high proportions of rural dwellers and African American individuals.
Interventions: The ENABLE CHF-PC (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends Comprehensive Heartcare for Patients and Caregivers) intervention comprises an in-person palliative care consultation and 6 weekly nurse-coach telephonic sessions (20-40 minutes) and monthly follow-up for 48 weeks.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were quality of life (as measured by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire [KCCQ]: score range, 0-100; higher scores indicate better perceived health status and clinical summary scores =50 are considered “fairly good” quality of life; and the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–Palliative-14 [FACIT-Pal-14]: score range, 0-56; higher scores indicate better quality of life) and mood (as measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]) over 16 weeks. Secondary outcomes were global health (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System Global Health), pain (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System Pain Intensity and Interference), and resource use (hospital days and emergency department visits).
Results: Of 415 participants (221 men; baseline mean [SD] age, 63.8 [8.5] years) randomized to ENABLE CHF-PC (n = 208) or usual care (n = 207), 226 (54.5%) were African American, 108 (26.0%) lived in a rural area, and 190 (45.8%) had a high-school education or less, and a mean (SD) baseline KCCQ score of 52.6 (21.0). At week 16, the mean (SE) KCCQ score improved 3.9 (1.3) points in the intervention group vs 2.3 (1.2) in the usual care group (difference, 1.6; SE, 1.7; d = 0.07 [95% CI, -0.09 to 0.24]) and the mean (SE) FACIT-Pal-14 score improved 1.4 (0.6) points in the intervention group vs 0.2 (0.5) points in the usual care group (difference, 1.2; SE, 0.8; d = 0.12 [95% CI, -0.03 to 0.28]). There were no relevant between-group differences in mood (HADS-anxiety, d = -0.02 [95% CI, –0.20 to 0.16]; HADS-depression, d = –0.09 [95% CI, –0.24 to 0.06]).
Conclusions and Relevance: This randomized clinical trial with a majority African American sample and baseline good quality of life did not demonstrate improved quality of life or mood with a 16-week early palliative care telehealth intervention. However, pain intensity and interference (secondary outcomes) demonstrated a clinically important improvement.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Specialty palliative care for hospitalized patients with dementia is widely recommended and may improve outcomes, yet rates of consultation remain low. We sought to describe hospitalists' decision-making regarding palliative care consultation for patients with dementia.
DESIGN: Descriptive qualitative study.
SETTING: Seven hospitals within a national nonprofit health system.
PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalist physicians.
MEASUREMENTS: Individual semistructured interviews. We used thematic analysis to explore factors that influence hospitalists' decision to consult palliative care for patients with dementia.
RESULTS: A total of 171 hospitalists were eligible to participate, and 28 (16%) were interviewed; 17 (61%) were male, 16 (57%) were white, and 18 (64%) were in practice less than 10 years. Overall, hospitalists' decisions to consult palliative care for patients with dementia were influenced by multiple factors across four themes: patient, family caregiver, hospitalist, and organization. Consultation was typically only considered for patients with advanced disease, particularly those receiving aggressive care or with family communication needs (navigating conflicts around goals of care and improving disease and prognostic understanding). Hospitalists' limited time and, for some, a lack of confidence in palliative care skills were strong drivers of consultation. Palliative care needs notwithstanding, most hospitalists would not request consultation if they perceived families would be resistant to it or had limited availability or involvement in caregiving. Additional barriers to referral at the organization level included a hospital culture that conflated palliative and end-of-life care and busy palliative care teams at some hospitals.
CONCLUSION: Hospitalists described a complex consultation decision process for involving palliative care specialists in the care of patients with dementia. Systematic identification of hospitalized patients with dementia most likely to benefit from palliative care consultation and strategies to overcome modifiable family and organization barriers are needed.
PURPOSE: Considering the great need for palliative care in hospitals, it is essential for hospital staff to have palliative care knowledge. Palliative consultations have been shown to have positive effects on in-hospital care. However, barriers to contact with and uptake of palliative consultation advice are reported, posing a need for further knowledge about the process of palliative consultations. The purpose of this study therefore was to examine how palliative consultations in hospitals are practised, as perceived by consultants and health care professionals on receiving wards.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: Focus groups with palliative care consultation services, health care personnel from receiving wards and managers of consultation services. Interpretive description and constant comparative method guided the analysis.
FINDINGS: Variations were seen in several aspects of practice, including approach to practice and represented professions. The palliative consultants were perceived to contribute by creating space for palliative care, adding palliative knowledge and approach, enhancing cooperation and creating opportunity to ameliorate transition. Based on a perception of carrying valuable perspectives and knowledge, a number of consultation services utilised proactive practices that took the initiative in relation to the receiving wards.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: A lack of policy and divergent views on how to conceptualise palliative care appeared to be associated with variations in consultation practices, tentative approaches and a bottom-up driven development. This study adds knowledge, implying theoretical transferability as to how palliative care consultations can be practised, which is useful when designing and starting new consultation services.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the relief of symptoms provided by palliative care consultation team (PCCT) compared to the traditional care team (TC), in patients with advanced cancer in the first 48 hours of hospitalization.
METHOD: Allocated to PCCT Group and TC Group, this study assessed 290 patients according to the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) within the first 48 hours of hospitalization. The main outcome was a minimum 2-point reduction in symptom intensity.
RESULTS: At 48 hours, the PCCT Group had a 2-point reduction in the mean differences (p <0.001) in pain, nausea, dyspnea, and depression; and TC Group, on nausea and sleep impairment (p <0.001). Multiple Logistic Regression found for the PCCT Group a greater chance of pain relief (OR 2.34; CI 1.01-5.43; p = 0.049).
CONCLUSION: There was superiority of the PCCT Group for pain relief, dyspnea and depression. There is a need for more studies that broaden the understanding of team modalities.
INTRODUCTION: A high outpatient clinic no-show rate affects clinical outcomes, increases healthcare costs, and reduces both access to care and provider productivity. In an effort to reduce the no-show rate at a busy palliative medicine outpatient clinic, a quality improvement project was launched consisting of a telephone call made by clinic staff prior to appointments. The study aimed to determine the effect of this intervention on the no-show rate, and assess the financial impact of a decreased no-show rate.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: The outpatient clinic no-show rate was measured from September 1 to December 31, 2015. Data from the first 8 months of the calendar year was removed since these could not be verified. Starting January 1, 2016, patients received a telephone call reminder 24 hours prior to their scheduled outpatient appointment for confirmation. No-show rate was again measured for the calendar year 2016. Opportunity costs were calculated for unfulfilled clinic visits.
RESULTS: Of the 1224 completed visits from September 1 to December 31, 2015, 271 were no-shows with an average rate of 11.8%. After the intervention, there were 4368 completed visits and 562 no-shows. The no-show rate for 2016 averaged 6.9% (p < 0.001), down 4.9% from the last 4 months of 2015. Estimated opportunity costs were about 396 no-show visits avoided, equivalent to an annual savings of about $79,200.
CONCLUSION: A telephone call reminder to patients 24 hours prior to their appointment decreased the no-show rate in an outpatient palliative medicine clinic. Avoiding unfulfilled visits resulted in substantial opportunity costs.
Background: To provide a better quality of death for patients at the end of life who choose to die at home and their families, the hospice care team at Taipei Veterans General Hospital has promoted an personalized discharged end-of-life care plan since the initial of 2018.
Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of administrative data. All incoming calls of the 24-hour specialist palliative care emergency telephone advice service records were analyzed. Personal information of any callers or consultants was not registered in the content.
Results: A total of 728 telephone consultations was registered during the study period. The content of the consultation of different callers was significantly different (p < 0.001). The decrease in the number of calls from the patients who were discharged from the hospice ward had the largest reduction in proportion, from 80 (19.0%) to 32 (10.5%), There was a significant difference in the identity of the callers between 2017 and 2018 (p = 0.025). The proportion of consultation calls for the management of near-death symptoms significantly reduced from 15.6% to 10.5% (p = 0.027).
Conclusions: Though the evidence from this study is not enough to support that the personalized discharged end-of-life care plan might reduce the frequency of dialing 24-hour hotlines by the family members of discharged terminally ill patients. For patients who choose to die at home and their families, the hotlines provide a 24-hour humane support. Thus, we need to conduct relevant research to determine whether the service of this dedicated line meets the needs of patients and their families in the terminal stage.
CONTEXT: Advancing the science of serious illness communication requires methods for measuring characteristics of conversations in large studies. Understanding which characteristics predict clinically important outcomes can help prioritize attention to scalable measure development.
PURPOSE: To understand whether audibly recognizable expressions of distressing emotion during palliative care serious illness conversations are associated with ratings of patient experience or 6-month enrollment in hospice.
METHODS: We audio-recorded initial palliative care consultations involving 231 hospitalized people with advanced cancer at two large academic medical centers. We coded conversations for expressions of fear, anger and sadness. We examined the distribution of these expressions and their association with pre-post ratings of Feeling Heard & Understood and 6-month hospice enrollment following the consultation.
RESULTS: Nearly 6 in 10 conversations included at least one audible expression of distressing emotion (59%; 137/231). Among conversations with such an expression, fear was the most prevalent (72%; 98/ 137) followed by sadness (50%; 69/ 137) and anger (45%; 62/137). Anger expression was associated with more disease-focused end-of-life treatment preferences, pre-post consultation improvement in feeling heard & understood and lower 6-month hospice enrollment. Fear was strongly associated with pre-consultation patient ratings of shorter survival expectations. Sadness did not exhibit strong association with patient descriptors or outcomes.
CONCLUSION: Fear, anger and sadness are commonly expressed in hospital-based palliative care consultations with people who have advanced cancer. Anger is an epidemiologically useful predictor of important clinical outcomes.
BACKGROUND: The importance of caring for children with complex and serious conditions means that paediatric palliative care must continue during pandemics. The recent pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) provides a natural experiment to study health communication during pandemic times. However, it is unknown how communication within consultations might change during pandemics.
AIM: This study, a sub-study of a larger project, aimed to examine real-world instances of communication in paediatric palliative care consultations prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand how clinicians and families talk about the pandemic.
DESIGN: Paediatric palliative care consultations prior to, during, and immediately following the initial peak of COVID-19 cases in Australia were video recorded and analysed using Conversation Analysis methods.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-five paediatric palliative care consultations (including face-to-face outpatient, telehealth outpatient and inpatient consultations) were video recorded within a public children's hospital in Australia. Participants included 14 health professionals, 15 child patients, 23 adult family members and 5 child siblings.
RESULTS: There was a pervasive relevance of both serious and non-serious talk about COVID-19 within the consultations recorded during the pandemic. Topics typical of a standard paediatric palliative care consultation often led to discussion of the pandemic. Clinicians (55%) and parents (45%) initiated talk about the pandemic.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should not be surprised by the pervasiveness of COVID-19 or other pandemic talk within standard paediatric palliative care consultations. This awareness will enable clinicians to flexibly address family needs and concerns about pandemic-related matters that may impact health and wellbeing.
As the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues worldwide, health care systems are facing increased demand with concurrent health care provider shortages. This increase in patient demand and potential for provider shortages is particularly apparent for palliative medicine, where there are already shortages in the provision of this care. In response to the developing pandemic, our Geriatrics and Palliative (GAP) Medicine team formulated a 2-team approach which includes triage algorithms for palliative consults as well as acute symptomatic management for both patients diagnosed with or under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. These algorithms provided a delineated set of guidelines to triage patients in need of palliative services and included provisions for acute symptoms management and the protection of both the patient care team and the families of patients with COVID-19. These guidelines helped with streamlining care in times of crisis, providing care to those in need, supporting frontline staff with primary-level palliative care, and minimizing the GAP team's risk of infection and burnout during the rapidly changing pandemic response.
OBJECTIVE: To quantify and examine specialist palliative care (SPC) in-hospital activity and compare it to routinely collected administrative data on palliative care (PC).
METHODS: All patients discharged from a large acute care tertiary hospital in New South Wales, Australia, between July 1 and December 31, 2017, were identified from the hospital's data warehouse. Administrative data were supplemented with information from the electronic medical record for hospital stays which were assigned the PC additional diagnosis code (Z51.5); had a "palliative care" care type; or included SPC consultation.
RESULTS: Of 34 653 hospital stays, 524 were coded as receiving PC-based on care type (43%) and/or diagnosis code Z51.5 (100%). Specialist palliative care provided 1717 consultations over 507 hospital stays. Patients had 2 (median; interquartile range: 1-4) consultations during an average stay of 15.3 days (SD 15.78; median 10); the first occurred 7.0 days (SD 12.13; median 3) after admission. Of patient stays with an SPC consultation, 70% were assigned the PC Z51.5 code; 60% were referred for symptom management; 68% had cancer. One hundred forty-one patients were under a palliative specialist-either from initial hospital admission (49.6%) or later in their stay.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care specialists provide expert input into patient management, benefitting patients and other clinicians. Administrative data inadequately capture their involvement in patient care, especially consultations, and are therefore inappropriate for reporting SPC activity. Exclusion of information related to SPC activity results in an incomplete and distorted representation of PC services and fails to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by SPC.
BACKGROUND: Hispanics often have disparities at the end of life. They are more likely to die full code and less likely to have discussions regarding prognosis and do not resuscitate (DNR)/do not intubate (DNI), despite studies showing Hispanic values comfort over the extension of life. Barriers to patient-centered care include language,socioeconomic status and health literacy.
CONTEXT: We evaluated the impact of palliative care (PC) consults on the change of code status and hospice referrals, comparing seriously ill Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients.
METHOD: A retrospective cohort study of all white and Hispanic patients referred to the PC service of a county hospital from 2006 to 2012. We evaluated ethnicity, language, code status at admission and after PC consult, and hospice discharge. Chi-squared tests were used to analyze characteristics among three groups: non-Hispanic white, English-speaking Hispanic, and Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients.
RESULTS: Of 925 patients, 511 (55%) were non-Hispanic white, 208 (23%) were English-speaking Hispanic, and 206 (22%) were Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients. On admission, there was no statistically significant difference in code status among the three groups (57%, 64%, and 59% were full code, respectively, p = 0.5). After PC consults, Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients were more likely to change their code status to DNR/DNI when compared with non-Hispanic white and English-speaking Hispanic patients (44% vs. 32% vs. 28%, p = 0.05). Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients were more likely to be discharged to hospice when compared with English-speaking Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites (33%, 29%, and 23%, respectively, p = 0.04).
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients were more likely to change from full code to DNR/DNI compared with non-Hispanic white and English-speaking Hispanic patients, despite similar code status preferences on admission. They were also more likely to be discharged to hospice. PC consults may play an important role in helping patients to align their care with their values and may prevent unwanted aggressive interventions at the end of life.
Background and study aims: Acute health service requires focused palliative care (PC). This study was performed to provide guidance for the establishment of a palliative care consultation service (PCCS).
Patients and methods: This study was conceived as a retrospective single-center study for observing, analyzing and evaluating the initial setup of a PCCS from 1 May 2015 to 31 May 2018. Patients from Muenster University Hospital with advanced life-limiting diseases, identified to require PC, were included.
Results: PCCS was requested from various departments, for between 20 and 80 patients per month, corresponding to a total of 2359 for the study period. Requests were highest in internal medicine (27.3%), gynecology (18.1%) and radiotherapy (17.6%). Time to referral was significantly shorter in departments with special PCCS ward rounds (6 ± 9 vs. 12 ± 22 days, p < 0.001). The most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue, pain and loss of appetite. Pain was frequently localized in the stomach (20.4%), back (17.1%), or in the head and neck area (14.9%). After the first PCCS consultation, 254 patients (90%) reported sufficient pain relief after 48 h. An introduction/modification of painkiller medication, which was recommended for 142 inpatients, was implemented in 57.0% of cases by the respective departments. Overall, the direct realization of PCCS recommendations reached only 50% on average.
Conclusions: Besides an analysis of the ability to address the symptoms of the referred patients by the PCCS, this study highlights the importance of the interaction between PCCS and other departments. It further elucidates the role and possibilities of this service both in regular ward rounds and individual staff contacts.
BACKGROUND: Nationally, only one-third of children survive to hospital discharge after initial presentation with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Of those children who survive, less than 25% leave the hospital at their functional baseline. Given these poor outcomes, such patients could benefit from palliative care involvement.
AIMS: To characterize the existing use and identify barriers to seeking palliative care consults in children admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with OHCA.
DESIGN: Mixed-methods quasi-experimental study.
PARTICIPANTS: Physicians (MD/DO), nurse practitioners, and registered nurses who provide care in the PICU.
RESULTS: Overall, nurses felt palliative care was consulted "not nearly enough" (43%), while the majority of physicians (53.9%) perceived palliative care services are requested either "just the right amount" (30.8%) or "too often" (23.1%). The top 3 desired palliative services were (1) patient and family psychosocial support, (2) assistance with determining goals of care, and (3) counseling and education. Barriers to consults were forgetting/not thinking about consulting, and family refusal of palliative care consult. No statistical differences among participant groups were found for likelihood to consult palliative care, unless the patient faced imminent death.
CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit providers desire assistance from palliative care teams for help with identifying goals of care, providing psychosocial support, as well as education to the patients and their families. Unfortunately, there remains a large discrepancy between physicians and nurses when it comes to how often palliative care is, and should, be consulted.