BACKGROUND: Medical Assistance in Dying comprises interventions that can be provided by medical practitioners to cause death of a person at their request if they meet predefined criteria. In June 2016, Medical Assistance in Dying became legal in Canada, sparking intense debate in the palliative care community.
AIM: This study aims to explore the experience of frontline palliative care providers about the impact of Medical Assistance in Dying on palliative care practice.
DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive design using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: We interviewed palliative care physicians and nurses who practiced in settings where patients could access Medical Assistance in Dying for at least 6 months before and after its legalization. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants with diverse personal views and experiences with assisted death. Conceptual saturation was achieved after interviewing 23 palliative care providers (13 physicians and 10 nurses) in Southern Ontario.
RESULTS: Themes identified included a new dying experience with assisted death; challenges with symptom control; challenges with communication; impact on palliative care providers personally and on their relationships with patients; and consumption of palliative care resources to support assisted death.
CONCLUSION: Medical Assistance in Dying has had a profound impact on palliative care providers and their practice. Communication training with access to resources for ethical decision-making and a review of legislation may help address new challenges. Further research is needed to understand palliative care provider distress around Medical Assistance in Dying, and additional resources are necessary to support palliative care delivery.
Les unités de soins palliatifs françaises peuvent accueillir des patients en phase terminale de leur maladie, mais aussi des patients qui bénéficient encore de traitement spécifique pouvant stabiliser la maladie à long terme. Or, nous ignorons comment ces soins palliatifs, qui cohabitent avec des traitements spécifiques de la pathologie et pouvant stabiliser la maladie à plus ou moins long terme, se pratiquent par les médecins qui travaillent dans ces unités d’hospitalisation. Nous avons mené une étude qualitative avec des professionnels médicaux et paramédicaux d’une USP française afin de décrire la pratique médicale en unité de soins palliatifs. Quatre « focus-groups » ont été menés avec 3 professionnels médicaux et 4 avec 11 professionnels paramédicaux. Les compétences réflexive et analytique étaient prépondérantes dans le discours des interviewés. Si l’incertitude n’était pas expressément nommée dans notre étude, elle était présente dans chaque geste ou comportement visant à comprendre la singularité du patient. Cette étude originale contribue à comprendre comment sont mis en œuvre les soins palliatifs en situation d’incertitude médicale.
Background: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process by which patients reflect upon their goals, values and beliefs to allow them to make decisions about their future medical treatment that align with their goals and values, improving patient-centered care. Despite this, ACP is underutilized and is reported as one of the most difficult processes of oncology. We sought to: 1) explore patients’ and families’ understanding, experience and reflections on ACP, as well as what they need from their physicians during the process; 2) explore physicians’ views of ACP, including their experiences with initiating ACP and views on ACP training.
Methods: This was a qualitative descriptive study in Nova Scotia, Canada with oncologists, advanced cancer out-patients and their family members. Semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer out-patients and their family members (n = 4 patients, 4 family members) and oncologists (n = 10) were conducted; each participant was recruited separately. Data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis, which entailed coding, categorizing, and identifying themes recurrent across the datasets.
Results: Themes were identified from the patient / family and oncologist groups, four and five respectively. Themes from patients / families included: 1) positive attitudes towards ACP; 2) healthcare professionals (HCPs) lack an understanding of patients’ and families’ informational needs during the ACP process; 3) limited access to services and supports; and 4) poor communication between HCPs. Themes from oncologists included: 1) initiation of ACP discussions; 2) navigating patient-family dynamics; 3) limited formal training in ACP; 4) ACP requires a team approach; and 5) lack of coordinated systems hinders ACP.
Conclusions: Stakeholders believe ACP for advanced cancer patients is important. Patients and families desire earlier and more in-depth discussion of ACP, additional services and supports, and improved communication between their HCPs. In the absence of formal training or guidance, oncologists have used clinical acumen to initiate ACP and a collaborative healthcare team approach.
This article considers a particular aspect of palliative psychology that is inherent to the needs in the area of attitudes concerning Advance Healthcare Directives (AHDs) among Italian physicians and nurses after the promulgation of Law No. 219/2017 on AHDs and informed consent in 2018. The study utilized a mixed-method approach. The group of participants was composed of 102 healthcare professionals (63 females and 39 males). The quantitative part utilized the following scales: Attitudes toward Euthanasia, the Religious Orientation Scale, the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding, and the Testoni Death Representation Scale. The results were mostly in line with the current literature, especially concerning a positive correlation between religiosity and the participants' rejection of the idea of euthanasia. However, the qualitative results showed both positive and negative attitudes towards AHDs, with four main thematic areas: "Positive aspects of the new law and of AHDs", "Negative aspects of the new law and of AHDs", "Changes that occurred in the professional context and critical incidents", and "Attitudes towards euthanasia requests." It emerged that there is not any polarization between Catholics or religious people and secularists: Their positions are substantially similar with respect to all aspects, including with regard to euthanasia. The general result is that the law is not sufficiently understood, and so a quarter of the participants associate AHDs with euthanasia. Discussions on the opportunity for palliative psychologists to help health professionals to better manage these issues through death education courses are presented.
Aim: To assess the educational needs, role and perceptions in palliative care issues of radiation oncologists (ROs) and trainees.
Background: 1/3 of radiotherapy patients are treated with palliative intent. Conversely, education and role that ROs have in the palliative care process are not well established, neither in terms of how they perceive their competence nor whether it is important to improve training, research and attention in palliative care issues at radiotherapy congresses.
Material and Methods: Literature systematic review in National Library of Medicine and Cochrane databases with 11 relevant issues to be identified. One doctor made first selection of articles, a second one confirmed their eligibility.
Results: 722 articles reviewed, 19 selected. 100% recognize the importance of palliative care in radiotherapy, 89.4% the need of training in palliative care for ROs, 68.4% the necessity of improving the resident programs, 63.1% the importance of skilled ROs in palliative care, 63.1% the need of better communication skills and pain management (47.3%), 52.6%, the perception of inadequate training in palliative care, 36.8% the lack of research and palliative care topics in radiotherapy meetings, 21% the absence of adequate guidelines regarding palliative care approaches, 42.1% the importance of the ROs in palliative care teams and 26.3% the lack of their involvement.
Conclusion: Palliative care has an important role in radiotherapy but it seems ROs still need more training. It is necessary to improve training programs, increment palliative care research in radiotherapy, giving more attention to palliative care themes at radiotherapy congresses. This could lead to a better integration of radiotherapists in multidisciplinary palliative care teams in the future.
Purpose: To characterize perceptions of palliative versus futile care in interventional radiology (IR) as a roadmap for quality improvement.
Methods: Interventional radiologists (IRs) and referring physicians were recruited for anonymous interviews and/or focus groups to discuss their perceptions and experiences related to palliative verse futile care in IR. Sessions were recorded, transcribed, and systematically analyzed using dedicated software, content analysis, and grounded theory. Data collection and analysis continued simultaneously until additional interviews stopped revealing new themes: 24 IRs (21 males, 3 females, 1–39 years of experience) and 7 referring physicians (3 males, 4 females, 6–14 years of experience) were analyzed.
Results: Many IRs (75%) perceived futility as an important issue. Years of experience (r = 0.60, p = 0.03) and being in academics (r = 0.62, p = 0.04) correlated with greater perceived importance. Perceptions of futility and whether a potentially inappropriate procedure was performed involved a balance between four sets of factors (patient, clinician, procedural, and cultural). These assessments tended to be qualitative in nature and are challenged by a lack of data, education, and consistent workflows. Referring clinicians were unaware of this issue and assumed IR had guidelines for differentiating between palliation and futility.
Conclusion: This study characterized the complexity and qualitative nature of assessments of palliative verses futile care in IR while highlighting potential means of improving current practices. This is important given the number of critically ill patients referred to IR and costs of potentially inappropriate interventions.
Introduction: La transfusion de concentrés plaquettaires en fin de vie en onco-hématologie ne fait pas l’objet de recommandations et dépend des représentations partagées par les patients, les infirmiers et les hématologues. L’objectif de cette étude est de décrire ces représentations de la transfusion plaquettaire dans un contexte d’hémopathie grave et avancée à travers les représentations sociales de ses protagonistes.
Méthodes: Une étude qualitative, utilisant la méthode du réseau d’association et incluant trois groupes de 15 participants (patients en phase avancée d’une hémopathie maligne, régulièrement transfusés en plaquettes, infirmiers et médecins) issus de quatre centres d’hématologie a été conduite entre février et avril 2019. L’analyse a été réalisée avec le logiciel IraMuTeQ.
Résultats: Les patients attendent de la transfusion plaquettaire un impact bénéfique direct sur leur santé et mettent en avant l’importance de la relation humaine. Les infirmiers visent le bien-être du patient, dans son individualité, et le respect du protocole transfusionnel. Les médecins cherchent à soulager les symptômes en prenant en compte une multitude de facteurs décisionnels. La classification hiérarchique descendante permet de nuancer les résultats précédents en individualisant quatre orientations différentes, indépendantes des groupes de participants : la dépendance, la singularité, la subjectivité et la neutralité.
Discussion: La perception des représentations sociales liées à la transfusion plaquettaire en fin de vie devrait permettre d’adapter le discours à l’orientation préférentielle de son interlocuteur et constituer un atout dans la discussion des objectifs de soins avec les patients, comme entre professionnels de santé.
OBJECTIVE: Integrated palliative care for populations with cancer is now highly recommended. However, numerous physicians working in cancer care are still reluctant to refer patients to specialist palliative care teams. This study explores their perceptions of palliative care and factors influencing reasons to refer to specialist palliative care.
METHODS: We used a qualitative methodology based on semistructured interviews with physicians working in cancer care, in two tertiary hospitals and one comprehensive cancer centre with access to a specialist palliative care team. Forty-six physicians were invited and 18 interviews were performed until data saturation. Participants were mainly men, licensed in cancer care, 37.9 years old on average and had 13 years of professional experience. The length of interviews was on average 34 min (SD=3). Analysis was performed accordingly with the thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The data analysis found four themes: symptom management as a trigger, psychosocial support, mediation provided by interventions, and the association with terminal care or death. Palliative care integrated interventions were mainly perceived as holistic approaches that offered symptom management expertise and time. They were valued for helping in consolidating decision-making from a different or external perspective, or an 'outside look'. Several barriers were identified, often due to the confusion between terminal care and palliative care. This was further highlighted by the avoidance of the words 'palliative care', which were associated with death.
CONCLUSIONS: National policies for promoting palliative care seemed to have failed in switching oncologists' perception of palliative care, which they still consider as terminal care.
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: The increase in the number of pediatric patients with complex health conditions necessitates the application of advance care planning for children. Earlier, withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment was taboo in the medical society in South Korea due to the history of such practice being punishable by law, and physicians tended to pursue aggressive treatment. With changes in public opinion on end-of-life care, the Korean government enacted a new law that protect human dignity by respecting patients' self-determination and facilitating advance care planning. However, little is known about current state of advance care planning for pediatric patients. The study aimed to assess perceptions regarding advance care planning among South Korean pediatricians and clarify any differences in perception among pediatric subspecialties.
METHODS: This study was an observational cross-sectional survey that used a web-based self-report questionnaire. Participants comprised of pediatricians currently caring for children with life-limiting conditions in 2018.
RESULTS: Of the 96 respondents, 89 were included in the analysis. In a hypothetical patient scenario, more hemato-oncologists and intensivists than neonatologists and neurologists preferred to provide comfort care than aggressive treatment. While 72.2% of hemato-oncologists reported that they usually or always discuss advance care plans with parents during treatment, more than half of other pediatricians reported that they seldom do so. Furthermore, 65% of respondents said that they never discuss advance care planning with adolescent patients. Moreover, there were no notable differences among subspecialties. The most prevalent answers to factors impeding advance care planning were lack of systemic support after performing advance care planning (82.0%) and uncertain legal responsibilities (70.8%).
CONCLUSIONS: The pediatricians differed in their experiences and attitudes toward advance care planning based on their subspecialty. Consequently, institutional support and education should be provided to physicians so that they can include children and families in discussions on prognosis.
Objectives: To describe individual views, wishes, and preferences for end of life care and to report UK anaesthetists' personal perspectives.
Methods: The ‘bigconversations’ questionnaire was developed by modifying an existing framework for end of life discussions. An online cross-sectional survey of UK anaesthetists was then conducted using the questionnaire in January 2019.
Results: The bigconversations questionnaire was validated as measuring the important aspects of end of life care by an expert panel and was found to have moderate test–retest reliability. Responses were received from 760/1913 (40%) of those invited to take part. Overall, 698/760 (92%) of respondents wished to be well informed about their condition and prognosis and 518/760 (68%) wanted to be heavily involved in decision-making about their health. Meanwhile, 639/760 (84%) of respondents would choose to forego treatment aimed at prolonging life should that life be of poor quality. The desire to spend time with family was a theme which arose from the qualitative analysis.
Conclusion: This study provides the first systematic description of UK doctors', specifically anaesthetists', personal preferences for end of life care. Broad trends were identified: to be well informed; to avoid high-intensity medical treatments if terminally unwell; to spend remaining time with family and friends; and to be symptom-free and well cared for. However, a substantial minority expressed different, indeed opposite, opinions. This variation highlights that good quality end of life care must be driven by discussion of an individual's values, wishes, and preferences.
BACKGROUND: Despite the clear benefits of palliative care, surgical patients are less likely to receive palliative care consultations when compared to their medical counterparts. In this context, we conducted semi-structured interviews with a diverse range of practicing surgeons to better understand surgeon attitudes and experiences with both palliative care approaches and specialty services.
METHODS: Forty-six surgeons from community, tertiary-care, and academic institutions across the state of Michigan agreed to participate in this study. Each participant's interview lasted between 30 and 60 minutes and was digitally recorded. Audiotapes were transcribed verbatim and de-identified for names and places. The data were analyzed through iterative steps informed by thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Six major themes emerged describing surgeon-reported barriers to palliative care approaches and use of palliative care services, which were observed at the surgeon-level, patient and family-level, and system-level. At the surgeon-level, the following three major themes emerged: surgeon knowledge and attitudes, prognostication challenges, and surgeon identity. At the patient and family-level, two major themes were identified: expectations and discordance. At the system-level, two major themes emerged: culture and resources.
CONCLUSIONS: Among our cohort of surgeons, several key factors influenced their use of palliative approaches and specialty palliative care services. A better understanding of surgeon-perceived barriers may lead to future work aimed at creating meaningful, surgeon-specific interventions that address the underuse of this important care for surgical patients and patients being considered for surgery.
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: Options available to Canadians at the end of life increased with the legalization of medical assistance in dying (MAiD). Bill C-14 modified the Canadian Criminal Code allowing individuals who meet very specific criteria to receive a medical intervention to hasten their death. June 2019 marked 3 years since the legislation has changed and while met with favour from most Canadians who believe it will provide enhanced options for quality of life at the end of life, there remains much debate over both its moral implications and practical components. Little is known regarding the Canadian healthcare provider experience with MAiD, in particular in rural and remote parts of the country such as northwestern Ontario.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore physicians' experiences in Northwestern Ontario with MAiD. The geographic location of this study is of particular significance as physicians in rural and remote parts of Canada face unique challenges in the provision of high-quality palliative and end-of-life services. This qualitative research focused on developing a better understanding of physicians' perceptions and practices with MAiD, in particular regarding access, decision-making, provision of service and role clarity.
Methods: The researchers employed an exploratory qualitative research approach, using 1 semi-structured focus group and 18 semi-structured interviews comprising 9 set of questions. Data were collected through audio-taped semi-structured interviews, in person and by telephone.
Findings: Four distinct but interconnected themes emerged from thematic analysis of the transcripts of the focus group and interviews: physician perception of patient awareness, appreciation and understanding of MAiD; challenges providing true choice at end of life; burgeoning relationships between palliative care and MAiD; and physician recommendations.
Conclusion: The results of this study provide a snapshot of the Northwestern physician experiences with MAiD and contribute to the growing body of work exploring these issues on a national scale. MAiD is highlighted as both a rewarding and challenging experience for physicians in Northwestern Ontario in this study.
The purpose of this article is to report some Victorian doctors' general perspectives and knowledge of the new Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (VAD Act). Under the VAD Act, doctors are constructed as the only legal providers of VAD in Victoria. Doctors who are unwilling to participate in VAD therefore constitute a barrier to patient access. This article reports the findings of a small empirical study into how some Victorian doctors with no in-principle objection towards the legalisation of VAD, are orientating themselves towards the law. It also explores participants' understanding of the specific role required of doctors under the law. It finds that participants equate their support for the Act with biomedical ethical principles and generally hold a level of knowledge of the law which is not comprehensive but improves with greater exposure to VAD applications. This study serves as a temperature check of this key stakeholder group's perspectives on the VAD Act in the first eight months of its operation.
INTRODUCTION: Although the importance of palliative care (PC) integration in the Emergency Department (ED) has long been recognized, few formalized programs have been reported and none have evaluated the experience of ED clinicians with embedded PC. We evaluate the experience of ED clinicians with embedded PC in the ED during COVID.
METHODS: ED clinicians completed a survey about their perceptions of embedded PC in the ED. We summarized responses to closed-ended items using descriptive statistics and analyzed open-ended items using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: There were 134 ED clinicians surveyed. 101 replied (75% response rate). Of those that had interacted with PC, 100% indicated a benefit of having PC involved. These included freeing up ED clinicians for other tasks (89%), helping them feel more supported (84%), changing the patients care trajectory (67%), and contributing to clinician education (57%) and skills (49%). Among barriers related to engaging PC were difficulty locating them (8%) and lack of time to consult due to ED volume (5%). 98% of respondents felt that having PC in the ED was either "valuable" or "very valuable." Open-ended responses reflected a positive impact on clinician wellness and improvement in access to high quality goal concordant care. Clinicians expressed gratitude for having PC in the ED and noted the importance of having readily available and easily accessible PC in the ED.
CONCLUSION: ED clinicians' perception of embedded PC was overall positive, with an emphasis on the impact related to task management, enrichment of PC skills, providing support for the team, and improved care for ED patients.
MAIN PROBLEM: Impact of training on end-of-life care (EOLC) and the deceased donation process in critical care physicians´ perceptions and attitudes was analyzed
METHOD: A survey on attitudes and perceptions of deceased donation as part of the EOLC process was delivered to 535 physicians working in critical care before and after completion of a on-line training program (2015-17)
RESULTS: After training, more participants agreed that nursing staff should be involved in the end-of-life decision-process (p<0.001) and that relatives´ should not be responsible for medical decisions (p<0.001). Post-course more participants considered "withdrawal/withholding" as similar actions (p<0.001); deemed appropriate the use of pre-emptive sedation in all patients undergoing life support treatment adequacy (LSTA) (p<0.001); and were favourable to approaching family about donation upon LSTA agreement, as well as admitting them in the intensive care unit (p<0.001) to allow the possibility of donation. Education increased the number of participants prone to initiate measures to preserve the organs for donation before the declaration of death in patients undergoing LSTA (p<0.001). Training increased number of positive terms selected by participants to describe donation after brain and circulatory death.
CONCLUSIONS: Training programs may be useful to improve physicians´ perception and attitude about including donation as part of the patient's EOLC.
La découverte d’une anomalie fœtale sévère in utero peut conduire à une décision d’interruption médicale de grossesse (IMG) et aussi à la prise en charge palliative de l’enfant à la naissance. Dans ce contexte, une pratique interdisciplinaire s’est rapidement imposée. La rencontre des parents et du pédiatre en période prénatale permet d’expliquer le retentissement de la pathologie sur un futur enfant, et ce quel que soit le choix final par rapport à la grossesse. Dans le contexte d’une prise en charge palliative à la naissance, cela permet d’anticiper cette prise en charge particulière en insistant sur la valeur du temps de vie et de la rencontre. Les équipes obstétricales et néonatales peuvent écouter les attentes des futurs parents et leur faire des propositions en leur laissant le temps de la réflexion. L’anticipation commune des interactions entre les décisions obstétricales et pédiatriques permet de viser une cohérence du sens donné à ce parcours au cours duquel des équipes différentes doivent se succéder auprès des parents et de l’enfant dans une démarche néanmoins commune.
OBJECTIVES: Family meetings (FMs) between clinicians, patients and family are recommended as a valuable communication and care planning method in the delivery of palliative care. However, there is a dearth of knowledge regarding FM characteristics, with few studies describing the prevalence, circumstances and content of FMs. The aims of this study were to: (1) measure the prevalence of FMs, (2) examine circumstance and timing of FMs, and (3) explore the content of FMs.
METHODS: A retrospective medical record audit was conducted of 200 patients who died in an Australian hospital of an expected death from advanced disease. Details of FMs were collected using an audit tool, along with patient demographics and admission data.
RESULTS: 33 patients (16.5%) had at least one FM during their inpatient stay. The majority of FMs occurred for patients admitted to an inpatient palliative care unit (59.5%) and were most commonly facilitated by doctors (81.0%). Patient attendance was frequent (40.5%). FM content fell into six categories: medical information, supportive communication behaviours of clinicians, psychosocial support for patients and families, end-of-life discussions, discharge planning and administrative arrangements.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the benefits FMs confer, FMs appear to be infrequently used at the end of life. When FMs are used, there is a strong medical focus on both facilitation and content. Available FM documentation tools also appear to be underused. Clinicians are encouraged to have a greater understanding of FMs to optimise their use and adopt a proactive and structured approach to the conduct and documentation of FMs.