Background: Palliative care strives to improve quality of life for patients with incurable diseases. This approach includes adequate support of the patients’ loved ones. Consequently, loved ones have personal experiences of providing end-of-life care for their next. This is a resource for information and may help to investigate the loved ones’ perspectives on need for improvements.
Aim: To identify further quality aspects considered important by loved ones to improve the quality of care at the end of life as an addition to quantitative results from the Care of the Dying Evaluation for the German-speaking area (CODE-GER) questionnaire.
Design: Within the validation study of the questionnaire ‘Care of the Dying Evaluation’ (CODETM) GER, loved ones were asked to comment (free text) in parallel on each item of the CODE-GER. These free-text notes were analysed with the qualitative content analysis method by Philipp Mayring.
Setting/participants: Loved ones of patients (n=237), who had died an expected death in two university hospitals (palliative and non-palliative care units) during the period from April 2016 to March 2017.
Results: 993 relevant paragraphs were extracted out of 1261 free-text notes. For loved ones, important aspects of quality of care are information/communication, respect of the patient’s and/or loved one’s will, involvement in decision-making at the end of life (patient’s volition) and having the possibility to say goodbye.
Conclusions: It is important for loved ones to be taken seriously in their sorrows, to be informed, that the caregivers respect the patients’ will and to be emotionally supported.
Trial registration number This study was registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00013916).
Objective: Lack of palliative care knowledge among caregivers may pose an access barrier for cognitively impaired older adults, who may benefit from the specialized care. Therefore, this study aims to examine the effectiveness of an educational intervention in improving palliative care knowledge among informal caregivers of cognitively impaired older adults.
Method: Using a one-group, pre- and post-test intervention design, this study implemented an individual, face-to-face educational intervention with an informational brochure for 43 informal caregivers of chronically or seriously ill older adults (50+) with cognitive impairment, recruited from communities in West Alabama. Their level of knowledge about palliative care was assessed by the Palliative Care Knowledge Scale (PaCKS). The pre- and post-test scores were compared by the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test, and the racial subgroup (Whites vs. Blacks) comparison was made by the Mann–Whitney U test.
Results: There was a statistically significant difference between the pre- and post-test scores (z = 5.38, p < 0.001), indicating a statistically significant effect of the educational intervention in improving palliative care knowledge among participants. There was a significant difference (U = 143, p < 0.05) between Whites and Blacks in the pre-test, which, however, disappeared in the post-test (U = 173.50, p > 0.05), suggesting that the amount of increased PaCKS scores were significantly greater for Blacks (Mdn = 9.50) than for Whites (Mdn = 4.00, U = 130.50, p < 0.05).
Significance of results: This study demonstrated that a one-time educational intervention can improve the level of palliative care knowledge among informal caregivers of chronically or seriously ill older adults with cognitive impairment, particularly among Black caregivers. Therefore, further educational efforts can be made to promote palliative care knowledge and reduce racial disparities in palliative care knowledge and its use.
BACKGROUND: Advanced cancer affects the emotional and physical well-being of both patients and family caregivers in profound ways and is experienced both dyadically and individually. Dyadic interventions address the concerns of both members of the dyad. A critical gap exists in advanced cancer research, which is a failure of goals research and dyadic research to fully account for the reciprocal and synergistic effects of patients' and caregivers' individual perspectives, and those they share.
AIM: We describe the feasibility and acceptability of the Me in We dyadic intervention, which is aimed at facilitating communication and goals-sharing among caregiver and patient dyads while integrating family context and individual/shared perspectives.
DESIGN: Pilot study of a participant-generated goals communication intervention, guided by multiple goals theory, with 13 patient-caregiver dyads over two sessions.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Patients with advanced cancer and their self-identified family caregivers were recruited from an academic cancer center. Dyads did not have to live together, but both had to consent to participate and all participants had to speak and read English and be at least 18 years or age.
RESULTS: Of those approached, 54.8% dyads agreed to participate and completed both sessions. Participants generated and openly discussed their personal and shared goals and experienced positive emotions during the sessions.
CONCLUSIONS: This intervention showed feasibility and acceptability using participant-generated goals as personalized points of communication for advanced cancer dyads. This model shows promise as a communication intervention for dyads in discussing and working towards individual and shared goals when facing life-limiting or end-of-life cancer.
Background: Providing patient-centered care (PCC) during the last year of life (LYOL) can be challenging due to the complexity of the patients’ medical, social and psychological needs, especially in case of chronic illnesses. Assessing PCC can be helpful in identifying areas for improvements. Since not all patients can be surveyed, a questionnaire for proxy informants was developed in order to retrospectively assess patient-centeredness in care during the whole LYOL. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and validity of an adapted version of the German Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (PACIC) for surveying bereaved persons in order to assess PCC during the decedents’ LYOL.
Methods: The German PACIC short form (11 items) was adapted to a nine-item version for surveying bereaved persons on the decedent’s LYOL (PACIC-S9-Proxy). Items were rated on a five-point Likert scale. The PACIC adaptation and validation was part of a cross-sectional survey in the region of Cologne. Participants were recruited through self-selection and active recruitment by practice partners. Sociodemographic characteristics and missing data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted in order to assess the structure of the PACIC-S9-Proxy. Internal consistency was estimated using Cronbach’s alpha.
Results: Of the 351 informants who participated in the survey, 230 (65.52%) considered their decedent to have suffered from chronic illness prior to death. 193 of these informants (83.91%) completed =5 items of the questionnaire and were included in the analysis. The least answered item was item (74.09%) was item 4 (encouragement to group & classes for coping). The most frequently answered item (96.89%) was item 2 (satisfaction with care organization). Informants rated the item” Given a copy of their treatment plan” highest (mean 3.96), whereas “encouragement to get to a specific group or class to cope with the condition” (mean 1.74) was rated lowest. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.84. A unidimensional structure of the questionnaire was found (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin 0.86, Bartlett’s test for sphericity p < 0.001), with items’ factor loadings ranging from 0.46 to 0.82.
Conclusions: The nine-item questionnaire can be used as efficient tool for assessing PCC during the LYOL retrospectively and by proxies.
New public health approaches to palliative care highlight the role of communities in care, yet there is little evidence of studies on community-led initiatives in the palliative care context. Therefore, the aim of this study, which took place in Auckland, New Zealand, was to (1) explore Pacific family carers’ views on what they need to feel supported as they care for older family members at the end of life and (2) to devise a resource that reflects their views that may be used to raise community awareness about these needs. This was achieved using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) framework in which a focus group was carried out and a work group formed to implement the focus group’s recommendations that were informed by a thematic analysis of the focus group data. The analysis resulted in the foregrounding of four themes, with the focus of this paper being on the 4th theme, the centrality of spirituality for a group of Pacific caregivers. This emphasis was chosen due to it being an underexplored topic in the palliative care literature. Co-creating resources based on research with community members allows for the development of tailored approaches of significance to that community, in this instance, a music video.
PURPOSE: To explore advance care planning (ACP) awareness, experiences, and preferences of people with cancer and support people of someone with cancer, in Australia.
METHODS: Descriptive analysis and independent group t tests were used to examine data from a national, online cross-sectional survey.
RESULTS: Of 705 respondents (440 people with cancer, 265 support people), 48.5% of participants had heard of ACP prior to the survey and 65% had discussed their values or preferences with someone. Significantly more people aged under 65 years had discussed their preferences than their older counterparts. Most (93%) discussions occurred with family or friends, but only 3.7% occurred with a health professional. A total of 33% had documented their preferences, with support people, women, and people aged under 65 years significantly more likely to have signed a legal document appointing someone to make medical decisions on their behalf. Views varied about the preferred timing of ACP and end-of-life care discussions (38.3% when cancer is incurable compared to 20% at diagnosis). Only 3.0% did not want to discuss ACP at all. Topics discussed were significantly different based on cohort, gender, age group, treatment status, and region.
CONCLUSION: Despite increasing community awareness of ACP, understanding remains low amongst cancer patients and support people, who generally rely on discussions with family and friends rather than health professionals. ACP should be introduced early across multiple interactions with health professionals, discuss a broad range of ACP relevant topics, and involve the cancer patient and their support person.
This pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility and possible effects of the “PalliActive Caregivers,” nursing intervention, on the uncertainty in illness and quality of life of family caregivers of patients with cancer receiving palliative care. This pilot study used a randomized controlled design. The participants were 80 family caregivers. The experimental group received the novel “PalliActive Caregivers” intervention. Data were collected using a sociodemographic form, the Uncertainty in Illness Scale, the Quality of Life scale, and an Intervention satisfaction questionnaire. The caregivers who received the intervention “PalliActive Caregivers” reported a high degree of satisfaction (9.74 on a 10-point scale). The intervention showed a significant decrease in uncertainty regarding illness in the experimental group (P = .009), as well as a significant decrease in the psychological well-being of quality of life within the experimental and control groups, before and after the intervention (P = .013, P = .010). It is recommended that future studies using the “PalliActive Caregivers” intervention examine the effects on other variables such as the burden of patient's symptoms, caregiver burden and rewards, self-efficacy in symptom management, competence, unmet needs, and satisfaction with care.
Background: At the end of life, formal care costs are high. Informal care (IC) costs, and their effects on outcomes, are not known. This study aimed to determine the IC costs for older adults in the last 3 months of life, and their relationships with outcomes, adjusting for care quality.
Methods: Mortality follow-back postal survey.
Setting: Palliative care services in England (London), Ireland (Dublin) and the USA (New York, San Francisco).
Participants: Informal carers (ICrs) of decedents who had received palliative care.
Data: ICrs reported hours and activities, care quality, positive aspects and burdens of caregiving, and completed the Texas Revised Inventory of Grief (TRIG).
Analysis: All costs (formal, informal) were calculated by multiplying reported hours of activities by country-specific costs for that activity. IC costs used country-specific shadow prices, e.g. average hourly wages and unit costs for nursing care. Multivariable logistic regression analysis explored the association of potential explanatory variables, including IC costs and care quality, on three outcomes: positive aspects and burdens of caregiving, and subsequent grief.
Results: We received 767 completed surveys, 245 from London, 282 Dublin, 131 New York and 109 San Francisco. Most respondents were women (70%); average age was 60 years. On average, patients received 66–76 h per week from ICrs for ‘being on call’, 52–55 h for ICrs being with them, 19–21 h for personal care, 17–21 h for household tasks, 15–18 h for medical procedures and 7–10 h for appointments. Mean (SD) IC costs were as follows: USA $32,468 (28,578), England $36,170 (31,104) and Ireland $43,760 (36,930). IC costs accounted for 58% of total (formal plus informal) costs. Higher IC costs were associated with less grief and more positive perspectives of caregiving. Poor home care was associated with greater caregiver burden.
Conclusions: Costs to informal carers are larger than those to formal care services for people in the last three months of life. If well supported ICrs can play a role in providing care, and this can be done without detriment to them, providing that they are helped. Improving community palliative care and informal carer support should be a focus for future investment.
Objectives: People with intellectual disabilities are living longer, and many require palliative care. There is a lack of evidence regarding information needs which may exist for their family caregivers. This study aimed to determine the informational needs of family caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities who require palliative care.
Methods: A qualitative, exploratory design was underpinned by the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping and the Transformative Paradigm. The study involved five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts and two Hospices in one region of the United Kingdom. Family caregivers (n = 10) participated in individual interviews. HSC professionals’ (n = 28) perceptions of informational needs were explored within focus groups (n = 6).
Results: Family caregivers reported information needs chiefly concerning the disease, financial entitlements, and practical support which could change over the disease trajectory. Findings evidence the expertise of long-term family caregivers, prior to the end of life. Palliative care and intellectual disability teams acknowledged their role to work in partnership and facilitate access to information. Recommendations were mapped onto a co-designed logic model.
Significance of results: New insights into the specific informational needs of this family caregiving population. A co-designed logic model presents these needs and how they may be addressed. Central co-ordinators have been advocated for these caregivers. This model could have international applicability for similar family carers, supporting people with other disabilities or cognitive impairment, and should be further explored.
Background: Family meetings facilitate the exploration of issues and goals of care however, there has been minimal research to determine the benefits and cost implications.
Aims: To determine: (1) if family caregivers of hospitalised patients referred to palliative care who receive a structured family meeting report lower psychological distress (primary outcome), fewer unmet needs, improved quality of life; feel more prepared for the caregiving role; and receive better quality of end-of-life care; (2) if outcomes vary dependant upon site of care and; (3) the cost-benefit of implementing meetings into routine practice.
Design: Pragmatic cluster randomised trial involving palliative care patients and their primary family caregivers at three Australian hospitals. Participants completed measures upon admission (Time 1); 10 days later (Time 2) and two months after the patient died (Time 3). Regression analyses, health utilisation and process evaluation were conducted.
Results: 297 dyads recruited; control (n = 153) and intervention (n = 144). The intervention group demonstrated significantly lower psychological distress (Diff: –1.68, p < 0.01) and higher preparedness (Diff: 3.48, p = 0.001) at Time 2. No differences were identified based on quality of end of life care or health utilisation measures.
Conclusions: Family meetings may be helpful in reducing family caregiver distress and enhancing their preparedness for the caregiving role and it appears they may be conducted without increased hospital health utilisation impacts; although opportunity costs need to be considered in order to routinely offer these as a standardised intervention. Additional health economic examination is also advocated to comprehensively understand the cost-benefit implications.
Trial Registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12615000200583
BACKGROUND: The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool intervention (CSNAT-I) has been shown to improve end-of-life care support for informal caregivers. This study investigated the impact of the CSNAT-I on caregivers of patients recently enrolled in specialised palliative care (SPC) at home in Denmark.
METHODS: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial with nine clusters (ie, SPC teams). Outcome measures were collected using caregiver questionnaires at baseline (T0) and 2-week (T1) and 4-week (T2) follow-up.
RESULTS: A total of 437 caregivers were enrolled (control group, n=255; intervention group, n=182). No intervention effect was found on the primary outcome, caregiver strain at T1 (p=0.1865). However, positive effects were found at T1 and T2 on attention to caregivers' well-being (p<0.0001), quality of information and communication (p<0.0001), amount of information (T1: p=0.0002; T2: p<0.0001), involvement (T1: p=0.0045; T2: p<0.0001), talking about greatest burdens (p<0.0001) and assistance in managing greatest burdens (p<0.0001). The effect sizes of these differences were medium or large and seemed to increase from T1 to T2. At T1, positive effects were found on distress (p=0.0178) and home care responsibility (p=0.0024). No effect was found on the remaining outcomes.
CONCLUSION: Although no effect was found on caregiver strain, the CSNAT-I showed positive effects on caregiver distress, home care responsibility and key outcomes regarding caregivers' experience of the interaction with healthcare professionals.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03466580.
Background: The Western individualistic understanding of autonomy for advance care planning is considered not to reflect the Asian family-centered approach in medical decision-making. The study aim is to compare preferences on timing for advance care planning initiatives and life-sustaining treatment withdrawal between terminally-ill cancer patients and their family caregivers in Taiwan.
Methods: A prospective study using questionnaire survey was conducted with both terminally-ill cancer patient and their family caregiver dyads independently in inpatient and outpatient palliative care settings in a tertiary hospital in Northern Taiwan. Self-reported questionnaire using clinical scenario of incurable lung cancer was employed. Descriptive analysis was used for data analysis.
Results: Fifty-four patients and family dyads were recruited from 1 August 2019 to 15 January 2020. Nearly 80% of patients and caregivers agreed that advance care planning should be conducted when the patient was at a non-frail stage of disease. Patients’ frail stage of disease was considered the indicator for life-sustaining treatments withdrawal except for nutrition and fluid supplements, antibiotics or blood transfusions. Patient dyads considered that advance care planning discussions were meaningful without arousing emotional distress.
Conclusion: Patient dyads’ preferences on the timing of initiating advance care planning and life-sustaining treatments withdrawal were found to be consistent. Taiwanese people’s medical decision-making is heavily influenced by cultural characteristics including relational autonomy and filial piety. The findings could inform the clinical practice and policy in the wider Asia–Pacific region.
Background: Transitioning care from hospital to home is associated with risks of adverse events and poor continuity of care. These transitions are even more challenging when new approaches to care, such as palliative care, are introduced before discharge. Family caregivers (FCGs) are expected to navigate these transitions while also managing care. In addition to extensive caregiving responsibilities, FCGs often have their own health needs that can inhibit their ability to provide care. Those living in rural areas have even fewer resources to meet their self-care and caregiving needs. The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of an intervention to improve FCGs’ health and well-being. The intervention uses video visits to teach, guide, and counsel FCGs in rural areas during hospital-to-home transitions. The intervention is based on evidence of transitional and palliative care principles, which are individualized to improve continuity of care, provide caregiver support, enhance knowledge and skills, and attend to caregivers’ health needs. It aims to test whether usual care practices are similar to this technology-enhanced intervention in (1) caregiving skills (e.g., caregiving preparedness, communication with clinicians, and satisfaction with care), (2) FCG health outcomes (e.g., quality of life, burden, coping skills, depression), and (3) cost. We describe the rationale for targeting rural caregivers, the methods for the study and intervention, and the analysis plan to test the intervention’s effect.
Methods: The study uses a randomized controlled trial design, with FCGs assigned to the control condition or the caregiver intervention by computer-generated lists. The intervention period continues for 8 weeks after care recipients are discharged from the hospital. Data are collected at baseline, 2 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months. Time and monetary costs from a societal perspective are captured monthly.
Discussion: This study addresses 2 independent yet interrelated health care foci—transitional care and palliative care—by testing an intervention to extend palliative care practice and improve transition management for caregivers of seriously ill patients in rural areas. The comprehensive cost assessment will quantify the commitment and financial burden of FCGs.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03339271. Registered on 13 November 2017.
STUDY AIMS: 1) To characterize distinct profiles of cancer caregivers' physical and mental health during the end-of-life caregiving period; 2) to identify the background and antecedent factors associated with the distinct profiles of caregivers; 3) to determine the relevance of caregiver profiles to the risk for developing prolonged grief symptoms.
DESIGN & METHODS: This study was a secondary analysis of spouses/partners (n = 198) who participated in the Cancer Caregiver Study. Latent profile mixture modeling was used to characterize caregiver health profiles from data collected prior to their spouse's death. Regression analyses were used to determine the impact of caregiver health profiles on the risk of developing prolonged grief symptoms (PG-13 scale).
RESULTS: Two health profiles were identified, one of which was comprised of a minority of caregivers (n = 49; 25%) who exhibited higher anxiety and depressive symptoms, greater health impact from caregiving, more self-reported health problems, and greater difficulty meeting physical demands of daily activities. Caregivers who were observed in this poorer health profile had significantly lower levels of active coping (p < 0.001) in adjusted models. Additionally, according to subsequent bereavement data, caregivers' preloss health profile was a significant predictor of developing prolonged grief symptoms (p = 0.018), controlling for caregivers' age (p = 0.040) and amount of active coping (p = 0.049), and there was a mediating effect of caregiver health on the relationship between active coping and prolonged grief symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: Caregiving and bereavement should not be considered separately; caregivers adapt to bereavement with the resources and coping attained throughout the life course, culminating in the experience of providing end-of-life care. Interventions aimed at supporting caregivers and bereaved persons should focus on maintaining physical and mental health during stressful life transitions, and especially during the period in which they are providing care to a spouse at end-of-life.
Home support for patients receiving in-home palliative and end-of-life care (PELC) is greatly dependent on the daily presence of caregivers and their involvement in care delivery. However, the needs of caregivers throughout the care trajectory of a loved one receiving in-home PELC are still relatively unknown.
Objectives and methodology: This descriptive qualitative study focuses on the role of caregivers who have cared for a person receiving in-home PELC with the goal of describing their needs throughout the care trajectory. As part of this process, 20 caregivers took part in semi-directed interviews.
Results and discussion: This study sheds light on the multiple needs of caregivers of loved ones receiving in-home PELC. These informational, emotional, and psychosocial needs show that caregivers experience changes in their relationship with their loved one. Spiritual needs were expressed through the meaning ascribed to the home support experience. And the practical needs expressed by participants highlight the importance of round-the-clock access to PELC services and the essential importance of nursing support.
Conclusion: The needs of caregivers of loved ones receiving in-home PELC are not being met to a satisfactory degree. It is important to consider these needs in the care trajectory, alongside the needs of the patients themselves, in order to improve the support experience leading up to the bereavement period.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life caregiving frequently is managed by friends and family. Studies on hastened death, including aid in dying or assisted suicide, indicate friends and family also play essential roles before, during, and after death. No studies have compared the experiences of caregivers in hastened and non-hastened death. The study aim is to compare end-of-life and hastened death caregiving experience using Hudson's modified stress-coping model for palliative caregiving.
METHOD: Narrative synthesis of qualitative studies for caregivers at end of life and in hastened death, with 9946 end-of life and 1414 hastened death qualitative, peer-reviewed research articles extracted from MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO, published between January 1998 and April 2020.
RESULTS: Forty-two end-of-life caregiving and 12 hastened death caregiving articles met inclusion criteria. In both end-of-life and hastened death contexts, caregivers are motivated to ease patient suffering and may put their own needs or feelings aside to focus on that priority. Hastened death caregivers' expectation of impending death and the short duration of caregiving may result in less caregiver burden. Acceptance of the patient's condition, social support, and support from healthcare professionals all appear to improve caregiver experience. However, data on hastened death are limited.
CONCLUSION: Caregivers in both groups sought closeness with the patient and reported satisfaction at having done their best to care for the patient in a critical time. Awareness of anticipated death and support from healthcare professionals appear to reduce caregiver stress. The modified stress-coping framework is an effective lens for interpreting caregivers' experiences at end of life and in the context of hastened death.
BACKGROUND: Most older people wish to live in the familiar surroundings of their own home until they die. Knowledge concerning dignity and dignity loss of home-dwelling older women living with incurable cancer should be a foundation for quality of care within municipal healthcare services. The informal caregivers of these women can help increase the understanding of sources related to dignity and dignity loss.
AIM: The aim of this study was to explore informal caregivers' perceptions of sources related to dignity and dignity loss in end-of-life of older home-dwelling women with incurable cancer.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHOD: The study was founded upon Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics. In-depth interviews with 13 informal caregivers were carried out, and four participant observations were performed during home meetings.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATION: The study was based on voluntary participation, informed consent, confidentiality and the opportunity to withdraw at any time. The Norwegian Social Science Data Services approved the study.
RESULTS: Three main sources important in preserving the older women's dignity were identified: maintaining one's self-concept, remaining hopeful and sustaining freedom of choice. We also identified three main sources that lead to dignity loss: Sensing loss of human value, experiencing absence of gentleness and feelings of being treated as an object.
DISCUSSION AND FINAL CONSIDERATIONS: On the individual level, the opportunity to maintain one's self-concept and control in life, preserved dignity, while feelings of existential loneliness led to dignity loss. On the relational level, being confirmed as worthy human beings promoted the women's dignity, whereas dignity loss was related to uncaring behaviours from healthcare professionals. On the societal level, individual decisions concerning travel situations and the place to stay when nearing end-of-life were of crucial importance. Constituting these women's living space, these perspectives should be emphasized in healthcare professionals' educational training and in the municipal end-of-life care of these patients.
BACKGROUND: A growing number of informal caregivers (IFCs) manage hospice patients' anxiety by administering lorazepam (Ativan), yet little is known about prescribing practices in home care or the extent to which IFCs carry out regimens.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Data on hospice prescribed lorazepam was determined through a retrospective review of medication records from 216 deceased patients. The dose of lorazepam and type of regimen (i.e., scheduled, PRN, combination) as well as frequency with which it was administered by IFCs was calculated upon admission to a residential care home and on patients' day of death.
RESULTS: The majority (63.1%) of patients were prescribed lorazepam on admission to the home, and more (79.5%) were prescribed lorazepam on the day of death. While higher doses of lorazepam were prescribed and administered on the day of death, the percentage of medication consumed was low on admission (17%) and day of death (27%). Nearly all (92.8%) prescribed lorazepam on the day of death were allowed PRN medication. For PRN only regimens, less than a quarter (24.4%) of patients were given lorazepam on admission with less than half (40.4%) given it while dying. Highest lorazepam administration rates (91.2%) occurred on the day of death when lorazepam was prescribed under a combined regimen.
CONCLUSION: The high frequency of PRN regimens reveal that IFCs are frequently tasked with making decisions about if and when to administer lorazepam. Low overall lorazepam administration suggests a closer monitoring of lorazepam use and enhanced support of IFCs may be needed.
Persons with dementia are at high risk for loss of decision-making ability due to increased cognitive decline as the disease progresses. Participation in advance care planning (ACP) discussions in the early stages of dementia is crucial for end-of-life (EoL) decision-making to ensure quality of EoL care. A lack of discussions about ACP and EoL care between persons with dementia and family caregivers (FCGs), can lead to decisional conflicts when persons with dementia are in the later stages of the disease. This study explored the effects of a family-centered ACP information intervention among persons with dementia and FCGs. The study was conducted in outpatient clinics in Taiwan. Participants were dyads (n = 40) consisting of persons diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia and their FCGs. A one-group, pretest-posttest, pre-experimental design was employed. The intervention was provided by an ACP-trained senior registered nurse and was guided by ACP manuals and family-centered strategies. Outcome data were collected with four structured questionnaires regarding knowledge of end-stage dementia treatment, knowledge of ACP, attitude towards ACP, and EoL decisional conflict about acceptance or refusal of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, ventilators, and tracheostomy. Paired t tests compared differences between pre-intervention data and 4-weeks' post-intervention data. The intervention resulted in significant improvements among persons with dementia and FCGs for knowledge of end-stage dementia treatment (p = .008 and p < .001, respectively), knowledge of ACP (both p < .001), and significant reductions in decisional conflicts (both p < .001). Scores for positive and negative attitude toward ACP did not change for persons with dementia; however, there was a reduction in negative attitude for FCGs (p = .001). Clinical care for persons with dementia should incorporate ACP interventions that provide knowledge about EoL dementia care using family-centered care strategies that facilitate regular and continuous communication between FCGs, persons with dementia, and medical personnel to reduce decisional conflicts for EoL care.
Limited evidence suggests carers of people with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) have a variety of information and support needs. This pilot focus group discussion, carried out in 2019, aimed to explore the needs of carers of people with pulmonary fibrosis and evaluate the impact of a UK hospice PF carers’ support group. Analysis revealed: (1) loneliness and connection, (2) negotiating with and motivating their loved-ones, and (3) the importance of the best environment for support as key themes. Participants reported a need for both practical and emotional support with the carers’ own health sometimes neglected. This evaluation concluded that peer support specifically with other PF carers was hugely valuable to the participants, as was the hospice environment itself. It is recommended that PF-specific carer support is considered when designing services for people with pulmonary fibrosis.