Background: Palliative care is highly relevant for patients with heart failure (HF), and there is a need for quantitative information on quality of care. Accordingly, this study aimed to develop a set of quality indicators (QIs) for palliative care of HF patients, and to conduct a practical pilot measurement of the proposed QIs in clinical practice.
Methods and Results: We used a modified Delphi technique, a consensus method that involves a comprehensive literature review, face-to-face multidisciplinary panel meeting, and anonymous rating in 2 rounds. A 15-member multidisciplinary expert panel individually rated each potential indicator on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) for appropriateness. All indicators receiving a median score =7 without significant disagreement were included in the final set of QIs. Through the consensus-building process, 35 QIs were proposed for palliative care in HF patients. Practical measurement in HF patients (n=131) from 3 teaching hospitals revealed that all of the proposed QIs could be obtained retrospectively from medical records, and the following QIs had low performance (<10%): “Intervention by multidisciplinary team”, “Opioid therapy for patients with refractory dyspnea”, and “Screening for psychological symptoms”.
Conclusions: The first set of QIs for palliative care of HF patients was developed and could clarify quantitative information and might improve the quality of care.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is recommended as part of the management of patients with heart failure (HF).
AIMS: To develop and validate ACP support tools for patients with HF.
METHODS: An ACP support tool was developed based on a systematic literature review. A multi-center, prospective before and after study was conducted to evaluate the usefulness of the support tool. This study included 21 patients with HF, 11 patients formed the control group and 10 patients were part of the intervention group who received ACP from medical staff using the ACP support tools developed for this study. Participants of the study were surveyed about their experience of ACP using a 6-point Likert scale.
FINDINGS: All of the healthcare professionals (n=9) involved in the study found the ACP tool useful and about 90% of patients considered the support tool useful. The score for 'the patient did not feel anxious about the future after receiving ACP discussion' was significantly higher (3.5 [3.0, 4.0] vs 2.0 [1.0, 3.0]; P=0.04) in the intervention group that used the ACP tool.
CONCLUSION: ACP support tools are useful to manage patients with HF and could enable effective ACP without increasing patient anxiety.
Background:Little is known about palliative sedation in terminally ill heart failure (HF) patients.
Methods and Results:We retrospectively reviewed terminally ill HF patients who received palliative sedation from September 2013 to August 2018. Among 95 terminally ill HF patients, 25 were prescribed dexmedetomidine and 12 were prescribed midazolam at the end of life. Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale was significantly reduced (P<0.01), but blood pressure and heart rate were unaltered after treatment in both the dexmedetomidine and midazolam groups.
Conclusions:Prescription of dexmedetomidine and/or midazolam might be feasible in selected terminally ill HF patients.