BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic disparities in home death have been noted in the literature. Home-based palliative care increases access to home death and has been suggested as a means to decrease these disparities.
AIM: Our study examines the association between socioeconomic status and other demographic factors on place of death in a population receiving home palliative care in Toronto, Canada.
DESIGN: This is a retrospective chart review of patients who died between August 2013 and August 2015 when admitted to a home-based palliative care service. Multivariate multinomial regression examined the relationship between the place of death (home, palliative care unit [PCU], or acute care) with age, gender, primary diagnosis, and income quintile. Bivariate logistic regression was fitted to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and probability of preference for home death.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving home-based palliative care services from the Latner Centre for Palliative Care in Toronto, Canada.
RESULTS: A total of 2066 patients were included in multivariate analysis. Patients in the lowest income quintile had increased odds of dying in acute care (OR = 2.41, P < .001) or dying in PCU (OR = 1.64, P = .008) than patients in highest income quintile. Patients in the next lowest income quintiles 2 and 3 were also more likely to die in acute care. The rate of preference for home death was significantly lower in the lowest income quintile (OR = 0.47, P = .0047).
CONCLUSIONS: Patients in lower income quintiles are less likely to die at home, despite receiving home-based palliative care, although they may also be less likely to prefer home death.
BACKGROUND: Home-based palliative care is care of the patient in their home, while doctors and other healthcare providers (HCPs) make visits as required. Family involvement naturally cultivates a relationship between HCPs and the family. Once the patient dies and home-based palliative care ends, this relationship is abruptly terminated, which may be challenging to both the family and the HCPs. The objective of this study was to understand the thoughts and opinions of HCPs and families on their encountered loss of relationship at the end of home-based palliative care.
METHODS: Perceptions of 63 participants (32 HCPs and 31 family members) were explored using semi-structured interviews and the qualitative research methodologies of grounded theory. HCPs were interviewed at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care (TLCPC), a home-based palliative care group of physicians, and 2 hospitals in Toronto, while family members were recruited from TLCPC's records of deceased patients.
RESULTS: Six overarching themes, relating to HCP-family relationship dynamics, the experience of loss of relationship, and potential solutions, were derived from the data: (I) home palliative care is intimate; (II) dissatisfaction is experienced with abrupt relationship ending; (III) families benefit from open communication, especially after patient death; (IV) HCPs recognize the insufficiency in bereavement resources; (V) benefits are recognized for a system to ease loss of relationship, and lastly; (VI) challenges with introducing such a system concern HCP.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, families and HCPs do not like the loss of relationship post-patient death, and recognize the potential benefits of an approach that would allow for communication going forward.
BACKGROUND: Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) was legalized in Canada in June 2016. There are no documented experiences of MAiD provision within a home palliative care program. The majority of palliative care physicians in Canada object to MAiD. As one of the largest home-based palliative care providers in Canada, the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care (TLCPC) developed processes to implement MAiD provision within a home palliative care team with diverse attitudes toward MAiD.
OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the feasibility of providing MAiD within a home palliative care setting and describe the population that received MAiD in the first year of legalization.
DESIGN: A retrospective chart review identified patients who received or were assessed for MAiD and had a known outcome between June 17, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Patients receiving home-based palliative care.
MEASUREMENTS: Data extracted included age, gender, primary diagnosis, length of time receiving home-based palliative care, and final clinical outcome.
RESULTS: Of the 45 patients who were assessed for MAiD, 27 (60%) received MAiD and 18 (40%) did not. The mean age was 74 (range 20-95), 24 (53%) were male, and 33 (73%) had cancer as a primary diagnosis. These 27 patients represent 1.2% of our total patient population during this time period.
CONCLUSIONS: MAiD was accessed by 1.2% of the patients within a home palliative care center in the first year of legalization. Patient demographics were consistent with those documented elsewhere. The TLCPC process accommodates the diverse viewpoints of clinicians and emphasizes continuity of palliative care provision.
BACKGROUND: Home is a preferred place of death for many people; however, access to a home death may not be equitable. The impact of socioeconomic status on one's ability to die at home has been documented, yet there remains little literature exploring mechanisms that contribute to this disparity. By exploring the experiences and insights of physicians who provide end-of-life care in the home, this study aims to identify the factors perceived to influence patients' likelihood of home death and describe the mechanisms by which they interact with socioeconomic status.
METHODS: In this exploratory qualitative study, we conducted interviews with 9 physicians who provide home-based care at a specialized palliative care centre. Participants were asked about their experiences caring for patients at the end of life, focusing on factors believed to impact likelihood of home death with an emphasis on socioeconomic status, and opportunities for intervention. We relied on participants' perceptions of SES, rather than objective measures. We used an inductive content analysis to identify and describe factors that physicians perceive to influence a patient's likelihood of dying at home.
RESULTS: Factors identified by physicians were organized into three categories: patient characteristics, physical environment and support network. Patient preference for home death was seen as a necessary factor. If this was established, participants suggested that having a strong support network to supplement professional care was critical to achieving home death. Finally, safe and sustainable housing were also felt to improve likelihood of home death. Higher SES was perceived to increase the likelihood of a desired home death by affording access to more resources within each of the categories. This included better health and health care understanding, a higher capacity for advocacy, a more stable home environment, and more caregiver support.
CONCLUSIONS: SES was not perceived to be an isolated factor impacting likelihood of home death, but rather a means to address shortfalls in the three identified categories. Identifying the factors that influence ability is the first step in ensuring home death is accessible to all patients who desire it, regardless of socioeconomic status.
CONTEXT: MAiD allows a practitioner to administer or prescribe medication for the purpose of ending a patient's life. In 2016, Canada was the latest country, following several European countries and American states, to legalize physician-assisted death. Although some studies report on physician attitudes towards MAiD or describe patient characteristics, there are few that explore the professional challenges faced by physicians who provide MAiD.
OBJECTIVES: To explore the professional challenges faced by Canadian physicians who provide MAiD.
METHODS: Sixteen physicians from across Canada who provide MAiD completed in-depth, semi-structured telephone interviews. An inductive thematic analysis approach guided data collection and the iterative, interpretive analysis of interview transcripts. Three members of the research team systematically co-coded interview transcripts and the emerging themes were developed with the broader research team. NVivo was used to manage the coded data.
RESULTS: Participants described three challenges associated with providing MAiD: 1) their relationships with other MAiD providers were enhanced and relationships with objecting colleagues were sometimes strained, 2) they received inadequate financial compensation for time, and, 3) they experienced increased workload, resulting in sacrifices to personal time. Although these providers did not intend to stop providing MAiD at the time of the interview, they indicated their concerns about whether they would be able to sustain this service over time.
CONCLUSION: Physicians described relationship, financial, and workload challenges to providing MAiD. We provide several recommendations to address these challenges and help ensure the sustainability of MAiD in countries that provide this service.
BACKGROUND: Lack of pediatric palliative care (PPC) training impedes successful integration of PPC principles into pediatric oncology.
OBJECTIVES: We examined the impact of an enhanced implementation of the Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Pediatrics (EPEC®-Pediatrics) curriculum on the following: (1) knowledge dissemination; (2) health professionals' knowledge; (3) practice change; and (4) quality of PPC.
DESIGN: An integrated knowledge translation approach was used with pre-/posttest evaluation of care quality. Setting/Subjects/Measurements: Regional Teams of 3-6 health professionals based at 15 pediatric oncology programs in Canada became EPEC-Pediatrics Trainers who taught the curriculum to health professionals (learners) and implemented quality improvement (QI) projects. Trainers recorded the number of learners at each education session and progress on QI goals. Learners completed knowledge surveys. Care quality was assessed through surveys with a cross-sectional sample of children with cancer and their parents about symptoms, quality of life, and care quality plus reviews of deceased patients' health records.
RESULTS: Seventy-two Trainers taught 3475 learners; the majority (96.7%) agreed that their PPC knowledge improved. In addition, 10/15 sites achieved practice change QI goals. The only improvements in care quality were an increased number of days from referral to PPC teams until death by a factor of 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.17–2.03) and from first documentation of advance care planning until death by a factor of 1.50 (95% CI = 1.06–2.11), after adjusting for background variables.
CONCLUSION: While improvements in care quality were only seen in two areas, our approach was highly effective in achieving knowledge dissemination, knowledge improvement, and practice change goals.
PURPOSE: In the advanced cancer context, care coordination is often inadequate, leading to suboptimal continuity of care. We evaluated an electronic web-based tool which assembles the patient, their caregivers, and their healthcare providers in a virtual space for team-based communication. We sought to understand participant perceptions on electronic communication in general and the added value of the new tool in particular.
METHODS: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study with participants (patients, caregivers, cancer physicians) who participated in a 3-month pilot trial evaluating the tool. Interviews were thematically analyzed and the perspectives from patients, caregivers, and cancer physicians were triangulated. Interviews from six patients, five of their caregivers, and seven cancer physicians conducted alongside monthly outcome assessments were analyzed.
RESULTS: We identified five themes relating participants' perspectives on electronic communication to their experience of care: (1) apparent gaps in care, (2) uncertainty in defining the circle of care, (3) relational aspects of communication, (4) incongruence between technology and social norms of patient-physician communication, and (5) appreciation but apprehension about the team-based communication tool for improving the experience of care.
CONCLUSIONS: The potential of tools for electronic communication to bring together a team of healthcare providers with the patient and caregivers is significant but may pose new challenges to existing team structure and interpersonal dynamics. Patients and physicians were worried about the impact that electronic communication may have on the patient-physician relationship. Implementation approaches, which build on the relationship and integrate the team as a whole, could positively position electronic communication to enhance the team-based care.
OBJECTIVE: To outline symptom management in, as well as offer a home-based protocol for, patients with advanced heart failure (HF).
SOURCES OF INFORMATION: The terms palliative care and heart failure were searched in PubMed and relevant databases. All articles were reviewed. The specific medical management protocol was developed by the "HeartFull" collaborative team at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care in Toronto, Ont.
MAIN MESSAGE: Educating patients about advanced HF and helping them understand their illness and illness trajectory can foster end-of-life discussions. Home-based care of patients with advanced HF that includes optimizing diuresis can lead to improved symptom management. It is also hoped that it can reduce both patient and health care system burden and result in greater health-related quality of life for patients with advanced HF.
CONCLUSION: This article provides an overview of how to manage common symptoms in patients with advanced HF. The home diuresis protocol with guidelines for oral and intravenous diuretic therapy is available at CFPlus.()
Purpose:To describe prevalence and characteristics associated with family physician and general practitioner (FP/GP) provision of home palliative care (HPC).
Methods:We surveyed FP/GPs in an urban health region of Ontario, Canada, to determine their current involvement in HPC, the nature of services provided, and perceived barriers and enablers.
Results:A total of 1439 surveys were mailed. Of the 302 FP/GP respondents, 295 provided replies regarding engagement in HPC: 101 of 295 (33%) provided HPC, 76 (26%) were engageable with further support, and 118 (40%) were not engageable regardless of support. The most substantial barrier was time to provide home visits (81%). Engaged FP/GPs were most likely to be working with another physician providing HPC (P < .0001). Engageable FP/GPs were younger (P = .007) and placed greater value on improved remuneration (P < .001) than the other groups. Nonengageable physicians were most likely to view time as a barrier (P < .0001) and to lack interest in PC (P = .03).
Conclusion:One-third of FP/GPs provide HPC. A cohort of younger physicians could be engageable with adequate support. Integrated practices including collaboration with specialist PC colleagues should be encouraged and supported.