BACKGROUND: Advanced care planning (ACP) provides an opportunity for individuals to explore and document their values concerning medical care decisions prior to an acute event. This manuscript explores the value of ACP and compares and contrasts 2 ACP models currently in practice.
METHODS: This hypothetical case describes an elderly, frail patient with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who is also a high user of health care resources. A new palliative care-led outpatient ACP clinic model is described using this example.
RESULTS: Using the ACP clinic model in this case reveals how different a patient's end of life experience may be when proper, proactive planning measures are in place. With proper education and discussion around this patient and family's wishes pertaining to the end of his life, this man was able to change his plan of care from aggressive resuscitation treatment in hospital to a peaceful palliative experience at home.
CONCLUSIONS: In this case description, the valuable role of ACP in preserving quality of life for patients, increasing satisfaction with care, and decreasing distress among family members during a medical event is demonstrated.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care aims to improve quality of life by relieving physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. Health system planning can be informed by evaluating cost and effectiveness of health care delivery, including palliative care.
AIM: The objectives of this article were to describe and critically appraise economic evaluations of palliative care models and to identify cost-effective models in improving patient-centered outcomes.
DESIGN: We conducted a systematic review and registered our protocol in PROSPERO (CRD42016053973).
DATA SOURCES: A systematic search of nine medical and economic databases was conducted and extended with reference scanning and gray literature. Methodological quality was assessed using the Drummond checklist.
RESULTS: We identified 12,632 articles and 5 were included. We included two modeling studies from the United States and England, and three economic evaluations from England, Australia, and Italy. Two studies compared home-based palliative care models to usual care, and one compared home-based palliative care to no care. Effectiveness outcomes included hospital readmission prevented, days at home, and palliative care symptom severity. All studies concluded that palliative care was cost-effective compared to usual care. The methodological quality was good overall, but three out of five studies were based on small sample sizes.
CONCLUSION: Applicability and generalizability of evidence is uncertain due to small sample sizes, short duration, and limited modeling of costs and effects. Further economic evaluations with larger sample sizes are needed, inclusive of the diversity and complexity of palliative care populations and using patient-centered outcomes.
PURPOSE: It has been shown that integrating palliative care (PC) in intensive care unit (ICU) improves end-of-life care (EOLC), but very few Canadian hospitals have adopted this practice. Our study aims to evaluate the perceived quality of EOLC at participating institutions and explore barriers toward ICU-PC integration.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was developed by a multidisciplinary team. Survey items were extracted from published quality indicators in EOLC and barriers to ICU-PC integration. The study took place at 2 academic institutions. Participants consisted of physicians and nurses, ICU administrators, and allied health workers.
RESULTS: An overall response of 45% was achieved. Of total, 85% of the respondents were ICU nurses. The following main themes were identified: (1) There is a poor presence of PC in the ICU and 78% of respondents felt that increasing ICU-PC integration will improve quality of EOLC; (2) the main barrier to integration was unrealistic patient and/or family expectations; and (3) criteria-triggered consultation to PC was the most feasible way to achieve integration.
CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that the majority of respondents perceive that the presence of PC in ICU will improve EOLC. Future quality improvement initiatives can focus on developing a set of criteria for triggering PC consults.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the rate of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) and do-not-hospitalize (DNH) orders among residents newly admitted into long-term care homes. We also assessed the association between DNR and DNH orders with hospital admissions, deaths in hospital, and survival.
DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Admissions in all 640 publicly funded long-term care homes in Ontario, Canada, between January 1, 2010 and March 1, 2012 (n = 49,390).
MEASURES: We examined if a DNR and/or DNH was recorded on resident's admission assessment. All residents were followed until death, discharge, or end of study to ascertain rates of several outcomes, including death and hospitalization, controlling for resident characteristics.
RESULTS: Upon admission, 60.7% of residents were recorded to have a DNR and 14.8% a DNH order. Those who were older, female, widowed, lived in rural facilities, lived in higher income neighborhoods prior to entry, had higher health instability or cognitive impairment, and spoke English or French were more likely to receive a DNR or DNH. Survival time was only slightly shorter for those with a DNR and DNH with a mean of 145 and 133 days, respectively, vs 160 and 153 days for those without a DNR and DNH. After controlling for age, sex, rurality, neighborhood income, marital status, health instability, cognitive performance score, and multimorbidity, DNR and DNH were associated with an odds ratio of 0.57 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53-0.62] and 0.41 (95% CI 0.37-0.46) for dying in hospital, respectively. Those with a DNR and DNH, after adjustment, had an incidence rate ratio of 0.87 (95% CI 0.83-0.90) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.67-0.73), respectively, days spent in hospital.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: This study outlines identifiable factors influencing whether residents have a DNR and/or DNH order upon admission. Both orders led to lower rates, but not absolute avoidance, of hospitalizations near and at death.
BACKGROUND: Patients with terminal conditions are often admitted to the emergency department (ED) for acute medical services, but studies have suggested that multiple ED admissions may negatively impact end-of-life (EOL) care. Research have shown that incorporating palliative care (PC) is integral to optimal EOL care, but it is an aspect of medical practice that is often neglected. The current study sought to provide an overview of health outcomes and hospital costs of patients with cancer admitted to The Ottawa Hospital and/or received acute medical services during their final 2 weeks of life. Cost comparisons and estimates were made between hospital and hospice expenditures.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of palliative patients who died at The Ottawa Hospital in 2012. A total of 130 patients who visited the ED within 2 weeks of death were included in the analyses.
RESULTS: In this cohort of patients, 71% of admitted patients did not have advanced care directives and 85% experienced a metastasis, but only 18% had a PC medical doctor. Patients were hospitalized, on average, for 7 days and hospitalization costs exceeded the estimated hospice cost by approximately 2.5 times (Can$1 041 170.00 at Can$8009.00/patient vs Can$401 570.00 at Can$3089.00/patient, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Our study highlighted the importance of PC integration in high-risk patients, such as those in oncology. Patients in our sample had minimal PC involvement, low advanced care directives, and accrued high costs. Based on our analyses, we concluded that these patients would have likely benefited more from hospice care rather than hospitalization.
End-of-life disputes in Ontario are currently overwhelmingly assessed through the singular lens of patient autonomy. The current dispute resolution mechanism(s) does not adequately consider evidence-based medical guidelines, standards of care, the patient's best interests, expert opinion, or distributive justice. We discuss two cases adjudicated by the Consent and Capacity board of Ontario that demonstrate the over emphasis on patient autonomy. Current health care policy and the Health Care Consent Act also place emphasis on patient autonomy without considering other ethically defensible factors. We argue that current policy and legislation require amendment, and unless there are measures undertaken to modify them, both the quality of care provided and the long-term capabilities of the health care system to remain publicly-funded, comprehensive and equitable, are at stake.
BACKGROUND: Patients who engage in Advance Care Planning (ACP) are more likely to get care consistent with their values. We sought to determine the barriers and facilitators to ACP engagement after discharge from hospital.
METHODS: Prior to discharge from hospital eligible patients received a standardized conversation about prognosis and ACP. Each patient was given an ACP workbook and asked to complete it over the following four weeks. We included frail elderly patients with a high risk of death admitted to general internal medicine wards at a tertiary care academic teaching hospital. Four weeks after discharge we conducted semi-structured interviews with patients. Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed with thematic analysis. Themes were categorized according to the theoretical domains framework.
RESULTS: We performed 17 interviews. All Theoretical Domain Framework components except for Social/Professional Identity and Behavioral Regulation were identified in our data. Poor knowledge about ACP and physician communication skills were barriers partially addressed by our intervention. Some patients found it difficult to discuss ACP during an acute illness. For others acute illness made ACP discussions more relevant. Uncertainty about future health motivated some participants to engage in ACP while others found that ACP discussions prevented them from living in the moment and stripped them of hope that better days were ahead.
CONCLUSIONS: For some patients acute illness resulting in admission to hospital can be an opportunity to engage in ACP conversations but for others ACP discussions are antithetical to the goals of hospital care.