PURPOSE: Providing high-quality care for the dying is essential in palliative care. Quality of care can be checked, compared, and improved by assessing responses from bereaved next-of-kin. The objectives of this study are to examine quality of care in the last 2 days of life of hospitalized patients considering specific aspects of their place of care.
METHODS: The "Care of the Dying Evaluation" (CODE™) questionnaire, validated in German in 2018 (CODE-GER), examines quality of care for the patient and support of next-of-kin, allocating values between 0 (low quality) and 4 (high quality). The total score (0-104) is divided into subscales which indicate support/time given by doctors/nurses, spiritual/emotional support, information/decision-making, environment, information about the dying process, symptoms, and support at the actual time of death/afterwards. Next-of-kin of patients with an expected death in specialized palliative care units and other wards in two university hospitals between April 2016 and March 2017 were included.
RESULTS: Most of the 237 analyzed CODE-GER questionnaires were completed by the patient's spouse (42.6%) or children (40.5%) and 64.1% were female. Patients stayed in hospital for an average of 13.7 days (3-276; SD 21.1). Half of the patients died in a specialized palliative care unit (50.6%). The CODE-GER total score was 85.7 (SD 14.17; 25-104). Subscales were rated significantly better for palliative care units than for other wards. Unsatisfying outcomes were reported in both groups in the subscales for information/decision-making and information about the dying process.
CONCLUSION: The overall quality of care for the dying was rated to be good. Improvements of information about the dying process and decision-making are needed.
A huge proportion of people with Parkinson’s disease (PwP) in Germany have written an advance directive (AD). However, the content of these forms in regard to specific Parkinson’s disease (PD)-related complications is rather low. There is an urgent need to specify ADs of PwP and consequently to improve decision-making concerning end-of-life aspects for affected patients. Evidence- and consensus-based PD-specific recommendations for ADs might help to close this gap. A Delphi study with two online Delphi rounds was initiated. Initial recommendations were built on findings from previous studies and derived from evidence-based literature. Consensus on recommendations was defined as =80% concordance regarding clarity of formulated aspects and relevance for clinical practice. A total of 22 experts (15.2% response rate) predominantly from the workgroup ‘neuro-palliative care’ in Germany performed two Delphi rounds. Consensus was achieved for 14 of 24 initially presented recommendations. Recommendations relating to dopaminergic therapy as well as to non-oral therapy options were considered important by the expert panel. The recommendations should be taken into account when developing and giving advice on ADs for PwP. Health professionals should be trained in counselling ADs of PwP and in integrating these recommendations in ADs during the disease course of PD.
BACKGROUND: The best possible care for frail older patients at the end of life can require the integration of geriatric and palliative approaches, possibly with different accentuations at different times. General practitioners (GP) are particularly important in this context: they provide patients with low-threshold primary care close to their homes and provide both general palliative care and geriatric services.
OBJECTIVE: What are the challenges for GPs in caring for frail older patients at the end of their lives?
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A secondary data analysis of 52 qualitative interviews was carried out, which were serially obtained at 4 points in time over a period of 18 months with 14 family doctors. In addition, one focus group with five GPs took place. The analysis was carried out according to the principles of grounded theory.
RESULTS: The results show that GPs see the care of frail older patients at the end of their lives through a) the growing number of older people, b) multimorbidity and complexity of the problem areas, c) the integration of geriatric and palliative approaches, d) the high average age of general practitioners and the lack of junior staff and e) the problem of ensuring care in rural areas as a major challenge. The practical transition between geriatric and palliative care is considered by GPs to be fluid and there is a desire for more integration of both disciplines.
CONCLUSION: In this study GPs perceived a large overlap between geriatric and palliative care. Both approaches should be offered for a selection of patients as a combined service. In the future a systematic network between GPs and geriatricians in practices, clinics, and day clinics will be necessary.
BACKGROUND: In end-of-life care hygiene, measures concerning multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms may contradict the palliative care approach of social inclusion and be burdensome for patients.
OBJECTIVES: To integrate patients' perspectives on handling multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms at their end of life, their quality of life, the impact of positive multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms' diagnosis, protection and isolation measures on their well-being and patients' wishes and needs regarding their care.
DESIGN: A mixed-methods convergent parallel design embedded quantitative data on the patients' multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms' trajectory and quality of life assessed by the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life in qualitative data collection via interviews and focus groups. Data analysis was performed according to Grounded Theory and qualitative and quantitative results were interrelated.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Between March 2014 and September 2015 at two hospitals adult patients diagnosed with multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms and treated in a palliative care department or a geriatric ward were included in the sample group.
RESULTS: Patients in end-of-life and geriatric care reported emotional and social impact through multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms' diagnosis itself, hygiene measures and lack of information. This impact affects aspects relevant to the patients' quality of life. Patients' wishes for comprehensive communication/information and reduction of social strain were identified from the focus group discussion.
CONCLUSION: Patients would benefit from comprehensible information on multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms. Strategies minimizing social exclusion and emotional impact of multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms' diagnosis in end-of-life care are needed as well as adaption or supplementation of standard multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms' policies of hospitals.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder with an increased morbidity and mortality. People with PD (PwP) may suffer from decreased quality of life due to various motor and nonmotor symptoms. To a huge proportion, PwP have written an advance directive (AD); however, the content of these forms in regard to PD-specific complications is unclear. The aim of this study was to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze ADs of PwP in Germany. ADs of PwP were analyzed in a German sample of members of the German PD patient association. Participants completed a questionnaire about their AD and sent a copy of their AD to the study center for detailed analyses. ADs were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed for general and PD-specific aspects and usefulness concerning treatment decisions. 82 PwP were included in the study, and in 76, an AD could be analyzed. Family members, notaries, lawyers, and general physicians mainly counseled writing of the ADs. 4 PwP consulted a neurologist to establish a specific AD for PD. In the analysis, ADs displayed a good specificity for general aspects, but they were unspecific to PD in the vast majority of cases. PwP should be encouraged to create an AD early in their disease and adapt it in the course of the disease. PD-specific aspects for an AD could be details in relation to dopaminergic therapies at the end of life, management of non-oral advanced therapies, neuropsychiatric symptoms, dementia, and swallowing disturbances.
BACKGROUND: Being terminally ill affects not only the life of patients but also that of their loved ones. Dyads of adult children and their parents at the end of life may face specific challenges with regard to their relationship and interactions that need to be further examined.
AIM: The aim was to identify, describe and summarise available evidence on adult child-parent interaction and psychosocial support needs at the end of life. Research gaps in the existing literature are disclosed and recommendations for future research are presented.
DESIGN: A type 4 scoping review according to Arksey and O'Malley's (2005) methodological framework was conducted. The review includes studies regardless of study design and provides a descriptive account of foci of available research.
DATA SOURCES: The PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Google Scholar and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to 16 August 2018. An additional hand search was conducted. A highly sensitive search strategy was employed to cover all potentially relevant results.
RESULTS: The authors screened 1832 records by title and abstract, retrieved 216 full-text articles and included 15 studies from the database search. One study was identified by way of hand search. The review identified six major themes: (1) adult child-parent relationship, (2) adult child-parent communication, (3) involvement in caregiving, (4) benefit and burden of caregiving, (5) coping strategies and (6) support and information for caregivers.
CONCLUSIONS: The scoping review accentuates the paucity of studies that address both patients' and their parent/adult child caregivers' relationship, interaction and psychosocial support needs.
BACKGROUND: At the end of life, about 85-90% of patients can be treated within primary palliative care (PC) provided by general practitioners (GPs). In Germany, there is no structured approach for the provision of PC by GPs including a systematic as well as timely identification of patients who might benefit from PC, yet. The project "Optimal care at the end of life" (OPAL) focusses on an improvement of primary PC for patients with both oncological and non-oncological chronic progressive diseases in their last phase of life provided by GPs and health care services.
METHODS: OPAL will take place in Hameln-Pyrmont, a rural region in Lower Saxony, Germany. Target groups are (a) GPs, (b) relatives of deceased patients and (c) health care providers. The study follows a three-phase approach in a mixed-methods and pre-post design. In phase I (baseline, t0) we explore the usual practice of providing PC for patients with chronic progressive diseases by GPs and the collaboration with other health care providers. In phase II (intervention) the Supportive and Palliative Care Indicators Tool (SPICT) for the timely identification of patients who might benefit from PC will be implemented and tested in general practices. Furthermore, a public campaign will be started to inform stakeholders, to connect health care providers and to train change agents. In phase III (follow-up, t1) we investigate the potential effect of the intervention to evaluate differences in the provision of PC by GPs and to convey factors for the implementation of SPICT in general practices.
DISCUSSION: The project OPAL is the first study to implement the SPICT-DE regionwide in general practices in Germany. The project OPAL may contribute to an overall optimisation of primary PC for patients in Germany by reducing GPs' uncertainty in initiating PC, by consolidating their skills and competencies in identifying patients who might benefit from PC, and by improving the cooperation between GPs and different health care stakeholders.
Background: One challenge in caring for cancer patients with incurable disease is the adequate identification of those in need for specialized palliative care (SPC). The study’s aim was to validate an easy to use phenomenological screening tool.
Methods: The German tool is based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Palliative Care guidelines and contains ten items in five domains that focus e.g. on diagnosis, functional status, complications, comorbidities, and palliative care relevant problems such as symptom management, distress, and support of family and team members. Sum score ranges from 0 to 14 (no need to great need). Assessment to identify SPC needs was done in university hospital wards between 1 and 08/2017 by health care professionals on admission of the patient if the disease was incurable and expected prognosis < 12 months. The Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS, staff version), an outcome assessment instrument for palliative care that consists of ten items, served as external criterion; in sub samples inter-rater/test-retest were performed.
Results: Data from 208 patients with incurable disease and life expectancy < 12 months (54.8% female; average age 63.5 years, range 21–96) were assessed using the tool. The tool has good convergent validity; the correlation between the sum scores of IPOS and our tool showed a significant and substantial effect. The sum score was independent of the patient’s age, gender and primary diagnosis. Patients who already were in contact with SPC had significantly higher screening scores than patients without. With a cut point of = 5, 80.8% of the screened patients were in need for SPC. Cronbach’s alpha was a = .600. Rater agreement (inter-rater, test-retest) varied between single items. Correlation coefficients showed significant substantial effects.
Conclusions: This is the first validation of a screening procedure in German language identifying SPC needs of adult patients with advanced cancer and the first using filter questions as a pre-screening. Proxy assessment of SPC needs by physicians in cancer care settings is feasible and the suggested tool presents a valid instrument to trigger a PC consultation.
BACKGROUND: Internationally, efforts are underway to develop coordinated and standardized approaches for palliative care service delivery by improving service quality in hospice and palliative care networks. German legal regulations explicitly demand networking between hospice and palliative care providers. However, there is little research on models of cooperation and the building and development of hospice and palliative care networks. Research-based recommendations for network building and advancement are lacking.
OBJECTIVE: The study aim was to develop empirical recommendations for the building of new and advancement of existing hospice and palliative care networks in Bavaria, Germany.
METHODS: The project utilized a qualitative approach. The research project was structured in six sequential phases: 1) semi-structured individual interviews on status quo of networks, 2) a workshop including a focus group to develop definitions of key terms and prioritize major network themes, 3) semi-structured face-to-face interviews on factors enabling and inhibiting cooperation, 4) drafting of a recommendation for regional hospice and palliative care networks, 5) an online consensus survey questionnaire to rate relevance and feasibility of the draft recommendation and an internal consensus meeting to revise the draft, and 6) an expert workshop to develop examples of realization. Coordinators and chairpersons of 12 hospice and palliative care networks constitute the study population for study phases 1 to 3, 5, and 6. Network representatives partook in one (n=6), two (n=6), three (n=4), four (n=2), or all five (n=1) of the study phases 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Further experts participated in one (n=10) or both (n=1) of the phases 5 and 6.
RESULTS: Recommendations were drafted for six thematic fields: (i) missions and aims, (ii) roles and responsibilities, (iii) coordination, (iv) communication and information channels, (v) public visibility, and (vi) funding. The whole set of recommendations was rated by 90% of the participants to be fully or somewhat important for network building and development. A total of 22 recommendations was approved.
CONCLUSIONS: The call for establishing and developing standards for hospice and palliative care networks was situated within the current policy climate of Germany and the broader international community. The present recommendations can aid implementation of this request and have a strong relevance for practice.
BACKGROUND: A considerable number of terminally-ill adult children are outlived by at least one parent and receive palliative care prior to their death. At the same time, adult children continue to be confronted with their parents' terminal illnesses and end-of-life situations. The current study explores the specifics of dyadic interaction at the end of life between a) adult children suffering from a life-threatening disease and their parents, and b) terminally ill parents and their adult children.
METHODS: This prospective observational study aims at filling the existing gap on adult child-parent interaction specifics at the end of life using an exploratory mixed-methods framework. The mixed-methods framework combines a qualitative face-to face interview and quantitative self-report questionnaires to study the topic at hand. The qualitative interview will focus on experiences, expectations, and wishes with regard to dyadic communication, information about illness and prognosis, expressed and perceived burden and support as well as caregiving role at the end of life. The questionnaires will cover socio-demographics, loneliness, attachment style, social support, and emotional closeness.
DISCUSSION: The research group is currently adjusting a semi-structured interview guide and questionnaire instructions based on the results of a multiprofessional scientific advisory board meeting (Jan. 2018). In a next step, and prior to qualitative and quantitative data collection, the questionnaires will be piloted on patients and their family members in a palliative care setting. The main expected results are i) a description of the specifics of the interaction within and between both dyads, ii) the development of hypotheses and a theoretical framework on the specifics, similarities, and differences for both study groups, and iii) clinical conclusions on specific psychosocial care needs of both groups.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was registered prospectively in the Health Services Research Germany register (Versorgungsforschung Deutschland - Datenbank) (Registration N° VfD_Dy@EoL_17_003897; date of registration: November 22, 2017) and in the German Clinical Trials Register (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien) (Registration N° DRKS00013206 ; date of registration: October 27, 2017). The study is visible in the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal of the World Health Organization under the German Clinical Trials Register number.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore healthcare professionals' personal experiences, feelings, and attitudes about caring for hospitalized patients with multidrug-resistant bacteria in palliative and geriatric care.
BACKGROUND: Working in end-of-life care involves at times burdening demands that affect not only healthcare professionals personally but also their actions. It is suggested that multidrug-resistant bacteria and their consequences for colonized or infected patients in hospitals are among the challenges for all professionals in end-of-life care. Little is known about the feelings and experiences of staff members during healthcare activities with regard to these bacteria.
DESIGN: A qualitative interview study in two German hospitals.
METHODS: We interviewed 35 staff members from a German palliative care unit and a geriatric unit about their experiences with multidrug-resistant bacteria in end-of-life care and the management of colonized or infected patients. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Grounded Theory.
RESULTS: Interviewees represented two interdisciplinary teams with 40% nurses, 26% physicians, and 34% other professionals. Salient themes that were identified included impact of multidrug-resistant bacteria on staff members' personal actions, feelings, and attitudes towards the bacteria and the required isolation measures. Besides higher workload and consequences for working routines, the patients' palliative care needs were recognized as well as the necessary protection measures to avoid contaminations in hospital. Healthcare professionals reported a dilemma that they experienced when facing these diverse demands.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings point to emotional and behavioral ambivalence in end-of-life care among staff members because necessary isolation measures and particular situation in end-of-life care create unsolvable conflicts for healthcare professionals. Possible strategies to cope with ambivalence are discussed.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Healthcare professionals in palliative and geriatric care have to deal with multidrug-resistant bacteria and have to face contradictory feelings while trying to fulfill patients' needs as well as isolation requirements.
BACKGROUND: There is a lack of research into how hospital staff and institutional stakeholders (i. e. institutional representatives from public health authorities, hospital hygiene, and the departments of microbiology, palliative care, and geriatrics) engage with patients who are carriers of multidrug-resistant organisms and receiving end-of-life care. Knowledge of their experiences, workload, and needs should be considered in dealing with hospitalized carriers of multidrug-resistant organisms as well as staff education.
OBJECTIVE: This study explored and compared staff members' and stakeholders' perspectives on multidrug-resistant organisms and on provision of end-of-life care to carrier patients.
METHODS: In this study four focus groups consisting of hospital staff members and institutional stakeholders were formed within a mixed-methods parent study in a palliative care unit at a university clinic and a geriatric ward of a Catholic and academic teaching hospital. Participants discussed results from staff and stakeholder interviews from a former study phase. Data were analyzed according to Grounded Theory and perspectives of staff members and institutional stakeholders were compared and contrasted.
RESULTS: Key issues debated by staff members (N = 19) and institutional stakeholders (N = 10) were 1) the additional workload, 2) reasons for uncertainty about handling carrier patients, 3) the format of continuing education, and 4) the preferred management approach for dealing with multidrug-resistant organism carrier patients. Although similar barriers (e. g. colleagues’ ambiguous opinions) were identified, both groups drew different conclusions concerning the management of these barriers. While institutional stakeholders recommended making decisions on hygiene measures under consideration of the specific patient situation, staff members preferred the use of standardized hygiene measures which should be applied uniformly to all patients.
DISCUSSION: Staff members and institutional stakeholders perceived similar barriers to practice caused by multidrug-resistant organisms and similar needs for continuing education. The staff members' preferred management approach might originate from an uncertainty about the multidrug-resistant organism infection risk. Experiences and visions of both groups should be included in a specific recommendation for end-of-life care to ensure behavioral confidence.
PURPOSE: Palliative care professionals are frequently confronted with patients colonized or infected with MDRO. One major challenge is how to balance necessary isolation measures and social inclusion as one of the main principles of palliative and end-of-life care. To date, MDRO-specific policies and protocols vary widely between institutions.
AIM: provide empirical recommendations on how to deal with hospitalized MDRO patients in end-of-life care.
METHODS: Recommendations were developed based on (i) initial results of face-to-face interviews and focus groups, (ii) impartial experts' comments and consensus on the draft via online survey and (iii) a face-to-face meeting with consortium members to finalize recommendations. Findings of 158 interviews and six focus groups (39 participants) with patients, family caregivers, staff members and institutional stakeholders contributed to the recommendations. The assessments of 17 experts were considered.
RESULTS: In total, 21 recommendations were approved. The recommended strategy in dealing with MDRO at the end of life allows case-based application of protection and isolation measures. MDRO diagnostics and therapy involve screening at admission. The recommendations suggest consideration of required accommodation facilities, provided material as well as staff and time resources. The recommendations further highlight the importance of providing for strategies enabling the patient's social inclusion and provision of verbal and written information about MDRO for patients and family caregivers, transparent medical documentation, and staff member training.
CONCLUSION: The recommendations summarize the perspectives of individuals and groups affected by MDRO at the end of life and provide practical guidance for clinical routine. Further dissemination and implementation requirements are discussed and should contain the evaluation of the knowledge, views, worries, and anxieties of the target groups.
BACKGROUND: Clinical practice of Palliative Sedation (PS) varies between institutions worldwide and sometimes includes problematic practices. Little available research points at different definitions and frameworks which may contribute to uncertainty of healthcare professionals in the application of PS. This analysis investigates what demographic factors and characteristics of treatment practices differ between institutions with high versus low sedation rates estimates in Palliative and Hospice Care in Germany.
METHODS: Data sets from 221 organisations from a prior online survey were separated into two sub-groups divided by their estimated sedation rate A) lower/equal to 16% (n = 187; 90.8%) and B) higher than 16% (n = 19; 9.2%) for secondary analysis. Demographic factors and characteristics of PS treatment practices between the two groups were compared using T-Tests and Chi2/ Fisher Exact Tests and considered significant (*) at two-sided p < .05.
RESULTS: Organisations in group B report that they discuss PS for a higher proportion of patients (38.5%/10.2%, p < 0.000**), rate agitation more often as an indications for PS (78.9%/ 53.5%, p = 0.050*), and are more likely to use Lorazepam (63.2%/ 37.4%, p = 0.047*), Promethazin (26.3%/ 9.6%, p = 0.044*), and (Es-) Ketamin (31.6%/ 12.8%, p = 0.039*) than representatives in group A. Both groups differ significantly in their allocation of three case scenarios to different types of PS.
CONCLUSIONS: Both definitions and patterns of clinical practice between palliative and hospice care representatives show divergence, which may be influenced one by another. A comprehensive framework considering conceptual, clinical, ethical, and legal aspects of different definitions of PS could help to better distinguish between different types and nuances of PS.
BACKGROUND: Patient-reported outcomes are usually considered to be the gold standard assessment. However, for the assessment of quality of dying and death, ratings of informal caregivers (ICGs) or health-care professionals (HCPs) must be considered for ethical and methodological reasons. This article aims to present results of ICGs' and HCPs' estimates of the questionnaire, quality of dying and death (QoDD) on patients who died in PCUs and to compare the level of agreement of both ratings/raters.
METHODS: The parent validation study to this analysis assessed the ICG and HCP versions of the QoDD. Descriptive statistics are presented for each item in both versions. T tests for the estimation of differences between ICG and HCP were performed. Case-related absolute differences between estimates were analyzed regarding the extent of agreement and deviation.
RESULTS: Two hundred fifteen matched ICG and HCP ratings were analyzed. The ratings in all 6 QoDD dimensions were high; single items scored low. Mean absolute difference between both ratings was 0.33 (standard deviation [SD]: 3.08; median 0.05) on a 0 to 10 numerical rating scale and ranges between -8.24 (higher rating of ICGs compared to HCPs) and 9.33 (higher rating of HCPs compared to ICGs).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings appear to show a high satisfaction with quality of dying and death as rated by ICGs and HCPs, but we suspect this might be indicative of a methodological challenge, that is, a ceiling effect in both assessments. Single low scoring items may provide important clues for improvement in end-of-life care. Although descriptive data show comparable mean values and standard deviations, the actual congruence of ratings is low. In summary, replacing one rating by another cannot be recommended.
BACKGROUND: The focus of this project is on improving the provision of primary palliative care (PC) by general practitioners (GPs). While approximately 10-15% of the incurable, seriously ill or dying people will be in need of specialist PC, the vast majority can be adequately treated within generalist care. The strengthening of the GP's role in PC, as well as ensuring close collaboration between specialist PC services and GPs have been identified as top priorities for the improvement of PC in Germany. Despite healthcare policy actions, diverse obstacles still exist to successful implementation of primary PC on a structural, process, and economic level. Therefore, this project aims at addressing barriers and facilitators to primary PC delivery in general practice in Germany.
METHODS: The study follows a three-step approach; first, it aims at systematically analyzing barriers and facilitators to primary PC provision by GPs. Second, based on these outcomes, a tailored intervention package will be developed to enhance the provision of primary PC by GPs. Third, the intervention package will be implemented and evaluated in practice. The expected outcome will be an evidence-based model for successful implementation of primary PC delivery tailored to the German healthcare system, followed by a strategic action plan on how to improve current practice both on a local level and nationally.
DISCUSSION: The first step of the project has been partly completed at the time of writing. The chosen methodologies of four sub-projects within this first step have opened up different advantages and disadvantages for the data collection. In sum of all sub-projects, the different methodologies and target groups contributed valuable information to the systematic analysis of barriers and facilitators to primary PC provision by GPs.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study (BMBF-FK 01 GY 1610) was retrospectively registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien) (Registration N° DRKS00011821 ; date of registration: December 04th 2017) and at the German Register of health care research (Versorgungsforschung Deutschland - Datenbank) (Registration N° VfD_ALLPRAX_16_003817 ; date of registration: March 30th 2017).
BACKGROUND: The emergence of multidrug-resistant bacterial microorganisms is a particular challenge for the health care systems. Little is known about the occurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria (MDRGNB) in patients of palliative care units (PCU).
AIM: The primary aim of this study was to determine the carriage of MRSA among patients of a PCU at a German University Hospital and to assess whether the positive cases would have been detected by a risk-factor-based screening-approach.
DESIGN: Between February 2014 and January 2015 patients from our PCU were tested for MRSA carriage within 48 hours following admission irrespective of pre-existing risk factors. In addition, risk factors for MRSA colonization were assessed. Samples from the nostrils and, if applicable, from pre-existing wounds were analysed by standardized culture-based laboratory techniques for the presence of MRSA and of other bacteria and fungi. Results from swabs taken prior to admission were also recorded if available.
RESULTS: 297 out of 317 patients (93.7%) fulfilled one or more MRSA screening criteria. Swabs from 299 patients were tested. The detection rate was 2.1% for MRSA. All MRSA cases would have been detected by a risk-factor-based screening-approach. Considering the detected cases and the results from swabs taken prior to admission, 4.1% of the patients (n = 13) were diagnosed with MRSA and 4.1% with MDRGNB (n = 13), including two patients with MRSA and MDRGNB (0.6%). The rate of MRSA carriage in PCU patients (4.1%) was elevated compared to the rate seen in the general cohort of patients admitted to our University Hospital (2.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: PCU patients have an increased risk to carry MRSA compared to other hospitalized patients. Although a risk factor-based screening is likely to detect all MRSA carriers amongst PCU patients, we rather recommend a universal screening to avoid the extra effort to identify the few risk factor-negative patients (<7%). As we did not perform a systematic MDRGNB screening, further studies are needed to determine the true prevalence of MDRGNB amongst PCU patients.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to describe how models of early integration (EI) of specialized palliative care (SPC) are applied to German comprehensive cancer center (CCCs). METHODS: Heads of SPC departments of the 15 German CCCs were asked by email to describe the situation of early SPC in their CCC. The responses were analyzed using MAXQDA. RESULTS: Thirteen answers were allowed to be analyzed. Most of the department heads report that EI models of SPC are partially applied in the CCC (responses with "yes" or "partly," n = 10). Though they often describe that the models' implementation needs optimization and depends on temporary and financial restrictions or it has a pilot character. Models compromise structures like SPC unit, inpatient/outpatient SPC consultation team, and participation of members of SPC team in tumor boards. Moreover, other EI models of SPC quoted by the participants were standard operating procedures (SOP), screening tools, and information material for physicians, patients, and their related persons. CONCLUSIONS: Currently, German CCC models of EI of SPC are not applied in a standardized way. Approaches are still very diverse.
Background: In studies enrolling informal caregivers of patients in palliative care, it is necessary to ensure that findings are not influenced by factors such as mental disorders.
Aim: This study aims to describe the influence of anxiety and depression on bereaved informal caregivers’ retrospective ratings of the quality of dying and death (QoDD) of their loved ones.
Design: Informal caregivers of deceased patients from 2 German palliative care (PC) units took part in a validation study of the German version of the original QoDD-Deutsch-Angehörige (QoDD-D-Ang) during the fourth week following the patient’s death at the earliest. Depressive and panic disorders were assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). Group comparisons ( 2, t test; significance level P < .05) analyzed whether informal caregivers with depression or panic disorders and those without such disorders differ in their estimates.
Results: A total of 226 informal caregivers participated between August 2012 and December 2013. The mean age of participants was 55.5 years; 61.1% were female. The PHQ of 221 participants resulted in 8.6% with major disorders, 13.6% with other depressive syndromes, and 77.8% without depressive disorders. In this secondary data analysis here, there was no difference between female and male participants concerning the incidence of depression (P = .519, 2). Two participants screened positive for both panic and major depressive disorders. Both groups presented no significant differences in the mean total QoDD-D-Ang scores (P = .343).
Conclusion: Informal caregivers’ estimates on the QoDD-D-Ang of their significant others do not interfere with mental disorders. Therefore, bereaved informal caregivers are able to participate in the PC research after a few weeks following the loss of a loved one.
L'objectif de cette étude était d'identifier, d'évaluer et de synthétiser les outils d'évaluation des résultats qui ont été utilisés ou proposés pour la recherche et la pratique clinique en soins palliatifs. L'étude a montré qu'il y a une prédominance des outils liés aux symptômes dans l'évaluation des résultats des soins palliatifs.