OBJECTIVE: There is a lack of information about patients' attitudes towards and knowledge of resuscitation and advance care planning (ACP) in the palliative care unit (PCU). The aims of this study were to examine (a) patients' attitudes towards and knowledge of the topic of resuscitation, (b) patients' level of education about their illness and (c) their concept of ACP.
METHODS: This study used a qualitative methodology that involved semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer patients admitted to the PCU. Interviews were conducted during the first week after admission, recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed through content analysis using NVivo 12.
RESULTS: Eighteen interviews revealed the following themes: (a) ambivalence regarding preference for or refusal of resuscitation, (b) patient confidence concerning their level of education, (c) lack of information about ACP and (d) positive perception of the stay in the PCU. The data showed that a high percentage of PCU patients desired resuscitation even though education about their illness was mostly perceived as good. Many patients did not receive information about ACP. Patients perceived the stay in the PCU positively.
CONCLUSION: The study results reveal that there is lack of knowledge about ACP and resuscitation in patients in the PCU.
BACKGROUND: This pilot study examined which of a patient's personal aspects should be taken into account in a hospital setting on admission to the palliative care unit (PCU) by asking patients the question "what should I know about you as a person to help me take the best care of you that I can?"
METHODS: This retrospective study used qualitative methodology to thematically analyze answers from 14 patients admitted to the PCU of the Medical University of Vienna during July and August 2018. The question "what should I know about you as a person to help me take the best care of you that I can?" was asked on the day of admission, notes were taken during the interview and the patient's answers were written out immediately afterwards. Data were analyzed using NVivo 12.
RESULTS: Results revealed four topics: characterization of one's personality, important activities, social bonding, and present and future concerns regarding the patient's illness. Data showed that this question enabled patients to describe themselves and what was important to them. This might result in an improved sense of self-esteem in patients and represents an opportunity for professionals to treat patients in a more individualized manner; however, patient reactions also revealed a reluctance to address certain personal issues within a medical context.
CONCLUSION: The study results provide insights into the benefits of paying more attention to personal life aspects of severely ill patients on admission to a PCU. Addressing individual aspects of patients' lives might improve the healthcare professional-patient relationship.
BACKGROUND: Psychiatric symptoms are common in terminally ill patients. Studies linking temperamental traits and psychiatric disorders in patients suffering from advanced disease are rare. This study investigated the influence of temperament on depression and anxiety in palliative care cancer patients.
METHODS: A total of 53 patients at the palliative care unit (PCU) of the Medical University of Vienna were enrolled in the study. Patients filled out the TEMPS-M and the brief PHQ-9 questionnaires to examine associations between temperament, psychiatric symptoms and sociodemographic parameters.
RESULTS: Pain (67%), anorexia (58%), constipation (42%) and nausea/vomiting (40%) were the most prevalent self-reported symptoms. Self-reported symptoms of depression were less commonly reported (21.8%) than unveiled by the structured assessment by the PHQ-9 questionnaire: 26.4% (n = 14) showed mild symptoms of depression and 64.1% (n = 34) had a major depressive disorder (MDD) according to PHQ-9. The depressive and cyclothymic temperaments showed significant associations with depressive (both: p < 0.001) as well as symptoms of anxiety (p = 0.002; p = 0.036). Furthermore, the anxious temperament was significantly associated with symptoms of depression (p = 0.027).
CONCLUSIONS: Mood disorders are common in palliative care patients, as the majority of the patients were suffering from MDD. The depressive, cyclothymic and anxious temperaments were found to be correlated with depressive and anxious symptoms. A sensitization in this field might bring further improvements for the quality of life of palliative care patients and help to appropriately address psychiatric symptoms in palliative care.
BACKGROUND: Interdisciplinary tumor board decisions improve the quality of oncological therapies, while no such boards exist for end-of-life (EOL) decisions. The aim of this study was to assess the willingness of hemato-oncological and palliative care professionals to develop and participate in EOL boards. An aim of an EOL board would be to establish an interdisciplinary and comprehensive care for the remaining lifetime of patients suffering from advanced incurable diseases.
STUDY DESIGN: Staff from the interdisciplinary teams of all hemato-oncological and palliative care wards in Vienna were invited to anonymously participate in an online survey.
RESULTS: 309 professionals responded. 91% respondents reported a need to establish an EOL board, 63% expressed their willingness to actively participate in an EOL board, and 25% were indecisive. Regarding patient presence, 50% voted for an EOL board in the presence of the patients, and 36% voted for an EOL board in the absence of the patients. 95% had the opinion that an EOL board could improve patient care in the last phase of life. 64% stated that the development of an EOL board would be worthwhile, while 28% did not see enough resources available at their institutions. Regarding the desired type of documentation, 61% voted for a centrally available EOL decision, and 31% supported an in-house-based documentation. 94% voted for the availability of an information folder about EOL care.
CONCLUSION: The willingness of professionals to establish an EOL board was very high. Further steps should be taken to implement such boards to improve EOL care.
PURPOSE: In a palliative care setting, the preservation of quality of life is of particular importance. Horticultural therapy (HT) is reported as an excellent way to improve physical as well as psychological well-being, reduce levels of anxiety and depression, and promote social interaction. The use of horticultural interventions in palliative care has not yet been explored. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of HT in patients and team members on a palliative care ward.
METHODS: This study was based on a qualitative methodology, comprising 20 semistructured interviews with 15 advanced cancer patients participating in HT and with 5 members of the palliative care team. Interviews were analyzed using NVivo 10 software based on thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The results revealed the following themes: (1) well-being, (2) variation of clinical routine, (3) creation, and (4) building relationships. Patients experienced positive stimulation through HT, were distracted from daily clinical routines, enjoyed creative work, and were able to build relationships with other patients. HT was also welcomed by the members of the palliative care team. Thirty-six percent of the patients did not meet the inclusion criteria, and 45% could not participate in the second or third HT session.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that the availability of HT was highly appreciated by the patients as well as by the palliative care team. Nevertheless, the dropout rate was high, and therefore, it might be more feasible to integrate green spaces into palliative care wards.