Background: In jurisdictions where medical aid in dying (MAiD) is legal, there is an obligation to ensure the competence of those who assess eligibility and provide MAiD to patients. Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) are one framework for incorporating competency-based training and assessment into the workplace, so we convened a group of experienced MAiD providers to develop an EPA descriptor for MAiD.
Methods: We performed a mixed-methods sequential qualitative (focus group via 2 teleconferences) and quantitative (survey) study to generate and refine a consensus descriptor using open coding followed by a modified Delphi approach. Participants were experienced MAiD assessors and providers identified purposively from a national community of practice in Canada.
Results: Of the 22 MAiD assessors and providers invited to participate in the focus group, 13 (59%) agreed. The focus group divided MAiD into 3 components: assessment, preparation and provision of MAiD. Participants identified key knowledge, skills and attitudes for each component. They also suggested teaching approaches, potential sources of information to evaluate progress and a potential basis for evaluating progress and entrustment. Key points from this descriptor were sent via survey to 88 assessors and providers, of whom 64 (73%) responded. Respondents agreed on all key points except for the conditions of entrustment; these were modified based on feedback and sent back to the respondents for a second Delphi round, where agreement was achieved.
Interpretation: We achieved a high degree of agreement on a competency-based descriptor of MAiD in the form of an EPA. This can be used to inform practice standards, curriculum development and/or assessment of competence among learners and practising providers alike.
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: 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.