Purpose: To evaluate factors associated with continuation of systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) after palliative care consultation, and SACT administration in the last 30 days of life, in outpatients with cancer referred to palliative care. Timing of referral was of particular interest.
Methods: Patient, disease, and treatment-related factors associated with SACT before and after palliative care, and in the last 30 days of life, were identified using 3-level multinomial logistic regression. Referral to palliative care was categorized by time from death as early (>12 months), intermediate (6-12 months), and late (=6 months).
Results: Of the 337 patients, 240 (71.2%) received SACT for advanced cancer; of these, 126 (52.5%) received SACT only prior to palliative care while 114 (47.5%) also received SACT afterward. Only 35/337 (10.4%) received SACT in the last 30 days of life. On multivariable analysis, factors associated with continuing SACT after palliative care consultation were a cancer diagnosis for <1 year (OR 3.09, p = 0.01), breast primary (OR 11.88, p = 0.0008), and early (OR 28.8, p < 0.001) or intermediate (OR 6.67, p < 0.001) referral timing. No factors were significantly associated with receiving SACT in the last 30 days versus earlier, but the median time from palliative care referral to death in those receiving SACT in the last 30 days versus stopping SACT earlier was 1.78 versus 4.27 months.
Conclusion: Patients who received SACT following palliative care consultation were more likely to be referred early; however, patients receiving SACT in their last 30 days tended to be referred late.
Background: Pediatric palliative care (PPC) for oncology patients improves quality of life and the likelihood of goal-concordant care. However, barriers to involvement exist.
Objectives: We aimed to increase days between PPC consult and death for patients with refractory cancer from a baseline median of 13.5 days to =30 days between March 2019 and March 2020.
Methods: Outcome measure was days from PPC consult to death; process measure was days from diagnosis to PPC consult. The project team surveyed oncologists to identify barriers. Plan-do-study-act cycles included establishing target diagnoses, offering education, standardizing documentation, and sending reminders.
Results: The 24-month baseline period included 30 patients who died and 25 newly diagnosed patients. The yearlong intervention period included six patients who died and 16 newly diagnosed patients. Interventions improved outcome and process measures. Targeted patients receiving PPC =30 days prior to death increased from 43% to 100%; median days from consult to death increased from 13.5 to 159.5. Targeted patients receiving PPC within 30 days of diagnosis increased from 28% to 63%; median days from diagnosis to consult decreased from 221.5 to 14. Of those without PPC consult = 30 days after diagnosis, 17% had template documentation of the rationale.
Conclusion: Interventions utilized met the global aim, outcome, and process measures. Use of QI methodology empowered providers to involve PPC. Poor template use was a barrier to identifying further drivers. Future directions for this project relate to expanding the target list, creating long-term sustainability, formalizing standards, and surveying patients and families.
Background: Emergency department (ED) visits are common for older patients with chronic, life-limiting illnesses and may offer a valuable opportunity for clinicians to initiate proactive goals of care conversations (GoCC) to ensure end-of-life care that aligns with the patients' values, goals, and preferences.
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to assess whether GoCC are occurring with patients in Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) EDs, to characterize these patients' goals of care and life-sustaining treatment (LST) decisions, and to examine the extent to which palliative or hospice consultations occur following the ED visit.
Design: We conducted a cross-sectional retrospective study using health record data.
Settings/Subjects: A total of 10,780 patients receiving care in VA, whose first GoCC occurred during an ED visit.
Results: Of the patients in the study, approximately half were at least 70 years of age, three-quarters were white, and half had multiple serious disease comorbidities. The percentage of patients who desired cardiopulmonary resuscitation was lower among the highest risk (i.e., of hospitalization and death) patients (64% vs. 51%). The percentage of patients wanting other LSTs (e.g., mechanical ventilation) was higher among the lowest risk patients; and the percentage of patients requesting limits to LSTs was highest among higher risk patients. Eighteen percent of patients had a palliative or hospice care consult within three months of their ED visit.
Conclusions: In this study, we verified that GoCC are being initiated in the ED with Veterans at differing stages in their illness trajectory and that higher proportions of higher risk patients preferred to limit LSTs.
Background: It is not clear whether use of specialty palliative care consults and “comfort measures only” (CMO) order sets differ by type of intensive care unit (ICU). A better understanding of palliative care provided to these patients may help address heterogeneity of care across ICU types.
Objectives: Examine utilization of specialty palliative care consultation and CMO order sets across several different ICU types in a multihospital academic health care system.
Design: Retrospective cohort study using Washington State death certificates and data from the electronic health record.
Setting/Subjects: Adults with a chronic medical illness who died in an ICU at one of two hospitals from July 2013 through December 2018. Five ICU types were identified by patient population and attending physician specialty.
Measurements: Documentation of a specialty palliative care consult during a patient's terminal ICU stay and a CMO order set at time of death.
Results: For 2706 eligible decedents, ICU type was significantly associated with odds of palliative care consultation (p < 0.001) as well as presence of CMO order set at time of death (p < 0.001). Compared with medical ICUs, odds of palliative care consultation were highest in the cardiothoracic ICU and trauma ICU. Odds of CMO order set in place at time of death were highest in the neurology/neurosurgical ICU.
Conclusion: Utilization of specialty palliative care consultations and CMO order sets varies across types of ICUs. Examining this variability within institutions may provide an opportunity to improve end-of-life care for patients with chronic, life-limiting illnesses who die in the ICU.
Objective: To increase earlier access to palliative care, and in turn increase documented goals of care and appropriate hospice referrals for seriously ill patients admitted to hospital medicine.
Background: Due to the growing number of patients with serious illness and the specialty palliative care workforce shortage, innovative primary palliative care models are essential to meet this population's needs.
Methods: Patients with serious illness admitted to hospital medicine at a quaternary urban academic medical center in New York City and received an embedded palliative care social worker consultation in 2017. We used univariate analyses of sociodemographic, clinical, and utilization data to describe the sample.
Results: Overall, 232 patients received a primary palliative care consultation (mean age of 69 years, 44.8% female, 34% white, median Karnofsky Performance Status of 40%), and 159 (69%) had capacity to participate in a goals-of -are conversation. Referrals were from palliative care solid tumor oncology trigger program (113 [49%]), specialty palliative care consultation team (42[18%]), and hospital medicine (34[14.6%]). Before the consultation, 10(4.3%) had documented goals of care and 207 (89%) did after the consultation. The percentage of those referred to hospice was 24.1%. Of those transferred to specialty palliative care consultation service, nearly half required symptom management.
Discussion: Patients who received a primary palliative care consultation were seen earlier in their illness trajectory, based on their higher functional impairment, and the majority had capacity to participate in goals-of-care discussions, compared with those who were seen by specialty palliative care. The consultation increased goals-of-care documentation and the hospice referral rate was comparable with that of the specialty palliative consultation team.
OBJECTIVE: Determine the role of palliative care on terminal code status and setting of death for those with heart failure.
BACKGROUND: Although palliative care consultation (PCC) has increased for many conditions, PCC has not increased in those with cardiovascular disease. While it has been shown that the majority of those with heart failure die in medical facilities, the impact of PCC on terminal code status and setting of death requires further analysis.
METHODS: Patients admitted with heart failure between 2014-2015 at an academic VA Healthcare System were reviewed. Primary outcome was terminal code status. Secondary outcomes included setting of death, hospice utilization, and mortality scores. Student t-testing and Chi-square testing were performed where appropriate.
RESULTS: 334 patients were admitted with heart failure and had a median follow up time of 4.3 years. 196 patients died, with 122 (62%) receiving PCC and 74 (38%) without PCC. Patients were more likely to have terminal code statuses of comfort measures with PCC (OR = 4.6, p = 0.002), and less likely to be full code (OR = 0.09, p < 0.001). 146 patients had documented settings of death and were more likely to receive hospice services with PCC (OR 6.76, p < 0.001). A patient's chance of dying at home was not increased with PCC (OR 0.49, p = 0.07), but they were more likely to die with inpatient hospice (OR = 17.03; p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Heart failure patients who received PCC are more likely to die with more defined care preferences and with hospice services. This does not translate to dying at home.
Introduction: La population soignée pour une hémopathie maligne bénéficie moins souvent et plus tardivement de soins palliatifs spécialisés bien qu’ils soient aussi symptomatiques que les patients atteints de cancers solides. S’il existe des recommandations claires sur le bénéfice des soins palliatifs pour ces patients, la démarche à adopter est peu abordée.
Méthode: Dans un centre universitaire français, et à la suite de l’arrivée d’un médecin ayant bénéficié d’une double formation en hématologie et en soins palliatifs, une initiative de consultation spécialisée en soins palliatifs dans le service d’hématologie a permis d’augmenter l’accès aux soins palliatifs pour les patients atteints d’hémopathie maligne.
Résultats: La population bénéficiant de cette consultation avait une grande variabilité dans ses caractéristiques et sa survie mais était quasiment toujours symptomatique. Elle a pu être orientée en grande partie vers une équipe de soins palliatifs pluridisciplinaire, hospitalière ou ambulatoire. Cette offre a entraîné une double augmentation du nombre de passages de l’équipe mobile de soins palliatifs dans les services d’hématologie et du nombre de patients atteints d’hémopathie maligne hospitalisés en soins palliatifs.
Discussion: Cette initiative locale montre qu’il est possible et indiqué, pour un patient atteint d’hémopathie maligne, de bénéficier de soins palliatifs spécialisés, même précocement dans sa prise en charge. C’est à présent une volonté politique et institutionnelle qui doit établir, dans le partage des ressources de santé, les priorités de soins, notamment en fin de vie.
CONTEXT: Little is known about receipt of specialty-level palliative care by people with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), or its impact on healthcare utilization.
OBJECTIVES: Identify patient characteristics associated with receipt of specialty-level palliative care among hospitalized HCC patients and measure association with time to readmission.
METHODS: We used logistic regression to examine relationships between receipt of inpatient palliative care consultation by HCC patients at an academic center (N=811, 2012-2016), and clinical and demographic covariates at index hospitalization. We used a survival analysis model accounting for competing risk of mortality to compare time to readmission among individuals who did or did not receive palliative care during the admission and performed a sensitivity analysis using kernel weights to account for selection bias.
RESULTS: Overall, 16% received inpatient palliative care consults. Those who received consults had worse laboratory values than those who did not. In a multivariable model, higher MELD-Na, receipt of sorafenib, and higher pain scores were significantly associated with increased odds of palliative care, while liver transplantation and admission to a surgical service were associated with lower odds. For time to readmission (2,076 hospitalizations for 811 individuals with 175 palliative care visits), the sub-hazard ratio for readmission for patients who received consults was 0.26 (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 0.18-0.38) and 0.35 (CI 0.24-0.52) with a kernel-weighted sample.
CONCLUSION: Inpatient palliative care consultation was received by individuals with more advanced disease, and was associated with lower readmission hazard. These findings support further research and the development of HCC-specific programs that increase access to specialty-level palliative care.
BACKGROUND: Limited data about the frequency and outcomes of palliative care (PC) specialty consultations for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are available.
METHODS: This study was a retrospective chart review. Patients with ALS admitted to 2 academic hospitals from 2013-2018 were included. We compared patients who were seen by an inpatient specialty PC service (PC group) with those who were not (NonPC group).
RESULTS: Twenty-four patients met inclusion criteria (9 PC group, 15 NonPC group). Patients in both groups were similar in age and had been diagnosed for a similar amount of time before admission. In the PC group, 6 patients were seen by more than 1 PC multidisciplinary team member (physician, social worker, spiritual care provider, clinical nurse specialist). PC consultations were requested for goals of care (GOC) (n = 7), pain (n = 4), hospice information/referral (n = 2), dyspnea (n = 1), and excessive oral secretions (n = 1). GOC topics addressed for both groups were code status, treatment preferences (tracheostomy placement, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy placement, change to comfort care), prognostication, and hospice information/referral. Patients in the PC group were significantly more likely to be discharged with GOC (89%, p = 0.02) and completed advance care planning (ACP) documents (89%, p = 0.04) than patients in the NonPC group (32%; 47%). Despite reason for consultation, at least 1 symptom was addressed for every patient seen by PC specialists.
CONCLUSIONS: Inpatient specialty PC consultation for patients with ALS leads to greater documentation of GOC and ACP by discharge. PC consultants participate in symptom management in patients with ALS during hospitalization.
Background: Palliative care is expanding as part of treatment, but remains underutilized in trauma settings. Palliative care consultations (PCC) have shown to reduce nonbeneficial, potentially inappropriate interventions (PII), as decision for their use should always be made in the context of both the patient's prognosis and the patient's goals of care.
Objective: To characterize trauma patients who received PCC and to analyze the effect of PCC and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders on PII in severely injured patients.
Setting/Subjects: Retrospective cohort study of 864 patients admitted to two level 1 trauma centers: 432 patients who received PCC (PCC group) were compared with 432 propensity score match-controlled (MC group) patients who did not receive PCC.
Measurements: PCC in a consultative palliative care model, PII (including tracheostomy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) rate and timing, DNR orders.
Results: PCC rate in trauma patients was 4.3%, with a 5.3-day average time to PCC. PII were done in 9.0% of PCC and 6.0% of MC patients (p = 0.09). In the PCC group, 74.1% of PII were done before PCC, and 25.9% after. PCC compared with MC patients had significantly higher mechanical ventilation (60.4% vs. 18.1%, p < 0.001) and assisted feeding requirements (14.1% vs. 6.7%, p < 0.001). We observed a statistically significant reduction in PII after PCC (p = 0.002). Significantly less PCC than MC patients had PII following DNR (26.3% vs. 100.0%, p = 0.035).
Conclusions: PCC reduced PII in severely injured trauma patients by factor of two. Since the majority of PII in PCC patients occurred before PCC, a more timely administration of PCC is recommended. To streamline goals of care, PCC should supplement or precede a DNR discussion.
Objectives: Despite a number of studies on effectiveness of palliative care, there is a lack of complex updated review of the impact of in-hospital palliative care consult service. The objective is to update information on the impact of palliative care consult service in inpatient hospital setting.
Methods: This study was a systematic literature review, following the standard protocols (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, Joanna Briggs Institute tools) to ensure the transparent and robust review procedure. The effect of palliative care consult service was classified as being associated with improvement, no difference, deterioration or mixed results in specific outcomes. PubMed, Scopus, Academic Search Ultimate and SocINDEX were systematically searched up to February 2020. Studies were included if they focused on the impact of palliative care consult service caring for adult palliative care patients and their families in inpatient hospital setting.
Results: After removing duplicates, 959 citations were screened of which 49 full-text articles were retained. A total of 28 different outcome variables were extracted. 18 of them showed positive effects within patient, family, staff and healthcare system domains. No difference was observed in patient survival and depression. Inconclusive results represented patient social support and staff satisfaction with care.
Conclusions: Palliative care consult service has a number of positive effects for patients, families, staff and healthcare system. More research is needed on factors such as patient spiritual well-being, social support, performance, family understanding of patient diagnosis or staff stress.
BACKGROUND: Early palliative care (PC) physician involvement alongside standard oncologic care has been recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guidelines for all advanced cancer patients, although adherence to these guidelines is variable. Radiation oncologists (ROs) could help facilitate early PC referral for patients treated with palliative radiation, particularly those with brain metastasis (BRM), and the aim of this study was to evaluate the circumstances of PC referral at our institution to better understand the multidisciplinary approaches to facilitate it.
METHODS: Patients diagnosed with BRM from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from 2012 to 2018 whose primary RO and MO were at our institution were reviewed. Overall survival and time to PC consultation from the first oncologic visit following BRM diagnosis was determined using the KaplanMeier method. Mann-Whitney U and Chi-Squared assessed for predictive factors for shorter time to PC consultation. For these factors, the overall survival, rate of PC consultation, and PC setting was used to determine utilization of early PC.
RESULTS: Among 103 eligible patients, only 48% underwent a PC consultation in their lifetime, with the initial evaluation being as an outpatient for 37%, and within 1 month of death for 35%. Median survival from BRM diagnosis was 9.0 months. The median time from oncologic appointment to PC referral was 2.8 months, and from initial PC consultation to death was 1.6 months. Only more recent BRM diagnosis (2016-2018 vs. 2012-2015) was associated with shorter time to PC consultation (1.0 vs. 5.6 months, P=0.013), increased PC consult rate (60% vs. 42%, P=0.105), and increased outpatient PC consultation (56% vs. 26%, P=0.037).
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of patients did not undergo early PC consultation, though utilization has improved over time. As ROs are commonly involved in BRM management, they may be in a position to proactively support early PC consultations in this patient population.
Background: Emergency department (ED) initiated palliative consultation impacts downstream care utilization. Various admission consult triggers have been proposed without clear best practice or outcomes.
Objective: This 18-month single-center study evaluated the clinical, operational, and financial impact of simplified admission triggers for ED-initiated palliative consults as compared to downstream Floor and intensive care unit (ICU) palliative consults initiated per usual practice.
Methods: We distilled ED admission triggers into three criteria to ensure bedside actionability and sustainability: (1) end-stage illness, (2) functional limitation, and (3) clinician would not be surprised if the patient died this hospitalization. Eligible patients met all criteria, and received consultation within 24 hours of admission. We compared ED-initiated consults against Floor and ICU consults from March 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019, with matched cohort analysis to evaluate financial outcomes.
Results: While overall palliative consult volume remained intentionally steady, the proportion of ED-initiated consults significantly increased (7% vs. 19%, p < 0.001). ED consistently comprised 15–25% of all monthly palliative consults. Compared with Floor, ED had similar ED length of stay (LOS) and inpatient mortality. Among live discharges, ED were more likely to be referred to hospice than Floor (59% vs. 47%, p = 0.24) or ICU (59% vs. 34%, p = 0.02). In a matched cohort analysis, ED demonstrated median cost avoidance of $9,082 per patient versus Floor ($5,578 vs. $14,660, p < 0.001) and $15,138 per patient versus ICU ($5,578 vs. $20,716, p < 0.001). ED had significantly shorter median LOS before consult than Floor (0 vs. 3 days, p < 0.001) or ICU (0 vs. 3 days, p < 0.001), which did not differ between live discharges or inpatient deaths. Overall hospital LOS was disproportionately shorter for ED, with a net difference-in-differences of 1–3.5 days compared to Floor and ICU.
Conclusions: Simple ED admission triggers to expedite palliative engagement are associated with a 50–75% reduction in both hospital LOS and costs when compared against usual palliative consultation practice. ED initiation reduces both lead time before consultation and subsequent downstream hospitalization length.
A qualitative case-series review was conducted in a nurse-led home-based hospice service to evaluate the impact of specialist psychiatric consultations on patients’ well-being and management. The impact on patients’ care was assessed via analysis of case notes and psychiatrist reports, and interviews with both hospice nurses and the psychiatrist. 18 visits were made by the psychiatrist for 16 patients over a period of 12 months. Nine patients were referred for mood disorders, four for severe agitation, one for review of schizophrenia, one for dementia assessment, and one for possible patient abuse. Three patients already had psychiatric conditions prior to admission; long-standing anxiety, depression on a background of dementia, and chronic schizophrenia. Analysis of medical documentation revealed nine (half) of those visits led to positive psychological outcomes while the remainder were equivocal. Six positive cases involved the management of mood disorders, two related to the treatment of behavioural issues, while the last was for titration of medication. Almost all nurses gave positive feedback, expressing greater confidence and comfort in managing difficult mental health symptoms or family issues. However, short patient prognoses and limited psychiatrist visits prevented optimisation of interventions suggested. Overall, psychiatric consultations can improve patient well-being and enhance existing care.
Background: New Orleans, Louisiana served as a central location for a surge of novel coronavirus cases during the months of March 2020 to May 2020. To provide guidance to palliative care teams naive to the palliative care demand associated with a surge of coronavirus cases, we document our protocol to best optimize palliative care resources. This report aims to present this information and reflect upon what was most beneficial/least beneficial to serve as a roadmap for palliative teams facing this pandemic.
Objective: To pilot a team-based structured protocol to categorize severity of COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and subsequently collaborate with the palliative interdisciplinary team to assess physical, spiritual, and psychosocial needs.
Design: New ICU consults were categorized into color-coded clinical severity "pots" during daily ICU interdisciplinary rounds. Clinical decision making and communication with patient/next of kin were based on "pot" classification.
Settings/Subjects: Palliative medicine consults were placed on all COVID-19 positive patients admitted to the ICU between March 29, 2020, and May 1, 2020.
Measurements: A retrospective chart review was performed to analyze the effect of palliative care consultation on completion of goals-of-care conversations and the life-sustaining treatment (LST) document, an advance directive form specific to the Veterans Affairs hospital system between March 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020.
Results: Of the palliative consults evaluated by a palliative provider, 74% resulted in completion of a LST document, 58% resulted in video contact with family members, and 100% incorporated a goals-of-care discussion.
Conclusions: We found that standardizing palliative care consultation on all COVID-19 positive ICU admissions subjectively alleviated the burden on ICU providers and staff in the midst of a crisis, resulted in increased documentation of patient goals-of-care preferences/LSTs, facilitated clinical updates to family members, and better distributed clinical burden among palliative team members.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses clinicians for advance care planning (ACP) discussions with Medicare patients. The objective of the study was to examine the association of CMS-billed ACP visits with end-of-life (EOL) healthcare utilization.
DESIGN: Patient-level analyses of claims for the random 20% Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) sample of decedents in 2017. To account for multiple comparisons, Bonferroni adjusted P value <.008 was considered statistically significant.
SETTING: Nationally representative sample of Medicare FFS beneficiaries.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 237,989 Medicare FFS beneficiaries who died in 2017 and included those with and without a billed ACP visit during 2016–17.
INTERVENTION: The key exposure variable was receipt of first billed ACP (none, >1 month before death).
MEASUREMENTS: Six measures of EOL healthcare utilization or intensity (inpatient admission, emergency department [ED] visit, intensive care unit [ICU] stay, and expenditures within 30 days of death, in-hospital death, and first hospice within 3 days of death). Analyses was adjusted for age, race, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Index, expenditure by Dartmouth hospital referral region (high, medium, or low), and dual eligibility.
RESULTS: Overall, 6.3% (14,986) of the sample had at least one billed ACP visit. After multivariable adjustment, patients with an ACP visit experienced significantly less intensive EOL care on four of six measures: hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] = .77; 95% confidence interval [CI] = .74–.79), ED visit (OR = .77; 95% CI = .75–.80), or ICU stay (OR = .78; 95% CI = .74–.81) within a month of death; and they were less likely to die in the hospital (OR = .79; 95% CI = .76–.82). There were no differences in the rate of late hospice enrollment (OR = .97; 95% CI = .92–1.01; P = .119) or mean expenditures ($242.50; 95% CI = -$103.63 to $588.61; P = .169).
CONCLUSION: Billed ACP visits were relatively uncommon among Medicare FFS decedents, but their occurrence was associated with less intensive EOL utilization. Further research on the variables affecting hospice use and expenditures in the EOL period is recommended to understand the relative role of ACP.
Importance: National guidelines recommend early palliative care for patients with advanced heart failure, which disproportionately affects rural and minority populations.
Objective: To determine the effect of an early palliative care telehealth intervention over 16 weeks on the quality of life, mood, global health, pain, and resource use of patients with advanced heart failure.
Design, Setting, and Participants: A single-blind, intervention vs usual care randomized clinical trial was conducted from October 1, 2015, to May 31, 2019, among 415 patients 50 years or older with New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure or American College of Cardiology stage C or D heart failure at a large Southeastern US academic tertiary medical center and a Veterans Affairs medical center serving high proportions of rural dwellers and African American individuals.
Interventions: The ENABLE CHF-PC (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends Comprehensive Heartcare for Patients and Caregivers) intervention comprises an in-person palliative care consultation and 6 weekly nurse-coach telephonic sessions (20-40 minutes) and monthly follow-up for 48 weeks.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were quality of life (as measured by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire [KCCQ]: score range, 0-100; higher scores indicate better perceived health status and clinical summary scores =50 are considered “fairly good” quality of life; and the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–Palliative-14 [FACIT-Pal-14]: score range, 0-56; higher scores indicate better quality of life) and mood (as measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]) over 16 weeks. Secondary outcomes were global health (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System Global Health), pain (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System Pain Intensity and Interference), and resource use (hospital days and emergency department visits).
Results: Of 415 participants (221 men; baseline mean [SD] age, 63.8 [8.5] years) randomized to ENABLE CHF-PC (n = 208) or usual care (n = 207), 226 (54.5%) were African American, 108 (26.0%) lived in a rural area, and 190 (45.8%) had a high-school education or less, and a mean (SD) baseline KCCQ score of 52.6 (21.0). At week 16, the mean (SE) KCCQ score improved 3.9 (1.3) points in the intervention group vs 2.3 (1.2) in the usual care group (difference, 1.6; SE, 1.7; d = 0.07 [95% CI, -0.09 to 0.24]) and the mean (SE) FACIT-Pal-14 score improved 1.4 (0.6) points in the intervention group vs 0.2 (0.5) points in the usual care group (difference, 1.2; SE, 0.8; d = 0.12 [95% CI, -0.03 to 0.28]). There were no relevant between-group differences in mood (HADS-anxiety, d = -0.02 [95% CI, –0.20 to 0.16]; HADS-depression, d = –0.09 [95% CI, –0.24 to 0.06]).
Conclusions and Relevance: This randomized clinical trial with a majority African American sample and baseline good quality of life did not demonstrate improved quality of life or mood with a 16-week early palliative care telehealth intervention. However, pain intensity and interference (secondary outcomes) demonstrated a clinically important improvement.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Specialty palliative care for hospitalized patients with dementia is widely recommended and may improve outcomes, yet rates of consultation remain low. We sought to describe hospitalists' decision-making regarding palliative care consultation for patients with dementia.
DESIGN: Descriptive qualitative study.
SETTING: Seven hospitals within a national nonprofit health system.
PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalist physicians.
MEASUREMENTS: Individual semistructured interviews. We used thematic analysis to explore factors that influence hospitalists' decision to consult palliative care for patients with dementia.
RESULTS: A total of 171 hospitalists were eligible to participate, and 28 (16%) were interviewed; 17 (61%) were male, 16 (57%) were white, and 18 (64%) were in practice less than 10 years. Overall, hospitalists' decisions to consult palliative care for patients with dementia were influenced by multiple factors across four themes: patient, family caregiver, hospitalist, and organization. Consultation was typically only considered for patients with advanced disease, particularly those receiving aggressive care or with family communication needs (navigating conflicts around goals of care and improving disease and prognostic understanding). Hospitalists' limited time and, for some, a lack of confidence in palliative care skills were strong drivers of consultation. Palliative care needs notwithstanding, most hospitalists would not request consultation if they perceived families would be resistant to it or had limited availability or involvement in caregiving. Additional barriers to referral at the organization level included a hospital culture that conflated palliative and end-of-life care and busy palliative care teams at some hospitals.
CONCLUSION: Hospitalists described a complex consultation decision process for involving palliative care specialists in the care of patients with dementia. Systematic identification of hospitalized patients with dementia most likely to benefit from palliative care consultation and strategies to overcome modifiable family and organization barriers are needed.
PURPOSE: Considering the great need for palliative care in hospitals, it is essential for hospital staff to have palliative care knowledge. Palliative consultations have been shown to have positive effects on in-hospital care. However, barriers to contact with and uptake of palliative consultation advice are reported, posing a need for further knowledge about the process of palliative consultations. The purpose of this study therefore was to examine how palliative consultations in hospitals are practised, as perceived by consultants and health care professionals on receiving wards.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: Focus groups with palliative care consultation services, health care personnel from receiving wards and managers of consultation services. Interpretive description and constant comparative method guided the analysis.
FINDINGS: Variations were seen in several aspects of practice, including approach to practice and represented professions. The palliative consultants were perceived to contribute by creating space for palliative care, adding palliative knowledge and approach, enhancing cooperation and creating opportunity to ameliorate transition. Based on a perception of carrying valuable perspectives and knowledge, a number of consultation services utilised proactive practices that took the initiative in relation to the receiving wards.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: A lack of policy and divergent views on how to conceptualise palliative care appeared to be associated with variations in consultation practices, tentative approaches and a bottom-up driven development. This study adds knowledge, implying theoretical transferability as to how palliative care consultations can be practised, which is useful when designing and starting new consultation services.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the relief of symptoms provided by palliative care consultation team (PCCT) compared to the traditional care team (TC), in patients with advanced cancer in the first 48 hours of hospitalization.
METHOD: Allocated to PCCT Group and TC Group, this study assessed 290 patients according to the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) within the first 48 hours of hospitalization. The main outcome was a minimum 2-point reduction in symptom intensity.
RESULTS: At 48 hours, the PCCT Group had a 2-point reduction in the mean differences (p <0.001) in pain, nausea, dyspnea, and depression; and TC Group, on nausea and sleep impairment (p <0.001). Multiple Logistic Regression found for the PCCT Group a greater chance of pain relief (OR 2.34; CI 1.01-5.43; p = 0.049).
CONCLUSION: There was superiority of the PCCT Group for pain relief, dyspnea and depression. There is a need for more studies that broaden the understanding of team modalities.