BACKGROUND: Recent advances in immunology, genomics, and cellular therapy have opened numerous therapeutic possibilities in pediatric hematology-oncology, generating new hope in poor prognosis situations. How decisions are made when it comes to treatments and aims needs to be explored in this new technological context. In particular, their impact on the gold standard of early referral to palliative care must be assessed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Stemming from an ethnographic study combining semistructured interviews and observations carried out in a hematopoietic stem cell transplant unit in a Montréal Pediatric Hospital, we discuss the decision-making process when a patient faces poor prognosis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Although health care providers individually envisioned that palliative care may be the best course of action for patients receiving emergent therapy, they remained collectively in the curative mode. The intricate relationship between science, hope, caregiver, and care receiver sustains this perspective even when (near) death is the probable outcome. When proven treatment fails, emerging therapeutic possibilities offer new hope that can delay the referral to the palliative care team.
Should indication for transfusion in paediatric palliative care be based on the child's perspective rather than the biological results? An 8-year-old boy presenting a relapse of a stage IV neuroblastoma received regular blood transfusions. A severe exophtalmia led the doctors to question the transfusion strategy. Over 7.5 months, the child received 56 red blood cell units and 31 platelet units. He was hospitalised 50 times. Indication for blood test and transfusion may be regularly and collegially reassessed. Transfusion needs in a palliative strategy can be as high as in a curative strategy. Practices, benefits but also ethical and public health dimensions should be more studied.
Background: Observational studies investigating risk factors in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have not considered the confounding effects of advanced care planning, such that a valid picture of risk for elderly, frail and multi-morbid patients is unknown. We aimed to report ceiling of care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) decisions and their association with demographic and clinical characteristics as well as outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: Retrospective, observational study conducted between 5th March and 7th May 2020 of all hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Ceiling of care and CPR decisions were documented using the Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT) process. Unadjusted and multivariable regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with ceiling of care decisions and death during hospitalisation.
Results: A total of 485 patients were included, of whom 409 (84·3%) had a documented ceiling of care; level one for 208 (50·9%), level two for 75 (18·3%) and level three for 126 (30·8%). CPR decisions were documented for 451 (93·0%) of whom 336 (74·5%) were ‘not for resuscitation’. Advanced age, frailty, White-European ethnicity, a diagnosis of any co-morbidity and receipt of cardiovascular medications were associated with ceiling of care decisions. In a multivariable model only advanced age (odds 0·89, 0·86–0·93 p < 0·001), frailty (odds 0·48, 0·38–0·60, p < 0·001) and the cumulative number of co-morbidities (odds 0·72, 0·52–1·0, p = 0·048) were independently associated. Death during hospitalisation was independently associated with age, frailty and requirement for level two or three care.
Conclusion: Ceiling of care decisions were made for the majority of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, broadly in line with known predictors of poor outcomes in COVID-19, but with a focus on co-morbidities suggesting ICU admission might not be a reliable end-point for observational studies where advanced care planning is routine.
The death of a patient is one of the most stressful situations a healthcare professional can face for the first time at work or during training. Palliative and end of life care education aims to impart appropriate awareness and understanding of key issues arising at the end of life, but also to develop learners' interpersonal skills in leadership, communication and management of their own emotional load. There is a pressing need to be explicit around death, dying and care at the end of life and to equip clinical staff with the ability to manage the emotions that are experienced by their patients, their teams and themselves. Emotional intelligence is considered as a framework for medical educators to use in this setting with presentation of a simulated patient vignette to contextualise this.
OBJECTIVES: (i) Describe the prevalence and type of advance care directives (ACDs) and other advance care planning (ACP) documentation completed by persons with dementia, healthcare providers and others on behalf of a person with dementia; (ii) identify the personal and ACP programme characteristics associated with having ACP documentation in the health record; (iii) identify the personal and ACP programme characteristics associated with having a self-completed ACD.
METHODS: A multicentre audit was undertaken in Australian hospitals, general practices and residential aged care facilities. Auditors extracted demographic and ACP data from the records of eligible patients. ACP programme characteristics were provided by a site representative. Logistic and multinomial regression were used respectively to examine the factors associated with completion of any ACP documentation, and self-completion of an ACD by persons with dementia.
RESULTS: A total of 1388 people with dementia (33.2%) from 96 sites were included. Overall, 60.8% (n=844) had ACP documentation; 31.6% (n=438) had a self-completed ACD and 29.3% (n=406) had an ACP document completed by a health professional or someone else on their behalf. Older participants were more likely to have ACP documented. Multivariate analyses indicated the odds of having self-completed ACP documents, compared with no advance care plan or ACP completed by someone else, were significantly influenced by age, country of birth, setting and whether the site had ACP training, policies or guidelines.
DISCUSSION: While 60% of people with dementia had some form of ACP documentation, only half of the cases in which ACP was documented included an ACD completed by the person themselves.
Background: There is wide variability between intensivists in the decisions to forgo life-sustaining treatment (DFLST). Advance directives (ADs) allow patients to communicate their end-of-life wishes to physicians. We assessed whether ADs reduced variability in DFLSTs between intensivists.
Methods: We conducted a multicenter, prospective, simulation study. Eight patients expressed their wishes in ADs after being informed about DFLSTs by an intensivist-investigator. The participating intensivists answered ten questions about the DFLSTs of each patient in two scenarios, referring to patients’ characteristics without ADs (round 1) and then with (round 2). DFLST score ranged from 0 (no-DFLST) to 10 (DFLST for all questions). The main outcome was variability in DFLSTs between intensivists, expressed as relative standard deviation (RSD).
Results: A total of 19,680 decisions made by 123 intensivists from 27 ICUs were analyzed. The DFLST score was higher with ADs than without (6.02 95% CI [5.85; 6.19] vs 4.92 95% CI [4.75; 5.10], p < 0.001). High inter-intensivist variability did not change with ADs (RSD: 0.56 (round 1) vs 0.46 (round 2), p = 0.84). Inter-intensivist agreement on DFLSTs was weak with ADs (intra-class correlation coefficient: 0.28). No factor associated with DFLSTs was identified. A qualitative analysis of ADs showed focus on end-of-life wills, unwanted things and fear of pain.
Conclusions: ADs increased the DFLST rate but did not reduce variability between the intensivists. In the decision-making process using ADs, the intensivist’s decision took priority. Further research is needed to improve the matching of the physicians’ decision with the patient’s wishes.
Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03013530. Registered 6 January 2017; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03013530.
Background: End-of-life treatment decisions present special challenges for prehospital emergency providers. Paramedics regularly make value-laden choices that transcend technical judgment and professional skill, affecting the type of care, how and to whom it is provided. Changes in prehospital emergency care over the last decade have created new moral challenges for prehospital emergency providers; these changes have also accentuated the need for paramedics to make rapid and reasoned ethical judgments. Objective: The purpose of the study was to explore the decision-making process that occurs when prehospital emergency teams respond to an end-of-life call with a focus on how state authorized documents such as a Non-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate (NHDNR) or Medical/Physician's Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST/POLST) or lack thereof inform decision-making. This paper presents the specific circumstances that informed the need for intervention from Online Medical Direction (OLMD) framed in the perspectives and words of the prehospital providers seeking that assistance.
Methods: This study involved in-depth in-person interviews with 50 providers to elicit participants' experiences in their own words using a semi-structured interview instrument. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed with permission.
Results: Five themes emerged that illuminated how and when OLMD was involved in emergency end-of-life decisions: Termination of Resuscitation (TOR); Family Revoked DNR; Missing Documents; No Documents and No CPR; and Unusual Situations. Participants illustrated how the decision to terminate efforts was best-supported when it was made by collaboration between the on-scene provider and OLMD. Participants described ethical dilemmas when families asked them to initiate CPR in the presence of DNR orders and cognitive dissonance when CPR has been initiated but a valid DNR/MOLST is subsequently located.
Conclusions: The study findings demonstrate the invaluable contribution of OLMD for complex end-of-life care decisions by prehospital providers, especially when there are difficult legal, ethical, and logistical questions. OLMD provides far more than technical support.
Background: Understanding the role of nonphysicians in Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) completion is limited.
Objectives: To examine the role that nurse practitioners (NPs) play in POLST completion and differences between NPs and physicians in POLST orders.
Design: Retrospective observational study.
Setting/Subjects: A total of 3829 POLST forms submitted to the West Virginia (WV) e-Directive Registry between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, which was completed by 98 NPs and 511 physicians.
Measurements: POLST forms completed and orders in POLST Section A and Section B by all physicians and NPs according to practice (primary care, palliative care, hospital, and nursing home) and by palliative care physicians and NPs only.
Results: NPs completed almost twice as many forms on average as physicians (9.54 ± 20.82 vs. 5.66 ± 17.18, p = 0.0064). NPs constituted 16.10% (98/609) of the clinicians writing POLST forms but completed 24.40% (935/3829) of the forms (p < 0.001). Compared with physicians' orders, a greater percentage of NP's orders was for do-not-resuscitate in Section A (87.20% vs. 72.60%, p < 0.001) and comfort measures in Section B (42.90% vs. 33.10%, p < 0.001). There was a greater percentage of NPs in palliative care practice than physicians (23.50% vs. 6.07%, p < 0.001), and palliative care NPs completed 64.20% (600/935) of the forms submitted by NPs compared with palliative care physicians who completed 17.90% (517/2894) of the forms submitted by physicians (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: In WV, physician and NP POLST completion differs based on practice. NPs completed significantly more POLST forms on average and more often ordered comfort measures. NPs can play a significant role in POLST completion.
OBJECTIVE: To identify factors influencing cardiologists' and hospitalists' decisions regarding palliative care referral among hospitalised patients with advanced heart failure.
DESIGN: An exploratory, randomised vignette-based survey.
SETTING: Cardiology and hospitalist divisions at three Michigan State institutions and the Society of Hospital Medicine's Michigan Chapter.
PARTICIPANTS: 145 hospitalists and 64 cardiologists.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcomes included participants' reports of their likelihood of referring a standardised patient with an acute heart failure exacerbation with multiple prior hospital admissions and acute renal failure to palliative care (scale of 0%-100%) after the initial stem and after being cued with three randomised vignette modifiers, including the presence versus the absence of continuity with an outpatient cardiologist; the presence versus the absence of documented advance care planning; and the patient voicing that he is accepting of his severe illness versus wanting everything done. Adjusted generalised linear models and predictive margins were used to evaluate the impact of each randomised modifier on referral decisions. An interaction term evaluated the effect of provider specialty on outcomes. Secondary outcomes included participants' reports of their general practices around palliative care delivery to hospitalised patients with heart failure.
RESULTS: Response rate was 31.3%. Predictive margins from generalised linear models demonstrated a statistically significantly higher likelihood of referral to inpatient palliative care if the patient lacked an outpatient cardiologist (mean difference: 6.3% (95% CI 1.8% to 10.8%)); had prior advance care planning documentation (mean difference: 9.7% (95% CI 4.4% to 15.0%)); and was accepting of illness severity (mean difference: 29.6% (95% CI 24.8% to 34.4%)). No interaction effect was noted based on provider specialty. Most hospitalists and cardiologists were unaware of palliative care guidelines for patients with heart failure (74.3% vs 70.3%, p=0.71).
CONCLUSIONS: A number of patient and provider factors influence palliative care referral decisions in hospitalised patients with advanced heart failure.
Introduction : De nos jours 16 % des patients morts à l’hôpital décèdent aux urgences ou dans l’unité d’hospitalisation de courte durée. De fait, la décision de limitations et/ou d’arrêts des thérapeutiques actives (LATA) est souvent prise aux urgences. Les droits des malades concernant la fin de vie ont été renforcés en 2016 par la Loi Caeys-Leonetti. Notre étude a pour but d’évaluer les modalités et le contexte de la mise en place des LATA aux urgences du CHU d’Amiens afin de savoir si ces pratiques sont conformes aux recommandations et si le cadre réglementaire en est bien respecté.
Méthode : Il s’agit d’une étude observationnelle rétrospective descriptive au sein du service des urgences du CHU d’Amiens du 01 avril 2015 au 30 juin 2019. Ont été inclus les dossiers des patients ayant consulté aux urgences et pour lesquels un questionnaire de mise en place de LATA a été rempli.
Résultats : Cinq cent trois dossiers au total ont été inclus. La quasi-totalité des dossiers (99,8 %) comportaient le nom du médecin référent. De même, les décisions de LATA étaient prises de manière collégiale avec au moins un autre médecin dans la majorité des dossiers (93,2 %). En revanche, la personne de confiance n’était mentionnée que dans deux tiers des dossiers (67,3 %) et l’équipe paramédicale n’était mentionnée que dans un tiers des dossiers (34,1 %).
Conclusion : La mise en place d’un questionnaire relatif aux LATA dans le dossier médical favorise une prise en charge collégiale aux urgences. Ces décisions restent perfectibles, les 2 principaux points d’amélioration sont l’identification et l’information de la personne de confiance ainsi que la traçabilité de la consultation de l’équipe paramédicale dans les dossiers.
Background: End-of-life decisions for neonates with adverse prognosis are controversial and raise ethical and legal issues. In Greece, data on physicians’ profiles, motivation, values and attitudes underlying such decisions and the correlation with their background are scarce. The aim was to investigate neonatologists' attitudes in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and correlate them with self-reported practices of end-of-life decisions and with their background data.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was distributed to all 28 Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Greece. One hundred and sixty two out of 260 eligible physicians answered anonymously the questionnaire (response rate 66%). Demographic and professional characteristics, self-reported practices and opinions were included in the questionnaire, along with a questionnaire of 12 items measuring physicians’ attitude and views ranging from value of life to quality of life approach (scale 1–5).
Results: Continuation of treatment in neonates with adverse prognosis without adding further therapeutic interventions was the most commonly reported EoL practice, when compared to withdrawal of mechanical ventilation. Physicians with a high attitude score (indicative of value of quality-of-life) were more likely to limit, while those with a low score (indicative of value of sanctity-of-life) were more likely for continuation of intensive care. Physicians’ educational level (p:0.097), involvement in research (p:0.093), religion (p:0.024) and position on the existing legal framework (p < 0.001) were factors that affected the attitude score.
Conclusions: Physicians presented with varying end-of-life practices. Limiting interventions in neonates with poor prognosis was strongly related to their attitudes. The most important predictors for physicians' attitudes were religiousness and belief for Greek legal system reform.
Contexte : La recherche sur laquelle s’appuie cet article a été réalisée au cours d’un contrat doctoral en psychologie clinique. La question déployée autour des intentions et processus psychiques dans les prises de décisions à la place d’autrui dans les situations de fin de vie, a permis la mise en place d’une recherche de terrain par le biais d’observations et d’entretiens auprès de professionnels de soins palliatifs. Parmi les trois « triangulations cliniques » examinées dans la thèse, nous choisissons de nous arrêter sur une configuration particulière qui nous permet de mettre en exergue les affects négatifs qui prennent parfois place dans la relation de soin et la manière dont ceux-ci habitent les décisions que nous prenons à la place de nos patients.
Objectifs : Dans cette présentation, nous tentons de mettre en lumière certains mouvements inconscients qui nous semblent inhérents à la relation d’aide à la personne vulnérable, mais exacerbés lors de la rencontre avec des patients "déviants" (non compliants, dans le refus, etc.). Nous verrons comment cette négativité, prise dans des alliances inconscientes (R. Kaës, 2009), peut générer des situations qui relèvent parfois d’une véritable violence du soin (Ciccone et al., 2014) qu’il semble essentiel de mieux identifier afin de garantir une véritable éthique des processus décisionnels qui imprègnent les pratiques soignantes.
Méthode : Le recueil de données s’appuie sur des entretiens de recherche et des temps d’observation réalisés au sein de deux unités de soins palliatifs (USP) situées en France, organisés en deux sessions de 13 journées et/ou nuitées. Les entretiens ont été réalisés sous la forme d’une discussion guidée avec plusieurs professionnels (médecins, infirmières, aides-soignantes ou psychologues) volontaires. Les "triangulations cliniques" sont l’aboutissement d’un travail de recomposition au sujet d’un patient accueilli dans l’USP (1er point) à partir des notes d’observations de la chercheuse (2e point) et du discours des professionnels (3e point). Dans cet article, c’est le récit de M. Aïe qui est présenté parmi les trois triangulations cliniques soutenant le travail de thèse, dans ce qu’il offre la possibilité d’une mise en perspective de plusieurs niveaux de complexité autour de la négativité et des décisions prises à la place d’autrui.
Résultats : Cette présentation offre une occasion de penser le soin ainsi que la décision prise à la place d’autrui dans des dynamiques nouvelles. Les résultats cliniques obtenus à partir de la méthode de recherche originale mise en place dans la thèse montrent toute la fécondité d’un travail qui repose sur l’analyse des situations complexes à partir d’une triangulation clinique, cette triangulation permettant d’étudier les enjeux subjectifs susceptibles de s’exprimer à différents niveaux. C’est par ailleurs la perspective groupale qui est ici mise en relief, notamment au travers les alliances inconscientes basées sur le négatif de certaines situations de soin. Le récit de M. Aïe nous permet d’illustrer comment la haine se diffuse inconsciemment au sein des décisions prises pour la personne vulnérable. Ces conséquences nous appellent à déployer des stratégies pour tenter de symboliser ces affects déliants.
Conclusion : Décider à la place de l’autre vulnérable n’est une mince affaire pour personne et convoque chaque "décideur" dans ce qu’il a éprouvé à être le sujet vulnérable d’une décision prise par autrui : la figure du nourrisson en étant l’originaire (Ciccone, Bonnefoy, Bonneville, Calamote, & Deronzier, 2012). Face aux situations extrêmes de la vie où se jouent la précarité ontologique du sujet, depuis le début jusqu’à la toute fin de la vie, peut-être faut-il se saisir de positions subversives (Pacific, 2011) pour travailler l’idée qu’envisager la maltraitance comme potentiel du soin peut être un préalable à la bientraitance.
INTRODUCTION: We hypothesized that trauma providers are reticent to consider palliative measures in acute trauma care.
METHODS: An electronic survey based on four patient scenarios with identical vital signs and serious blunt injuries, but differing ages and frailty scores was sent to WTA and EAST members.
RESULTS: 509 (24%) providers completed the survey. Providers supported early transition to comfort care in 85% old-frail, 53% old-fit, 77% young-frail, and 30% young-fit patients. Providers were more likely to transition frail vs. fit patients with (OR = 4.8 [3.8-6.3], p < 0.001) or without (OR = 16.7 [12.5-25.0], p < 0.001) an advanced directive (AD) and more likely to transition old vs. young patients with (OR = 2.0 [1.6-2.6], p < 0.001) or without (OR = 4.2 [2.8-5.0], p < 0.001) an AD.
CONCLUSIONS: In specific clinical situations, there was wide acceptance among trauma providers for the early institution of palliative measures. Provider decision-making was primarily based on patient frailty and age. ADs were helpful for fit or young patients. Provider demographics did not impact decision-making.
BACKGROUND: Long-term survival and functional outcomes should influence admission decisions to intensive care, especially for patients with advanced disease.
AIM: To determine whether physicians' predictions of long-term prognosis influenced admission decisions for patients with and without advanced disease.
DESIGN: A prospective study was conducted. Physicians estimated patient survival with intensive care and with care on the ward, and the probability of 4 long-term outcomes: leaving hospital alive, survival at 6 months, recovery of functional status, and recovery of cognitive status. Patient mortality at 28 days was recorded. We built multivariate logistic regression models using admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) as the dependent variable.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: ICU consultations for medical inpatients at a Swiss tertiary care hospital were included.
RESULTS: Of 201 evaluated patients, 105 (52.2%) had an advanced disease and 140 (69.7%) were admitted to the ICU. The probability of admission was strongly associated with the expected short-term survival benefit for patients with or without advanced disease. In contrast, the predicted likelihood that the patient would leave the hospital alive, would be alive 6 months later, would recover functional status, and would recover initial cognitive capacity was not associated with the decision to admit a patient to the ICU. Even for patients with advanced disease, none of these estimated outcomes influenced the admission decision.
CONCLUSIONS: ICU admissions of patients with advanced disease were determined by short-term survival benefit, and not by long-term prognosis. Advance care planning and developing decision-aid tools for triage could help limit potentially inappropriate admissions to intensive care.
AIMS: To examine hospital nurses' perception of their actual and potential contribution to shared decision-making about life-prolonging treatment and their perception of the pre-conditions for such a contribution.
DESIGN: A qualitative interview study.
METHODS: Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 18 hospital nurses who were involved in care for patients with life-threatening illnesses. Data were collected from October 2018-January 2019. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis by two researchers.
RESULTS: Nurses experienced varying degrees of influence on decision-making about life-prolonging treatment. Besides, we identified different points of contact in the treatment trajectory at which nurses could be involved in treatment decision-making. Nurses' descriptions of behaviours that potentially contribute to shared decision-making were classified into three roles as follows: checking the quality of a decision, complementing shared decision-making and facilitating shared decision-making. Pre-conditions for fulfilling the roles identified in this study were: (a) the transfer of information among nurses and between nurses and other healthcare professionals; (b) a culture where there is a positive attitude to nurses' involvement in decision-making; (c) a good relationship with physicians; (d) knowledge and skills; (e) sufficient time; and (f) a good relationship with patients.
CONCLUSION: Nurses described behaviour that reflected a supporting role in shared decision-making about patients' life-prolonging treatment, although not all nurses experienced this involvement as such. Nurses can enhance the shared decision-making process by checking the decision quality and by complementing and facilitating shared decision-making.
IMPACT: Nurses are increasingly considered instrumental in the shared decision-making process. To facilitate their contribution, future research should focus on the possible impact of nurses' involvement in treatment decision-making and on evidence-based training to raise awareness and offer guidance for nurses on how to adopt this role.
BACKGROUND: This paper investigates the content of Australian policies that address withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment to analyse the guidance they provide to doctors about the allocation of resources.
METHODS: All publicly available non-institutional policies on withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment were identified, including codes of conduct and government and professional organization guidelines. The policies that referred to resource allocation were isolated and analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Eight Australian policies addressed both withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and resource allocation.
RESULTS: Four resource-related themes were identified: (1) doctors' ethical duties to consider resource allocation; (2) balancing ethical obligations to patient and society; (3) fair process and transparent resource allocation; and (4) legal guidance on distributive justice as a rationale to limit life-sustaining treatment.
CONCLUSION: Of the policies that addressed resource allocation, this review found broad agreement about the existence of doctors' duties to consider the stewardship of scarce resources in decision-making. However, there was disparity in the guidance about how to reconcile competing duties to patient and society. There is a need to better address the difficult and confronting issue of the role of scarce resources in decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
Background: In 2017, the American College of Surgeons' Trauma Quality Improvement Program adopted a Palliative Care Best Practices Guidelines that calls for early palliative care for hospitalized injured patients.
Objective: To develop an educational intervention to address the palliative needs of injured patients.
Design: Palliative faculty presented a three-part monthly lecture series focused on core primary palliative skills, including the components of palliative care; conducting family conferences; communication skills for complex medical decision making; pain management; and, end-of-life planning. Additionally a palliative provider joined trauma team rounds every other week to highlight opportunities for enhanced palliative assessments, identify appropriate consults, and provide just-in-time teaching.
Setting: Urban, level-1 trauma center.
Measurements: Surgical residents completed a survey at the beginning and end of the academic year, during which the intervention took place. All survey questions were answered with a 5-point Likert scale. Rate of palliative care consultation was also tracked.
Results: There were statistically significant perceived improvements in goals-of-care discussions (initial discussion—4.30 vs. 3.52, p = 0.4; follow-up discussion—3.89 vs. 3.05, p = 0.021) and documentation (3.89 vs. 2.9, p = 0.032), incorporation of patient preferences into decision making (4.20 vs. 3.43, p = 0.04), discussion of palliative needs during rounds (4.30 vs. 2.81; p < 0.001) and care transitions (3.90 vs. 3.05, p = 0.008), respect for decisions to forgo life-sustaining treatments (4.40 vs. 3.52, p = 0.004), and identification of advance directives (4.11 vs. 3.05, p = 0.002) and surrogate decision maker (4.44 vs. 3.60, p = 0.015). The overall rate of palliative specialist consultation also increased (8.4% vs. 16.1%, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Embedding primary palliative education into usual didactic and rounding time for an inpatient trauma team is an effective way to help residents develop palliative skills and foster culture change. Educational partnerships such as this may serve as an example to other trauma programs.
The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) program was developed to enhance quality of care delivered at End-of-Life (EoL). Although positive impacts of the POLST program have been identified, the association between a program maturity status and nursing home resident's likelihood of dying in their current care settings remain unanswered. This study aims to evaluate the impact of the POLST program maturity status on nursing home residents' place of death. Using multiple national-level datasets, we examined total 595,152 residents and their place of death. The result showed that the long-stay residents living in states where the program was mature status had 12% increased odds of dying in nursing homes compared that of non-conforming status. Individuals residing in states with developing program status showed 11% increase in odds of dying in nursing homes. The findings demonstrate that a well-structured and well-disseminated POLST program, combined with a continued effort to meet high standards of quality EoL care, can bring out positive health outcomes for elderly patients residing in care settings.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the attitudes and practices of intensivists working in Lebanon regarding withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (LSTs). The objectives of the study were to assess the points of view and practices of intensivists in Lebanon along with the opinions of medical, legal and religious leaders regarding withholding withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments in Lebanese intensive care units (ICU).
METHODS: A web-based survey was conducted among intensivists working in Lebanese adult ICUs. Interviews were also done with Lebanese medical, legal and religious leaders.
RESULTS: Of the 229 survey recipients, 83 intensivists completed it, i.e. a response rate of (36.3%). Most respondents were between 30 and 49 years old (72%), Catholic Christians (60%), anesthesiologists (63%), working in Beirut (47%). Ninety-two percent of them were familiar with the withholding and withdrawal concepts and 80% applied them. Poor prognosis of the acute and chronic disease and futile therapy were the main reasons to consider withholding and withdrawal of treatments. Ninety-five percent of intensivists agreed with the "Principle of Double Effect" (i.e. adding analgesia and or sedation to patients after the withholding/withdrawal decisions in order to prevent their suffering and allow their comfort, even though it might hasten the dying process). The main withheld therapies were vasopressors, respiratory assistance and CPR. Most of the respondents reported the decision was often to always multidisciplinary (92%), involving the family (68%), and the patient (65%), or his advance directives (77%) or his surrogate (81%) and the nurses (78%). The interviewees agreed there was a law governing withholding and withdrawal decisions/practices in Lebanon. Christians and Muslim Sunni leaders declared accepting those practices (withholding or withdrawing LSTs from patients when appropriate).
CONCLUSION: Withholding and withdrawal of LSTs in the ICU are known concepts among intensivists working in Lebanon and are being practiced. Our results could be used to inform and optimize therapeutic limitation in ICUs in the country.
BACKGROUND: At the end of patients' lives, physicians sometimes provide medication with the explicit intention to hasten death. Physicians' assessment of such acts varies. We studied which characteristics are associated with physicians' classification of these acts.
METHODS: This study concerns a secondary analysis of a nationwide study on the practice of medical decision-making at the end of life. In 2015, attending physicians of a sample of deceased people (n=9,351) received a questionnaire about end-of-life care and decision-making. The response rate was 78%. We studied 851 cases in which physicians reported that the patient had died as a result of medication they had provided with the explicit intention to hasten death. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were performed.
RESULTS: If medication had been provided with the explicit intention to hasten death at the explicit request of the patient, physicians considered "euthanasia", "assisted suicide" or "ending of life" the most appropriate term for their course of action in 82% of all cases, while 17% of physicians chose the term "palliative or terminal sedation". Physicians' classification of their act as "euthanasia", "assisted suicide" or "ending of life" was less likely when patients had a short (1-7 days) or very short (max. 24 hours) life expectancy. Furthermore, such classification was less likely when their act had involved the use of other medication than muscle relaxants. The limited number of cases in which patients had been provided with medication without an explicit patient request were never classified as "euthanasia", "assisted suicide" or "ending of life".
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians rarely classify the provision of medication with the explicit intention of hastening death as "euthanasia", "assisted suicide" or "ending of life" when patients are in the dying phase and when they provide other medication than muscle relaxants. In these cases, acts are mostly classified as "palliative or terminal sedation". This suggests that the legal distinction between euthanasia and palliative care may not always be clear in clinical practice.