OBJECTIVES: Describe pediatric palliative care consult in children with heart disease; retrospectively apply Center to Advance Palliative Care criteria for pediatric palliative care consults; determine the impact of pediatric palliative care on end of life.
DESIGN: A retrospective single-center study.
SETTING: A 16-bed cardiac ICU in a university-affiliated tertiary care children's hospital.
PATIENTS: Children (0-21 yr old) with heart disease admitted to the cardiac ICU from January 2014 to June 2017.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Over 1,000 patients (n = 1, 389) were admitted to the cardiac ICU with 112 (8%) receiving a pediatric palliative care consultation. Patients who received a consult were different from those who did not. Patients who received pediatric palliative care were younger at first hospital admission (median 63 vs 239 d; p = 0.003), had a higher median number of complex chronic conditions at the end of first hospitalization (3 vs 1; p < 0.001), longer cumulative length of stay in the cardiac ICU (11 vs 2 d; p < 0.001) and hospital (60 vs 7 d; p < 0.001), and higher mortality rates (38% vs 3%; p < 0.001). When comparing location and modes of death, patients who received pediatric palliative care were more likely to die at home (24% vs 2%; p = 0.02) and had more comfort care at the end of life (36% vs 2%; p = 0.002) compared to those who did not. The Center to Advance Palliative Care guidelines identified 158 patients who were eligible for pediatric palliative care consultation; however, only 30 patients (19%) in our sample received a consult.
CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric palliative care consult rarely occurred in the cardiac ICU. Patients who received a consult were medically complex and experienced high mortality. Comfort care at the end of life and death at home was more common when pediatric palliative care was consulted. Missed referrals were apparent when Center to Advance Palliative Care criteria were retrospectively applied.
Background: Adults with impaired performance status (PS) often receive immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) despite limited efficacy data and unknown effects on end-of-life care.
Methods: This was a retrospective, single-site study of 237 patients with advanced NSCLC who initiated ICI treatment from 2015 to 2017. Cox regression was used to compare the overall survival (OS) of patients who had impaired PS (=2) at the start of ICI treatment with those who had PS 0 or 1 using Cox regression. Logistic regression was conducted to analyze the association between ICI use in the last 30 days of life and the use of end-of-life health care.
Results: The patient mean age at ICI initiation was 67 years (range, 37-91 years), and 35.4% of patients had PS =2. Most patients (80.8%) received ICI as second-line or later therapy. The median OS was 4.5 months in patients with PS =2 and 14.3 months in those with PS 0 or 1 (hazard ratio, 2.5; P < .0001). Among the patients who died (n = 184), 28.8% who had PS =2 received ICIs in their last 30 days of life compared with 10.8% of those who had PS 0 or 1 (P = .002). Receipt of ICI in the last 30 days of life was associated with decreased hospice referral (odds ratio, 0.29; P = .008) and increased in-hospital deaths (odds ratio, 6.8; P = .001), independent of PS.
Conclusions: Adults with advanced NSCLC and impaired PS experience significantly shorter survival after ICI treatment and receive ICIs near death more often than those with better PS. Receipt of an ICI near death was associated with lower hospice use and an increased risk of death in the hospital. These results underscore the need for high-quality communication about potential tradeoffs of ICIs, particularly among adults receiving ICIs as second-line or later therapy.
Background: Advanced cancer patients often die in hospital after receiving needless, aggressive treatment. Although palliative care improves symptom management, barriers to accessing palliative care services affect its utilisation, and such disparities challenge the equitable provision of palliative care. This study aimed to identify which factors are associated with inequitable palliative care service utilisation among advanced cancer patients by applying the Andersen Behavioural Model of Health Services Use.
Material and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare data. A total of 13,656 patients residing in the Lazio region of Italy, who died of an advanced cancer-related cause—either in hospital or in a specialised palliative care facility—during the period of 2012–2016 were included in the study. Potential predictors of specialised palliative service utilisation were explored by grouping the following factors: predisposing factors (i.e., individuals’ characteristics), enabling factors (i.e., systemic/structural factors) and need factors (i.e., type/severity of illness).
Results: The logistic hierarchical regression showed that older patients (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45; <0.0001) of Caucasian ethnicity (OR = 4.17; 0.02), with a solid tumour (OR = 1.87; <0.0001) and with a longer survival time (OR = 2.09; <0.0001) were more likely to be enrolled in a palliative care service. Patients who lived farther from a specialised palliative care facility (OR = 0.13; <0.0001) and in an urban area (OR = 0.58; <0.0001) were less likely to be enrolled.
Conclusion: This study found that socio-demographic (age, ethnicity), clinical (type of tumour, survival time) and organisational (area of residence, distance from service) factors affect the utilisation of specialised palliative care services. The fact that service utilisation is not only a function of patients’ needs but also of other aspects demonstrates the presence of inequity in access to palliative care among advanced cancer patients.
OBJECTIVES: We investigated trends in end-of-life hospitalizations among nursing home residents (NHR) over 10 years and looked at differences between age groups and sexes as well as the length of terminal hospital stays.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study based on health insurance claims data of the AOK Bremen/Bremerhaven. All NHR aged 65 years or more who died between 2006 and 2015 were included.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We assessed the proportions of decedents who were in hospital on the day of death and during the last 3, 7, 14 and 30 days of life, stratified by two-year periods. Multiple logistic regressions were conducted to study changes over time, adjusting for covariates.
RESULTS: A total of 10,781 decedents were included (mean age 86.1 years, 72.1 % females). Overall, 29.2 % died in hospital, with a slight decrease from 30.3 % in 2006-2007 to 28.3 % in 2014-2015 (OR 0.86; 95 % CI 0.75-0.98). Of the 3150 terminal hospitalizations, 35.5 % lasted up to 3 days and the mean length of stay decreased from 9.0 (2006-2007) to 7.5 days (2014-2015). When looking at the last 7, 14 and 30 days of life, no changes over time were found. Male sex and younger age were associated with a higher chance of end-of-life hospitalization in almost all analyses.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life hospitalizations of NHR are common in Germany. There has been a small decrease during recent years in the proportion of in-hospital deaths, but not of hospitalizations during the last 7, 14 and 30 days of life. This might be explained by shorter durations of hospital stays.
BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer may develop metastases to the orbit causing distressing symptoms. External beam radiation therapy (RT) is an effective palliative treatment for patients with orbital and ocular metastases. The aim of treatment is to preserve vision and to reduce pain. Delivery of 30 to 40 Gy in 2 Fr fractions is a practice in many oncology centres. The aim of this study is to evaluate the outcome of shortcourse palliative radiotherapy in the management of orbital and ocular metastases.
METHODS: A retrospective study to review all patients with orbital metastases treated in 2016 to 2018 were performed. The primary outcomes were a change in visual acuity and tumor response. Secondary outcomes included toxicities of radiotherapy, symptomatic response and survival.
RESULTS: Fifteen patients with 19 eyes were included. The most common presenting symptoms were decreased vision, periorbital swelling, and pain. The median follow-up period was 8 months. Visual acuity improved in 11 out of 13 (84.6%) of patients and remained stable in the remaining 2 patients. Partial and complete response (CR) of tumor was observed in 14 out of 15 (93.3%) of patients while one (6.6%) patient had stable disease. The overall response rate (ORR) was 100%. Two (13.3%) patients had grade 2 conjunctivitis. There were no grade 3-4 toxicities and no long-term toxicities observed. The median survival was 9.1 months from diagnosis of choroidal metastases.
CONCLUSIONS: Short course palliative RT is effective and well tolerated in patients with orbital and ocular metastases. The current review showed that it effectively preserves vision and improves orbital symptoms with minimal radiation-induced toxicity. Short course radiotherapy will help to minimize the traveling time to the hospital and relieve the burden of a long treatment course in this palliative patient population.
BACKGROUND: Predicting death in a cohort of clinically diverse, multi-condition hospitalized patients is difficult. This frequently hinders timely serious illness care conversations. Prognostic models that can determine 6-month death risk at the time of hospital admission can improve access to serious illness care conversations.
OBJECTIVE: The objective is to determine if the demographic, vital sign, and laboratory data from the first 48 h of a hospitalization can be used to accurately quantify 6-month mortality risk.
DESIGN: This is a retrospective study using electronic medical record data linked with the state death registry.
PARTICIPANTS: Participants were 158,323 hospitalized patients within a 6-hospital network over a 6-year period.
MAIN MEASURES: Main measures are the following: the first set of vital signs, complete blood count, basic and complete metabolic panel, serum lactate, pro-BNP, troponin-I, INR, aPTT, demographic information, and associated ICD codes. The outcome of interest was death within 6 months.
KEY RESULTS: Model performance was measured on the validation dataset. A random forest model-mini serious illness algorithm-used 8 variables from the initial 48 h of hospitalization and predicted death within 6 months with an AUC of 0.92 (0.91-0.93). Red cell distribution width was the most important prognostic variable. min-SIA (mini serious illness algorithm) was very well calibrated and estimated the probability of death to within 10% of the actual value. The discriminative ability of the min-SIA was significantly better than historical estimates of clinician performance.
CONCLUSION: min-SIA algorithm can identify patients at high risk of 6-month mortality at the time of hospital admission. It can be used to improved access to timely, serious illness care conversations in high-risk patients.
Background: The prediction of short-term survival is important for noncancer patients and their families. Although a markedly reduced oral intake by cancer patients suggests a poor prognosis, the survival times of noncancer patients after its onset remain unclear. We herein investigated the time from a marked reduction in oral intake to death in noncancer patients as well as factors associated with their subsequent survival.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective medical record review of noncancer patients who died in our hospital between April 2017 and April 2018. We recorded the day when oral intake markedly decreased and the date of death. We extracted data on age, gender, the Charlson Comorbidities Index, mean daily fluid volume, laboratory test results, and vital signs converted to the Shock Index (SI). We used Cox's proportional hazards models to assess relationships between these factors and survival times after the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake.
Results: We analyzed data from 44 noncancer patients. The median time from the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake to death was 16.5 days. Based on Cox's proportional hazards models, only SI >= 1.0 at the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake correlated with survival times (hazard ratio: 5.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.71-20.1, P = .005).
Conclusion: Noncancer patients died a median of 16.5 days after the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake, and SI >=1.0 correlated with subsequent survival times. These results will provide novel insights into the prognosis of noncancer patients at the end of life.
Background: Palliative care (PC) referral is recommended early in the course of advanced cancer. This study aims to describe, in an integrated onco-palliative care program (IOPC), patient’s profile when first referred to this program, timing of this referral and its impact on the trajectory of care at end-of-life.
Methods: The IOPC combined the weekly onco-palliative meeting (OPM) dedicated to patients with incurable cancer, and/or the clinical evaluation by the PC team. Oncologists can refer to the multidisciplinary board of the OPM the patients for whom goals and organization of care need to be discussed. We analyzed all patients first referred at OPM in 2011–2013. We defined the index of precocity (IP), as the ratio of the time from first referral to death by the time from diagnosis of incurability to death, ranging from 0 (late referral) to 1 (early referral).
Results: Of the 416 patients included, 57% presented with lung, urothelial cancers, or sarcoma. At first referral to IOPC, 76% were receiving antitumoral treatment, 63% were outpatients, 56% had a performance status =2 and 46% had a serum albumin level > 35 g/l. The median [1st-3rd quartile] IP was 0.39 [0.16–0.72], ranging between 0.53 [0.20–0.79] (earliest referral, i.e. close to diagnosis of incurability, for lung cancer) to 0.16 [0.07–0.56] (latest referral, i.e. close to death relatively to length of metastatic disease, for prostate cancer). Among 367 decedents, 42 (13%) received antitumoral treatment within 14 days before death, and 157 (43%) died in PC units.
Conclusions: The IOPC is an effective organization to enable early integration of PC and decrease aggressiveness of care near the end-of life. The IP is a useful tool to model the timing of referral to IOPC, while taking into account each cancer types and therapeutic advances.
OBJECTIVES: Continuation of aspirin for secondary prevention in persons with limited life expectancy (LLE) is controversial. We sought to determine the incidence and predictors of aspirin discontinuation in veterans with LLE and/or advanced dementia (LLE/AD) who were taking aspirin for secondary prevention at nursing home admission, stratified by whether their limited prognosis (LP) was explicitly documented at admission.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study using linked Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare clinical/administrative data and Minimum Data Set resident assessments.
SETTING: All VA nursing homes (referred to as community living centers [CLCs]) in the United States.
PARTICIPANTS: Older (=65 y) CLC residents with LLE/AD, admitted for 7 days or longer in fiscal years 2009 to 2015, who had a history of coronary artery disease and/or stroke/transient ischemic attack, and used aspirin within the first week of CLC admission (n = 13 844).
MEASUREMENTS: The primary dependent variable was aspirin discontinuation within the first 90 days after CLC admission, defined as 14 consecutive days of no aspirin receipt. Independent variables included an indicator for explicit documentation of LP, sociodemographics, environment of care characteristics, cardiovascular risk factors, bleeding risk factors, individual markers of poor prognosis (eg, cancer, weight loss), and facility characteristics. Fine and Gray subdistribution hazard models with death as a competing risk were used to assess predictors of discontinuation.
RESULTS: Cumulative incidence of aspirin discontinuation was 27% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 26%-28%) in the full sample, 34% (95% CI = 33%-36%) in residents with explicit documentation of LP, and 24% (95% CI = 23%-25%) in residents with no such documentation. The associations of independent variables with aspirin discontinuation differed in residents with vs without explicit LP documentation at admission.
CONCLUSION: just over one-quarter of patients discontinued aspirin, possibly reflecting the unclear role of aspirin in end of life among prescribers. Future research should compare outcomes of aspirin deprescribing in this population.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer greatly care about where they will die. Most people in Japan preferred their location of death as their homes. But only 8.2% of patients with cancer spend their last days at home with palliative care in Japan. Many patients with cancer are still going to spend their last days at a hospital (81.7%).
OBJECTIVE: We examined the survival times of such patients according to their place of death; that is, whether they died at home, at a hospice, or at a hospital, and investigated patient characteristics.
RESULTS: Among the 313 patients recruited, 214 were analyzed in this study: 90, 49, and 75 received hospital-based, home-based, and hospice-based palliative care, respectively. The patients who died at a hospice exhibited significantly longer survival than those who died at hospital (estimated median survival time, 420 days [95% confidence interval [CI]: 325-612 days] versus 252 days [95% CI: 201-316 days]; P < .0001). The characteristics of patients did not differ significantly according to place of death.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients who died at a hospice or at home exhibited significantly longer survival than those who died at a hospital for advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Importance: Patients with chronic illness frequently use Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) to document treatment limitations.
Objectives: To evaluate the association between POLST order for medical interventions and intensive care unit (ICU) admission for patients hospitalized near the end of life.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study of patients with POLSTs and with chronic illness who died between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017, and were hospitalized 6 months or less before death in a 2-hospital academic health care system.
Exposures: POLST order for medical interventions ("comfort measures only" vs "limited additional interventions" vs "full treatment"), age, race/ethnicity, education, days from POLST completion to admission, histories of cancer or dementia, and admission for traumatic injury.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the association between POLST order and ICU admission during the last hospitalization of life; the secondary outcome was receipt of a composite of 4 life-sustaining treatments: mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, dialysis, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. For evaluating factors associated with POLST-discordant care, the outcome was ICU admission contrary to POLST order for medical interventions during the last hospitalization of life.
Results: Among 1818 decedents (mean age, 70.8 [SD, 14.7] years; 41% women), 401 (22%) had POLST orders for comfort measures only, 761 (42%) had orders for limited additional interventions, and 656 (36%) had orders for full treatment. ICU admissions occurred in 31% (95% CI, 26%-35%) of patients with comfort-only orders, 46% (95% CI, 42%-49%) with limited-interventions orders, and 62% (95% CI, 58%-66%) with full-treatment orders. One or more life-sustaining treatments were delivered to 14% (95% CI, 11%-17%) of patients with comfort-only orders and to 20% (95% CI, 17%-23%) of patients with limited-interventions orders. Compared with patients with full-treatment POLSTs, those with comfort-only and limited-interventions orders were significantly less likely to receive ICU admission (comfort only: 123/401 [31%] vs 406/656 [62%], aRR, 0.53 [95% CI, 0.45-0.62]; limited interventions: 349/761 [46%] vs 406/656 [62%], aRR, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.71-0.87]). Across patients with comfort-only and limited-interventions POLSTs, 38% (95% CI, 35%-40%) received POLST-discordant care. Patients with cancer were significantly less likely to receive POLST-discordant care than those without cancer (comfort only: 41/181 [23%] vs 80/220 [36%], aRR, 0.60 [95% CI, 0.43-0.85]; limited interventions: 100/321 [31%] vs 215/440 [49%], aRR, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.51-0.78]). Patients with dementia and comfort-only orders were significantly less likely to receive POLST-discordant care than those without dementia (23/111 [21%] vs 98/290 [34%], aRR, 0.44 [95% CI, 0.29-0.67]). Patients admitted for traumatic injury were significantly more likely to receive POLST-discordant care (comfort only: 29/64 [45%] vs 92/337 [27%], aRR, 1.52 [95% CI, 1.08-2.14]; limited interventions: 51/91 [56%] vs 264/670 [39%], aRR, 1.36 [95% CI, 1.09-1.68]). In patients with limited-interventions orders, older age was significantly associated with less POLST-discordant care (aRR, 0.93 per 10 years [95% CI, 0.88-1.00]).
Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients with POLSTs and with chronic life-limiting illness who were hospitalized within 6 months of death, treatment-limiting POLSTs were significantly associated with lower rates of ICU admission compared with full-treatment POLSTs. However, 38% of patients with treatment-limiting POLSTs received intensive care that was potentially discordant with their POLST.
OBJECTIVES: Many older adults with limited life expectancy and/or advanced dementia (LLE/AD) are potentially overtreated for diabetes and may benefit from deintensification. Our aim was to examine the incidence and predictors of diabetes medication deintensification in older Veterans with LLE/AD who were potentially overtreated at admission to Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes (community living centers [CLCs]).
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study using linked VA and Medicare clinical/administrative data and Minimum Data Set assessments.
SETTING: VA CLCs.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 6960 Veterans with diabetes and LLE/AD admitted to VA CLCs in fiscal years 2009 to 2015 with hemoglobin (Hb)A1c measured within 90 days of admission.
MEASUREMENTS: We evaluated treatment deintensification (discontinuation or dose reduction for a consecutive 7-day period) among residents who were potentially overtreated (HbA1c =7.5% and receiving hypoglycemic medications). Competing risk models assessed 90-day cumulative incidence of deintensification.
RESULTS: More than 40% (n = 3056) of Veteran CLC residents with diabetes were potentially overtreated. The cumulative incidence of deintensification at 90 days was 45.5%. Higher baseline HbA1c values were associated with a lower likelihood of deintensification (e.g., HbA1c 7.0-7.5% vs <6.0%; adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = .57; 95% confidence interval [CI] = .50-.66). Compared with non-sulfonylurea oral agents (e.g., metformin), other treatment regimens were more likely to be deintensified (aRR = 1.31-1.88), except for basal insulin (aRR = .59; 95% CI = .52-.66). The only resident factor associated with increased likelihood of deintensification was documented end-of-life status (aRR = 1.12; 95% CI = 1.01-1.25). Admission from home/assisted living (aRR = .85; 95% CI = .75-.96), obesity (aRR = .88; 95% CI = .78-.99), and peripheral vascular disease (aRR = .90; 95% CI = .81-.99) were associated with decreased likelihood of deintensification.
CONCLUSION: Deintensification of treatment regimens occurred in less than one-half of potentially overtreated Veterans and was more strongly associated with low HbA1c values and use of medications with high risk for hypoglycemia, rather than other resident characteristics.
Paediatric palliative care (PPC) is regarded as standard care for children and young people (CYP) with life-limiting conditions (LLCs). There is a lack of knowledge about the rate of CYP with LLCs, hampering the development of PPC. This retrospective study aimed to examine population-based statistics of South Korean CYP with LLCs and the pattern of healthcare use and costs in their last year of life, analysing the National Health Insurance Service claims database for the period 2013–2015. In 2015, the number of CYP (=24 years old) living with LLCs was 133,177, with those who died accounting for 1,032. Prevalence of LLC and mortality rate per 100,000 were highest among under-1-age group (2,151.7 and 82.7, respectively). In the last year of life, 91.8% of deceased CYP with LLCs were hospitalized at least once and the average length of stay was 101.2 days (standard deviation = 104.1). Deceased CYP with cancer spent more on healthcare than non-cancer CYP (64,266 vs. 40,694 US dollar, p < 0.001). The average relevance index for CYP death related to LLCs was 55.9%. Our results provide baseline information on healthcare utilization and expenditure among CYP with LLCs, which is crucial data for designing evidence-based PPC policy and services.
BACKGROUND: Hospice care has a positive effect on medical costs. The correlation between survival time after receiving hospice care and medical costs has not been previously investigated in the literature on Taiwan. This study aimed to compare the differences in medical costs between traditional care and hospice care among end-of-life patients with cancer.
METHODS: Data from Taiwan's National Health Insurance program on all patients who had passed away between 2010 and 2013 were used. Those whose year of death was between 2010 and 2013 were defined as end-of-life patients. The patients were divided into two groups: traditional care and hospice care. We then analyzed the differences in end-of-life medical cost between the two groups.
RESULTS: From 2010 to 2013, the proportion of patients receiving hospice care significantly increased from 22.2% to 41.30%. In the hospice group, compared with the traditional group, the proportions of hospital stays over 14 days and deaths in a hospital were significantly higher, but the proportions of outpatient clinic visits; emergency room admissions; intensive care unit admissions; use of ventilator; use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and use of hemodialysis, surgery, and chemotherapy were significantly lower. Total medical costs were significantly lower. A greater number of days of survival for end-of-life patients when receiving hospice care results in higher saved medical costs.
CONCLUSION: Hospice care can effectively save a large amount of end-of-life medical costs, and more medical costs are saved when patients are referred to hospice care earlier.
OBJECTIVE: To identify factors associated with referral to an exclusive palliative care unit (PCU) in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: Retrospective cohort study with patients having CRC of both sexes treated at a hospital unit, aged = 20 years. Data were extracted from the medical records of pretreatment patients between January 2008 and August 2014. The outcome was referral to the PCU within 5 years. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess whether sociodemographic, clinical, nutritional, and biochemistry data were associated to referral, generating odds ratios (OR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
RESULTS: Four hundred fifteen patients were evaluated. The Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment demonstrated a prevalence of malnutrition of 57.3%. One hundred one (24.3%) patients were referred to the PCU after 16.3 months (interquartile range: 7.2-33.5). These patients were more likely to be at an advanced stage of the disease and have malnutrition and exacerbated systemic inflammation. Tumor stage III and IV (OR: 2.05; 95% CI: 1.12-3.76) and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) =3 (OR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.12-3.17) were predictors of an increased chance of referral to the PCU.
CONCLUSION: Advanced disease stage and NLR were associated with referral of patients with CCR to a PCU.
OBJECTIVES: Dementia is a progressive incurable life-limiting illness. Previous research suggests end-of-life care for people with dementia should have a symptomatic focus with an effort to avoid burdensome interventions that would not improve quality of life. This study aims to assess the appropriateness of end-of-life care in people who died with dementia in Belgium and to establish relative performance standards by measuring validated population-level quality indicators.
DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective observational study.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: We included all persons deceased with dementia in 2015 in Belgium. Data from 8 administratively collected population-level databases was linked.
MEASURES: We used a validated set of 28 quality indicators for end-of-life dementia care. We compared quality indicator scores across 14 healthcare regions to establish relative benchmarks.
RESULTS: In Belgium in 2015, 10,629 people died with dementia. For indicators of appropriate end-of-life care, people who died with dementia had on average 1.83 contacts with their family physician in the last week before death, whereas 68.4% died at home or in their nursing home of residence. For indicators of inappropriate end-of-life care, 32.4% were admitted to the hospital and 36.3% underwent diagnostic testing in the last 30 days before death, whereas 25.1% died in the hospital. In the last 30 days, emergency department admission varied between 19% and 31%, dispensing of gastric protectors between 18% and 42%, and antihypertensives between 40% and 53% between healthcare regions, with at least 25% of health regions below 46%.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Our study found indications of appropriate as well as inappropriate end-of-life care in people with dementia, including high rates of family physician contact, as well as high percentages of diagnostic testing, and emergency department and hospital admissions. We also found high risk-adjusted variation for multiple quality indicators, indicating opportunity for quality improvement in end-of-life dementia care.
AIMS OF THE STUDY: Based on an incidental observation made in the context of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Project 67 "End-of-life decision-making in extremely low birth weight infants in Switzerland", this retrospective multicentre observational study aimed to analyse circumstances of delivery room deaths after late termination of pregnancy (LTOP) in Switzerland over a 3-year period.
METHODS: All delivery room deaths (including live and stillbirths) following LTOP among infants with a gestational age between 22 0/7 and 27 6/7 weeks at the nine Swiss level III perinatal centres between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2015 were analysed. Indications for LTOP were classified as either (a) maternal emergencies or (b) fetal anomalies severe enough to cause significant maternal psychological distress. Whenever possible, specific diagnoses were recorded. Spontaneous intrapartum death and fetal death caused by injection of a cardioplegic drug were distinguished for stillborn infants.
RESULTS: A total of 465 delivery room deaths among extremely low gestational age newborns (ELGANs) were identified over the 3-year study period of the SNSF project. Of these, 195 (42%) occurred in the context of LTOP. Central nervous system malformations, chromosomal anomalies, severe congenital heart disease, multiple malformations and maternal emergencies accounted for 70% of all LTOPs. LTOPs resulted in live births in 76 (39%) cases. No correlation between gestational age and rate of live births was observed. Fetal death caused by injection of a cardioplegic drug was documented in only three cases. All infants born alive after LTOP died in the delivery room without resuscitation attempts. The use of drugs for palliative care in these patients was either rare or, alternatively, incompletely documented.
CONCLUSION: LTOPs contribute significantly to mortality rates among ELGANs and should therefore be included in perinatal registries. Uniform reporting of LTOPs should be established. Infants born alive after LTOP are entitled to comprehensive palliative care like any other infant born under different circumstances. Development of national guidelines for LTOPs (including the role of fetal death caused by injection of a cardioplegic drug and palliative birth as an alternative to induced abortion) would be highly desirable to guarantee acceptable standards of care.
Background: Palliative care (PC) and hospice care are underutilized for patients with end-stage liver disease, but factors associated with these patterns of utilization are not well understood.
Objective: We examined patient-level factors associated with both PC and hospice referrals in patients with decompensated cirrhosis (DC).
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients with DC hospitalized at a single tertiary center and followed for one year.
Measurements: We assessed PC and hospice referrals during follow-up and examined patient-level factors associated with the receipt of PC and/or hospice, as well as associated clinical outcomes. We also examined late referrals (within one week of death).
Results: Of 397 patients, 61 (15.4%) were referred to PC, 71 (17.9%) were referred to hospice, and 99 (24.9%) were referred to PC and/or hospice. Two hundred patients (50.4%) died during the one-year follow-up. In multivariable logistic regression, referral to PC was associated with increased comorbidity burden, ascites, increased MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease)-Na score, lack of listing for liver transplant, and unmarried status. Hospice referral was associated with increased comorbidities, portal vein thrombosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. PC referrals were late in 68.5% of cases, and hospice referrals were late in 62.7%. Late PC referrals were associated with younger age and married status. Late hospice referrals were associated with younger age and recent alcohol use.
Conclusions: PC and hospice is underutilized in patients with DC, and most referrals are late. Patient-level factors associated with these referrals differ between PC and hospice.
Study Design: Retrospective study.
Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine survival after surgery for a metastatic spinal tumor using prognostic factors in the new Katagiri score.
Summary of Background Data: surgery for spinal metastasis can improve quality of life and facilitate treatment of the primary cancer. However, choice of therapy requires identification of prognostic factors for survival, and these may change over time due to treatment advances. The new Katagiri score for the prognosis of skeletal metastasis includes classification of the primary tumor site and the effects of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.
Methods: The subjects were 201 patients (127 males, 74 females) who underwent surgery for spinal metastases at 6 facilities in the Nagoya Spine Group. Age at surgery, gender, follow-up, metastatic spine level, primary cancer, new Katagiri score (including primary site, visceral metastasis, laboratory data, performance status (PS), and chemotherapy) and survival were obtained from a prospectively maintained database.
Results: Posterior decompression (n = 29) and posterior decompression and fixation with instrumentation (n = 182) were performed at a mean age of 65.9 (range, 16-85) years. Metastasis was present in the cervical (n = 19, 10%), thoracic (n = 155, 77%), and lumbar (n = 26, 13%) spine, and sacrum (n = 1, 1%). In multivariate analysis, moderate growth (HR 2.95, 95% CI, 1.27–7.89, P < 0.01) and rapid growth (HR 4.71, 95% CI, 2.78–12.31, P < 0.01) at the primary site; nodular metastasis (HR 1.53, 95% CI, 1.07–3.85, P < 0.01) and disseminated metastasis (HR 2.94, 95% CI, 1.33–5.42, P < 0.01); and critical laboratory data (HR 3.15, 95% CI, 2.06–8.36, P < 0.01) and poor PS (HR 2.83, 95% CI, 1.67–4.77, p < 0.01) were significantly associated with poor survival.
Conclusion: accurate prognostic factors are important in deciding the treatment strategy in patients with spinal metastasis, and our identification of these factors may be useful for these patients.
Level of Evidence: 3
BACKGROUND: Decisions to limit use of life-sustaining treatment occur frequently during hospitalizations, and portable medical orders (also known as Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST)) can ensure that patient preferences regarding resuscitation are followed after discharge.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency and predictors of completion of POLST orders for adults with change during hospitalization in resuscitation status to Do Not Resuscitate.
DESIGN: Retrospective observational study at level 1 trauma and academic hospital in Minneapolis, MN, USA PARTICIPANTS: All adults (18 years or older) hospitalized between June 2017 and June 2018, inclusive, with code status changed from Full Code to DNR. For patients with more than one hospitalization during this study interval, only the first hospitalization when DNR was ordered was included in this analysis.
MAIN MEASURES: Completion of POLST orders by time of discharge.
KEY RESULTS: From 2017 to 2018, 160 adults had a change from Full Code to DNR status during index hospitalization and survived to discharge, most (156 patients) to a nursing care facility. Of these, only 50 (31.2%) had POLST orders provided at discharge. Documentation of informed refusal of intubation in addition to DNR status was a significant predictor (OR 4.1, 99% CI 1.5-11.0) of POLST orders on discharge, as was admission to a medical service compared with non-medical service (OR 3.2, 99% CI 1.1-12.2). Palliative care consultants, rather than primary providers on the hospital services, completed most POLST orders.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite primary hospital providers engaging in conversations regarding resuscitation and entering DNR orders during hospitalization, the majority of patients in our study discharged to other care facilities without POLST orders. POLST orders are a simple palliative care tool available to primary hospital providers to help ensure continuity of plan of care at discharge for patients who wish to avoid invasive life-sustaining treatments and/or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.