Worldwide, many patients with cancer, are infrequently referred to palliative care or are referred late. Oncologists and haematologists may act as gatekeepers, and their views may facilitate or hinder referrals to palliative care. This review aimed to identify, explore and synthesise their views on referrals systematically.
BACKGROUND: Increased burnout level and decreased job satisfaction in oncology nurses negatively affect the quality of life of the employees and impair the quality of nursing care, services to be provided.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The aim of this study was to determine levels and to compare of burnout and job satisfaction among cancer nurses in oncology, hematology and palliative care clinics.The research was conducted between July 2019 - December 2019 in oncology, hematology and pallitive care clinics in three different public training and research hospitals. Each nurse completed a Sociodemographic Data Form, the Minnesota Job Satisfaction Scale and the Maslach Burnout Scale.
RESULTS: Nurses were working for averagely 50.81±7.59 hours per week and averagely 200.72±29.09 hours per month. Mean weekly shift number of the nurses was 9.49±4.43. There was a statistically significant and negative correlation between the emotional exhaustion subscale scores of the nurses included in the study and their internal satisfaction scores external satisfaction scores and total satisfaction scores (p<0.001). There was a statistically significant and negative correlation between the nurses' Depersonalisation subscale scores and internal satisfaction scores, external satisfaction scores and total satisfaction scores (p<0.001). A statistically significant and positive correlation was found between the nurses' personal accomplishment subscale scores and internal satisfaction scores, external satisfaction scores and total satisfaction scores (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: Nurses in palliative care clinics had the highest emotional exhaustion. Also there is a significant correlation between the job satisfaction and burnout levels of nurses working in hemotology, oncology and palliative care clinics providing care to cancer patients. There is a significant correlation between the job satisfaction and burnout levels of nurses working in hemotology, oncology and palliative care clinics providing care to cancer patients.
BACKGROUND: Myelophthisis (MPT) has been associated with a dreadful prognosis. Patients' access to palliative care (PC) and factors influencing its clinical outcomes are poorly described. Our aim was to analyze the impact of patient- and disease-specific characteristics on survival of patients with MPT and describe their use of PC in a resource-limited setting.
METHODS: Retrospective study including patients with solid tumor MPT, diagnosed between 1996 and 2018.
RESULTS: Seventy patients (median 58 years) were included. 58% were synchronously diagnosed with MPT at time of primary tumor diagnosis. Most common oncologic diagnoses were prostate (25.7%), gastrointestinal (20%), and breast (18.6%) neoplasms. Median overall survival (OS) was 1.9 months. Primaries other than prostate, breast, and lung (HR 1.37, 95% CI 1.15 - 1.8; p = 0.02) and transfusion requirements (HR 2.8, 95% CI 1.01 - 7.9; p = 0.04) were independently associated with decreased OS. Administration of multiple systemic therapeutic interventions (HR 0.15, 95% CI 0.06 - 0.39; p = 0.01) was the sole factor improving OS. Assessment by PC was pursued in 51.4% of patients. The median number of consults per patient was two, with no difference in assessment rate or consult number across different primaries (P = 0.96). Four cases of palliative sedation were reported, all performed by the primary care team.
CONCLUSION: MPT is highly heterogeneous and risk stratification to optimize the use of therapeutic interventions in unison with palliative interventions is needed to maximize efforts toward improving patient quality of life. There is an alarming need of PC services in the multidisciplinary management of patients within developing regions.
A hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is an intense treatment approach for patients with a hematologic malignancy and brings a significant risk for morbidity and mortality. HSCT brings hope of cure for patients; however, treatments are lengthy and burdensome from both a physical and psychosocial perspective. As the culture of HSCT has traditionally been cure-oriented, it leaves little room for a potential partnership with palliative care services, and when palliative care services are introduced, it is often too late for significant benefit. The need to standardize palliative care involvement for patients with hematologic malignancies receiving a HSCT has become necessary, yet there are challenges with the best way to create such a partnership. Nurse practitioners are a steadily growing professional body possessing the knowledge and skill necessary to fill the gap in palliative care delivery for HSCT patients. The proposed Nurse Practitioner Early Palliative Care for HSCT patients (NEST) algorithm will seek to provide a pathway in which to foster a partnership between hematology/HSCT teams and palliative services to yield the best care possible for patients.
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.
BACKGROUND: Early palliative care together with standard haematological care for advanced patients is needed worldwide. Little is known about its effect. The aim of the review is to synthesise the evidence on the impact of early palliative care on haematologic cancer patients' quality of life and resource use.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A systematic review was conducted. The search terms were early palliative care or simultaneous or integrated or concurrent care and haematological or oncohaematological patients. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, CINHAL and Scopus. Additional studies were identified through cross-checking the reference articles. Studies were in the English language, with no restriction for years. Two researchers independently reviewed the titles and abstracts, and one author assessed full articles for eligibility.
RESULTS: A total of 296 studies titles were reviewed. Eight articles were included in the synthesis of the results, two controlled studies provided data on the comparative efficacy of PC interventions, and six one-arm studies were included. Since data pooling and meta-analysis were not possible, only a narrative synthesis of the study results was performed. The quality of the two included comparative studies was low overall. The quality of the six non-comparative studies was high overall, without the possibility of linking the observed results to the implemented interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: Studies on early palliative care and patients with haematological cancer are scarce and have not been prospectively designed. More research on the specific population target, type and timing of palliative care intervention and standardisation of collected outcomes is required.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020141322.
Introduction: La transfusion de concentrés plaquettaires en fin de vie en onco-hématologie ne fait pas l’objet de recommandations et dépend des représentations partagées par les patients, les infirmiers et les hématologues. L’objectif de cette étude est de décrire ces représentations de la transfusion plaquettaire dans un contexte d’hémopathie grave et avancée à travers les représentations sociales de ses protagonistes.
Méthodes: Une étude qualitative, utilisant la méthode du réseau d’association et incluant trois groupes de 15 participants (patients en phase avancée d’une hémopathie maligne, régulièrement transfusés en plaquettes, infirmiers et médecins) issus de quatre centres d’hématologie a été conduite entre février et avril 2019. L’analyse a été réalisée avec le logiciel IraMuTeQ.
Résultats: Les patients attendent de la transfusion plaquettaire un impact bénéfique direct sur leur santé et mettent en avant l’importance de la relation humaine. Les infirmiers visent le bien-être du patient, dans son individualité, et le respect du protocole transfusionnel. Les médecins cherchent à soulager les symptômes en prenant en compte une multitude de facteurs décisionnels. La classification hiérarchique descendante permet de nuancer les résultats précédents en individualisant quatre orientations différentes, indépendantes des groupes de participants : la dépendance, la singularité, la subjectivité et la neutralité.
Discussion: La perception des représentations sociales liées à la transfusion plaquettaire en fin de vie devrait permettre d’adapter le discours à l’orientation préférentielle de son interlocuteur et constituer un atout dans la discussion des objectifs de soins avec les patients, comme entre professionnels de santé.
Palliative care has been defined as specialized care for patients facing serious illnesses. Despite advancements in the field and studies documenting the effectiveness of early palliative care (PC) interventions in seriously ill patients, the fields of hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplant still lag behind of a comprehensive framework for early and effective interventions. The aim of this literature review is to analyze and discuss the possible barriers to care and delayed referrals for hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplant patients. Using the EBSCO and PubMed databases, articles regarding PC among patients with hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplant were analyzed. There are three main domains with its respective barriers in PC: physicians, patients and caregivers, and the healthcare system. Issues that were identified included the lack of knowledge and misconceptions about PC among physicians, patients, and caregivers, delayed referral of patients with hematologic malignancies, unrealistic treatment expectations, lack of communication between specialties, difficulties with appointment availability, geographical distance between clinics, and lack of insurance coverage for PC services. We suggest possible alternatives including obligatory continuing medical education (CME) credits, loan forgiveness, rotations during residency and fellowship training, use of informational videos and pamphlets to educate patients and caregivers, obligatory early consults despite prognosis, an algorithm to evaluate patient's needs, creating a platform within electronic medical records (EMR) systems shared by specialties, and having PC service in every cancer center. Findings suggest a need for further studies aimed towards implementing solutions to increase the early referral of patients with hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to palliative care.
Background: Catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs) constitute a major complication associated with the use of central venous lines (CVL). The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence proportion and risk factors of CRSBI in palliative care patients with CVL receiving home parenteral nutrition (HPN).
Methods: Medical records from patients admitted to a medical home care unit in stockholm, Sweden, during 2017 were reviewed (n=1022) and 454 palliative care patients with a CVL were identified. Data on CRBSI cases, HPN exposure time, type of parenteral nutrition (PN), age, diagnosis and type of CVL were collected.
Results: Twenty-nine of 143 patients receiving HPN through a CVL were diagnosed with a CRBSI (20%). Nine of 311 patients with CVL without exposure for HPN developed CRBSI (3%). The risk of a CRBSI was significantly higher in patients receiving HPN compared with those not receiving HPN, OR 8.5 (95% CI 4.0 to 18.7). For those receiving HPN six to seven times a week the risk was even higher, OR 13 (95% CI 5.1 to 30.3). The highest incidence proportion of CRBSI (31%) was found in a home care team where patients had been trained to disconnect themselves from the PN drip. Sex, cancer versus non-cancer, type of CVL or protein content in the PN, did not differ between patients that developed CRBSI versus those that did not develop the outcome.
Conclusion: HPN entails a high risk of CRBSI. A high frequency of PN and incautious handling of the disconnection of the drip, seem to be the most important risk factors.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Integration of specialist palliative care into routine oncologic care improves patients' quality of life and survival. NCCN cancer treatment guidelines are instrumental in standardizing cancer care; yet, it is unclear how palliative and hospice care are integrated in these guidelines. In this study, we examined the frequency of occurrence of "palliative care" and "hospice care" in NCCN guidelines and compared between solid tumor and hematologic malignancy guidelines.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed all 53 updated NCCN Guidelines for Treatment of Cancer. We documented the frequency of occurrence of "palliative care" and "hospice care", the definitions for these terms if available, and the recommended timing for these services.
RESULTS: We identified a total of 37 solid tumor and 16 hematologic malignancy guidelines. Palliative care was mentioned in 30 (57%) guidelines (24 solid tumor, 6 hematologic). "Palliative care" was mentioned more frequently in solid tumor than hematologic guidelines (median 2 vs. 0, P=0.04). Among the guidelines that included palliative care in the treatment recommendation, 25 (83%) only referred to NCCN palliative care guideline. Specialist palliative care referral was specifically mentioned in 5/30 (17%) guidelines. Only 14/24 (58%) solid tumor guidelines and 2/6 (33%) hematologic guidelines recommended palliative care in the front line setting for advanced malignancy. Few guidelines (N=3/53, 6%) mentioned hospice care.
CONCLUSION: "Palliative care" was absent in almost half of NCCN cancer treatment guidelines and was rarely discussed in guidelines for hematologic malignancies. Our findings underscored opportunities to standardize timely palliative care access across NCCN guidelines.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Integration of specialist palliative care into routine oncologic care is associated with improved patient outcomes. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology have an important role to standardize palliative care involvement for cancer patients. It is unclear how often palliative care referral is recommended in these guidelines. In this study involving 53 NCCN Guidelines for Treatment of Cancer, the researchers found that palliative care was not mentioned in over 40% of NCCN guidelines and was rarely discussed in guidelines for hematologic malignancies. These findings underscored opportunities to standardize timely palliative care access across NCCN guidelines.
OBJECTIVES: Patients with haematological malignancies (HM) receive more aggressive treatments near the end-of-life (EOL) than patients with solid tumours. Palliative care (PC) needs are less widely acknowledged in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) than in other HM. The main objective of our study was to describe EOL care and PC referral in a population of older patients with MM.
METHODS: We retrospectively included deceased inpatients and outpatients with an MM previously diagnosed at the age of 70 and over in two tertiary centres in France. We reported EOL characteristics regarding treatments considered to be aggressive-antimyeloma therapies, hospitalisations, blood product transfusions, intensive care units (ICUs) or emergency admissions-and PC referral.
RESULTS: We included 119 patients. In their last month of life, 75 (63%) were hospitalised for fever, pain, asthenia, anaemia or bleeding, 49 (41%) were admitted in the emergency department and 12 (10%) in ICU, 76 (64%) still received antimyeloma therapy and 45 (38%) had at least two transfusions. Only 24 (20%) received PC intervention for pain, global care, family support, anxiety, social care or confusion. Median follow-up until death was 20 days.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study found a high rate of hospitalisations and antimyeloma therapies in the last month of life. The PC referral rate was low, often once specific treatments were stopped. Our results suggest the need for more effective collaboration between PC teams and haematologists in order to respond to the specific needs of these patients and to improve their quality of care at EOL.
Aims of the study: Blood coagulation parameters are colossally important for clinical evaluation of palliative chemotherapy; however, this niche was not explored earlier for advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Study focuses to explore the clinical relevancy of Coagulation parameters; prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), thrombin time (TT), fibrinogen (FIB), D-dimer and international normalised ratio (INR) and their response to palliative chemotherapy in advanced-stage NSCLC.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted between 2013 and 2019 in Jiangsu Cancer hospital, Nanjing, PR. China. Medical records of 5445 patients were succinctly reviewed and classified accordingly to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A total of 216 advanced NSCLC patients who used a first-line chemotherapy and antiangiogenic therapy regimen were enrolled in this study under ethical approval (JSCH-2020C-009). Blood samples were collected from these patients to measure the response levels of these coagulation parameters at time of admission to hospital and at the beginning of 4 cycles of Palliative therapy. We find the clinical value of all these coagulation parameters by using SPSS 24. Univariate Cox regression and Multivariate Cox regression models were used to identify the factors that were associated with progression-free survival (PFS) and the response to palliative chemotherapy.
Results: In the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis for overall median (95% CI) survival of high pre-treatment coagulation parameters showed shorter PFS compared with normal pre-treatment except TT and their overall median (95% CI) follow-up was 3.3 (3.12-3.47). Coagulation parameters have showed clinical relevance as a potential independent prognostic factor of PFS in the Univariate Cox regression. In multivariable model, Age (=60 years vs < 60 years), cancer differentiation (Unknown vs Poor), PT (High vs Normal) range, FIB (High vs Normal) range and D-dimer (High vs Normal) range, (P = .025, P = .045, P = .029, P = .049 and P = .011, respectively) were associated as a prognostic factor of PFS in NSCLC. Patients on 3-drugs regimen found to have better PFS compared with the ones taking the 2-drugs treatment regimen (P = .043).
Conclusion: The high range of PT, FIB and D-dimers was associated with poor prognosis of advanced-stage NSCLC. Our findings also confirmed that patients on 3-drugs regimen showed longer PFS compared with 2-drugs regimen.
Les soins palliatifs demandent de plus en plus de compétences médicales, soignantes, humaines et éthiques, afin d’asseoir leur légitimité dans des domaines de plus en plus pointus de la médecine – réanimation, néonatalogie, cancérologie, gériatrie – ainsi que dans la diversité des prises en charge, y compris au domicile ou en EPHAD.
Dans ce contexte de développement des formations et d’élargissement des champs de compétences de la pratique palliative, cette 5e édition du manuel offre :
-les indispensables connaissances thérapeutiques ;
-les outils, à destination des professionnels en vue d’acquérir une compétence clinique pour la rencontre et l’accompagnement humain, psychique et relationnelle de la personne malade ;
-une contextualisation de la pratique des soins palliatifs dans leur dimension sociale, sanitaire et politique ;
-des jalons pédagogiques pour le développement des soins palliatifs dans leur dimension pédagogique et de recherche.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced haematological malignancies suffer from a very high symptom burden and psychological, spiritual, social and physical symptoms comparable with patients with metastatic non-haematological malignancy. Referral to palliative care services for these patients remains limited or often confined to the last days of life. We developed a palliative care intervention (PCI) integrated with standard haematological care. The aim of the study was focussed on exploring the feasibility of the intervention by patients, professionals and caregivers and on assessing its preliminary efficacy.
METHODS/DESIGN: This is a mixed-methods phase 2 trial. The Specialist Palliative Care Team (SPCT) will follow each patient on a monthly basis in the outpatient clinic or will provide consultations during any hospital admission. SPCT and haematologists will discuss active patient issues to assure a team approach to the patient's care. This quantitative study is a monocentric parallel-group superiority trial with balanced randomisation comparing the experimental PCI plus haematological standard care versus haematological standard care alone. The primary endpoint will calculate on adherence to the planned PCI, measured as the percentage of patients randomised to the experimental arm who attend all the planned palliative care visits in the 24 weeks after randomisation. The qualitative study follows the methodological indications of concurrent nested design and was aimed at exploring the acceptability of the PCI from the point of view of patients, caregivers and physicians.
DISCUSSION: In this trial, we will test the feasibility of an integrated palliative care approach starting when the haematologist decides to propose the last active treatment to the patient, according to his/her clinical judgement. We decided to test this criterion because it is able to intercept a wide range of patients'needs. The feasibility of this approach requires that we enrol at least 60 patients and that more than 50% of them be followed by the palliative care team for at least 24 weeks. The trial will include integrated qualitative data analysis; to give essential information on feasibility and acceptability.
Objectives: Identifying the preferred place of death for children/young people with cancer and determining whether this is achieved is pertinent to inform palliative care service provision. The aims of this retrospective case series review were to determine where children/young people with cancer want to die and whether their preferred place of death was achieved.
Methods: Clinical/demographic details, including preferred and actual places of death, were recorded for 121 patients who died between 2012 and 2016 at a tertiary haematology–oncology centre. A logistic regression model was used to determine the odds of achieving the preferred place of death in patient subgroups.
Results: 74 (61%) patients had a documented discussion regarding place of death preference. Where a preferred location was identified, 72% achieved it. All patients who wanted to die in the hospital (n=17) or a hospice (n=9) did, but only 58% of patients who wanted to die at home (n=40) achieved this. Of the 42% (n=17) who wanted to die at home but did not, 59% of these were due to rapid deterioration in clinical status shortly after the discussion. Having supportive treatment in the last month of life was associated with increased odds of achieving the preferred place of death versus those who were undergoing chemotherapy/radiotherapy (OR 3.19, 95% CI 1.04 to 9.80, p value=0.04).
Conclusion: Where hospice/hospital was chosen as the preferred place of death, this was always achieved. Achieving home as the preferred place of death was more challenging and frequently prevented by rapid clinical deterioration. Clinicians should be encouraged to address end-of-life preferences at an early stage, with information provided adequately. Further research should explore implications of these findings on both end-of-life experience and overall service provision.
Context and Objectives: The myriad of benefits of early palliative care (PC) integration in oncology are well established, and emerging evidence suggests that PC improves symptom burden, mood, and quality of life for hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. Specific impact of PC consultation on outcomes of older allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT) recipients, a historically high-risk population vulnerable to transplant-related complications and mortality, has not been explored.
Design and Methods: In this single institution, retrospective analysis of 527 first allo-HCT recipients aged =60 years, we characterized 75 patients who had received post-HCT PC consultation and its association with geriatric vulnerabilities identified by pre-HCT geriatric assessment. We also examined end-of-life care outcomes among patients who died within one-year of allo-hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Results: In multivariate analysis, higher disease risk, female gender, and, importantly, pre-HCT functional limitation (hazard ratio 2.35, 95% confidence interval, 1.35–4.09, p = 0.003) were associated with post-HCT PC utilization. Within one-year of hematopoietic cell transplantation, 127 patients died; among those, recipients of early PC consultation had significantly higher rates of hospice enrollment (25% vs. 9%, p = 0.019) and lower rates of hospital death (71% vs. 90%, p = 0.013), intensive care unit admission (44% vs. 75%, p = 0.001), and high-intensity medical care in last 30 days of life (46% vs. 77%, p = 0.001).
Conclusions: Our results highlight important pre-HCT risk factors associated with increased PC needs posthematopoietic cell transplantation and benefits of PC involvement for older allo-HCT recipients at the end of life. Prospective studies should examine the optimal timing of PC consultation and its multidimensional benefits for older allo-HCT patients.
Background: Despite the high potential to improve the quality of life of patients and families, palliative care services face significant obstacles to their use. In countries with high-resource health systems, the nonfinancial and nonstructural obstacles to palliative care services are particularly prominent. These are the cognitive barriers -knowledge and communication barriers- to the use of palliative care. To date no systematic review has given the deserved attention to the cognitive barriers and facilitators to palliative care services utilization.
This study aims to synthesize knowledge on cognitive barriers and facilitators to palliative care use in oncology and hemato-oncology from the experiences of health professionals, patients, and their families.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted. PubMed, PsycINFO, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care/Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (IAHPC/CINAHL), and Communication & Mass Media Complete (CMMC) were systematically searched for the main core concepts: palliative care, barriers, facilitators, perspectives, points of view, and related terms and synonyms. After screening of titles, abstracts, and full-texts, 52 studies were included in the qualitative thematic analysis.
Results: Four themes were identified: awareness of palliative care, collaboration and communication in palliative care-related settings, attitudes and beliefs towards palliative care, and emotions involved in disease pathways. The results showed that cognitive barriers and facilitators are involved in the educational, social, emotional, and cultural dimensions of palliative care provision and utilization. In particular, these barriers and facilitators exist both at the healthcare professional level (e.g. a barrier is lack of understanding of palliative care applicability, and a facilitator is strategic visibility of the palliative care team in patient floors and hospital-wide events) and at the patient and families level (e.g. a barrier is having misconceptions about palliative care, and a facilitator is patients’ openness to their own needs).
Conclusions: To optimize palliative care services utilization, awareness of palliative care, and healthcare professionals’ communication and emotion management skills should be enhanced. Additionally, a cultural shift, concerning attitudes and beliefs towards palliative care, should be encouraged.
Background: Lymphopenia during radiotherapy (RT) may have an adverse effect on treatment outcome. The aim of this study is to investigate associations between lymphopenia and RT parameters in patients with advanced lung cancer. Moreover, to investigate the prognostic role of lymphopenia, blood protein levels, and treatment and patient-related factors.
Material and Methods: Sixty-two advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients were retrospectively analyzed. Blood counts were available prior to, during, and after RT (3Gyx10). For each patient, a thoracic volume of interest (VOI) -including thoracic soft tissue and trabecular bone- was obtained by applying a CT window of -500 to 1200 HU in the planning CT. Dose parameters from thoracic VOI and other regions including lungs and vertebrae were calculated. Association between risk of lymphopenia = G3 (lymphocytes at nadir according to CTCAE v4.0) and therapeutic parameters was investigated using Logistic regression. Relationships between overall survival (OS) and RT dose parameters, baseline blood counts and protein levels, and clinical factors were evaluated using Log-rank and Cox models.
Result: Mean thoracic RT dose (odds ratio [OR] 1.67; p = 0.04), baseline lymphocytes (OR 0.65; p = 0.01), and corticosteroids use (OR 6.07; p = 0.02) were significantly associated with increased risk of lymphopenia = G3 in multivariable analysis. Worse OS was associated with high mean thoracic RT dose, high CRP/Albumin, large tumor volume and corticosteroids use (p < 0.05, univariate analysis), but not with lymphopenia = G3. CRP/Albumin ratio > 0.12 (hazard ratio [HR] 2.28, p = 0.03) and corticosteroid use (HR 2.52, p = 0.01) were independently associated with worse OS.
Conclusion: High thoracic RT dose gave a higher risk of lymphopenia = G3; hence limiting dose volume to the thorax may be valuable in preventing severe lymphopenia for patients receiving palliative fractionated RT. Still, lymphopenia = G3 was not associated with worse OS. however, high baseline CRP/Albumin was associated with poorer OS and may carry important information as a prognostic factor of OS in advanced NSCLC receiving palliative RT.
BACKGROUND: In pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), the end-of-life (EOL) phase and the loss of the child is often characterized by a sudden deterioration of the child following a period of intensive curative treatment. This demands a fast transition for parents. Therefore, an understanding of the parents' perspective on decision-making in such a complex situation is needed. This study aims to gain insight in parental experiences in EOL decision-making in allogeneic pediatric HSCT.
METHODS: A qualitative descriptive study was performed among parents of eight families. Data were thematically analyzed.
RESULTS: All parents were aware of their child's deterioration. Six families were confronted with a rapid deterioration, while two families experienced a gradual realization that their child would not survive. Parental EOL decision-making in pediatric HSCT shows a reflective perspective on the meaning of parenthood in EOL decision-making. Two central themes were identified: "survival-oriented decision-making" and "struggling with doubts in hindsight." Six subthemes within the first theme described the parents' goal of doing everything to achieve survival.
DISCUSSION: Parents experienced EOL decision-making mainly as a process guided by health care professionals (HCPs) based on the child's condition and treatment possibilities. The decision-making is characterized by following opportunities and focusing on hope for cure. In hindsight parents experienced doubts about treatment steps and their child's suffering. HCPs can strengthen the parental role by an early integration of palliative care, providing timely support to parents in the process of imminent loss. Advance care planning can be used to support communication processes, defining preferences for future care.
We do not know how much clinical physicians carrying out clinical trials in oncology and haematology struggle with ethical concerns. To our knowledge, no empirical research exists on these questions in a Nordic context. Therefore, this study aims to learn what kinds of ethical challenges physicians in Sweden, Denmark and Finland (n = 29) face when caring for patients in clinical trials; and what strategies, if any, they have developed to deal with them. The main findings were that clinical cancer trials pose ethical challenges related to autonomy issues, unreasonable hope for benefits and the therapeutic misconception. Nevertheless, some physicians expressed that struggling with such challenges was not of great concern. This conveys a culture of hope where health care professionals and patients uphold hope and mutually support belief in clinical trials. This culture being implicit, physicians need opportunities to deliberately reflect over the characteristics that should constitute this culture.