To investigate the effect of multidisciplinary interventions on pain management in cancer inpatients.
Four hundred thirty eight patients with cancer pain, who performed the multidisciplinary intervention were recruited. Before and after intervention, the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) score as the primary endpoints and QOL scores as the secondary endpoint were all evaluated. To investigate the factors that led to different responses to multidisciplinary interventions, patients were classified as non-responders or responders.
Finally, 92 patients (63 male and 29 female) scheduled for cancer pain management by inter-professional team were studied. After individualized multidisciplinary therapy, both pain and symptom severity was improved, as demonstrated by lowered BPI worst and average pain scores, as well as symptom severity score measured by MDASI (P = .017, P = .003, and P = .011, respectively). The proportion of patients with mild pain increased regarding the BPI worst and average pain at baseline and after treatment (P < .05). The QOL analyses showed multidisciplinary interventions could significantly improve the function and symptom scores (P < .001). More patients in responder group received chemotherapy (58, 70.7%, P = .003), while fewer received mini-invasive therapy (6, 7.32%, P = .011).
Multidisciplinary interventions had certain beneficial effect on cancer pain management, especially in patients with moderate or severe pain.
OBJECTIVES: This study presents the design of an integrated, proactive palliative care pathway covering the full care cycle and evaluates its effects using 3 types of outcomes: (1) physician-reported outcomes, (2) outcomes reported by family, and (3) (utilization of) health care outcomes.
DESIGN: A clustered, partially controlled before-after study with a multidisciplinary integrated palliative care pathway as its main intervention.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: after assessment in hospital departments of oncology, and geriatrics, and in 13 primary care facilities, terminally ill patients were proactively included into the pathway. Patients' relatives and patients' general practitioners (GPs) participated in a before/after survey and in interviews and focus groups.
INTERVENTION: A multidisciplinary, integrated palliative care pathway encompassing (among others) early identification of the palliative phase, multidisciplinary consultation and coordination, and continuous monitoring of outcomes.
MEASURES: Measures included GP questionnaire: perceived quality of palliative care; questionnaires by family members: FAMCARE, QOD-LTC, EDIZ; and 3 types of health care outcomes: (1) utilization of primary care: consultations, intensive care, communication, palliative home visits, consultations and home visits during weekends and out-of-office-hours, ambulance, admission to hospital; (2) utilization of hospital care: outpatient ward consultations, day care, emergency room visits, inpatient care, (radio) diagnostics, surgical procedures, other therapeutic activities, intensive care unit activities; (3) pharmaceutical care utilization.
RESULTS: GPs reported that palliative patients die more often at their preferred place of death, and that they now act more proactively toward palliative patients. Relatives of included, deceased patients reported clinically relevant improved quality of dying, and more timely palliative care. Patients in the pathway received more (intensive) primary care, less unexpected care during out-of-office hours, and more often received hospital care in the form of day care.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: An integrated palliative care pathway improves a variety of clinical outcomes important to patients, their families, physicians, and the health care system. The integration of palliative care into multidisciplinary, proactive palliative care pathways, is therefore a desirable future development.
With increased therapeutic capabilities in healthcare today, many patients with multiple progressive comorbidities are living longer. They experience recurrent hospitalizations and often undergo procedures that are not aligned with their personal goals. That is why it is essential to discuss and document healthcare preferences prior to an acute event when significant interventions could occur, especially for patients with serious and progressive illness. Completion of an advance directive and a physician order for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) supports provision of goal-concordant care. Further, for patients who have do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) orders or are diagnosed with advanced dementia, having a POLST is essential. This may be best accomplished with hospitalization discharge plans. Our 896-bed academic medical center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, launched a quality initiative in 2015 to complete POLSTs for patients being discharged with DNAR status or with dementia returning to a skilled nursing facility. As part of interdisciplinary progression of care rounds, emphasis was placed on those patients for whom POLST completion was indicated. Proactive, facilitated discussions with patients, family members, and attending physicians were initiated to support POLST completion. The completed forms were then uploaded to the electronic health record. Individual units and physicians received regular feedback on POLST completion rates, and the data were later shared at medical staff quality improvement meetings.During the initiative, POLST completion rates for DNAR patients discharged alive rose from 41% in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to 75% in FY 2019. Similar improvement was seen for patients with dementia discharged to skilled nursing facilities, regardless of code status (rising from 14% in FY 2014 to 54% in FY 2019). Subsequently, we have expanded our efforts to include early discussion and completion of these advanced care planning documents for patients recently diagnosed with high mortality cancers (ovarian, pancreatic, lung, glioblastoma), focusing on the completion of advanced care planning documentation and palliative care referrals.
BACKGROUND: The interprofessional approach is part of the philosophy in palliative care, and its benefits are already documented. However, there are no evidence regarding the process through which the interprofessional team faces the process of the patient's end-of-life and how this experience might be of value for the team's development itself. The aim of this study was to analyse and understand the psychosocial processes that occurs when an interprofessional team accompanies patients and their families to death in palliative care, with the ultimate aim to develop a substantive theory to describe this phenomenon.
METHODS: A Grounded Theory method, as theorized by Strauss and Corbin, was adopted for this study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and then independently analysed using constant comparison analysis. Fourteen healthcare professionals - belonging to different disciplines (doctor, nurse coordinator, nurse, nurse assistant, psychologist) - were interviewed in a Northern Italy palliative care facility.
FINDINGS: The core category of this study was identified to be the process of accompaniment of the dying patient as an interprofessional ecosystem. Moreover, the results showed four main factors determining the development of the core psychosocial process: from professionals' 'Hidden Amazement' to 'Onerous Happiness' where 'Weaving of Professional Resources' and 'Work Meaning' are the underlying conditions to catalyse the process itself.
CONCLUSION: Interprofessional care appears an essential value, which becomes the source of the team's strength when facing end-of-life experiences. Health policies and organisations should take the importance of the characteristics of the work environment more carefully. The meaning that professionals attribute to their work and to the team itself, indeed, it may have impact on the overall quality of care and contribute to sustain work engagement, even in stressful situations like end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: The linguistic and cultural diversity found in European societies creates specific challenges to palliative care clinicians. Patients' heterogeneous habits, beliefs and social situations, and in many cases language barriers, add complexity to clinicians' work. Cross-cultural teaching helps palliative care specialists deal with issues that arise from such diversity. This study aimed to provide interested educators and decision makers with ideas for how to implement cross-cultural training in palliative care.
METHODS: We conducted four focus groups in French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland. All groups consisted of a mix of experts in palliative care and/or cross-cultural teaching. The interdisciplinary research team submitted the data for thematic content analysis.
RESULTS: Focus-group participants saw a clear need for courses addressing cross-cultural issues in end-of-life care, including in medical disciplines outside of palliative care (e.g. geriatrics, oncology, intensive care). We found that these courses should be embedded in existing training offerings and should appear at all stages of curricula for end-of-life specialists. Two trends emerged related to course content. One focuses on clinicians' acquisition of cultural expertise and tools allowing them to deal with complex situations on their own; the other stresses the importance of clinicians' reflections and learning to collaborate with other professionals in complex situations. These trends evoke recent debates in the literature: the quest for expertise and tools is related to traditional twentieth century work on cross-cultural competence, whereas reflection and collaboration are central to more recent research that promotes cultural sensitivity and humility in clinicians.
CONCLUSION: This study offers new insights into cross-cultural courses in palliative and end-of-life care. Basic knowledge on culture in medicine, variable practices related to death and dying, communication techniques, self-reflection on cultural references and aptitude for interprofessional collaboration are central to preparing clinicians in end-of-life settings to work with linguistically and culturally diverse patients.
BACKGROUND: Continuity of care is challenging when transferring patients across palliative care settings. These transfers are common due to the complexity of palliative care, which has increased significantly since the advent of palliative care services. It is unclear how palliative care services and professionals currently collaborate and communicate to ensure the continuity of care across settings, and how patient and family members are involved.
AIM: To explore healthcare professionals' experiences regarding the communicative aspects of inter-professional collaboration and the involvement of patient and family members.
DESIGN: Qualitative design, including focus group discussions.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: The study focused on one palliative care network in Belgium and involved all palliative care settings: hospital, hospital's palliative care unit, home care, nursing home. Nine group discussions were conducted, with diverse professionals (n = 53) from different care settings.
RESULTS: Timely and effective inter-professional information exchange was considered fundamental. A perceived barrier for interprofessional collaboration was the lack of a shared electronic health record. Efficiency regarding multidisciplinary team meetings and inter-professional communication were subject to improvement.A striking study finding was the perceived insufficient open communication of specialists towards patients and the lack of shared decision making. This not only hampered advance care planning discussions and early integration of palliative home care, but also the functioning of other professionals.
CONCLUSION: From the perspective of the integrated care framework, several areas of improvement on different levels of care and collaboration are identified. Support from policymakers and researchers is required to achieve integrated palliative care in regional networks.
BACKGROUND: Recognizing and managing existential suffering remains challenging. We present two cases demonstrating how existential suffering manifests in patients and how to manage it to alleviate suffering.
CASE DESCRIPTION: Case 1: A 69-year-old man with renal cell carcinoma receiving end-of-life care expressed fear of lying down "as he may not wake up." He also expressed concerns of not being a good Christian. Supportive psychotherapy and chaplain support were provided, with anxiolytic medications as needed. He was able to express his fear of dying and concern about his family, and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System scores improved. He died peacefully with family at bedside. Case 2: A 71-year-old woman presented with follicular lymphoma and colonic obstruction requiring nasogastric drain of fecaloid matter. Initially, she felt that focusing on comfort rather than cure symbolized giving up but eventually felt at peace. Physical symptoms were well-controlled but emotionally she became more distressed, repeatedly asking angrily, "Why is it taking so long to die?." She was supported by her family through Bible readings and prayers, but she was distressed about being a burden to them. An interdisciplinary approach involving expressive supportive counseling, spiritual care, and integrative medicine resulted in limited distress relief. Owing to increasing agitation, the patient and family agreed to titrate chlorpromazine to sedation. Her family was appreciative that she was restful until her death.
CONCLUSION: Existential suffering manifests through multiple domains in each patient. A combination of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic techniques may be needed to relieve end-of-life suffering.
Background: The aim of this study was to explore expert professionals’ opinions on service provision to children under six with life-limiting neurodevelopmental disabilities (LLNDD), including the goals of care and the integration and coordination of palliative care in general and specialist services.
Methods: A Delphi design was used with three questionnaire rounds, one open-ended and two closed response rounds. Primary data collected over a six-month period from expert professionals with five years’ (or more) experience in pediatric, intellectual disability and/or palliative care settings. Ratings of agreement and prioritization were provided with agreement expressed as a median (threshold = 80%) and consensus reported as interquartile ranges. Stability was measured using non-parametric tests.
Results: Primary goals of care were achievement of best possible quality of life, effective communication and symptom management. Service integration and coordination were considered inadequate, and respondents agreed that areas of deficiency included palliative care. Improvement strategies included a single care plan, improved communication and key worker appointments.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that services do not serve this group well with deficiencies in care compounded by a lack of information on available services and sub-optimal communication between settings. Further research is needed to develop an expert-based consensus regarding the care of children with LLNDD.
Background: Malignant fungating wounds occur in advanced cancer patients, often in the last 6 to 12 months of life, when malignant cells breach the skin, causing a non-healing wound. Little is known about the perspectives of clinicians who treat these patients or how collaboration is facilitated among different specialties.
Objective: To understand the experiences and perceived roles of clinicians who treat patients with malignant fungating wounds from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Design: A qualitative study using narrative interviews was conducted and data was analyzed to identify themes that encompass the experiences of clinicians who treat patients malignant fungating wounds and put these experiences in a temporal context.
Setting/subjects: Ten clinicians who treat patients with malignant fungating wounds (n = 10) from various metropolitan research hospitals were interviewed. The clinicians were of different disciplines, including physicians and nurses, and different specialties, including palliative care, oncology, and wound care.
Results: Three themes emerged that described how clinicians of varying disciplines and specialties understood their roles and navigated the transition from curative to palliative care for patients with malignant fungating wounds: (1) making the best of fragmented care (2) collaboration between oncology and wound care (3) transitioning from curative to palliative care.
Conclusion: Findings of the study present a timeline of clinical care for patients, with different specialties taking the lead at different points in clinical time. Recognizing when collaboration between specialties is essential, as well as when communication fails, or clinicians have differing perspectives is important to facilitate the best care possible for patients.
This narrative describes the experiences of an inner city respiratory unit that was transformed to treat COVID-19 patients with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilation who were not scheduled for any further escalation in treatment. The high mortality rate and unconventional way of dying led to the creation of local guidance for removing assisted ventilation when the treatment ceased to be effective. We reflect on the specific challenges that caring for these patients holistically has presented and how we have learnt to deliver good palliative care in a unique set of circumstances. We also consider the impact of the pandemic on our team and how the development of a multidisciplinary support system has improved team dynamics and ultimately patient care.
Advance directives (ADs) allow individuals to legally determine their preferences for end-of-life (EOL) medical treatment and designate a health-care proxy to act on their behalf prior to losing the cognitive ability to make informed decisions for themselves. An interprofessional group of researchers (law, nursing, medicine, and social work) conducted an exploratory study to identify the differences in quality-of-life (QOL) language found within the AD state statutes from 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Data were coded using constant comparative analysis. Identified concepts were grouped into 2 focus areas for EOL discussions: communication/awareness of surroundings and activities of daily living. Language regarding communication/awareness of surroundings was present in the half of the statutes. Activities of daily living were addressed in only 18% of the statutes. Only 3 states (Arkansas, Nevada, and Tennessee) specifically addressed QOL. Patients are best served when professionals, regardless of discipline, can share and transform knowledge for patients in times of crisis and loss in ways that are empathetic and precise. Interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) comprises multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds working together with patients, families, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care. One of the major competencies of IPCP encompasses values and ethics. Interprofessional collaborative practice is offered as the means to deliver person-centered value-based care when facilitating these crucial dialogs and making recommendations for change.
Palliative care is an evolving field with extensive studies demonstrating its benefits to patients, families, and the health care system. Many health systems have developed or are developing palliative care programs. The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP) is often asked to recommend how many palliative care specialists are needed to implement and support an integrated palliative care program. This information would allow health service decision makers and educational institutions to plan resources accordingly to manage the needs of their communities. The CSPCP is well positioned to answer this question, as many of its members are Directors of palliative care programs and have been responsible for creating and overseeing the pioneering work of building these programs over the past few decades. In 2017, the CSPCP commissioned a working group to develop a staffing model for specialist palliative care teams based on the interdependence of three key professional roles, an extensive literature search, key stakeholder interviews, and expert opinions. This article is the Canadian Society of Palliative Care's recommended starting point that will be further evaluated as it is utilized across Canada.
For more information and to see sample calculations go to the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians Staffing Model for Palliative Care Programs (https://www.cspcp.ca).
En 2006, à la suite de la circulaire DHOS 2005/101, nous avons créé une réunion multidisciplinaire de soins de support. Il existe très peu de données dans la littérature dans ce domaine et nous avons souhaité reporter ici notre expérience. Pour cela, les dossiers présentés sur les six premiers mois de l’année 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 et 2018 ont été analysés, soit 405 situations correspondant à 352 patients. La majorité était constituée de femmes (55,7 %, n = 196) et l’âge médian lors de la présentation était de 66 ans [20–93]. Dans 8 % (n = 32) des situations, la prise en charge était curative, dans 58 % (n = 233) des cas, palliative avec traitement spécifique en cours, dans 31,3 % (n = 126) palliative exclusive et enfin 2,7 % (n = 11) des discussions concernaient l’après cancer. Le nombre médian de participants était de 10 avec une présence régulière des oncologues, de l’équipe de soins palliatifs, de l’assistante sociale, la diététicienne, la kinésithérapeute et la psychologue. Les deux motifs les plus fréquents de présentation étaient le devenir et une demande d’intervention de l’équipe mobile de soins palliatifs. La décision de la réunion était relativement bien appliquée avec un taux de conformité de 81,8 %. Cependant, on peut regretter le délai court de 1,5 mois entre le décès et la concertation. La création d’un département transversal de soins de support a fait prendre de l’ampleur à cette réunion et il serait pertinent dans un avenir proche de vérifier si elle permet une meilleure anticipation.
Trauma is widespread, and its symptoms can adversely impact wellbeing at end of life, a time when hospice seeks to maximize quality of life. This article reviews research on trauma at end of life, provides an overview of trauma-informed principles, and explores possibilities for applying trauma-informed care through an illustrative case study of a patient at end of life. The case discussion applies findings from the literature using Feldman's Stepwise Psychosocial Palliative Care model as a roadmap. As shown in the case study, trauma-related symptoms may complicate care, making it an important subject of clinical attention for interdisciplinary hospice team members. As part of this team, social workers are particularly well suited to provide more targeted interventions where indicated, though all members of the team should take a trauma-informed approach. Lastly, this article reflects on the need for organizations to take a systems-level approach when implementing trauma-informed care and suggests implications for practice through a universal approach to trauma and the need for trauma-specific assessments and interventions at end-of-life, along with areas for future research.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer and leading cause of cancer mortality globally. Lung cancer is associated with significant morbidity, with symptoms often being poorly managed, causing significant symptom burden for both patients and their family caregivers. In people with life-limiting illnesses including advanced cancer, palliative care has been effective in improving symptom control, physical and mental wellbeing, quality of life, and survivorship; with benefits extending to caregivers while in the role and subsequently. Earlier integration of palliative care within oncology may be associated with improved patient outcomes, and has been supported by two Lancet commissions and national guidelines. The evidence for its effectiveness, however, has been mixed across the cancer spectrum. The aim of this review was to evaluate the current evidence for the effectiveness of early integrated palliative care in improving outcomes for people with lung cancer and their caregivers. Meta-analyses were performed where studies used the same measure. Otherwise, synthesis used a narrative approach. Similar to other types of advanced cancer, this review reveals mixed evidence for the effectiveness of early referral to palliative care and for the effectiveness of individual palliative interventions for people with lung cancer and their caregivers. Evidence that on-demand palliative care is equally, if not more effective than palliative care that is routinely provided, raises the question whether initiation and provision of palliative care as part of multidisciplinary lung cancer care ought to be guided by an early referral or need-based referral. Better understanding of what constitutes palliative care when delivered to people with lung cancer and their caregivers will help delineate the correlation with reported outcomes for these populations.
Adequate interprofessional collaboration is essential to provide high quality palliative dementia care across different settings. Within interprofessional collaboration, nurses are the frontline healthcare professionals (HCPs), who interact closely with people with dementia, their loved ones, and other HCPs. A survey was conducted to explore the needs of nurses regarding interprofessional collaboration in home care (HC) organisations, nursing homes (NHs) and during NH admissions. The survey identified the perceived quality of and preferred needs regarding interprofessional collaboration. In total, 384 participants (53.9% home care nurses) completed the survey. The most frequently reported collaboration needs in HC organisations and NH were optimal communication content e.g. information transfer and short communication lines (being able to easily contact other disciplines), and coordination e.g. one contact person, and clear task division and responsibilities). During NH admissions, it was important to create transparency about agreements concerning end-of-life wishes, optimize nurse-to-nurse handover during NH admissions (through performing visits prior to admissions, and receiving practical information on how to guide relatives), and improve coordination (e.g. one contact person). In conclusion, the key collaboration needs were organising central coordination, establishing optimal communication, and creating transparency on end-of-life care agreements.
Hospice agencies serve an expanding population of patients with varying disease conditions and sociodemographic characteristics. Patients with heart failure represent a growing share of hospice deaths in the United States. However, limited research has explored the perspectives of hospice interdisciplinary team members regarding how patients with heart failure and their families navigate hospice care. We sought to address this research gap by conducting qualitative interviews with hospice interdisciplinary team members at a large, not-for-profit hospice agency in New York City (N = 32). Five overarching themes from these interviews were identified regarding components that members of the hospice interdisciplinary team perceived as helping patients with heart failure and their families navigate hospice care. These themes included (1) “looking out: caregiving support in hospice care,” (2) “what it really means: patient knowledge and understanding of hospice,” (3) “on board: acceptance of death and alignment with hospice goals,” (4) “on the same page: communication with the hospice team,” and (5) “like a good student: symptom management and risk reduction practices.” Interdisciplinary team members delineated several components that influence how patients with heart failure and their families navigate hospice services and communicate with care providers. Hospice agencies should consider policies for augmenting services among patients with heart failure to improve their understanding of hospice, supplement available caregiving supports for patients without them, and remove communication barriers.
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.
PURPOSE: Young adults (YAs; defined as 18-39 years of age) with advanced cancer are a group for whom standardized age-appropriate palliative care has not been established. The purpose of this study was to explore the YA experience and perceptions of palliative care in an outpatient interdisciplinary palliative care clinic for this population.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using an interpretive descriptive design, semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 YAs with advanced cancer who were being seen jointly by a palliative care physician and psychiatrist in an ambulatory palliative care clinic. Interviews explored participants' understanding and experiences of receiving palliative care. Six family members were also interviewed to build on the YA experience. Data collection and analysis occurred concurrently, drawing on the constructivist grounded theory method to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Participants described being referred to and seen in the interdisciplinary palliative care clinic as a conflicting and at times difficult experience because of the feeling of being categorized as palliative as YAs. Even so, there were key aspects associated with the specific palliative care approach that allowed YAs to cope with this new label, leading to a beneficial experience, specifically: provided YAs with time and space to explore the experience of having cancer at a younger age, created repeat opportunities to talk openly with people who "got it," and highlighted the importance of including family support in the care of YAs.
CONCLUSION: YAs who were referred to the interdisciplinary palliative care clinic struggled with the category of palliative care but also found the care they received beneficial. Findings provide an approach to palliative care tailored to YAs with advanced cancer.