PURPOSE: Cancer patients in university hospitals often face a difficult decision regarding transfer to other care settings at the end-of-life. Arrangements for a satisfying transfer are important for reducing the psychosocial impact of the transition, but few studies have evaluated this aspect. This study aimed to identify factors related to the satisfying arrangement of transfers to other care settings from university hospitals.
METHODS: A total of 400 bereaved family members of cancer patients in Japan participated in this cross-sectional web-based questionnaire survey. Statistical methods including decision tree analysis were conducted to identify factors significantly associated with satisfying transfer arrangements.
RESULTS: More than 60% of cancer patients were satisfied with the transfer arrangements made by university hospitals. Decision tree analysis revealed that the factor most significantly associated with satisfaction with transfer arrangements was "satisfaction with contents of the explanation about transfer." The following significant factors were also extracted: "timing of being informed of transfer," "presence of primary care physician," and "presence of trustworthy staff." "Satisfaction with overall care from university hospital staff" and "involvement of palliative care team" were identified as factors contributing to a high degree of satisfaction with transfer arrangements.
CONCLUSION: In order to make satisfying transfer arrangements from university hospitals for cancer patients at the end-of-life, healthcare professionals should provide satisfactory explanations about the transfer process in order to meet the information needs of patients. To be effective, healthcare professionals should initiate transfer arrangements prior to cancer treatment, while simultaneously building trusting relationships with patients.
BACKGROUND: There has been a rapid increase in the number of residential care/assisted living communities (RC/AL) that allow residents to die in place. The objective of this study was to examine the organizational characteristics of RC/AL communities that are associated with facility-level policies supportive of admitting and retaining residents in need of end-of-life (EOL) care.
METHODS: We used cross-sectional data from the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities. Organizational characteristics included structural factors, staffing levels, and other relevant facility-level policies. We examined descriptive statistics, binomial and multivariable multinomial regression models to determine the likelihood of 1) admitting and retaining, or 2) only retaining, as compared to 3) neither admitting nor retaining AL residents in need of EOL care.
RESULTS: A majority of residential care facilities 73.7% (n = 22,642) reported admitting and retaining residents at EOL. Yet, levels of skilled nursing care were generally low with 60.9% of these RC/AL communities reporting that registered nurses were not available, including hospice staff. In multivariable, multinomial regression models, organizational characteristics such as skilled nursing, hands-on contact hours from personal care aides, and policies allowing exemptions to self-evacuation rules were associated with increased likelihood of RC/AL communities admitting/retaining residents in need of EOL care.
CONCLUSION: Despite overall low levels of skilled nursing care, a nationally representative survey revealed that a majority of RC/AL communities admit and retain residents in need of EOL care. Staffing and exemptions from self-evacuation policies appear to be central characteristics associated with the provision of these services in RC/AL communities.
BACKGROUND: A sense of place (SOP) is defined as the emotional bonds, values, meaning, and symbols attached to a place.
AIMS: To assess SOP of patients with cancer during end-of-life care at home (home-hospice service) versus at a hospital in relation to place of care, social support, and emotional distress.
METHODS: Participants were 150, stage IV, cancer patients with a life expectancy of less than 6 months, as defined by oncological staff, who were not receiving any life-prolonging care. Seventy-five patients received care at home (home-hospice), and the other 75 received care at the oncology department at the hospital, by palliative unit staff. Participants completed the Brief Symptom Inventory anxiety and depression subscales, questionnaires on perceived support and both questionnaires on home SOP and hospital SOP.
RESULTS: Mean scores of emotional distress were similar for patients in home-hospice and at the hospital. Home SOP among individuals receiving care at home was high, and hospital SOP was high among hospitalized individuals. The structural equation model had good fit indexes, showing that each of the SOP variables mediated the association between place of care and emotional distress. Perceived support was associated with lower distress only in the hospital setting.
CONCLUSIONS: The SOP concept is relevant to understanding emotional distress in relation to place of care at end of life. Strengthening SOP in relation to place of care should be considered. As newly introduced concept regarding place of care at the end of life, SOP warrants further research.
Introduction: Older people who live in care homes have a high level of need with complex health conditions. In addition to providing medical care to residents, general practitioners (GPs) play a role as gatekeeper for access to services, as well as leadership within healthcare provision. This review will describe how GPs were involved in initiatives to change arrangements of healthcare services in order to improve quality and experience of care.
Methods and analysis: Following RAMESES quality and publication guidelines standards, we will proceed with realist review to develop theories of how GPs work with care home staff to bring about improvements. We identify when improvement in outcomes does not occur and why this may be the case. The first stage will include interviews with GPs to ask their views on improvement in care homes. These interviews will enable development of initial theories and give direction for the literature searches. In the second stage, we will use iterative literature searches to add depth and context to the early theories; databases will include Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO and ASSIA. In stage 3, evidence that is judged as rigorous and relevant will be used to test the initial theories, and through the process, refine the theory statements. In the final stage, we will synthesise findings and provide recommendations for practice and policy-making. During the review, we will invite a context expert group to reflect on our findings. This group will have expertise in current trends in primary care and the care home sector both in UK and internationally.
Background: When patients receiving palliative care are transferred between care settings, adequate collaboration and information exchange between health care professionals is necessary to ensure continuity, efficiency and safety of care. Several studies identified deficits in communication and information exchange between care settings. Aim of this study was to get insight in the quality of collaboration and information exchange in palliative care from the perspectives of nurses.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional regional survey study among nurses working in different care settings. Nurses were approached via professional networks and media. Respondents were asked questions about collaboration in palliative care in general and about their last deceased patient. Potential associations between quality scores for collaboration and information handovers and characteristics of respondents or patients were tested with Pearson’s chi-square test.
Results: A total of 933 nurses filled in the questionnaire. Nurses working in nursing homes were least positive about inter-organizational collaboration. Forty-six per cent of all nurses had actively searched for such collaboration in the last year. For their last deceased patient, 10% of all nurses had not received the information handover in time, 33% missed information they needed. An adequate information handover was positively associated with timeliness and completeness of the information and the patient being well-informed, not with procedural characteristics.
Conclusion: Nurses report that collaboration between care settings and information exchange in palliative care is suboptimal. This study suggests that health care organizations should give more attention to shared professionalization towards inter-organizational collaboration among nurses in order to facilitate high-quality palliative care.
Background: More than 2.5 million older Americans die each year. Place of residence in which dying patients receive care plays a crucial role in the quality of end-of-life (EOL) care.
Objective: This study aimed to compare proxies' overall rating and ratings for 13 indicators across five major domains of EOL care by place of residence in the last month of decedents' lives.
Design: We used data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study, a nationally representative study of Medicare beneficiaries at age 65 years and older in the United States.
Setting/Subjects: Analyses included proxies (N = 1336) of Medicare beneficiaries who passed away between 2013 and 2016. Proxies were categorized into four groups, depending on place of residence in the last month of life and the involvement of hospice.
Measurements: Quality of EOL care was assessed using questions modeled after quality of EOL care instruments. We adjusted for demographic data of decedents and proxies.
Results: Hospice recipients, regardless of setting, were more likely to experience pain and talk about religion in the last month of life; families of patients without hospice in residential care settings were more likely to report not being kept informed; proxies of patients living in private residences with hospice care reported higher overall ratings. Among hospice recipients, those living in private residences were more likely to be treated with respect.
Conclusions: Disparities exist across settings and in overall ratings for quality of EOL domains—particularly, the subdomains of symptom management, decision making, and spiritual needs.
BACKGROUND: Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is generally incurable, but patients can survive longer than those with other cancer types. Treatment strategies for MBC are complex, and it is difficult to establish evidence of efficacy since symptoms and patient backgrounds vary markedly. Some patients struggle to decide where to receive end-of-life care, despite palliative care intervention, and some die in unexpected places. With the aim of ascertaining the best way to intervene on behalf of patients with end-stage breast cancer, we retrospectively examined interventions provided by our palliative care team. We investigated factors influencing the decision-making processes of patients with MBC regarding end-of-life care locations and where patients actually died.
METHODS: Clinical records of 44 patients with MBC, all Japanese women, who received palliative care interventions at our hospital, were retrospectively investigated. We examined factors, such as age, possibly impacting decision-making processes regarding the final location and actual place of death.
RESULTS: Thirty-five (80%) patients were able to decide where to receive end-of-life care, while the others were not. For these 35 patients, desired locations were the palliative care unit (77%), home palliative care (14%), and the hospital (9%). Age and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were factors influencing patients' decision-making processes (P = .030 and .044, respectively). Of the 35 patients, 25 (71%) were able to receive end-of-life care at their desired locations.
CONCLUSIONS: Young patients and those with short RFS struggled with making decisions regarding where to receive end-of-life care. Such patients might benefit from prompt introduction of advanced care planning.
BACKGROUND: Achieving the preference of place of care and place of death of patients is a quality marker in palliative care. From a recent study, around 30% of the Hong Kong general population wished to die at home. In our study, residential care home for the elderly (RCHE) was also considered as home. The objective of this study was to investigate the preference of place of care and place of death of terminal cancer patients who received palliative care service in Hong Kong. We would also investigate the facilitating and obstructing factors for home death. Common factors associating with the preference of home death would also be examined.
METHODS: A hospital-based cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted in a local palliative care unit from 3 December 2018 to 10 January 2019. Univariate analysis was performed to evaluate factors associated with the preference of home death.
RESULTS: Total 72 patients were recruited. Overall, 22 (30.6%) patients wished to die at home ideally. After concerning reality and different choices, only 13 (18.1%) patients preferred home death. The most common chosen facilitating factor for home death was to provide support to carers (12 patients, 92.3%). Five patients (38.5%) chose it as the most significant facilitating factor for home death. It was inconclusive for the most common chosen and most significant obstructing factor for home death. There were no statistically significant factors found to be associated with the preference of home death.
CONCLUSIONS: The preference of home death of terminal cancer patients in Hong Kong is low. We hope that understanding more of the obstructing and relieving factors for home death can facilitate home death in the future.
BACKGROUND: Asking patients with palliative care needs about their end-of-life (EoL) preferences is widely acknowledged as an important aspect of EoL care. However, the issue of how to ask patients these questions has not been fully explored. Most prior studies in this area do not differentiate between patients' pragmatic preferences and ideal preferences, and between preferences concerning place of care (PoC) and place of death (PoD).
AIM: The aim of this study was to examine possible differences between pragmatic and ideal preferences of terminally ill patients, as well as differences between asking patients about preferences concerning PoC and PoD.
METHODS: Structured interviews were performed with terminally ill cancer patients at inclusion and a follow-up questionnaire was completed 1 month later. Answers were compared using kappa (k) statistics and Pearson's c2-test.
RESULTS: Among 96 cancer patients, agreement between pragmatic and ideal preferences was statistically significantly different (p=<0.001). Agreement between preferences for PoC and PoD was high (k:0.76-0.85).
CONCLUSION: Differences exist between pragmatic and ideal EoL preferences, whereas preferences for PoC and PoD were found to be similar. These findings highlight the importance of the phrasing of questions when uncovering patients' preferences for EoL care.
BACKGROUND: It is often suggested that terminally ill patients favour end-of-life care at home. Yet, it is unclear how these preferences are formed, if the process is similar for patients and family caregivers, and if there are discrepancies between preferences for place of care and place of death. Understanding these nuances is essential to support people in their decision-making and ultimately provide better care at the end-of-life.
AIM: To gain an in-depth understanding of how terminally ill patients and their family caregivers make decisions about preferred place of care and place of death.
DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews with patients and family caregivers, which were analysed thematically using qualitative description.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 17 participants (8 patients and 9 caregivers) recruited from an acute palliative care hospital ward, a sub-acute hospice unit, and a palliative homecare organisation in Melbourne, Australia.
RESULTS: The process of forming location preferences was shaped by uncertainty relating to the illness, the caregiver and the services. Patients and caregivers dealt with this uncertainty on a level of thoughts, emotions, and actions. At the end of this process, patients and caregivers expressed their choices as contextual, personal, relational, conditional and flexible preferences.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that in many cases end-of-life decision-making does not conclude with a clear and stable choice. Understanding the reasons for the malleability of preferences and the process of how they are formed has implications for both clinicians and researchers.
As healthcare systems worldwide are confronted with increasing numbers of aging patients and those living with life-limiting illnesses, the topic of where people want to spend their last days has received considerable attention. However, the strategies that researchers and clinicians use to capture these end-of-life views vary greatly in four key questions. These include: what, how, when and who to ask about location preferences. We will argue that how researchers and clinicians choose to answer these questions directly influences their findings. Based on these considerations, we will highlight ways to improve future palliative care and empirical end-of-life studies by addressing the precision, methods, timing and sources of preference assessments. Only when we are able to accurately identify where people want to spend their last days, can we begin to meet the needs of patients as they approach the final stage of their lives.
Purpose: Patients with haematological malignancies are more likely to die in hospital, and less likely to access palliative care than people with other cancers, though the reasons for this are not well understood. The purpose of our study was to explore haematology nurses' perspectives of their patients’ places of care and death.
Method: Qualitative description, based on thematic content analysis. Eight haematology nurses working in secondary and tertiary hospital settings were purposively selected and interviewed. Transcriptions were coded and analysed for themes using a mainly inductive, cross-comparative approach.
Results: Five inter-related factors were identified as contributing to the likelihood of patients’ receiving end of life care/dying in hospital: the complex nature of haematological diseases and their treatment; close clinician-patient bonds; delays to end of life discussions; lack of integration between haematology and palliative care services; and barriers to death at home.
Conclusions: Hospital death is often determined by the characteristics of the cancer and type of treatment. Prognostication is complex across subtypes and hospital death perceived as unavoidable, and sometimes the preferred option. Earlier, frank conversations that focus on realistic outcomes, closer integration of palliative care and haematology services, better communication across the secondary/primary care interface, and an increase in out-of-hours nursing support could improve end of life care and facilitate death at home or in hospice, when preferred.
BACKGROUND: People with haematological malignancies have different end-of-life care patterns from those with other cancers and are more likely to die in hospital. Little is known about patient and relative preferences at this time and whether these are achieved.
AIM: To explore the experiences and reflections of bereaved relatives of patients with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma, and examine (1) preferred place of care and death; (2) perceptions of factors influencing attainment of preferences; and (3) changes that could promote achievement of preferences.
DESIGN: Qualitative interview study incorporating 'Framework' analysis.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 10 in-depth interviews with bereaved relatives.
RESULTS: Although most people expressed a preference for home death, not all attained this. The influencing factors include disease characteristics (potential for sudden deterioration and death), the occurrence and timing of discussions (treatment cessation, prognosis, place of care/death), family networks (willingness/ability of relatives to provide care, knowledge about services, confidence to advocate) and resource availability (clinical care, hospice beds/policies). Preferences were described as changing over time and some family members retrospectively came to consider hospital as the 'right' place for the patient to have died. Others shared strong preferences with patients for home death and acted to ensure this was achieved. No patients died in a hospice, and relatives identified barriers to death in this setting.
CONCLUSION: Preferences were not always achieved due to a series of complex, interrelated factors, some amenable to change and others less so. Death in hospital may be preferred and appropriate, or considered the best option in hindsight.
Background: In the UK, many people experiencing homelessness whose health is deteriorating remain in homeless hostels due to few suitable alternative places of care. Hostel staff struggle to support residents with deteriorating health and palliative care services are rarely involved. There is recognition of the need for multiagency working to support this group.
Objectives: To pilot and evaluate the impact of a two-day training course for hostel staff around supporting clients with palliative care needs, and increasing multiagency working.
Design: Mixed methods evaluation using pre-and-post training data collection.
Settings and Participants: Frontline staff from two London homeless hostels.
Methods: Staff from two hostels attended a two day training course. Self-perceived confidence in supporting residents with deteriorating health, knowledge of palliative care, openness to discussing deteriorating health and work related stress were assessed at baseline and immediately after training using a novel questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected via focus groups immediately after and three months post-training.
Results: Twenty four participants attended at least one day of training, 21 (87%) completed the course. Training was reported to be useful and relevant. Modest improvements in self-perceived work related stress, knowledge, confidence and openness were observed following training. At three months, qualitative data indicated the beginnings of a shift in how palliative care was conceptualised and an increase in knowledge and confidence around supporting residents. Anxiety regarding the role of the hostel in palliative care, the recovery focused ethos of homelessness services and fragmented systems and services presented challenges to establishing changes.
Conclusions: Training can be useful for improving knowledge, confidence, openness and work related stress. Recommendations for implementing changes in how people experiencing homelessness are supported include embedding training into routine practice, promoting multidisciplinary working, incorporating flexibility within the recovery focused approach of services and recognising the need for emotional support for staff.
Installé en février 1985, le groupe de travail "Aide aux mourants" a été chargé de réfléchir sur les conditions de la fin de la vie et de proposer des mesures concrètes pour améliorer l'accompagnement des mourants.
[Extrait début du rapport]
Toute personne majeure peut rédiger des directives anticipées qui seront opposables dans certaines situations de fin de vie. Au moment de l’accueil, l’aide-soignante peut être amenée à aborder le sujet avec le patient/résident ou son entourage. Pour donner une information fiable, elle doit connaître les dispositions de la loi Claeys-Leonetti.
Importance: End-of-life care costs are high and decedents often experience poor quality of care. Numerous factors influence changes in site of death, health care transitions, and burdensome patterns of care.
Objective To describe changes in site of death and patterns of care among Medicare decedents.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study among a 20% random sample of 1 361 870 decedents who had Medicare fee-for-service (2000, 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2015) and a 100% sample of 871 845 decedents who had Medicare Advantage (2011 and 2015) and received care at an acute care hospital, at home or in the community, at a hospice inpatient care unit, or at a nursing home.
Exposures Secular changes between 2000 and 2015.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Medicare administrative data were used to determine site of death, place of care, health care transitions, which are changes in location of care, and burdensome patterns of care. Burdensome patterns of care were based on health care transitions during the last 3 days of life and multiple hospitalizations for infections or dehydration during the last 120 days of life.
Results: The site of death and patterns of care were studied among 1 361 870 decedents who had Medicare fee-for-service (mean [SD] age, 82.8 [8.4] years; 58.7% female) and 871 845 decedents who had Medicare Advantage (mean [SD] age, 82.1 [8.5] years; 54.0% female). Among Medicare fee-for-service decedents, the proportion of deaths that occurred in an acute care hospital decreased from 32.6% (95% CI, 32.4%-32.8%) in 2000 to 19.8% (95% CI, 19.6%-20.0%) in 2015, and deaths in a home or community setting that included assisted living facilities increased from 30.7% (95% CI, 30.6%-30.9%) in 2000 to 40.1% (95% CI, 39.9%-30.3% ) in 2015. Use of the intensive care unit during the last 30 days of life among Medicare fee-for-service decedents increased from 24.3% (95% CI, 24.1%-24.4%) in 2000 and then stabilized between 2009 and 2015 at 29.0% (95% CI, 28.8%-29.2%). Among Medicare fee-for-service decedents, health care transitions during the last 3 days of life increased from 10.3% (95% CI, 10.1%-10.4%) in 2000 to a high of 14.2% (95% CI, 14.0%-14.3%) in 2009 and then decreased to 10.8% (95% CI, 10.6%-10.9%) in 2015. The number of decedents enrolled in Medicare Advantage during the last 90 days of life increased from 358 600 in 2011 to 513 245 in 2015. Among decedents with Medicare Advantage, similar patterns in the rates for site of death, place of care, and health care transitions were observed.
Conclusions and Relevance: Among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who died in 2015 compared with 2000, there was a lower likelihood of dying in an acute care hospital, an increase and then stabilization of intensive care unit use during the last month of life, and an increase and then decline in health care transitions during the last 3 days of life.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Place of death is a commonly reported indicator of palliative care quality, but does not provide details of service utilization near end of life. This study aims to explore place of care trajectories in the last two weeks of life in a general population and by disease cohorts.
DESIGN/SETTING: A retrospective population-based cohort study using linked administrative-health data to examine Ontario decedents between April 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012.
MEASUREMENTS: Place of care trajectories in the last two weeks of life.
RESULTS: We identified 235,159 decedents. Of which, 215,533 represented the major cohorts of our analysis-cancer (32%), frailty (29%), and organ failure (31%). Sixty-one percent of all decedents died in hospital-based settings. Place of care utilization trends show us a marked increase in use of palliative-acute hospital care (13%-26%) and acute hospital care (12%-25%) and a small decrease in community care use (15%-12%) in the last two weeks of life. Those with cancer were the largest users of palliative-acute hospital care, while those with organ failure were the largest users of acute-hospital care.
CONCLUSIONS: Place of care trajectories show a marked rise in care in hospital-based settings from 29% to 61% in the last two weeks of life. Nearly half of all hospital deaths had palliative care as the main service provided. Place of care trajectories differ greatly by disease cohort. Exploring place of care trajectories in the last two weeks of life can illuminate end-of-life utilization patterns not evident when reporting solely place of death.
BACKGROUND: Limited knowledge exists of parents' perceptions and experiences of children's hospices and how these contribute to the varied access and uptake of services.
AIM: This study aimed to explore parents' perspectives and experiences of a hospice, to understand the barriers and/or facilitators to accessing a hospice, and what characteristics parents wanted from hospice provision.
METHODS: A two-phase qualitative study underpinned by a constructivist grounded theory methodology was employed. Phase 1 used focus groups to collect data from parents of children already accessing the hospice (n=24). Phase 2 used in-depth semistructured interviews with parents of children who did not use the hospice (n=7) and with parents who had previous experience of using a hospice (n=7).
RESULTS: A grounded theory of place bonding was developed which illustrates the cognitive journey taken by parents of children with life-limiting conditions considering/receiving hospice care for their child.
CONCLUSIONS: Finding a place where they belonged and felt at 'home' made the decision to accept help in caring for their child with a life-limiting condition more acceptable. The theory of place bonding offers children's hospices a new perspective from which to view how parents access, accept and build relationships at the hospice.