Context/Objective: Essential indicators of high-quality end-of-life care in intensive care units (ICUs) have been established but examined inconsistently and predominantly with small samples, mostly from Western countries. Our study goal was to comprehensively measure end-of-life-care quality delivered in ICUs using chart-derived process-based quality measures for a large cohort of critically ill Taiwanese patients.
Methods: For this observational study, patients with APACHE II score =20 or goal of palliative care and with ICU stay exceeding three days ( N = 326) were consecutively recruited and followed until death.
Results: Documentation of process-based indicators for Taiwanese patients dying in ICUs was variable (8.9%–96.3%), but high for physician communication of the patient's poor prognosis to his/her family members (93.0%), providing specialty palliative-care consultations (73.3%), a do-not-resuscitate order in place at death (96.3%), death without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (93.5%), and family presence at patient death (76.1%). Documentation was infrequent for social-worker involvement (8.9%) and interdisciplinary family meetings to discuss goals of care (22.4%). Patients predominantly (79.8%) continued life-sustaining treatments (LSTs) until death and died with full life support, with 88.3% and 58.9% of patients dying with mechanical ventilation support and vasopressors, respectively.
Conclusions: Taiwanese patients dying in ICUs heavily used LSTs until death despite high prevalences of documented prognostic communication, providing specialty palliative-care consultations, having a do-not-resuscitate order in place, and death without cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Family meetings should be actively promoted to facilitate appropriate end-of-life-care decisions to avoid unnecessary suffering from potentially inappropriate LSTs during the last days of life.
Siblings of children with serious illness often experience psychosocial distress during and after there sibling's illness. Their psychosocial well-being may not receive adequat focus due to their sibling's illness. This Fast Fact discusses sibling emotions and identify effective ways clinicians can support them. See Fast Fact #47 and #138 for information about the developmental stages for how children conceptualize death and illness.
Objective: Seriously ill adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC) who receive palliative care may benefit from improved symptom burden, health care utilization and cost, caregiver stress, and quality of life. To guide research involving serious illness and MCC, palliative care can be integrated into a conceptual model to develop future research studies to improve care strategies and outcomes in this population.
Methods: The adapted conceptual model was developed based on a thorough review of the literature, in which current evidence and conceptual models related to serious illness, MCC, and palliative care were appraised. Factors contributing to patients’ needs, services received, and service-related variables were identified. Relevant patient outcomes and evidence gaps are also highlighted.
Results: Fifty-eight articles were synthesized to inform the development of an adapted conceptual model including serious illness, MCC, and palliative care. Concepts were organized into 4 main conceptual groups, including Factors Affecting Needs (sociodemographic and social determinants of health), Factors Affecting Services Received (health system; research, evidence base, dissemination, and health policy; community resources), Service-Related Variables (patient visits, service mix, quality of care, patient information, experience), and Outcomes (symptom burden, quality of life, function, advance care planning, goal-concordant care, utilization, cost, death, site of death, satisfaction).
Discussion: The adapted conceptual model integrates palliative care with serious illness and multiple chronic conditions. The model is intended to guide the development of research studies involving seriously ill adults with MCC and aid researchers in addressing relevant evidence gaps.
Background: At a population level, conversations between clinicians and seriously ill patients exploring patients’ goals and values can drive high-value healthcare, improving patient outcomes and reducing spending.
Methods: We examined the impact of a quality improvement intervention to drive better communication on total medical expenses in a high-risk care management program. We present our analysis of secondary expense outcomes from a prospective implementation trial of the Serious Illness Care Program, which includes clinician training, coaching, tools, and system interventions. We included patients who died between January 2014 and September 2016 who were selected for serious illness conversations, using the “Surprise Question,” as part of implementation of the program in fourteen primary care clinics.
Results: We evaluated 124 patients and observed no differences in total medical expenses between intervention and comparison clinic patients. When comparing patients in intervention clinics who did and did not have conversations, we observed lower average monthly expenses over the last 6 ($6297 vs. $8,876, p = 0.0363) and 3 months ($7263 vs. $11,406, p = 0.0237) of life for patients who had conversations.
Conclusions: Possible savings observed in this study are similar in magnitude to previous studies in advance care planning and specialty palliative care but occur earlier in the disease course and in the context of documented conversations and a comprehensive, interprofessional case management program.
Implications: Programs designed to drive more, earlier, and better serious illness communication hold the potential to reduce costs.
Context: Responding to emotion cues is an essential skill for communicating with patients and families, but many health care trainees have difficulty applying this skill within the context of a complex conversation.
Objectives: We created an original online module to facilitate deliberate practice of a three-skill framework for responding to emotion cues during complex or nonlinear serious illness conversations.
Methods: Our original online module uses a gamebook format, which prompts trainees to engage in focused and repetitive practice of three well-defined skills for responding to emotion cues in a simulated family conference. We implemented the module as a part of a communication skills curriculum for interns rotating in the intensive care unit. After completing the module, all interns answered an open-ended survey question about their perceived skill acquisition. Results were analyzed by a qualitative method and coded into themes.
Results: About 71% of interns (n = 65 of 92) completed the online module and open-ended survey question. About 89% of participants responded that they would use a naming, understanding, respecting, supporting, or exploring statement in response to an emotion cue. Nearly two-thirds of participants articulated their rationale for using naming, understanding, respecting, supporting, or exploring statements (e.g., preparing patients to process complex medical information, eliciting information about patient perspective.)
Conclusion: Our online emotion cue module is a novel tool for deliberate practice of advanced skills for responding to emotion cues in serious illness conversations. In future studies, we will investigate whether our module's efficacy is enhanced by using it as a part of a flipped classroom curriculum with an in-person simulation session.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' seminal 1969 work, On Death and Dying, opened the door to understanding individuals' emotional experiences with serious illness and dying. Patient's emotions, however, are only half the story in the patient-physician relationship. In recent years physicians' emotional reactions have gotten more attention. These sometimes-unacknowledged emotions influence how we approach our work, including life and death decisions. This article reviews some of the main emotions physicians experience when caring for seriously ill and dying patients and the challenges physicians face in regulating their emotions in a professional setting. We also discuss some of the ways that physician emotion may influence medical decision-making and contribute to conflict. Attention to the emotional level of physician experience may promote better care.
BACKGROUND: Prior to national spread, the Department of Veterans Affairs implemented a pilot of the life-sustaining treatment decisions initiative (LSTDI) to promote proactive goals of care conversations (GoCC) with seriously ill patients, including policy and practice standards, an electronic documentation template and order set, and implementation support.
AIM: To describe a 2-year pilot of the LSTDI at 4 demonstration sites.
DESIGN: Prospective observational study.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 6664 patients who had at least one GoCC.
RESULTS: Descriptive statistics characterized patient demographics, goals of care, LST decisions, and risk of hospitalization or mortality among patients with at least one GoCC. Participants were on average 71.4 years old, 93.2% male, 87.1% white, and 64.7% urban; 27.3% died by the end of the pilot period. Fifteen percent lacked decision-making capacity (DMC). Nonmutually exclusive goals included to be cured (7.6%), to prolong life (34%), to improve/maintain quality of life (61.5%), to be comfortable (53%), to obtain support for family/caregiver (8.4%), to achieve life goals (2.1%), and other (10.5%). Many GoCCs resulted in a do not resuscitate (DNR) order (58.8%). Patients without DMC were more likely to have comfort-oriented goals (77.3% vs 48.8%) and a DNR (84% vs 52.6%). Chart abstraction supported content validity of GoCC documentation.
CONCLUSION: The pilot demonstrated that standardizing practices for eliciting and documenting GoCCs resulted in customized documentation of goals of care and LST decisions of a large number of seriously ill patients and established the feasibility of spreading standardized practices throughout a large integrated health care system.
The varied physical, social, and psychological stressors that accompany advanced disease can be burdensome and cause intense emotional suffering, hindering the ability of patients and families to cope in day-to-day life and negatively affecting quality of life. This article addresses key concepts for the assessment and management of commonly encountered types of psychological distress in serious illness including grief, prolonged grief, major depressive disorder, death contemplation, and suicidal ideation.
Respiratory symptoms are common in patients living with serious illness, both in cancer and nonmalignant conditions. Common symptoms include dyspnea (breathlessness), cough, malignant pleural effusions, airway secretions, and hemoptysis. Basic management of respiratory symptoms is within the scope of primary palliative care. There are pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches to treating respiratory symptoms. This article provides clinicians with treatment approaches to these burdensome symptoms.
Prognostication is a vital aspect of decision making because it provides patients and families with information to establish realistic and achievable goals of care, is used in determining eligibility for certain benefits, and helps in targeting interventions to those likely to benefit. Prognostication consists of 3 components: clinicians use their clinical judgment or other tools to estimate the probability of an individual developing a particular outcome over a specific period of time; this prognostic estimate is communicated in accordance with the patient's information preferences; the prognostic estimate is interpreted by the patient or surrogate and used in clinical decision making.
Background: Recent and preprohibition studies show that patients with serious illness might benefit from psychedelic-assisted therapies for a range of symptoms, physical, psychosocial, and existential.
Objective: To explore the potential roles and research priorities of these therapies in patients with serious illness.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Qualitative study based on semistructured interviews with 17 experts in serious illness care and/or psychedelic research from the United States and Canada.
Measurements: The interview guide elicited participants' perspectives on (1) the potential roles of psychedelic-assisted therapies in this setting, (2) research priorities relevant to this population, and (3) the potential for integrating psychedelic-assisted therapies into existing delivery models of serious illness care. We used thematic analysis until thematic saturation.
Results: Domain I: Participants had polar views on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies, ranging from strong beliefs in their medical utility to reluctance about their use in this patient population. They shared concerns related to the risks of adverse effects, such as delirium or worsening of psychological distress. Domain II: Research priorities primarily concerned patients with clinically diagnosed psychosocial distress, such as depression, anxiety, or demoralization. Participants also articulated potential roles extending beyond traditional medical diagnosis. Domain III: Participants emphasized essential safety and efficacy guidelines relevant to the integration of these therapies into existing models of care.
Conclusion: This qualitative study highlights issues and priorities for research on psychedelic-assisted therapies in patients with serious illness and proposes a conceptual framework for integrating these therapies into existing delivery models of serious illness care.
Patients with serious illnesses are often asked whether they would prioritize relief of pain and suffering or longevity if these 2 goals were to come into conflict. A significant majority state that they would prioritize relief of pain and suffering. However, it is difficult for clinicians and family caregivers to operationalize such preferences without knowing the limits of these preferences or how much time alive patients would be willing to sacrifice in the service of their palliative goals. We sought to quantify trade-offs between survival time and avoidance of intensive care near the end of life among seriously ill hospitalized patients.
Sébastien, en 4e dans un collège de ZEP, est atteint d'une sclérose en plaques. Il est persuadé qu'il va en mourir... Entre ses copains, la fille dont il est amoureux, ses parents (une mère surprotectrice et un père démissionnaire) et ses crises, il est en survie permanente, sans espoir et sans but, jusqu'à l'arrivée dans la classe d'un enfant soldat du Congo, qui détourne son pôle d'attraction et le force à sortir de sa morbidité chronique en le révélant à lui-même.
Maman a un cancer, un lymphome, un gros pamplemousse qui l'empêche de respirer dans le poumon. On suit le parcours de soins, du diagnostic au traitement jusqu'à la guérison, à travers les yeux d'un petit garçon et de son papa.
Pilou, un petit oiseau, vit une vie heureuse dans la ferme, entre ses parents et surtout Paulette, la star de la basse-cour ! Mais voilà, un jour, Paulette tombe malade et c'est toutes les petites habitudes du quotidien qui sont modifiées. C'est que la maladie de Paulette est "trop forte", le docteur ne peut plus la guérir. Face au chagrin de ses proches, Pilou se pose des questions sur la maladie et la mort. Heureusement, toute la basse-cour est là pour accompagner ses derniers jours. Le médecin aide Paulette à mourir sans souffrance grâce à une piqûre. C'est un premier deuil pour Pilou, qui apprendra alors à se souvenir des bons moments pour emporter avec lui "la bonne humeur de Paulette".
Pilou, un petit oiseau, vit une vie heureuse dans la ferme, entre ses parents et surtout Lisette, la star de la basse-cour ! Mais voilà, un jour, Lisette tombe malade et c'est toutes les petites habitudes du quotidien qui sont modifiées. C'est que la maladie de Lisette est "trop forte", le docteur ne peut plus la guérir. Face au chagrin de ses proches, Pilou se pose des questions sur la maladie et la mort. Heureusement, le médecin aide Lisette à ne pas souffrir et toute la basse-cour est là pour accompagner ses derniers jours. C'est un premier deuil pour Pilou, qui apprendra alors à se souvenir des bons moments pour emporter avec lui "la bonne humeur de Lisette".
Suite à l’annonce de la maladie grave de son grand-père, Garance réalise qu’elle ne sait pas grand-chose de lui, notamment de sa jeunesse et des circonstances qui l’ont mené loin de son pays natal, le Cambodge. Comme pour rattraper ou rallonger le temps, elle lui rend visite aussi souvent que possible et l’interroge sur son passé. Ce passé qui risque bien de changer sa propre vie et sa relation avec ses parents.
Stella Grant a dix-sept ans, et elle a passé une bonne partie de sa vie à l'hôpital. Atteinte de mucoviscidose, elle maîtrise scrupuleusement sa situation, enchaînant les to-do list, suivant ses traitements et les recommandations des médecins à la lettre. Alors qu'elle attend une greffe de poumons, elle retourne à l'hôpital pour quelques semaines. Alors qu'elle suit sa routine quotidienne, elle rencontre un nouveau patient, Will, atteint par la même maladie qu'elle.
Malheureusement, le jeune homme souffre également d'une bactérie fatale qui lui interdit toute chance d'obtenir une greffe de poumons. Si Stella l'attrape, elle peut dire adieu à la greffe. Les deux adolescents ont donc l'interdiction absolue de s'approcher à moins de deux mètres. Malgré cette obligation, Will et Stella se rapprochent peu à peu et tombent amoureux. Ils doivent alors user de stratagèmes pour semer les infirmières et passer du temps ensemble.
Très vite, cette distance entre eux ne rime plus avec sécurité, mais avec punition.
Simon et Annabelle sont à l'école primaire ensemble et sont amoureux. Un jour, Simon tombe malade : une leucémie. Malgré les traitements, il meurt. L'album présente les émotions traversées par Annabelle.