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.
Supporting physicians in Intensive Care Units (ICU)s as they face dying patients at unprecedented levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic is critical. Amidst a dearth of such data and guided by evidence that nurses in ICUs experience personal, professional and existential issues in similar conditions, a systematic scoping review (SSR) is proposed to evaluate prevailing accounts of physicians facing dying patients in ICUs through the lens of Personhood. Such data would enhance understanding and guide the provision of better support for ICU physicians.
Background: End-of-life decisions for neonates with adverse prognosis are controversial and raise ethical and legal issues. In Greece, data on physicians’ profiles, motivation, values and attitudes underlying such decisions and the correlation with their background are scarce. The aim was to investigate neonatologists' attitudes in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and correlate them with self-reported practices of end-of-life decisions and with their background data.
Methods: A structured questionnaire was distributed to all 28 Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Greece. One hundred and sixty two out of 260 eligible physicians answered anonymously the questionnaire (response rate 66%). Demographic and professional characteristics, self-reported practices and opinions were included in the questionnaire, along with a questionnaire of 12 items measuring physicians’ attitude and views ranging from value of life to quality of life approach (scale 1–5).
Results: Continuation of treatment in neonates with adverse prognosis without adding further therapeutic interventions was the most commonly reported EoL practice, when compared to withdrawal of mechanical ventilation. Physicians with a high attitude score (indicative of value of quality-of-life) were more likely to limit, while those with a low score (indicative of value of sanctity-of-life) were more likely for continuation of intensive care. Physicians’ educational level (p:0.097), involvement in research (p:0.093), religion (p:0.024) and position on the existing legal framework (p < 0.001) were factors that affected the attitude score.
Conclusions: Physicians presented with varying end-of-life practices. Limiting interventions in neonates with poor prognosis was strongly related to their attitudes. The most important predictors for physicians' attitudes were religiousness and belief for Greek legal system reform.
The practice of surgical palliative care is not new. Dr Balfour M. M. Mount, a retired urologic surgeon is considered the father of North American Palliative Care and coined the term Palliative Care in 1975. Dr Geoffrey P. Dunn, a retired general surgeon and hospice and palliative medicine specialist along with other like minded surgical colleagues were instrumental in developing the field of surgical palliative care. Dr Olga Jonasson, championed the American Board of Surgery becoming one of the sponsoring boards of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine certifying exam. Dr Anne Mosenthal advocated for palliative care to be integrated as parallel clinical aims so espoused in the Trauma Quality and Improvement Program Palliative Care Best Practice Guidelines. Dr Mosenthal currently chairs the American College of Surgeons Committee on Surgical Palliative Care. This introductory article is a brief history about the origins of surgical palliative care and sheds light on the current landscape of surgeons integrating primary and specialty palliative care into surgical practice. The aim of this surgical palliative care symposium is to take everyday surgical problems and highlight the application and benefit of palliative care when treating surgical patients with serious illness. Integrating palliative care principles into standard clinical management is evidenced based patient-centered practice.
Purpose: To investigate difficulties doctors experience during life-sustaining treatment (LST) discussion with seriously ill patients and their families after enactment of the LST Decisions Act in February 2018.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a tertiary hospital in the Republic of Korea in August 2019. 686 doctors who care for seriously ill patients were given a structured questionnaire, and difficulties during the discussion were examined.
Results: 132 doctors completed the questionnaire. 85% answered they treat cancer patients. Most (86.4%) experienced considerable difficulties during LST discussions (mean score, 7.4 ± 1.6/10). The two most common difficulties were communication with patients and family and determining when to discuss LST. Two-thirds of doctors found direct discussions with the patient difficult and said they would initiate LST discussions only with family. LST discussions were actually initiated later than considered appropriate. When medically assessing whether the patient is imminently dying, 56% of doctors experienced disagreements with other doctors, which could affect their decisions.
Conclusion: This study found that most doctors experienced serious difficulties regarding communication with patients and family and medical assessment of dying process during LST discussions. To alleviate these difficulties, further institutional support is needed to improve the LST discussion between doctors, patients, and family.
Background: In June 2016, when the Parliament of Canada passed Bill C-14, the country joined the small number of jurisdictions that have legalized medical assistance in dying (maid). Since legalization, nearly 7000 Canadians have received maid, most of whom (65%) had an underlying diagnosis of cancer. Although Bill C-14 specifies the need for government oversight and monitoring of maid, the government-collected data to date have tracked patient characteristics, rather than clinician encounters and beliefs. We aimed to understand the views of Canadian oncologists 2 years after the legalization of maid.
Methods: We developed and administered an online survey to medical and radiation oncologists to understand their exposure to maid, self-perceived knowledge, willingness to participate, and perception of the role of oncologists in introducing maid as an end-of-life care option. We used complete sampling through the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology membership e-mail lists. The survey was sent to 691 physicians: 366 radiation oncologists and 325 medical oncologists. Data were collected during March-June 2018. Results are presented using descriptive statistics and univariate or multivariate analysis.
Results: The survey attracted 224 responses (response rate: 32.4%). Of the responding oncologists, 70% have been approached by patients requesting maid. Oncologists were of mixed confidence in their knowledge of the eligibility criteria. Oncologists were most willing to engage in maid with an assessment for eligibility, and yet most refer to specialized teams for assessments. In terms of introducing maid as an end-of-life option, slightly more than half the responding physicians (52.8%) would initiate a conversation about maid with a patient under certain circumstances, most commonly the absence of viable therapeutic options, coupled with unmanageable patient distress.
Conclusions: In this first national survey of Canadian oncologists about maid, we found that most respondents encounter patient requests for maid, are confident in their knowledge about eligibility, and are willing to act as assessors of eligibility. Many oncologists believe that, under some circumstances, it is appropriate to present maid as a therapeutic option at the end of life. That finding warrants further deliberation by national or regional bodies for the development of consensus guidelines to ensure equitable access to maid for patients who wish to pursue it.
The Australian state of Victoria legalised voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in June 2019. Like most jurisdictions with legalised VAD, the Victorian law constructs physicians as the only legal providers of VAD. Physicians with conscientious objection to VAD are not compelled to participate in the practice, requiring colleagues who are willing to participate to transact the process for eligible applicants. Physicians who provide VAD because of their active, moral and purposeful support for the law are known as conscientious participants. Conscientious participation has received scant attention in the bioethics literature. Patient access to VAD is contingent on the development of a sufficient corpus of conscientious participants in permissive jurisdictions. This article reports the findings of a small empirical study into how some Victorian physicians with no in-principle opposition towards the legalisation of VAD, are ethically orientating themselves towards the law, in the first 8 months of the law's operation. It finds that in-principle-supportive physicians employ bioethical principles to justify their position but struggle to reconcile that approach with the broader medical profession's opposition. This study is part of the first tranche of empirical research emerging from Australia since the legalisation of VAD in that country for the first time in over 20 years.
Palliative care and advance care planning (ACP) from the first diagnosis of glioblastoma are important. This questionnaire survey was conducted to understand the current status of palliative care for brain tumors in Japan. Representative characteristics of Japan in comparison with Western countries (P <0.01) are described below: (1) Gender ratio of male in physicians who treat brain tumors in Europe and the United States/Canada are about 70%, but 94% in Japan. (2) The specialty is predominantly neurosurgeon (93%) in Japan. The ratio of neurologists is predominantly 40% in Europe. In the United States/Canada, neurologist (27%) and neurosurgeon (29%) are main parts. (3) Years of medical experience over 15 in physicians is 73% in Japan. Proportions of those with over 15 years are 45% in Europe and 30% in the United States/Canada. (4) In practicing setting, the rate of academic medical centers is about 80% in Europe and the United States/Canada, and ~60% in Japan. Representative differences compared with past domestic data (2007) (p<0.01): (1) In glioblastoma, the rate of explaining about median survival time increases from 39% (2007) to 80% (2018). Explanation about medical conditions to the patient himself with his family increases from 20% (2007) to 39% (2018). (2) Place of death: The rate at hospital is decreasing from 96% (2007) to 79% (2018) and at home is increasing from 3% (2007) to 10% (2018) (3) The rate of ventilator in adult has decreased from 74% (2007) to 54% (2018), but nasal tube feeding has remained unchanged from 62% (2007) to 60% (2018). These results will be shared with physicians to make better care systems for patients with brain tumors.
CONTEXT: Current studies suggested that cultural and religious factors, as well as law and policy, may have impeded the advancement of palliative care in the Middle East. Little is known about healthcare providers' perceptions of palliative care and the barriers to its development in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
OBJECTIVES: To understand healthcare professionals' attitudes and beliefs regarding palliative care and to highlight current practice barriers in Bahrain.
METHODS: Semistructured interviews with 16 healthcare providers (physicians and nurses) were conducted. Thematic analysis was then performed after interviews were transcribed verbatim.
RESULTS: Healthcare professionals perceived palliative care as a service only delivered to patients at the end-of-life. Palliative care was only offered to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and had exhausted all curative treatments. Do-Not-Resuscitate orders and Code Status discussions are not currently practiced. Palliative care decisions are usually decided by patients' families. Middle Eastern culture, healthcare law and policy, conservative interpretations of Islam and a lack of professional expertise were identified as barriers.
CONCLUSION: This study unveiled the perceptions of palliative care among healthcare professionals in a GCC country. Six major barriers that hindered palliative care practice were identified. Future healthcare policy in the region needs to address these barriers within the current healthcare system while taking culture, religion, and social factors into consideration.
A patient's death can pose significant stress on the family and the treating anaesthetist. Anaesthetists' attitudes about the benefits of and barriers to attending a patient's funeral are unknown. Therefore, we performed a prospective, cross-sectional study to ascertain the frequency of anaesthetists' attendance at a patient's funeral and their perceptions about the benefits and barriers. The primary aim was to investigate the attitudes of anaesthetists towards attending the funeral of a patient. The secondary aims were to examine the perceived benefits of and barriers to attending the funeral and to explore the rate of bonds being formed between anaesthetists, patients and families. Of the 424 anaesthetists who completed the survey (response rate 21.2%), 25 (5.9%) had attended a patient's funeral. Of the participants, 364 (85.9%) rarely formed special bonds with patients or their families; 233 (55%) believed that forming a special bond would increase the likelihood of their attendance. Showing respect to patients or their families was the most commonly perceived benefit of attending a funeral. Participants found expression of personal grief and caring for the patient at the end-of-life and beyond beneficial to themselves and the family. Fear of their attendance being misinterpreted or perceived as not warranted by the family as well as time restraints were barriers for their attendance. Most anaesthetists had never attended a patient's funeral. Few anaesthetists form close relationships with patients or their families. Respect, expression of grief and caring beyond life were perceived benefits of attendance. Families misinterpreting the purpose of attendance or not expecting their attendance and time restraints were commonly perceived barriers.
Trial registration: ACTRN 12618000503224.
OBJECTIVES: Though critical care physicians feel responsible to address spiritual and religious needs with patients and families, and feel comfortable in doing so, they rarely address these needs in practice. We seek to explore this discrepancy through a qualitative interview process among physicians in the intensive care unit (ICU).
METHODS: A qualitative research design was constructed using semi-structured interviews among 11 volunteer critical care physicians at a single institution in the Midwest. The physicians discussed barriers to addressing spiritual and religious needs in the ICU. A code book of themes was created and developed through a regular and iterative process involving 4 investigators. Data saturation was reached as no new themes emerged.
RESULTS: Physicians reported feeling uncomfortable in addressing the spiritual needs of patients with different religious views. Physicians reported time limitations, and prioritized biomedical needs over spiritual needs. Many physicians delegate these conversations to more experienced spiritual care providers. Physicians cited uncertainty into how to access spiritual care services when they were desired. Additionally, physicians reported a lack of reminders to meet these needs, mentioning frequently the ICU bundle as one example.
CONCLUSIONS: Barriers were identified among critical care physicians as to why spiritual and religious needs are rarely addressed. This may help inform institutions on how to better meet these needs in practice.
Background: Physicians experience high rates of burnout, which may negatively impact patient care. Palliative care is an emotionally demanding specialty with high burnout rates reported in previous studies from other countries. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of burnout and degree of resilience among Canadian palliative care physicians and examine their associations with demographic and workplace factors in a national survey.
Methods: Physician members of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and Société Québécoise des Médecins de Soins Palliatifs were invited to participate in an electronic survey about their demographic and practice arrangements and complete the Maslach Burnout Inventory for Medical Professionals (MBI-HSS (MP)), and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). The association of categorical demographic and practice variables was examined in relation to burnout status, as defined by MBI-HSS (MP) score. In addition to bivariable analyses, a multivariable logistic regression analysis, reporting odds ratios (OR), was conducted. Mean CD-RISC score differences were examined in multivariable linear regression analysis.
Results: One hundred sixty five members (29%) completed the survey. On the MBI-HSS (MP), 36.4% of respondents reported high emotional exhaustion (EE), 15.1% reported high depersonalization (DP), and 7.9% reported low personal accomplishment (PA). Overall, 38.2% of respondents reported a high degree of burnout, based on having high EE or high DP. Median CD-RISC resilience score was 74, which falls in the 25th percentile of normative population. Age over 60 (OR = 0.05; CI, 0.01–0.38), compared to age = 40, was independently associated with lower burnout. Mean CD-RISC resilience scores were lower in association with the presence of high burnout than when burnout was low (67.5 ± 11.8 vs 77.4 ± 11.2, respectively, p < 0.0001). Increased mean CD-RISC score differences (higher resilience) of 7.77 (95% CI, 1.97–13.57), 5.54 (CI, 0.81–10.28), and 8.26 (CI, 1.96–14.57) occurred in association with age > 60 as compared to =40, a predominantly palliative care focussed practice, and > 60 h worked per week as compared to =40 h worked, respectively.
Conclusions: One in three Canadian palliative care physicians demonstrate a high degree of burnout. Burnout prevention may benefit from increasing resilience skills on an individual level while also implementing systematic workplace interventions across organizational levels.
Background and aim: Although the challenges of integrating palliative care practices across care settings are real and well recognised, to date little is known about palliative care practices of emergency physicians (EPs) in Kuwait. Therefore, this study aims to explore the attitude and knowledge of EPs in providing palliative care in all general hospitals in Kuwait.
Method: A cross-sectional survey was performed in the emergency rooms of all general hospitals in Kuwait using the Palliative Care Attitude and Knowledge Questionnaire.
Results: Of the total number of physicians working in emergency rooms (n=156), 104 (66.67%) had completed the survey. 76.9% (n=80) of the EPs had an uncertain attitude towards palliative care. Most of the EPs (n=73, 70.28%) did not discuss the patients’ need for palliative care either with the patients or with their families. Only 16 (15.4%) of the EPs responded correctly to most of the questions while nearly half of the EPs (n=51, 49%) had poor knowledge. Experience =11 years and better knowledge scores were independent predictors of positive attitude after adjustment of age, sex, qualifications, specialty, position and nationality (OR: 5.747 (CI 1.031 to 25.00), 1.458(CI 1.148 to 1.851); p values: 0.021, 0.002, respectively).
Conclusions: Despite recognising palliative care as an important competence, the majority of the EPs in Kuwait had uncertain attitude and poor knowledge towards palliative care. Efforts should be made to enhance physician training and provide palliative care resources to improve the quality of care given to patients visiting emergency departments.
BACKGROUND: Medical Assistance in Dying comprises interventions that can be provided by medical practitioners to cause death of a person at their request if they meet predefined criteria. In June 2016, Medical Assistance in Dying became legal in Canada, sparking intense debate in the palliative care community.
AIM: This study aims to explore the experience of frontline palliative care providers about the impact of Medical Assistance in Dying on palliative care practice.
DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive design using semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: We interviewed palliative care physicians and nurses who practiced in settings where patients could access Medical Assistance in Dying for at least 6 months before and after its legalization. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants with diverse personal views and experiences with assisted death. Conceptual saturation was achieved after interviewing 23 palliative care providers (13 physicians and 10 nurses) in Southern Ontario.
RESULTS: Themes identified included a new dying experience with assisted death; challenges with symptom control; challenges with communication; impact on palliative care providers personally and on their relationships with patients; and consumption of palliative care resources to support assisted death.
CONCLUSION: Medical Assistance in Dying has had a profound impact on palliative care providers and their practice. Communication training with access to resources for ethical decision-making and a review of legislation may help address new challenges. Further research is needed to understand palliative care provider distress around Medical Assistance in Dying, and additional resources are necessary to support palliative care delivery.
BACKGROUND: The provision of palliative care (PC) for individuals with a life-threatening condition is fundamental to the role of the physician, in order to improve quality of life; however, little research has assessed the competence of the physicians in PC in Saudi Arabia.
AIM: To conduct a baseline assessment of self-assessed palliative care competences among medical physicians in Saudi Arabia.
DESIGN: A survey-based cross-sectional study was employed using a specifically designed questionnaire.
SETTING: The participants in the study were selected from 6 specialist medical departments (Family medicine, cardiology, internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, neurology and oncology) in 4 Saudi Arabian Hospitals, based on inclusion criteria.
RESULTS: The study was conducted using a validated questionnaire used in Ireland to evaluate the competence skills of physicians for the provision of palliative care. All categories showed internal reliability and normal distribution of the data. However, the score of the knowledge, attitude and practice among the physicians was higher than the expected. The clinical specialty of the physicians demonstrated greater influence on knowledge, attitude and practice related to the palliative care compared to medical education. This highlighted the importance of training in palliative care to the medical doctors working in a range of specialist area.
CONCLUSION: The study provides baseline data on the level of competence of palliative care of physicians in Saudi Arabia. This study can be used as an assessment tool to further evaluate the effectiveness of palliative care in other areas as primary and secondary care settings.
Les unités de soins palliatifs françaises peuvent accueillir des patients en phase terminale de leur maladie, mais aussi des patients qui bénéficient encore de traitement spécifique pouvant stabiliser la maladie à long terme. Or, nous ignorons comment ces soins palliatifs, qui cohabitent avec des traitements spécifiques de la pathologie et pouvant stabiliser la maladie à plus ou moins long terme, se pratiquent par les médecins qui travaillent dans ces unités d’hospitalisation. Nous avons mené une étude qualitative avec des professionnels médicaux et paramédicaux d’une USP française afin de décrire la pratique médicale en unité de soins palliatifs. Quatre « focus-groups » ont été menés avec 3 professionnels médicaux et 4 avec 11 professionnels paramédicaux. Les compétences réflexive et analytique étaient prépondérantes dans le discours des interviewés. Si l’incertitude n’était pas expressément nommée dans notre étude, elle était présente dans chaque geste ou comportement visant à comprendre la singularité du patient. Cette étude originale contribue à comprendre comment sont mis en œuvre les soins palliatifs en situation d’incertitude médicale.
Background: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process by which patients reflect upon their goals, values and beliefs to allow them to make decisions about their future medical treatment that align with their goals and values, improving patient-centered care. Despite this, ACP is underutilized and is reported as one of the most difficult processes of oncology. We sought to: 1) explore patients’ and families’ understanding, experience and reflections on ACP, as well as what they need from their physicians during the process; 2) explore physicians’ views of ACP, including their experiences with initiating ACP and views on ACP training.
Methods: This was a qualitative descriptive study in Nova Scotia, Canada with oncologists, advanced cancer out-patients and their family members. Semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer out-patients and their family members (n = 4 patients, 4 family members) and oncologists (n = 10) were conducted; each participant was recruited separately. Data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis, which entailed coding, categorizing, and identifying themes recurrent across the datasets.
Results: Themes were identified from the patient / family and oncologist groups, four and five respectively. Themes from patients / families included: 1) positive attitudes towards ACP; 2) healthcare professionals (HCPs) lack an understanding of patients’ and families’ informational needs during the ACP process; 3) limited access to services and supports; and 4) poor communication between HCPs. Themes from oncologists included: 1) initiation of ACP discussions; 2) navigating patient-family dynamics; 3) limited formal training in ACP; 4) ACP requires a team approach; and 5) lack of coordinated systems hinders ACP.
Conclusions: Stakeholders believe ACP for advanced cancer patients is important. Patients and families desire earlier and more in-depth discussion of ACP, additional services and supports, and improved communication between their HCPs. In the absence of formal training or guidance, oncologists have used clinical acumen to initiate ACP and a collaborative healthcare team approach.
This article considers a particular aspect of palliative psychology that is inherent to the needs in the area of attitudes concerning Advance Healthcare Directives (AHDs) among Italian physicians and nurses after the promulgation of Law No. 219/2017 on AHDs and informed consent in 2018. The study utilized a mixed-method approach. The group of participants was composed of 102 healthcare professionals (63 females and 39 males). The quantitative part utilized the following scales: Attitudes toward Euthanasia, the Religious Orientation Scale, the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding, and the Testoni Death Representation Scale. The results were mostly in line with the current literature, especially concerning a positive correlation between religiosity and the participants' rejection of the idea of euthanasia. However, the qualitative results showed both positive and negative attitudes towards AHDs, with four main thematic areas: "Positive aspects of the new law and of AHDs", "Negative aspects of the new law and of AHDs", "Changes that occurred in the professional context and critical incidents", and "Attitudes towards euthanasia requests." It emerged that there is not any polarization between Catholics or religious people and secularists: Their positions are substantially similar with respect to all aspects, including with regard to euthanasia. The general result is that the law is not sufficiently understood, and so a quarter of the participants associate AHDs with euthanasia. Discussions on the opportunity for palliative psychologists to help health professionals to better manage these issues through death education courses are presented.
Aim: To assess the educational needs, role and perceptions in palliative care issues of radiation oncologists (ROs) and trainees.
Background: 1/3 of radiotherapy patients are treated with palliative intent. Conversely, education and role that ROs have in the palliative care process are not well established, neither in terms of how they perceive their competence nor whether it is important to improve training, research and attention in palliative care issues at radiotherapy congresses.
Material and Methods: Literature systematic review in National Library of Medicine and Cochrane databases with 11 relevant issues to be identified. One doctor made first selection of articles, a second one confirmed their eligibility.
Results: 722 articles reviewed, 19 selected. 100% recognize the importance of palliative care in radiotherapy, 89.4% the need of training in palliative care for ROs, 68.4% the necessity of improving the resident programs, 63.1% the importance of skilled ROs in palliative care, 63.1% the need of better communication skills and pain management (47.3%), 52.6%, the perception of inadequate training in palliative care, 36.8% the lack of research and palliative care topics in radiotherapy meetings, 21% the absence of adequate guidelines regarding palliative care approaches, 42.1% the importance of the ROs in palliative care teams and 26.3% the lack of their involvement.
Conclusion: Palliative care has an important role in radiotherapy but it seems ROs still need more training. It is necessary to improve training programs, increment palliative care research in radiotherapy, giving more attention to palliative care themes at radiotherapy congresses. This could lead to a better integration of radiotherapists in multidisciplinary palliative care teams in the future.
Purpose: To characterize perceptions of palliative versus futile care in interventional radiology (IR) as a roadmap for quality improvement.
Methods: Interventional radiologists (IRs) and referring physicians were recruited for anonymous interviews and/or focus groups to discuss their perceptions and experiences related to palliative verse futile care in IR. Sessions were recorded, transcribed, and systematically analyzed using dedicated software, content analysis, and grounded theory. Data collection and analysis continued simultaneously until additional interviews stopped revealing new themes: 24 IRs (21 males, 3 females, 1–39 years of experience) and 7 referring physicians (3 males, 4 females, 6–14 years of experience) were analyzed.
Results: Many IRs (75%) perceived futility as an important issue. Years of experience (r = 0.60, p = 0.03) and being in academics (r = 0.62, p = 0.04) correlated with greater perceived importance. Perceptions of futility and whether a potentially inappropriate procedure was performed involved a balance between four sets of factors (patient, clinician, procedural, and cultural). These assessments tended to be qualitative in nature and are challenged by a lack of data, education, and consistent workflows. Referring clinicians were unaware of this issue and assumed IR had guidelines for differentiating between palliation and futility.
Conclusion: This study characterized the complexity and qualitative nature of assessments of palliative verses futile care in IR while highlighting potential means of improving current practices. This is important given the number of critically ill patients referred to IR and costs of potentially inappropriate interventions.