Through a systematic review and meta-analyses, we aimed to determine predictors for place of death among children. We searched online databases for studies published between 2008 and 2019 comprising original quantitative data on predictors for place of death among children. Data regarding study design, population characteristics and results were extracted from each study. Meta-analyses were conducted using generic inverse variance method with random effects. Fourteen cohort studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising data on 106,788 decedents. Proportions of home death varied between countries and regions from 7% to 45%. Lower age was associated with higher odds of hospital death in eight studies (meta-analysis was not possible). Children categorised as non-white were less likely to die at home compared to white (pooled OR 0.6; 95% CI 0.5-0.7) as were children of low socio-economic position versus high (pooled OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.6-0.9). Compared to patients with cancer, children with non-cancer diagnoses had lower odds of home death (pooled OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.5-0.5).
Conclusion: Country and region of residence, older age of the child, high socio-economic position, 'white' ethnicity and cancer diagnoses appear to be independent predictors of home death among children.
What is Known: ; Home is often considered an indicator of quality in end-of-life care. ; Most terminally ill children die in hospitals.
What is New: ; Through a systematic review and meta-analyses, this study examined predictors for place of death among children. ; Country and region of residence, older age of the child, high socio-economic position, white ethnicity and having a cancer diagnosis appear to be independent predictors of home death among terminally ill children.
Background: Palliative care has been widely implemented in clinical practice for patients with cancer but is not routinely provided to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Aim: The study aims were to compare palliative care services, medications, life-sustaining interventions, place of death, symptom burden and health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer populations.
Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis (PROSPERO: CRD42019139425).
Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched for studies comparing palliative care, symptom burden or health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or populations with both conditions. Quality scores were assigned using the QualSyst tool.
Results: Nineteen studies were included. There was significant heterogeneity in study design and sample size. A random effects meta-analysis ( n = 3–7) determined that people with lung cancer had higher odds of receiving hospital (odds ratio: 9.95, 95% confidence interval: 6.37–15.55, p < 0.001) or home-based palliative care (8.79, 6.76–11.43, p < 0.001), opioids (4.76, 1.87–12.11, p = 0.001), sedatives (2.03, 1.78–2.32, p < 0.001) and dying at home (1.47, 1.14–1.89, p = 0.003) compared to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with lung cancer had lower odds of receiving invasive ventilation (0.26, 0.22–0.32, p < 0.001), non-invasive ventilation (0.63, 0.44–0.89, p = 0.009), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (0.29, 0.18–0.47, p < 0.001) or dying at a nursing home/long-term care facility (0.32, 0.16–0.64, p < 0.001) than people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Symptom burden and health-related quality of life were relatively similar between the two populations.
Conclusion: People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receive less palliative measures at the end of life compared to people with lung cancer, despite a relatively similar symptom profile.
Background: Use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators is increasingly common. As patients approach the end of life, it is appropriate to deactivate the shock function.
Aim: To assess the prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming to deactivate the shock function at the end of life and the prevalence of advance directives among this population.
Design: Following a previously established protocol available in PROSPERO, we performed a narrative synthesis of our findings and used the logit transformation method to perform our quantitative synthesis.
Data sources: We searched seven bibliographic databases (Embase, Cochrane Central register of controlled Trials, Medline-Ovid, Web-of-Science, Scopus, PsychInfo, and CINAHL) and additional sources until April 2019.
Results: Of the references we identified, 14 were included. We found a pooled prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming at the end of life of 28% (95% confidence interval, 22%–36%) with higher reprogramming rates after the recommendations for managing the device at the end of life were published. Among patients with advance directives, the pooled prevalence of advance directives that explicitly mentioned the device was 1% (95% confidence interval, 1%–3%).
Conclusions: The prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming and advance directives that explicitly mentioned the device was very low. Study data suggested reprogramming decisions were made very late, after the patient experienced multiple shocks. Patient suffering could be ameliorated if physicians and other healthcare professionals adhere to clinical guidelines for the good management of the device at the end of life and include deactivating the shock function in the discussion that leads to the advance directive.
Context: Nonpharmacological approaches are effective strategies for difficult to palliate breathlessness. Although acupuncture is effective for dyspnea in early-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), little is known about its effects in patients with advanced (non)malignant diseases.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to identify and examine the evidence of acupuncture on breathlessness in advanced malignant and nonmalignant diseases.
Methods: Systematic literature review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture and acupressure searched in five databases. Included were adult participants with at least 25% having advanced diseases such as cancer or COPD with severe breathlessness. Primary outcome was severity of dyspnea on Visual Analogue Scale or Borg Scale. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, function, and acceptability. Data were pooled using a random effects model of standardized mean differences.
Results: Twelve studies with 597 patients (347 COPD, 190 advanced cancer) were included. For breathlessness severity, significant differences were obtained in a meta-analysis (10 studies with 480 patients; standardized mean difference (SMD) = -1.77 [95% CI -3.05, -0.49; P = 0.007; I2 = 90%]) and in a subgroup analysis of using sham acupuncture control groups and a treatment duration of at least three weeks (6 studies with 302 patients; SMD = -2.53 [95% CI -4.07, -0.99; P = 0.001; I2 = 91%]). Exercise tolerance (6-minute walk test) improved significantly in the acupuncture group (6 studies with 287 patients; SMD = 0.93 [95% CI 0.27, 1.59; P = 0.006; I2 = 85%]). In four of six studies, quality of life improved in the acupuncture group.
Conclusion: Acupuncture improved breathlessness severity in patients with advanced diseases. The methodological heterogeneity, low power, and potential morphine-sparing effects of acupuncture as add-on should be further addressed in future trials.
In the health care setting, and especially in cancer patients nearing the end of life, administrators, medical staff, patients, and families face challenges of a social, legal, religious, and cultural nature in the process of care. The present study aimed to perform a metasynthesis of qualitative studies conducted on providing end-of-life care for cancer patients. The present metasynthesis was conducted using Sandelowski and Barroso's method. A literature search was performed in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase databases, from the inception to date, and a total of 21 articles were identified as eligible for inclusion in the study. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) criteria were used for assessing the articles, and data were analyzed by the subject review. Six themes were extracted for end-of-life care including psychological support, palliative support, educational-counseling support, spiritual support, preferential support, and supportive interactions, each comprising a number of categories. The most frequently mentioned categories were high-value care (67%) and adaptive acceptance (57%). The findings of this metasynthesis support the view that nurses are moral agents who are deeply invested in the moral integrity of end-of-life care involving assisted death. The present study showed that providing high-value care and facilitating adaptive acceptance are important constituents of a holistic strategy for providing end-of-life care to cancer patients.
AIM: To synthesise qualitative studies of patients' families' experiences and perceptions of end-of-life care in the intensive care unit when life-sustaining treatments are withdrawn.
DESIGN: Qualitative meta-synthesis
DATA SOURCES: Comprehensive search of 18 electronic databases for qualitative studies published between January 2005 - February 2019.
REVIEW METHOD: Meta-aggregation.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. A conceptual 'Model of Preparedness' was developed reflecting the elements of end-of-life care most valued by families: 'End-of-life communication'; 'Valued attributes of patient care'; 'Preparing the family'; 'Supporting the family' and; 'Bereavement care'.
CONCLUSION: A family-centred approach to end-of-life care that acknowledges the values and preferences of families in the intensive care unit is important. These families have unmet needs related to communication, support and bereavement care. Effective communication and support are central to preparedness and if these care components are in place, families can be better equipped to manage the death, their sadness, loss and grief. The findings suggest that health professionals may benefit from specialist end-of-life care education, to support families and guide the establishment of preparedness.
IMPACT: Understanding the role and characteristics of preparedness during end-of-life care will inform future practice in the intensive care unit and may improve family member satisfaction with care and recovery from loss. Nurses are optimally positioned to address the perceived shortfalls in end-of-life care. These findings have implications for health education, policies and standards for end-of-life care in the intensive care unit.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review was to explore the experiences of nursing students participating in end-of-life education programs.
DESIGN: A systematic review.
DATA SOURCES: Exhaustive literature searches were performed using seven electronic databases: Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL Plus, Dialnet Plus, Eric and Cuiden Plus.
REVIEW METHODS: In total, 6572 studies published from 2008 until 2018 were examined. The Critical Appraisal Skills Program was used to assess the quality of the studies included in the review. The findings were synthesized using meta-aggregation.
RESULTS: Seventeen studies were included in this systematic review, representing a sample of 606 nursing students. Simulation methods were most common among the educational programs analyzed. The analysis of qualitative data allowed us to identify 260 illustrations which were grouped into 14 categories and three themes: feelings and emotions during the performance of the pedagogical activity, end-of-life education among nursing students and competencies acquired on death and end-of-life. The most highlighted communication skills were learning to listen and building confidence to speak with the patient, family and the general public.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life programs generally helped students acquire communication skills, learn concepts and improve the administration of this type of care. In addition, they perceived the experience as an opportunity to learn more about oneself, gain trust and support critical thinking. Nonetheless, the evidence available in this field is limited due to the small number of studies, plus the limited data reported. Thus, further studies on this subject are necessary.
Background: Palliative care is a specialized approach to symptom management that focuses on supporting patients' physical and psychological quality of life throughout the disease course. In oncology, palliative care has been increasing in utilization. The evidence base for such care is also growing through the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In this review, we aim to integrate the findings from 4 meta-analyses of palliative oncology care RCTs to examine the impact of palliative care on physical and psychological quality of life and survival.
Method: We considered 4 meta-analyses of palliative oncology care RCTs, which each used slightly different methodologies and analyses. Two of the meta-analyses included both outpatient and inpatient populations, whereas the remaining meta-analyses focused specifically on outpatient palliative oncology care.
Results: All 4 meta-analyses reported a robust quality of life advantage for patients randomized to receive palliative care. Two meta-analyses identified a survival advantage, whereas the other 2 detected no survival differences. In 1 meta-analysis that examined high-quality RCTs of outpatient palliative oncology care, it was found that an increased survival probability for palliative care, compared with standard of care, was confined to 6- to 18-month follow-up.
Conclusions: There is a growing evidence base for palliative oncology care, as highlighted by the 4 meta-analyses considered. Such care successfully improves both physical and psychological quality of life for patients with serious illnesses, especially cancer. Clinicians should educate patients and their caregivers about the findings of these meta-analyses. Finally, governmental policies should focus on increasing palliative care access.
Background: Socioeconomic inequalities in access to, and utilization of medical care have been shown in many jurisdictions. However, the extent to which they exist at end-of-life (EOL) remains unclear.
Methods: Studies in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, ProQuest, Web of Science, Web of Knowledge, and OpenGrey databases were searched through December 2019 with hand-searching of in-text citations. No publication date or language limitations were set. Studies assessing SES (e.g. income) in adults, correlated to EOL costs in last year(s) or month(s) of life were selected. Two independent reviewers performed data abstraction and quality assessment, with inconsistencies resolved by consensus.
Results: A total of twenty articles met eligibility criteria. Two meta-analyses were performed on studies that examined total costs in last year of life – the first examined costs without adjustments for confounders (n = 4), the second examined costs that adjusted for confounders, including comorbidities (n = 2). Among studies which did not adjust for comorbidities, SES was positively correlated with EOL costs (standardized mean difference, 0.13 [95% confidence interval, 0.03 to 0.24]). However, among studies adjusting for comorbidities, SES was inversely correlated with EOL expenditures (regression coefficient, -$150.94 [95% confidence interval, -$177.69 to -$124.19], 2015 United States Dollars (USD)). Higher ambulatory care and drug expenditure were consistently found among higher SES patients irrespective of whether or not comorbidity adjustment was employed.
Conclusion: Overall, an inequality leading to higher end-of-life expenditure for higher SES patients existed to varying extents, even within countries providing universal health care, with greatest differences seen for outpatient and prescription drug costs. The magnitude and directionality of the relationship in part depended on whether comorbidity risk-adjustment methodology was employed.
Background: Symptom management for infants, children and young people at end of life is complex and challenging due to the range of conditions and differing care needs of individuals of different ages. A greater understanding of these challenges could inform the development of effective interventions.
Aim: To investigate the barriers and facilitators experienced by patients, carers and healthcare professionals managing symptoms in infants, children and young people at end of life.
Design: A mixed-methods systematic review and meta-analysis was undertaken (PROSPERO ID: CRD42019124797).
Data sources: The Cochrane Library, PROSPERO, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Web of Science Core Collection, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database, Evidence Search and OpenGrey were electronically searched from the inception of each database for qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods studies that included data from patients, carers or healthcare professionals referring to barriers or facilitators to paediatric end-of-life symptom management. Studies underwent data extraction, quality appraisal, narrative thematic synthesis and meta-analysis.
Results: A total of 64 studies were included (32 quantitative, 18 qualitative and 14 mixed-methods) of medium-low quality. Themes were generated encompassing barriers/facilitators experienced by carers (treatment efficacy, treatment side effects, healthcare professionals’ attitudes, hospice care, home care, families’ symptom management strategies) and healthcare professionals (medicine access, treatment efficacy, healthcare professionals’ demographics, treatment side effects, specialist support, healthcare professionals’ training, health services delivery, home care). Only one study included patients’ views.
Conclusion: There is a need for effective communication between healthcare professionals and families, more training for healthcare professionals, improved symptom management planning including anticipatory prescribing, and urgent attention paid to the patients’ perspective.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is a common distressing symptom in patients with malignant and nonmalignant diseases. Fan therapy, which uses a fan to blow air toward the patient's face, can alleviate dyspnea; however, its efficacy remains unclear.
AIM: To examine the immediate efficacy of fan therapy for alleviation of dyspnea at rest.
DATA SOURCES: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE EBSCO, CINAHL EBSCO, and Scopus from January 1, 1987, to August 21, 2018 (PROSPERO-CRD42018108610). In addition, we hand-searched studies and used the similar articles feature on PubMed to search for articles. Randomized controlled trials comparing the effects of fan therapy with placebo or other interventions to alleviate dyspnea at rest, in which patients were aged = 18 years, were eligible for inclusion in the review. We excluded articles on long-term intervention involving fan therapy and complex intervention (including fan therapy). The risk of bias assessment was conducted using the Cochrane tool, and the meta-analysis was performed using RevMan version 5.3.
RESULTS: We identified a total of 218 studies; 2 met our criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Fan therapy significantly improved dyspnea at rest in terminally ill patients with cancer compared to control groups (mean difference: -1.31, 95% confidence interval: -1.79 to -0.83, P < .001). There were no studies that met the inclusion criteria regarding fan therapy for patients with nonmalignant disease.
CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis demonstrated that fan therapy may be an effective intervention for dyspnea at rest in patients with terminal cancer.
Hospice is patient-centered end-of-life care. Hispanics are underrepresented among hospice patients (7.1%) relative to the U.S. population (17%). We conducted a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis to understand this underrepresentation further. In palliative care, Hispanic hospice enrollment is comparable to that of non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs) (RR 1.02, 95% CI: 0.93-1.12; z=0.49; p = .627). However, in cases of heart failure (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.37-0.66) and stroke (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.63-0.94), Hispanics are much less likely to use hospice than NHWs. Cancer studies are mixed, but in meta-analysis were significant for lower relative hospice use in Hispanics (RR 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94-0.99; z=3.01; p=.003). It remains unclear whether using census and insurance data in statistical analysis provides valid results since the Hispanic population is younger, healthier, and less likely to be insured. Health equity in hospice may be better represented by hospice quality rather than hospice enrollment rates.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care trials have higher rates of attrition. The MORECare guidance recommends applying classifications of attrition to report attrition to help interpret trial results. The guidance separates attrition into three categories: attrition due to death, illness or at random. The aim of our study is to apply the MORECare classifications on reported attrition rates in trials.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted and attrition classifications retrospectively applied. Four databases, EMBASE; Medline, CINHAL and PsychINFO, were searched for randomised controlled trials of palliative care populations from 01.01.2010 to 08.10.2016. This systematic review is part of a larger review looking at recruitment to randomised controlled trials in palliative care, from January 1990 to early October 2016. We ran random-effect models with and without moderators and descriptive statistics to calculate rates of missing data.
RESULTS: One hundred nineteen trials showed a total attrition of 29% (95% CI 28 to 30%). We applied the MORECare classifications of attrition to the 91 papers that contained sufficient information. The main reason for attrition was attrition due to death with a weighted mean of 31.6% (SD 27.4) of attrition cases. Attrition due to illness was cited as the reason for 17.6% (SD 24.5) of participants. In 50.8% (SD 26.5) of cases, the attrition was at random. We did not observe significant differences in missing data between total attrition in non-cancer patients (26%; 95% CI 18-34%) and cancer patients (24%; 95% CI 20-29%). There was significantly more missing data in outpatients (29%; 95% CI 22-36%) than inpatients (16%; 95% CI 10-23%). We noted increased attrition in trials with longer durations.
CONCLUSION: Reporting the cause of attrition is useful in helping to understand trial results. Prospective reporting using the MORECare classifications should improve our understanding of future trials.
INTRODUCTION: The optimal dose-fractionation schedule of palliative radiotherapy has been debated in patients with bone metastases. Our objective is to comprehensively compare multiple fraction schedules with single fraction radiotherapy in terms of efficacy and toxicities by performing a systematic review and network meta-analysis.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Electronic searches of titles/abstracts of palliative radiotherapy for bone metastases will be performed, using PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, clinical trials, American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and European Society of Radiotherapy and Oncology. The primary outcome of interest is the incidence of skeletal-related event following palliative radiotherapy for bone metastases in prospective studies. The risk of bias and quality of evidence will be evaluated based on Cochrane Collaboration's tool and Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation in the network meta-analysis. We will conduct subgroup analysis and sensitivity analysis regardless of heterogeneity estimates.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study will synthesise the evidence regarding dose-fractionation schedule of palliative radiotherapy in patients with bone metastases. We hope the findings from this study will help clinicians and patients select optimum palliative radiotherapy by identifying the optimal dose-fractionation schedule of palliative radiotherapy with the most value in terms of patient-important outcomes. The evidence obtained from network meta-analysis will help to guide head-to-head research in the future. The results will be disseminated through international conference reports and peer-reviewed manuscripts. Ethics review board is not required for this network meta-analysis.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42019135195.
International clinical practice guidelines recommend that patients with chronic heart failure receive timely and high-quality palliative care. However, integrating palliative care is highly variable and dependent on decision-making and care models. This meta-synthesis aimed to examine health care professionals' decision-making processes and explore factors impacting decisions to refer or deliver palliative care in chronic heart failure. The electronic databases SCOPUS, CINAHL, and Medline were searched. Included studies were those that reported health care professionals' perceptions of palliative care in chronic heart failure through qualitative data collection, were written in English, and were peer-reviewed articles. Included articles were analysed using Thomas and Harden's approach. The dual-process theory was used and applied a priori to organise the findings. The perception of palliative care as a transition and active treatment failure fit within the intuitive system of thinking in the dual-process theory. The theme that overlapped into both intuitive and analytical systems of thinking was acquiring patient and illness information themes reflecting the analytical system of thinking were professional role and experience, pre-existing decision pathways, and balancing viewpoints. This meta-synthesis identified factors influencing the decision-making process in referring patients with chronic heart failure to palliative care. The findings from this review highlight the need for further development of decision-making tools or facilitate guidelines to assist health care professionals' shared decision-making to improve patient outcomes.
Background: Dignity is a vitally important aspect of the lives of advanced cancer patients. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of dignity therapy in this patient population.
Methods: We searched for randomized controlled trials comparing dignity therapy versus standard care for patients with advanced cancer in five comprehensive databases (March 2019), two clinical trial registries and one gray literature database (August 2019). The quality of the studies was assessed using the risk of bias tool recommended by the Cochrane Handbook Version 5.1.0. We used GRADE approach to assess the certainty of evidence. Meta-analysis was performed with RevMan version 5.3. Outcomes of interest included anxiety, depression, dignity-related distress and quality of life (QoL).
Results: Ten trials evaluating 904 patients (control, 449; experimental, 455) were identified. Six trials included patients with different types of advanced cancer, and four trials included patients with a single advanced cancer (lung cancer [20%], breast cancer [10%], and hepatocellular carcinoma [10%]). Compared with the standard care, dignity therapy decreased the score of anxiety, depression, and dignity-related distress of the advanced cancer patients (SMD = -1.07, 95% CI: [-1.57, -0.58], p < .05; SMD = -1.31, 95% CI: [-1.92, -0.70], p < .05; MD = -7.30, 95% CI: [- 12.04, - 2.56], p < .05). In addition, no significant differences were found in the patient's QoL (p > .05).
Conclusion: Very low certainty evidence demonstrated that dignity therapy might be a promising treatment, especially in reducing anxiety and depression in advanced cancer patients.
INTRODUCTION: Electrochemotherapy involves the use of transient tumor permeabilization via electric pulses in combination with low-dose chemotherapeutic agents. It has recently emerged as an alternative treatment modality in vulvar cancer. The aim of this meta-analysis was to ascertain the effectiveness of electrochemotherapy in the context of palliative care.
METHODS: The following databases were searched: MEDLINE, Scopus, and Cochrane Database, to identify all registered articles pertaining to palliative vulvar cancer treatment with electrochemotherapy from inception until August 2019, in line with PRISMA guidelines. A single-proportion meta-analysis was performed for the outcomes of overall response, complete response, partial response, stable disease, and progressive disease raterespectively, using the random-effect model. Sensitivity analysis was performed to address heterogeneity.
RESULTS: Four studies were included totaling 104 women. The studies were of moderate quality. Pooled results from four studies rendered a summary proportion of 78.8% (95% CI 70.4% to 86.1%) for the outcome of overall response. The median age ranged between 68 and 85 years. The sample size per study ranged between eight and 61 women. The tumors' histological types included: squamous-cell carcinoma (96.2%), Paget's disease (2.9%), and malignant melanoma (0.9%). A total of 65 patients (62.5%) presented with a single nodule, whilst 39 patients (37.5%) presented with multiple nodules. Eighty-nine women (85.6%) were previously submitted to other treatment modalities. The overall response rate ranged from 73.2% to 80.9%. The pooled proportion for the outcomes of complete and partial response rate was 48.7% (95% CI 30.74% to 61.5%) and 30.2% (95% CI 21.7% to 39.4%), respectively. The follow-up ranged from 1 to 51 months. No severe adverse effects were reported. The safety profile of electrochemotherapy was favorable.
CONCLUSIONS: Electrochemotherapy is an effective and minimally invasive treatment modality in the palliative care management of patients with vulvar cancer. The effective control of vulvar tumors by electrochemotherapy may contribute to improvement of quality-of-life. In light of the moderate quality of evidence, a multi-center cooperation is warranted to confirm its palliative benefit.
OBJECTIVES: Evidence on associations between marital status and frailty is limited. The objectives of this study were to perform a systematic review for associations between marital status and physical frailty and to perform a meta-analysis to combine findings.
DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Community-dwelling older people with mean age =60 years.
METHODS: Systematic literature search using 5 databases was conducted in February 2019 to identify longitudinal and cross-sectional studies examining associations between marital status and Fried's phenotype-based frailty status. Additional studies were searched for by reviewing the reference lists of relevant articles and conducting forward citation tracking of included articles. Odds ratio (OR) of marital status and frailty was pooled using a random-effects meta-analysis. Subgroup analysis and analyses stratified by gender and marital status (married, widowed, divorced or separated, and never married) were completed.
RESULTS: A total of 1565 studies were found, from which 3 studies with longitudinal data and 35 studies with cross-sectional data were included. Although longitudinal studies suggested that married men had lower frailty risks than unmarried men while married women had higher frailty risks than widowed women, meta-analysis was not possible because of different methodologies. Meta-analyses of cross-sectional data from 35 studies including 80,754 individuals showed that unmarried individuals were almost twice more likely to be frail than married individuals (pooled odds ratio = 1.88, 95% confidence interval = 1.70-2.07). A high degree of heterogeneity was observed (I2 = 69%) and was partially explained by reasons for not being married and study location. Stratified analyses showed that pooled risks of frailty in the unmarried compared with the married were not statistically different between women and women (P for difference = .62).
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Three and 35 studies, respectively, were found providing longitudinal and cross-sectional data regarding associations between marital status and frailty among community-dwelling older people. A meta-analysis of cross-sectional data showed almost twice higher frailty risk in unmarried individuals compared with married individuals. Marital status should be recognized as an important factor, and more longitudinal studies controlling for potential confounding factors are needed.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning is widely advocated to improve outcomes in end-of-life care for patients suffering from heart failure. But until now, there has been no systematic evaluation of the impact of advance care planning (ACP) on clinical outcomes. Our aim was to determine the effect of ACP in heart failure through a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
METHODS: We searched CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Systematic Reviews, Embase, ERIC, Ovid MEDLINE, Science Citation Index and PsycINFO (inception to July 2018). We selected RCTs including adult patients with heart failure treated in a hospital, hospice or community setting. Three reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data, assessed the risk of bias (Cochrane risk of bias tool) and evaluated the quality of evidence (GRADE tool) and analysed interventions according to the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR). We calculated standardized mean differences (SMD) in random effects models for pooled effects using the generic inverse variance method.
RESULTS: Fourteen RCTs including 2924 participants met all of the inclusion criteria. There was a moderate effect in favour of ACP for quality of life (SMD, 0.38; 95% CI [0.09 to 0.68]), patients' satisfaction with end-of-life care (SMD, 0.39; 95% CI [0.14 to 0.64]) and the quality of end-of-life communication (SMD, 0.29; 95% CI [0.17 to 0.42]) for patients suffering from heart failure. ACP seemed most effective if it was introduced at significant milestones in a patient's disease trajectory, included family members, involved follow-up appointments and considered ethnic preferences. Several sensitivity analyses confirmed the statistically significant direction of effect. Heterogeneity was mainly due to different study settings, length of follow-up periods and compositions of ACP.
CONCLUSIONS: ACP improved quality of life, patient satisfaction with end-of-life care and the quality of end-of-life communication for patients suffering from heart failure and could be most effective when the right timing, follow-up and involvement of important others was considered.
Background: Dyspnea is one of the most common symptoms in patients with advanced disease and terminal illness, associated with poorer quality of life. The efficacy of fan therapy to palliate dyspnea is inconsistent and unclear.
bjective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy of fan therapy for the relief of dyspnea in adults with advanced disease and terminal illness.
Design: The CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO were searched to retrieve all randomized controlled trials examining the benefits of fan therapy for the relief of dyspnea in patients at the advanced stages of illness. Risk of bias was assessed according to the Cochrane Collaboration standard scheme.
esults: Five studies involving 198 adults were identified. Fan therapy was associated with a significant relief of breathlessness intensity immediately after intervention (mean differences [MDs], -1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.57 to -0.45; p < 0.001) and 10 minutes after intervention (MDs, -0.90; 95% CI, -1.53 to -0.27; p = 0.005). Long-term application of fan therapy for at least one month was not related to changes of dyspnea severity (MDs, 0.10; 95% CI, -1.14 to 1.35; p = 0.870). However, significant heterogeneity and low quality of the included trials limit applicability of the results in general practice. No difference was found in activity performance, respiratory rate and SpO2, changes in other symptom intensities, and adverse events.
onclusion: Current trials provided low-quality evidence for a significant short-term effect after fan therapy in the relief of dyspnea and no beneficial effect in the long-term application in adults with advanced disease and terminal illness.