Objectives: To analyse patterns of use and costs of unscheduled National Health Service (NHS) services for people in the last year of life.
Design: Retrospective cohort analysis of national datasets with application of standard UK costings.
Participants and setting: All people who died in Scotland in 2016 aged 18 or older (N=56 407).
Main outcome measures: Frequency of use of the five unscheduled NHS services in the last 12 months of life by underlying cause of death, patient demographics, Continuous Unscheduled Pathways (CUPs) followed by patients during each care episode, total NHS and per-patient costs.
Results: 53 509 patients (94.9%) had at least one contact with an unscheduled care service during their last year of life (472 360 contacts), with 34.2% in the last month of life. By linking patient contacts during each episode of care, we identified 206 841 CUPs, with 133 980 (64.8%) starting out-of-hours. People with cancer were more likely to contact the NHS telephone advice line (63%) ( 2 (4)=1004, p<0.001) or primary care out-of-hours (62%) ( 2 (4)=1924,p<0.001) and have hospital admissions (88%) ( 2 (4)=2644, p<0.001). People with organ failure (79%) contacted the ambulance service most frequently ( 2 (4)=584, p<0.001). Demographic factors associated with more unscheduled care were older age, social deprivation, living in own home and dying of cancer. People dying with organ failure formed the largest group in the cohort and had the highest NHS costs as a group. The cost of providing services in the community was estimated at 3.9% of total unscheduled care costs despite handling most out-of-hours calls.
Conclusions: Over 90% of people used NHS unscheduled care in their last year of life. Different underlying causes of death and demographic factors impacted on initial access and subsequent pathways of care. Managing more unscheduled care episodes in the community has the potential to reduce hospital admissions and overall costs.
Purpose: Little is known about the use of palliative and hospice care and their impact on healthcare utilization near the end of life (EOL) in early-onset pancreatic cancer (EOPC).
Methods: Patients with EOPC (= 50 years) were identified using the institutional tumor registry for years 2011–2018, and demographic, clinical, and rates of referral to palliative and hospice services were obtained retrospectively. Predictors of healthcare utilization, defined as use of = 1 emergency department (ED) visit or hospitalization within 30 days of death, place of death (non-hospital vs. hospital), and time from last chemotherapy administration prior to death, were assessed using descriptive, univariable, and multivariable analyses including chi-square and logistic regression models.
Results: A total of 112 patients with EOPC with a median age of 46 years (range, 29–50) were studied. Forty-four percent were female, 28% were Black, and 45% had metastatic disease. Fifty-seven percent received palliative care at a median of 7.8 weeks (range 0–265) following diagnosis. The median time between last chemotherapy and death was 7.9 weeks (range 0–102). Seventy-four percent used hospice services prior to death for a median of 15 days (range 0–241). Rate of healthcare utilization at the EOL was 74% in the overall population. Black race and late use of chemotherapy were independently associated with increase in ED visits/hospitalization and hospital place of death.
Conclusions: Although we observed early referrals to palliative care among patients with newly diagnosed EOPC, short duration of hospice enrollment and rates of healthcare utilization prior to death were substantial.
OBJECTIVE: To identify actions required to strengthen the delivery of person and family centred hospital-based palliative care so that it addressed the domains of care identified as important for inpatients with palliative care needs and their families.
METHODS: A codesign study involving a workshop with palliative care and acute hospital policy, consumer and clinical representatives in Australia. A modified nominal group process generated a series of actions, which were thematically analysed and refined, before being circulated to participants to gain consensus.
RESULTS: More than half (n=30, 58%) of the invited representatives (n=52) participated in the codesign process. Nine actions were identified as required to strengthen inpatient palliative care provision being: (a) evidence-informed practice and national benchmarking; (b) funding reforms; (c) securing executive level support; (d) mandatory clinical and ancillary education; (e) fostering greater community awareness; (f) policy reviews of care of the dying; (g) better integration of advance care planning; (h) strengthen nursing leadership; and (i) develop communities of practice for improving palliative care.
CONCLUSIONS: Changes to policy, practice, education and further research are required to optimise palliative care within hospital settings, in accordance with the domains inpatients with palliative care needs and their families consider to be important. Achieving these changes will require a whole of sector approach and significant national and jurisdictional leadership.
Context: The development of palliative care services is a public health priority. The Japanese Cancer Control Act has been promoting palliative care services nationwide for over 10 years.
Objectives: To evaluate long-term changes in the structure and processes of hospital palliative cancer care services nationwide.
Methods: This was an observational study using three representative questionnaire surveys between 2008 and 2018. The questionnaire consisted of domains on the structure and process regarding hospital palliative cancer care services. The changes over time were assessed using the MacNemar test. The differences between groups, namely community hospitals and designated cancer hospitals, were determined using 2 tests.
Results: We analyzed changes over time from 281 designated cancer hospitals and compared the services between 1395 community hospitals and 380 designated cancer hospitals. The development of the structure and processes for designated cancer hospital's palliative cancer care services was greater for 10 years including the number of Palliative Care Consultation Teams (PCTs) with more than 50 patient referrals annually (from 2010 to 2018: 76.2% to 85.4%, P < 0.001). The palliative cancer care services of community hospitals were poorly prepared compared with designated cancer hospitals in 2018, such as the “direct medical care by any member of the Palliative Care Consultation Team at least 3 times a week (41.7% vs. 81.3%; P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Hospital palliative cancer care services in designated cancer hospitals have developed significantly from 2008 to 2018. Building a system to promote palliative care services in community hospitals is a challenge for the next decade.
De quoi et où meurent les Françaises et Français ? Quelle est l’offre sanitaire globale mais aussi plus spécifiquement de soins palliatifs aujourd’hui en France ? Quel est le profil des patients pris en charge dans les unités de soins palliatifs ? Quelle est la part des personnes âgées de 75 ans et plus dans les statistiques de mortalité ? Quelles sont leurs particularités ? Observe-t-on des différences géographiques concernant toutes ces données ?
Cette deuxième édition de l'Atlas national a vocation à répondre à ces multiples questions pour aider le lecteur à appréhender les enjeux et les réalités de l’accompagnement de la fin de vie et de la place des soins palliatifs en France aujourd’hui. Il rassemble des données démographiques, sanitaires qui sont analysées le plus finement possible pour mettre en lumière les spécificités départementales en termes d’offre sanitaire mais aussi de besoins des patients dans leurs trajectoires de fin de vie.
OBJECTIVE: To understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospice and palliative workforce and service delivery.
DESIGN AND SAMPLE: This was a cross-sectional survey of 36 hospice and palliative care workforce members representing all United States geographic regions.
RESULTS: Most respondents (70%) reported an increase in specific palliative care services as a result of the pandemic. Two thirds (78%) of respondents reported their agency has cared for confirmed COVID-19 patients. Only half reported the agency had access to laboratory facilities for surveillance and detection of outbreaks in both patients and staff (58%) and that the agency could test patients and providers for COVID-19 (55%). Qualitative comments described the impact of the pandemic and resulting social distancing measures on the emotional well-being of patients, families, and staff.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has strained the palliative and hospice care workforce as it provides increased services at an unprecedented rate to patients and families. The implications of these findings are important for public health nurses who are skilled in disaster management and quickly responding to emergencies. The expertise of public health nurses can be leveraged to support palliative care agencies as they strive to manage the pandemic in the communities they serve.
Background: Health service planning in paediatric palliative care is complex, with the diverse geographical and demographic characteristics adding to the challenge of developing services across different nations. Accurate and reliable data are essential to inform effective, efficient and equitable health services.
Aim: To quantify health service usage by children and young people aged 0–21 years with a life-limiting condition admitted to hospital and health service facilities in Queensland, Australia during the 2011 and 2016 calendar years, and describe the clinical and demographic characteristics associated with health services usage.
Design: Retrospective health administrative data linkage of clinical and demographic information with hospital admissions was extracted using International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) diagnostic codes. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
Setting/participants: Individuals aged 0–21 years with a life-limiting condition admitted to a Queensland Public Hospital and Health Service or private hospital.
Results: Hospital admissions increased from 17 955 in 2011 to 23 273 in 2016, an increase of 5318 (29.6%). The greatest percentage increase in admissions were for those aged 16–18 years (58.1%, n=1050), and those with non-oncological conditions (36.2%, n=4256). The greatest number of admissions by ICD-10-AM chapter for 2011 and 2016 were by individuals with neoplasms (6174, 34.4% and 7206, 31.0% respectively). Overall, the number of admissions by Indigenous children and young people increased by 70.2% (n=838).
Conclusions: Administrative data are useful to describe clinical and demographic characteristics and quantify health service usage. Available data suggest a growing demand for health services by children eligible for palliative care that will require an appropriate response from health service planners.
BACKGROUND: National oncology guidelines recommend early integration of palliative care for patients with cancer. However, drivers for this integration remain understudied. Understanding illness concerns at the time of cancer treatment may help facilitate integration earlier in the cancer illness trajectory.
OBJECTIVE: To describe cancer patients' concerns while undergoing cancer treatment, and determine if concerns differ among African Americans and Whites.
METHODS: A 1-time, semi-structured qualitative interview was conducted with a purposive subsample of cancer patients participating in a larger study of illness concerns. Eligible patients were undergoing cancer treatments and had self-reported moderate-to-severe pain in the last week. Analysis encompassed a qualitative descriptive approach with inductive thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Participants (16 African American, 16 White) had a median age of 53 and were predominantly females (72%) with stage III/IV cancer (53%). Illness concerns were largely consistent across participants and converged on 3 themes: symptom experience (pain, options to manage pain), cancer care delivery (communication, care coordination and care transitions), and practical concerns (access to community and health system resources, financial toxicity).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings extend the scope of factors that could be utilized to integrate palliative care earlier in the cancer illness trajectory, moving beyond the symptoms- and prognosis-based triggers that typify current referrals to also consider diverse logistical concerns. Using this larger set of concerns aids anticipatory risk mitigation and planning (e.g. care transitions, financial toxicity), helps patients receive a larger complement of support services, and builds cancer patients' capacity toward a more patient-centered treatment and care experience.
INTRODUCTION: Cancer prevalence (people alive on a certain date in a population who previously had a cancer diagnosis) is expected to increase in the United States and Europe due to improvements in survival and population aging. Examination of prevalence by phase of care allows us to identify subgroups of patients according to their care trajectories, thus allowing us to improve health care planning, resource allocation, and calculation of costs.
METHODS: A new method to estimate prevalence by phase of care using grouped data is illustrated. Prevalence is divided into 3 mutually exclusive phases: initial, continuing, and end-of-life. An application to US and Italian data is applied to prevalent cases diagnosed with colon-rectum, stomach, lung, or breast cancer.
RESULTS: The distribution of phase of care prevalence estimated by cancer type and sex and results from the two datasets are very similar. Most survivors are in the continuing phase; the end-of-life phase is larger for cancers with worse prognosis. All phases prevalence is generally higher in the Italian than in the US dataset, except for lung cancer in women, where prevalence proportion in the Italian dataset is 30% lower than in the United States.
DISCUSSION: Incidence, survival, and population age structure are the main determinants of prevalence and they can affect differences in all phases of prevalence, as well as in discrete phases. Incidence is the most influential determinant. Ours is the first study that compares prevalence by phase of care between two populations in Italy and the United States. Despite great differences in health care management in the two countries, we found extremely similar distribution of survivors by phase of care for most cancer sites under study.
Background: The five Nordic countries with a population of 27M people form a rather homogenous region in terms of health care. The management of Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) is centralized to the 21 university hospitals in these countries. Our aim was to survey the current status of organization of palliative care for patients with HNC in the Nordic countries as the field is rapidly developing.
Materials and methods: A structured web-based questionnaire was sent to all the Departments of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology managing HNC in the Nordic countries.
Results: All 21 (100%) Nordic university hospitals responded to the survey. A majority (over 90%) of the patients are discussed at diagnosis in a multidisciplinary tumor board (MDT), but the presence of a palliative care specialist is lacking in 95% of these MDT’s. The patients have access to specialized palliative care units (n = 14, 67%), teams (n = 10, 48%), and consultants (n = 4, 19%) in the majority of the hospitals.
Conclusion: The present results show that specialized palliative care services are available at the Nordic university hospitals. A major finding was that the collaboration between head and neck surgeons, oncologists and palliative care specialists is not well structured and the palliative care pathway of patients with HNC is not systematically organized. We suggest that early integrated palliative care needs to be included as an addition to the already existing HNC care pathways in the Nordic countries.
Background: Palliative Care Day Services (PCDS) offer supportive care to people with advanced, progressive illness who may be approaching the end of life. Despite the growth of PCDS in recent years, evidence of their costs and effects is scarce. It is important to establish the value of such services so that health and care decision-makers can make evidence-based resource allocation decisions. This study examines and estimates the costs and effects of PCDS with different service configurations in three centres across the UK in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Methods: People who had been referred to PCDS were recruited between June 2017 and September 2018. A pragmatic before-and-after descriptive cohort study design analysed data on costs and outcomes. Data on costs were collected on health and care use in the 4 weeks preceding PCDS attendance using adapted versions of the Client Service Receipt Inventory (CSRI). Outcomes, cost per attendee/day and volunteer contribution to PCDS were also estimated. Outcomes included quality of life (MQOL-E), health status (EQ-5D-5L) and capability wellbeing (ICECAP-SCM).
Results: Thirty-eight attendees were recruited and provided data at baseline and 4 weeks (centre 1: n = 8; centre 2: n = 8, centre 3: n = 22). The cost per attendee/day ranged from £121–£190 (excluding volunteer contribution) to £172–£264 (including volunteer contribution) across the three sites. Volunteering constituted between 28 and 38% of the total cost of PCDS provision. There was no significant mean change at 4 week follow-up from baseline for health and care costs (centre 1: £570, centre 2: -£1127, centre 3: £65), or outcomes: MQOL-E (centre 1: - 0.48, centre 2: 0.01, centre 3: 0.24); EQ-5D-5L (centre 1: 0.05, centre 2: 0.03, centre 3: - 0.03) and ICECAP-SCM (centre 1:0.00, centre 2: - 0.01, centre 3: 0.03). Centre costs variation is almost double per attendee when attendance rates are held constant in scenario analysis.
Conclusions: This study highlights the contribution made by volunteers to PCDS provision. There is insufficient evidence on whether outcomes improved, or costs were reduced, in the three different service configurations for PCDS. We suggest how future research may overcome some of the challenges we encountered, to better address questions of cost-effectiveness in PCDS.
BACKGROUND: As health-care institutions mobilize resources to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, palliative care may potentially be underutilized. It is important to assess the use of palliative care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: This is a retrospective single-center study of patients with COVID-19 diagnosed via reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay admitted between March 1, 2020, and April 24, 2020. An analysis of the utilization of palliative care in accordance with patient comorbidities and other characteristics was performed while considering clinical outcomes. Chi-square test was used to determine associations between categorical variables while t-tests were used to compare continuous variables.
RESULTS: The overall mortality rate was 21.5% (n = 52), and in 48% (n = 25) of these patients, palliative care was not involved. Fifty-nine percent (n = 24) of those who had palliative consults eventually elected for comfort measures and transitioned to hospice care. Among those classified as having severe COVID-19, only 40% (n = 31) had palliative care involvement. Of these patients with severe COVID-19, 68% (n = 52) died. Patients who got palliative care consults were of older age, had higher rates of intubation, a need for vasopressors, and were dead.
CONCLUSION: There was a low utilization rate of palliative care in patients with COVID-19. Conscious utilization of palliative care is needed at the time of COVID-19.
Background: Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States and when compared with non-Latino whites suffer from higher rates of certain chronic diseases. Latino community health workers (promotores de salud) are successful in improving the health of their communities. However, evidence of their effectiveness in increasing awareness of palliative care (PC) is limited.
Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of applying a promotores de salud model to improve PC awareness among Latinos within the context of chronic disease management.
Methods: Bilingual promotores from Familias en Acción trained 76 southern California promotores on PC and chronic disease management. Promotores agreed to disseminate the information learned to 10+ Latino community members. The strengths of the curriculum and the community's needs were identified during phone interviews six months post-training.
Results: In 406 diverse settings, 69 promotores trained 2734 community members. Interviews with promotores at follow-up established four themes: (1) holistic health in chronic disease management; (2) communication with doctors; (3) shared decision making, patients' rights, and control; and (4) need for PC information (awareness, access, and support groups).
Conclusion: Promotores proved effective at disseminating information related to PC within chronic disease management to Latino community members. Future training should include information on support groups and where caregivers can seek help while caring for those with a terminal disease.
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Despite the negative impact of PAH on quality of life and survival, data on utilization of specialty palliative care services (PCS) is scarce.
RESEARCH QUESTION: We sought to evaluate the inpatient utilization of PCS in patients with PAH.
METHODS: Using the National Inpatient Sample, 30,495 admissions with a primary diagnosis of PAH were identified during 2001 to 2017. The primary outcome of interest was temporal trends and predictors of inpatient PCS utilization in patients with PAH.
RESULTS: The inpatient utilization of PCS was low (2.2%) but increased during the study period from 0.5% in 2001 to 7.6% in 2017, with a significant increase starting in 2009. White race, private insurance, higher socioeconomic status, hospital-specific factors, higher comorbidity burden (Charlson Comorbidity Index), cardiac and non-cardiac organ failure, use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and non-invasive mechanical ventilation were independent predictors of increased PCS utilization. PCS use was associated with a higher prevalence of do-not-resuscitate status, a longer length of stay, higher hospitalization costs and increased in-hospital mortality with less frequent discharges to home, likely because these patients were also sicker (higher comorbidity index and illness acuity).
CONCLUSIONS: The inpatient utilization of PCS in patients with PAH is low but increasing over recent years. Despite increased PCS utilization over time, there continues to be patient and hospital-specific disparities in PCS utilization. Further studies evaluating these disparities and the role of PCS in the comprehensive care of PAH patients are warranted.
Background: Metastatic foregut cancers (MFC) are associated with debilitating symptoms that negatively impact patients’ quality of life. Palliative care (PC) is effective in mitigating disease-, psychosocial-, and treatment-related effects and may improve survival in select cases. Our study characterizes PC utilization rates in MFC and identifies factors associated with PC receipt.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 228,027 National Cancer Database patients diagnosed with MFC between 2004 and 2016. Chi-squared tests were used to analyze differences between groups receiving and not receiving PC. Logistic regression was performed to assess the impact of factors on the likelihood of receiving PC.
Results: Overall PC utilization was low (17.8%). A greater proportion of patients not receiving PC were in the lowest median income quartile of < $38,000/year versus those receiving PC (18.1% vs 17.8%, p < 0.0001). Higher education was associated with increased likelihood of receiving PC (OR 1.23 for communities with < 6.3% no high school degree vs = 17.6%, p < 0.0001). Hispanics were significantly less likely to receive PC compared to Whites (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.68–0.76). Patients treated at academic centers were also more likely to receive PC compared to those treated in the community (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.05–1.14).
Conclusions: PC is a key component in improving quality of life among MFC patients. Despite slight increases in PC rates over time, PC remains drastically underutilized. Significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in patterns of PC delivery exist. Further studies are needed to understand these disparities in order to identify key targets for interventions aimed at improving equity.
BACKGROUND: Despite the advances in End-of-life (EOL) cancer care, disparities remain in the accessibility and utilisation of EOL cancer care resources. Often explained by socio-demographic factors, geographic variation exists in the availability and provision of EOL cancer care services among EOL cancer decedents across urban versus rural settings. This systematic review aims to synthesise mortality follow-back studies on the patterns of EOL cancer care resource use for adults (>18 years) during end-of-life cancer care.
METHODS: Five databases were searched and data analysed using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Inclusion criteria involved; a) original research; b) quantitative studies; c) English language; d) palliative care related service use in adults (>18 years) with any malignancy excluding non-melanoma skin cancers; e) exclusive end of life focus; f) urban-rural focus. Narrative reviews and discussions were excluded.
RESULTS: 24 studies met the inclusion criteria. End-of-life cancer care service utilisation patterns varied by rurality and treatment intent. Rurality was strongly associated with higher rates of Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalisations and lower rates of hospice care. The largest inequities between urban and rural health service utilisation patterns were explained by individual level factors including age, gender, proximity to service and survival time from cancer diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Rurality is an important predictor for poorer outcomes in end-of-life cancer care. Findings suggest that addressing the disparities in the urban-rural continuum is critical for efficient and equitable palliative cancer care. Further research is needed to understand barriers to service access and usage to achieve optimal EOL care for all cancer patient populations.
Background: Service provision is a key domain to assess national-level palliative care development. Three editions of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Atlas of Palliative Care monitored the changes in service provision across Europe since 2005.
Aim: To study European trends of specialized service provision at home care teams, hospital support teams, and inpatient palliative care services between 2005 and 2019.
Design: Secondary analysis was conducted drawing from databases on the number of specialized services in 2005, 2012, and 2019. Ratios of services per 100,000 inhabitants and increase rates on number of services for three periods were calculated. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) analyses were conducted to determine significant changes and chi-square to identify countries accounting for the variance. Income-level and sub-regional ANOVA analysis were undertaken.
Setting: 51 countries.
Results: Forty-two countries (82%) increased the number of specialized services between 2005 and 2019 with changes for home care teams (104% increase-rate), inpatient services (82%), and hospital support teams (48%). High-income countries showed significant increase in all types of services (p < 0.001), while low-to-middle-income countries showed significant increase only for inpatient services. Central–Eastern European countries showed significant improvement in home care teams and inpatient services, while Western countries showed significant improvement in hospital support and home care teams. Home care was the most prominent service in Western Europe.
Conclusion: Specialized service provision increased throughout Europe, yet ratios per 100,000 inhabitants fell below the EAPC recommendations. Western Europe ratios’ achieved half of the suggested services, while Central–Eastern countries achieved only a fourth. High-income countries and Western European countries account for the major increase. Central–Eastern Europe and low-to-middle-income countries reported little increase on specialized service provision.
Background: General practitioners (GPs) and general practice nurses (GPNs) face increasing demands to provide palliative care (PC) or end-of-life care (EoLC) as the population ages. To enhance primary EoLC, the facilitators and barriers to their provision need to be understood.
Objective: To provide a comprehensive description of the facilitators and barriers to GP and GPN provision of PC or EoLC.
Method: Systematic literature review. Data included papers (2000 to 2017) sought from Medline, PsycInfo, Embase, Joanna Briggs Institute and Cochrane databases.
Results: From 6209 journal articles, 62 reviewed papers reported the GP’s and GPN’s role in EoLC or PC practice. Six themes emerged: patient factors; personal GP factors; general practice factors; relational factors; co-ordination of care; availability of services. Four specific settings were identified: aged care facilities, out-of-hours care and resource-constrained settings (rural, and low-income and middle-income countries). Most GPs provide EoLC to some extent, with greater professional experience leading to increased comfort in performing this form of care. The organisation of primary care at practice, local and national level impose numerous structural barriers that impede more significant involvement. There are potential gaps in service provision where GPNs may provide significant input, but there is a paucity of studies describing GPN routine involvement in EoLC.
Conclusions: While primary care practitioners have a natural role to play in EoLC, significant barriers exist to improved GP and GPN involvement in PC. More work is required on the role of GPNs.
Objectives: This study aimed to identify gaps in palliative care (PC) provision across the National Cancer Grid (NCG) centres in India.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional validated web-based survey on 102 NCG cancer centres (Nov ’17 to April ’18). The survey questionnaire had seven sections collecting data relating to the capacity to provide cancer care and PC, drug availability for pain and symptom control, education, advocacy, and quality assurance activities for PC.
Results: Eighty-nine NCG centres responded for this study—72.5% of centres had doctors with generalist PC training, whereas 34.1% of centres had full-time PC physicians; 53.8% had nurses with 6 weeks of PC training; 68.1% of the centres have an outpatient PC and 66.3% have the facility to provide inpatient PC; 38.5% of centres offer home-based PC services; 44% of the centres make a hospice referral and 68.1% of the centres offer concurrent cancer therapy alongside PC. Among the centres, 84.3% have a licence to procure, store and dispense opioids, but only 77.5% have an uninterrupted supply of oral morphine for patients; 61.5% centres have no dedicated funds for PC, 23.1% centres have no support from hospital administration, staff shortage—69.2% have no social workers, 60.4% have no counsellors and 76.9% have no volunteers. Although end-of-life care is recognised, there is a lack of institutional policy. Very few centres take part in quality control measures.
Conclusions: The majority of the NCG centres have the facilities to provide PC but suffer from poor implementation of existing policies, funding and human resources.
Background: Ohana Health Plan, Inc., (OHP) is one of the first managed care organizations offering supportive care services targeted to superutilizers. Bristol Hospice Hawaii, LLC, partnered with OHP to provide interdisciplinary supportive care services to home-bound OHP members.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to measure symptom relief, satisfaction, resource utilization, and cost savings associated with supportive care.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Over 12 months, 27 superutilizer members residing in the community were referred by OHP, 21 members were enrolled into supportive care.
Measurements: Data were collected upon admission and repeatedly thereafter using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) and the Missoula–Vitas Quality of Life Index (MVQOLI). The Family Satisfaction with Advanced Cancer Care (FAMCARE) Scale was administered at discharge. Emergency department (ED) visits and hospital utilization were tracked.
Results: Median age was 63 years; more than half had cardiac diagnoses. Majority of members were Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. Median length of stay in supportive care was 90 days. Five (23%) members enrolled in hospice following supportive care. Symptom improvement occurred in pain (p < 0.0001), anxiety (p = 0.0052), and shortness of breath (p = 0.0447). This model has shown a 79.5% reduction of ED visits per thousand members and a 75% reduction of hospitalizations per thousand. Overall net savings was 36%. Discussions and documentation of end-of-life wishes increased from 23% to 85%.
Conclusion: Supportive care is highly effective in reducing costs associated with superutilizers. Our experience demonstrates the effectiveness of supportive care approaches in this population through improved care and lower health care costs overall.