OBJECTIVE: To explore the trends and utilization of palliative care (PC) service among inpatients with metastatic bladder cancer (MBC).
METHODS: A retrospective, cross-sectional analysis was performed using data from the 2003 to 2014 National Inpatient Sample. Palliative care was identified through International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code V66.7. Demographics, comorbidities, hospital characteristics, tumor-related, and treatment-related factors were compared between patients with and without PC. Multivariable logistic regression was used to explore predictors of PC use.
RESULTS: Among 131 852 patients with MBC, 13 224 (10.03%) received PC. Rate of PC increased from 2.49% in 2003 to 28.39% in 2014 (P < .0001). Similarly, rate of PC in decedents increased from 7.02% in 2003 to 54.86% in 2014 (P < .0001). Patients receiving PC were older, tendered to be white, had more comorbidities, and higher all-patient refined diagnosis-related group mortality risk. Predictors of PC included age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.02; 95% CI: 1.01-1.02; P < .0001), Medicaid (OR: 1.87; 95%.CI: 1.54-2.26; P < .0001), and private (OR: 1.61; 95% CI: 1.40-1.84; P < .0001) insurance, hospitals in the West (OR: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.10-1.61; P = .0032), and Mid-west (OR: 1.46; 95% CI: 1.22-1.75; P = .0032), major (OR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.11-1.49; P < .0001), and extreme (OR: 2.37; 95% CI: 2.04-2.76; P < .0001) mortality risk. Chemotherapy and mechanical ventilation were related with lower odds of PC use. Palliative care predictors in the decedents were similar to those in overall patients with bladder cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care encounter in MBC shows an increasing trend. However, it still remains very low. Disparities in PC use covered age, insurance, and hospital characteristics among metastatic bladder cancer in the United States.
Objective: To examine perceptions of facilitators and barriers to quality measurement and improvement in palliative care programs and differences by professional and leadership roles.
Methods: We surveyed team members in diverse US and Canadian palliative care programs using a validated survey addressing teamwork and communication and constructs for educational support and training, leadership, infrastructure, and prioritization for quality measurement and improvement. We defined key facilitators as constructs rated =4 (agree) and key barriers as those =3 (disagree) on 1 to 5 scales. We conducted multivariable linear regressions for associations between key facilitators and barriers and (1) professional and (2) leadership roles, controlling for key program and respondent factors and clustering by program.
Results: We surveyed 103 respondents in 11 programs; 45.6% were physicians and 50% had leadership roles. Key facilitators across sites included teamwork, communication, the implementation climate (or environment), and program focus on quality improvement. Key barriers included educational support and incentives, particularly for quality measurement, and quality improvement infrastructure such as strategies, systems, and skilled staff. In multivariable analyses, perceptions did not differ by leadership role, but physicians and nurse practitioners/nurses/physician assistants rated most constructs statistically significantly more negatively than other team members, especially for quality improvement (6 of the 7 key constructs).
Conclusions: Although participants rated quality improvement focus and environment highly, key barriers included lack of infrastructure, especially for quality measurement. Building on these facilitators and measuring and addressing these barriers might help programs enhance palliative care quality initiatives’ acceptability, particularly for physicians and nurses.
BACKGROUND: Despite the significant benefits of palliative care (PC) services for cancer patients, multiple challenges hinder the provision of PC services for these patients. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are witnessing a sharp growth in the burden of non-communicable diseases. There is a significant gap between demand and supply of PC in LMICs in current health services. This review aims to synthesise evidence from previous reviews and deliver a more comprehensive mapping of the existing literature about personal, system, policy, and organisational challenges and possible facilitators on the provision of PC services for cancer patients in LMICs.
METHODS: A systematic review of reviews was performed following PRISMA guidelines. PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, PsycINFO, Web of Sciences, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library databases were searched to identify review papers published between 2000 and 2018 that considered challenges and possible facilitators to PC provision. A modified socioecological model was used as a framework for analysing and summarising findings.
RESULTS: Fourteen reviews were included. The reviews varied in terms of aim, settings, and detail of the challenges and possible facilitators. The main challenges of personal and health care systems included knowledge deficits and misunderstandings from patients, families, the general public, and health care providers about PC; and inadequate number of trained workforce. Besides, limited physical infrastructure, insufficient drugs for symptom relief and lack of a comprehensive national plan for implementing PC were the core organisational and policy level challenges that were recognised. Furthermore, the main possible facilitators that were identified included provision of adequate training for health care providers and health education for patients, families and the general public to enhance their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes to PC. Finally, involvement of policymakers and making drugs available for symptom relief should also be in place to improve the health care systems.
CONCLUSIONS: Understanding challenges to the provision of PC for people with cancer could help in the development of a PC pathway in LMICs. This knowledge could be used as a guide to develop an intervention programme to improve PC. Political influence and support are also required to ensure the sustainability and the provision of high-quality PC.
CONTEXT: Pediatric palliative care (PPC) can improve quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and their families. However, PPC resources vary by state and within a state, PPC resources and personnel are often inequitably distributed towards urban areas with major hospital systems. A community needs assessment (CNA) that evaluates the current status of PPC and pediatric hospice care can help identify gaps and opportunities to improve PPC access.
OBJECTIVES: A CNA was performed in the state of Georgia to explore the scope and gaps of PPC and hospice services and plan for what is needed to grow PPC and hospice services.
METHODS: The CNA utilized a mixed-methods approach, including a community profile, literature search, windshield survey, key informant interviews, and a quantitative online survey. The methodology is outlined in a companion manuscript, entitled "A Methodological Approach to Conducting a Statewide Community Needs Assessment of Pediatric Palliative Care and Hospice Resources."
RESULTS: Four key themes were identified from synthesis of primary and secondary data collection: defining and providing PPC, the environment for PPC in Georgia, coordination and collaboration, and the future of PPC in Georgia. Recommendations to improve PPC services in Georgia were categorized by feasibility and importance. High feasibility, high importance recommendations included expanding PPC education for both providers and patients, and creating a formal network or coalition of PPC providers and allies who can work collaboratively at multiple care levels across Georgia in expanding PPC services.
CONCLUSIONS: In Georgia, this assessment provides the foundation for next steps in coordinated efforts between hospital-based clinicians, state hospice and palliative care organizations, and state policy makers to ultimately expand PPC care available to children and families.
Introduction: Many patients and their families are hesitant to consult a palliative care (PC) team. In 2014, approximately 6,000,000 people in the United States could benefit from PC, and this number is expected to increase over the next 25 years.
Objectives: The purpose of this review is to shed light on the significance of PC and provide a holistic view outlining both the benefits and existing barriers.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE (PubMed), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science to identify articles published in journals from 1948 to 2019. A narrative approach was used to search the grey literature.
Discussion: Traditionally, the philosophy behind PC was based on alleviating suffering associated with terminal illnesses; PC was recommended only after other treatment options had been exhausted. However, the tenets of PC are applicable to anyone with a life-threatening illness as it is beneficial in conjunction with traditional treatments. It is now recognized that PC services are valuable when initiated alongside disease-modifying therapy early in the disease course. Studies have shown that PC decreased total symptom burden, reduced hospitalizations, and enabled patients to remain safely at home.
Conclusion: As the population ages and chronic illnesses become more widespread, there continues to be a growing need for PC programs. The importance of PC should not be overlooked despite existing barriers such as the lack of professional training and the cost of implementation. Education and open discussion play essential roles in the successful early integration of PC.
Background: Despite the high potential to improve the quality of life of patients and families, palliative care services face significant obstacles to their use. In countries with high-resource health systems, the nonfinancial and nonstructural obstacles to palliative care services are particularly prominent. These are the cognitive barriers -knowledge and communication barriers- to the use of palliative care. To date no systematic review has given the deserved attention to the cognitive barriers and facilitators to palliative care services utilization.
This study aims to synthesize knowledge on cognitive barriers and facilitators to palliative care use in oncology and hemato-oncology from the experiences of health professionals, patients, and their families.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted. PubMed, PsycINFO, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care/Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (IAHPC/CINAHL), and Communication & Mass Media Complete (CMMC) were systematically searched for the main core concepts: palliative care, barriers, facilitators, perspectives, points of view, and related terms and synonyms. After screening of titles, abstracts, and full-texts, 52 studies were included in the qualitative thematic analysis.
Results: Four themes were identified: awareness of palliative care, collaboration and communication in palliative care-related settings, attitudes and beliefs towards palliative care, and emotions involved in disease pathways. The results showed that cognitive barriers and facilitators are involved in the educational, social, emotional, and cultural dimensions of palliative care provision and utilization. In particular, these barriers and facilitators exist both at the healthcare professional level (e.g. a barrier is lack of understanding of palliative care applicability, and a facilitator is strategic visibility of the palliative care team in patient floors and hospital-wide events) and at the patient and families level (e.g. a barrier is having misconceptions about palliative care, and a facilitator is patients’ openness to their own needs).
Conclusions: To optimize palliative care services utilization, awareness of palliative care, and healthcare professionals’ communication and emotion management skills should be enhanced. Additionally, a cultural shift, concerning attitudes and beliefs towards palliative care, should be encouraged.
Specialist Palliative Care services (SPCS) have a vital role to play in the global COVID-19 pandemic. Core expertise in complex symptom management, decision-making in uncertainty, advocacy and education, and ensuring a compassionate response are essential, and SPCS are well positioned to take a proactive approach in crisis management planning.
SPCS resource capacity is likely to be overwhelmed, and consideration needs to be given to empowering and supporting high-quality primary palliative care in all care locations. Our local SPCS have developed a Palliative Care Pandemic Pack to disseminate succinct and specific information, guidance, and resources designed to enable the rapid up-skilling of non-specialist clinicians needing to provide palliative care. It may be a useful tool for our SPCS colleagues to adapt as we face this global challenge collaboratively.
Context: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is stressing health care systems throughout the world. Significant numbers of patients are being admitted to the hospital with severe illness, often in the setting of advanced age and underlying comorbidities. Therefore, palliative care is an important part of the response to this pandemic. The Seattle area and UW Medicine have been on the forefront of the pandemic in the U.S.
Methods: UW Medicine developed a strategy to implement a palliative care response for a multihospital health care system that incorporates conventional capacity, contingency capacity, and crisis capacity. The strategy was developed by our palliative care programs with input from the health care system leadership.
Results: In this publication, we share our multifaceted strategy to implement high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that incorporates conventional, contingency, and crisis capacity and focuses on the areas of the hospital caring for the most patients: the emergency department, intensive care units, and acute care services. The strategy focuses on key content areas, including identifying and addressing goals of care, addressing moderate and severe symptoms, and supporting family members.
Conclusion: Strategy planning for delivery of high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic represents an important area of need for our health care systems. We share our experiences of developing such a strategy to help other institutions conduct and adapt such strategies more quickly.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the regional variation in hospital care utilization in the last 6 months of life of Dutch patients with lung cancer and to test whether higher degrees of hospital utilization coincide with less general practitioner (GP) and long-term care use.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional claims data study.
SETTING: The Netherlands.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients deceased in 2013-2015 with lung cancer (N = 25 553).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We calculated regional medical practice variation scores, adjusted for age, gender and socioeconomic status, for radiotherapy, chemotherapy, CT-scans, emergency room contacts and hospital admission days during the last 6 months of life; Spearman Rank correlation coefficients measured the association between the adjusted regional medical practice variation scores for hospital admissions and ER contacts and GP and long-term care utilization.
RESULTS: The utilization of hospital services in high-using regions is 2.3-3.6 times higher than in low-using regions. The variation was highest in 2015 and lowest in 2013. For all 3 years, hospital care was not significantly correlated with out-of-hospital care at a regional level.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospital care utilization during the last 6 months of life of patients with lung cancer shows regional medical practice variation over the course of multiple years and seems to increase. Higher healthcare utilization in hospitals does not seem to be associated with less intensive GP and long-term care. In-depth research is needed to explore the causes of the variation and its relation to quality of care provided at the level of daily practice.
BACKGROUND: Key Information Summaries (KIS) were introduced throughout Scotland in 2013 so that anticipatory care plans written by general practitioners (GPs) could be routinely shared electronically and updated in real time, between GPs and providers of unscheduled and secondary care.
AIMS: We aimed to describe the current reach of anticipatory and palliative care, and to explore GPs' views on using KIS.
METHODS: We studied the primary care records of all patients who died in 2014 in 9 diverse Lothian practices. We identified if anticipatory or palliative care had been started, and if so how many weeks before death and which aspects of care had been documented. We interviewed 10 GPs to understand barriers and facilitating factors.
RESULTS: Overall, 60% of patients were identified for a KIS, a median of 18 }weeks before death. The numbers identified were highest for patients with cancer, with 75% identified compared with 66% of those dying with dementia/frailty and only 41% dying from organ failure. Patients were more likely to die outside hospital if they had a KIS. GPs identified professional, patient and societal challenges in identifying patients for palliative care, especially those with non-cancer diagnoses.
CONCLUSIONS: GPs are identifying patients for anticipatory and palliative care more equitably across the different disease trajectories and earlier in the disease process than they were previously identifying patients specifically for palliative care. However, many patients still lack care planning, particularly those dying with organ failure.
Recent reports highlight an inconsistent provision of palliative and end-of-life (palliative) care across Australia, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas. Palliative care improves quality of life and the experience of dying, and all people should have equitable access to quality needs-based care as they approach and reach the end of their lives. A palliative approach to care is crucial in rural and remote Australia where there is a reliance for such care on generalist providers amid the challenges of a limited workforce, poorer access, and vast geography. This article describes the development and implementation of the Far West NSW Palliative and End-of-Life Model of Care, a systematic solution that could drive improvement in the provision of a quality palliative approach to care and support from any clinician in a timely manner, for patients, their families and carers anywhere.
In Spain, health competencies are decentralized, and each autonomous community implements its own plans. Our aim is to determine if the existence of regional palliative care plans implies an improvement in health care coverage. We reviewed regional palliative care plans published in Spain and analyzed the following variables: number and profile of palliative care resources, guidelines and objectives of implementation of resources of these plans, and compliance with European standards. The publication of regional plans is associated with an increase in specific resources in the following years. From 2004 to 2009, the implementation of plans in 6 autonomous communities was associated with an increase in palliative care resources compared to those without a strategy (odds ratio: 1.58, P = .02) or with a settled plan (odds ratio: 1.40, P = .07). The same phenomenon was observed between 2009 and 2015 in 4 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities compared with those without a strategy (odds ratio: 2.49, P = .001) and those that implemented a plan before 2009 (odds ratio: 2.62, P < .001). Updating and evaluating these regional plans are also associated with the growth of palliative care resources.
Background: Palliative care (PC) and hospice care are underutilized for patients with end-stage liver disease, but factors associated with these patterns of utilization are not well understood.
Objective: We examined patient-level factors associated with both PC and hospice referrals in patients with decompensated cirrhosis (DC).
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients with DC hospitalized at a single tertiary center and followed for one year.
Measurements: We assessed PC and hospice referrals during follow-up and examined patient-level factors associated with the receipt of PC and/or hospice, as well as associated clinical outcomes. We also examined late referrals (within one week of death).
Results: Of 397 patients, 61 (15.4%) were referred to PC, 71 (17.9%) were referred to hospice, and 99 (24.9%) were referred to PC and/or hospice. Two hundred patients (50.4%) died during the one-year follow-up. In multivariable logistic regression, referral to PC was associated with increased comorbidity burden, ascites, increased MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease)-Na score, lack of listing for liver transplant, and unmarried status. Hospice referral was associated with increased comorbidities, portal vein thrombosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. PC referrals were late in 68.5% of cases, and hospice referrals were late in 62.7%. Late PC referrals were associated with younger age and married status. Late hospice referrals were associated with younger age and recent alcohol use.
Conclusions: PC and hospice is underutilized in patients with DC, and most referrals are late. Patient-level factors associated with these referrals differ between PC and hospice.
BACKGROUND: The number of older people dying in long-term care facilities is increasing; however, care at the end of life can be suboptimal. Interventions to improve palliative care delivery within these settings have been shown to be effective in improving care, but little is known about their implementation.
AIM: The aim of this study was to describe the nature of implementation strategies and to identify facilitators and/or barriers to implementing palliative care interventions in long-term care facilities.
DESIGN: Scoping review with a thematic synthesis, following the ENTREQ guidelines.
DATA SOURCES: Published literature was identified from electronic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL. Controlled, non-controlled and qualitative studies and evaluations of interventions to improve palliative care in long-term care facilities were included. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were sourced and data extracted on the study characteristics, the implementation of the intervention, and facilitators and/or barriers to implementation.
RESULTS: The review identified 8902 abstracts, from which 61 studies were included in the review. A matrix of implementation was developed with four implementation strategies (facilitation, education/training, internal engagement and external engagement) and three implementation stages (conditions to introduce the intervention, embedding the intervention within day-to-day practice and sustaining ongoing change).
CONCLUSION: Incorporating an implementation strategy into the development and delivery of an intervention is integral in embedding change in practice. The review has shown that the four implementation strategies identified varied considerably across interventions; however, similar facilitators and barriers were encountered across the studies identified. Further research is needed to understand the extent to which different implementation strategies can facilitate the uptake of palliative care interventions in long-term care facilities.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care (PC) in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is often provided exclusively to infants expected to die. Standards of care support providing PC early after diagnosis with any condition likely to impact quality of life.
PURPOSE: To determine the state of early PC practice across populations to derive elements of early PC applicable to neonates and their families and demonstrate their application in practice.
SEARCH STRATEGY: Multiple literature searches were conducted from 2016 to 2019. Common keywords used were: palliative care; early PC; end of life, neonate; NICU; perinatal PC; pediatric PC; family-centered care; advanced care planning; palliative care consultant; and shared decision-making.
FINDINGS: Early PC is an emerging practice in adult, pediatric, and perinatal populations that has been shown to be helpful for and recommended by families. Three key elements of early PC in the NICU are shared decision-making, care planning, and coping with distress. A hypothetical case of a 24-week infant is presented to illustrate how findings may be applied. Evidence supports expansion of neonatal PC to include infants and families without terminal diagnoses and initiation earlier in care.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Involving parents more fully in care planning activities and decision-making and providing structured support for them to cope with distress despite their child's prognosis are essential to early PC.
IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: As early PC is incorporated into practice, strategies should be evaluated for feasibility and efficacy to improve parental and neonatal outcomes. Researchers should consider engaging NICU parent stakeholders in leading early PC program development and research.
Background: People in low- and middle-income countries with serious health problems rarely have access to palliative care. Promising models of palliative care delivery have emerged in India despite widespread poverty and poor health care infrastructure.
Objective: To explore structural and philosophical aspects of palliative care delivery in a low-resource setting.
Design: One author spent six months as a participant observer at Pallium India (PI), a nongovernmental organization recognized for leadership in palliative care delivery in Kerala, India. We collected administrative data, conducted semistructured interviews with key stakeholders, and observed clinical encounters and other organization-led events.
Results: We performed 73 interviews with patients, families, clinicians, staff, and volunteers, and observed 180 patient encounters. The majority of palliative care patients did not have cancer. Many had chronic diseases that were not immediately life threatening. Services addressed a broad range of patients' medical, psychological, social, and/or financial needs. PI's care delivery maximizes accessibility.
Conclusions: PI employs an expansive definition of palliative care and adapts services to respond to patients' diverse needs. This accessible, people-centered care is necessary in low-resource settings to alleviate multifaceted suffering caused by gaps in the health care system, poor social support, and poverty.
Objectives: To determine the effect of the Serious Illness Care Program on health care utilization at the end of life in oncology.
Design: Analysis of the secondary outcome of health care utilization as part of a cluster-randomized clinical trial that ran from 2012 to 2016. Clinicians in the intervention group received training, coaching, and system supports to have discussions with patients using a Serious Illness Conversation Guide (SICG); clinicians in the control arm followed usual care.
Setting/Subject: Patients with advanced cancer who died within two years of enrollment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Measurement: Health care utilization was abstracted from the electronic medical record using the National Quality Forum (NQF)-endorsed indicators of aggressive cancer care at the end of life and scored from 0 to 6 (one point for each aggressive indicator); t tests and chi-square tests were used to determine differences between intervention and control patients.
Results: The charts of 159 patients who died were reviewed. Neither the main outcome of mean number of aggressive indicators (0.9 vs. 0.9, p = 0.84) nor the proportion of patients with any aggressive care (49% intervention [95% CI: 40–57] vs. 54% control [95% CI: 42–67]) differed between patients in the intervention and control groups.
Conclusion: In this analysis of a secondary outcome from a randomized clinical trial of the Serious Illness Care Program, intervention and control patients had similar end-of-life health care utilization as measured by the mean number of NQF-endorsed indicators. Future research efforts should focus on studying the strategies by which communication about patients' prognosis, values, and goals leads to personalized care plans.
Cet atlas présente les ressources pays par pays en matière de soins palliatifs : services pour adultes ou enfants, lits dédiés, composition et nombre d'équipes, tendance et objectifs des politiques nationales de santé des pays.
OBJECTIVES: Reliable national estimates of hospice use and underuse are needed. Additionally, drivers of hospice use in the United States are poorly understood, especially among noncancer populations. Thus the objectives of this study were to (1) provide reliable estimates of hospice use among adults in the United States; and (2) identify factors predicting use among decedents and within subsamples of cancer and noncancer deaths.
DESIGN: We conducted a prospective cohort study using the Health and Retirement Study survey. Excluding sudden deaths, we used data from the 2012 survey wave to predict hospice use in general, and then separately for cancer and non-cancer deaths.
SETTING: Study data were provided by a population-based sample of older adults from the U.S.
PARTICIPANTS: We constructed a sample of 1,209 participants who died between the 2012 and 2014 survey waves.
MEASUREMENTS: Hospice utilization was reported by proxy. Exposure variables included demographics, functionality (activities of daily living [ADLs]), health, depression, dementia, advance directives, nursing home residency, and cause of death.
RESULTS: Hospice utilization rate was 52.4% for the sample with 70.8% for cancer deaths and 45.4% for noncancer deaths. Fully adjusted model results showed being older (odds ratio [OR] = 1.54), less healthy (OR = .79), having dementia (OR = 1.52), and having cancer (OR = 5.47) were linked to greater odds of receiving hospice. Among cancer deaths, being older (OR = 1.64) and female (OR = 2.54) were the only predictors of hospice use. Among noncancer deaths, increased age (OR = 1.58), more education (OR = 1.56), being widowed (OR = 1.55), needing help with ADLs (OR = 1.13), and poor health (OR = .77) were associated with hospice utilization.
CONCLUSION: Findings suggest hospice remains underutilized, especially among individuals with noncancer illness. Extrapolating results to the US population, we estimate that annually nearly a million individuals who are likely eligible for hospice die without its services. Most (84%) of these decedents have a noncancer condition. Interventions are needed to increase appropriate hospice utilization, particularly in noncancer care settings.