In the UK and the Westernised countries, most people die aged 80+ from disabling, chronic and degenerative diseases, having spent several years in poor health. There is thus continuity between long-term care (LTC) and end of life care (EOLC) in old age, but this continuity is poorly understood within policy and almost nothing is known about what determines the modality and intensity of LTC provision in old age towards the end of life. Drawing on multinomial logistic regression analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), this paper evaluates how health and socio-demographic factors affect the relative probability of receiving care through one of five long-term care arrangements (LTCAs) from the time of need at age =50 to death; and assesses the consequences this has for the English LTC and EOLC policy and planning. The study reveals that hospices provide end-of-life LTC for cancer diagnoses and adults aged 50-64, while care homes provide open-ended and end-of-life LTC for non-cancer diagnoses, dementia, severe disability, and adults aged 80+. Further, the informal, formal, mixed and care home LTCAs reflect increasing levels of disability and ill-health, and decreasing levels of family support, with differences concerning education and gender. Finally, dementia and Parkinson's disease are the single strongest determinants of high formal LTC provision, and overall high care needs determine high formal LTC provision. Within the English context, the consequences of this are that: 1) Continued reliance on informal family care is not sustainable; 2) To provide free formal LTC to old adults with high care needs is appropriate; and 3) Hospices do not cater for the prevalent form of dying in old age while care homes do, being the de facto hospices for severely disabled, very old (80+) adults with dementia. Yet this is not represented in English EOLC policy and research.
Hospice social workers face many challenges in attempts to replicate or supplement the holistic support and unique services hospice provides for individuals discharged alive. This discontinuity in care can impact the types of supports needed by individuals and caregivers, which may or may not be accessible within their community. Patients and families who have access to community-based palliative care programs following a discharge generally tend to navigate the process with fewer challenges. This qualitative study (N = 24) explored both the challenges of the live discharge process and the opportunities within social work practice in the US. Results from this study emphasize the need for a framework to better approach a live discharge to ensure appropriate supports are accessible for all patients and caregivers. Specifically, results highlight both the concrete and psychosocial challenges in live discharges as a result of tension between current eligibility requirements and individual feelings and needs. Social workers also provided suggestions to improve the live discharge process, including attention to communication and preparation. This paper outlines specific challenges of live discharge from hospice, a framework for understanding presented challenges, and implications for policy and practice.
Objectives: We evaluated the trend of end-of-life healthcare utilization and life-sustaining interventions for older adults with dementia 3 to 4 years after the change in hospice policy.
Design: Population-based retrospective cohort study.
Setting and participants: we used the National Health Insurance Research database of enrolled patients =65 years of age diagnosed with dementia who died in 2010-2013 (n = 2062).
Methods: Aggressive treatments, including healthcare utilization and life-sustaining interventions, were recorded within 6 months of death. Aggressive healthcare utilization included =1 emergency department visits, =1 hospitalizations, >14 days of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death in an acute care hospital. Life-sustaining interventions were enteral tube, artificial nutrition, blood transfusion, hemodialysis, invasive ventilation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Results: Compared with 2010 2012, 2013 rates significantly decreased for all measures (P < .001). Composite scores of healthcare utilization and life-sustaining treatments in 2013 were significantly lower than for 2010 2012, after controlling for confounding variables (both P < .001).
Conclusions and implications: Older patients with dementia had a trend of reduced healthcare utilization and fewer life-sustaining treatments near the end of life from 2010 to 2013 after a policy change.
Background: The association between palliative care and life-sustaining treatment following emergency department (ED) resuscitation is unclear. This study aims to analyze the usage of palliative care and life-sustaining treatments among ED triage level I resuscitation patients based on a nationally representative sample of patients in Taiwan.
Methods: A matched-pair retrospective cohort study was conducted to examine the association between palliative care and outcome variables using multivariate logistic regression and Kaplan–Meier survival analyses. Between 2009 and 2013, 336 ED triage level I resuscitation patients received palliative care services (palliative care group) under a universal health insurance scheme. Retrospective cohort matching was performed with those who received standard care at a ratio of 1:4 (usual care group). Outcome variables included the number of visits to emergency and outpatient departments, hospitalization duration, total medical expenses, utilization of life-sustaining treatments, and duration of survival following ED triage level I resuscitation.
Results: The mean survival duration following level I resuscitation was less than 1 year. Palliative care was administered to 15% of the resuscitation cohort. The palliative care group received significantly less life-sustaining treatment than did the usual care group.
Conclusion: Among patients who underwent level I resuscitation, palliative care was inversely correlated with the scope of life-sustaining treatments. Furthermore, triage level I resuscitation status may present a possible new field for starting palliative care intervention and reducing low-value care.
Context: Palliative care consultation before left ventricular assist device (LVAD) surgery (PreVAD) has been recommended, but its impact on goal-concordant care is unknown.
Objectives: To describe the association between patients' unique unacceptable condition articulated during PreVAD with the actual care provided at the end of life.
Methods: Among 308 patients who had PreVAD between 2014 and 2019, 72 patients died before December 31, 2019. Based on the answers to the question, “Is there any condition you would find unacceptable?” patients were divided into ARTICULATE (those who could articulate their unacceptable condition clearly, n = 58) and non-ARTICULATE (those who could not, n = 14). Circumstances at death and end-of-life care were compared between groups.
Results: Mean age at death was 63.2 years (SD ±13.1), 56 patients (77.8%) were males, and median duration of LVAD was 167.5 days (interquartile range 682). ARTICULATE patients died less frequently in the intensive care unit than non-ARTICULATE patients (33 patients, 57.9% vs. 13 patients, 92.9%; P = 0.014) and had ethics consultation less frequently (four patients, 6.9% vs. five patients, 35.7%; P = 0.011). Frequency of LVAD withdrawal was similar in both groups. Among ARTICULATE cohort, the unacceptable condition articulated in PreVAD did not seem to influence decisions at the end of life.
Conclusion: Patients who articulated their unacceptable condition clearly before LVAD surgery had less frequent ethics consultations and received less intensive care at the end of life, but it did not seem to affect the decision of LVAD withdrawal. It may be more important to engage in discussions around their unacceptable conditions, rather than the specific condition articulated. The question of an unacceptable condition should be part of any routine palliative care consultation before LVAD surgery.
Background: Palliative care supports quality of life, symptom control, and goal setting in heart failure (HF) patients. Unlike hospice, palliative care does not restrict life-prolonging therapy. This study examined the association between palliative care during hospitalization for HF on the subsequent transitions and procedures.
Methods and Results: Veterans admitted to hospitals with HF from 2010 to 2015 were randomly selected for the Veterans Administration External Peer Review Program. Variables pertaining to demographic, clinical, laboratory, and usage were captured from Veterans Administration electronic records. Patients receiving hospice services before admission were excluded. Patients who received palliative care were propensity matched to those who did not. The primary outcomes were whether the patient experienced transitions or procedures in the 6 months after admission. Transitions included multiple readmissions (=2) or intensive care admissions and procedures included mechanical ventilation, pacemaker implantation, or defibrillator implantation. Among 57 182 hospitalized HF patients, 1431 received palliative care, and were well matched to 1431 without (standardized mean differences = ±0.05 on all matched variables). Palliative care was associated with significantly fewer multiple rehospitalizations (30.9% versus 40.3%, P<0.001), mechanical ventilation (2.8% versus 5.4%, P=0.004), and defibrillator implantation (2.1% versus 3.6%, P=0.01). After adjustment for facility fixed effects, palliative care consultation was associated with a significantly reduced hazard of multiple readmissions (adjusted hazard ratio=0.73, 95% CI, 0.64–0.84) and mechanical ventilation (adjusted hazard ratio=0.76, 95% CI, 0.67–0.87).
Conclusions: palliative care during HF admissions was associated with fewer readmissions and less mechanical ventilation. When available, engagement of HF patients and caregivers in palliative care for symptom control, quality of life, and goals of care discussions may be associated with reduced rehospitalizations and mechanical ventilation.
Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the patterns of discharge and re-enrollment to a community palliative care service, and to identify factors associated with re-enrollment.
Background: Community-based palliative care is a limited resource. The evidence base to guide discharge practices from community palliative care services is limited.
Methods: A retrospective audit of the electronic medical records for all patients discharged from the Sacred Heart Community Palliative Care Service (SHCPCS), Sydney, from July 2010 to July 2016 was conducted. Patients were excluded if they were discharged due to death, transferred out of catchment area, declined the service, transferred to another hospital, or were referred inappropriately.
Data extracted included sociodemographic variables, living situation, diagnoses, and discharge and re-enrollment details. Using binary logistic regression analysis, predictive factors, including socio-demographic characteristics, diagnosis and length of episode of care, were evaluated.
Results: Of the 739 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 42 (5.7%) were re-enrolled to the service. The median length of the initial episode of care was 65 days and the median timeframe between discharge and re-enrollment was 216 days. Patients living in residential care facilities (odds ratio [OR] 3.45; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28–9.28; p = 0.01) and those with malignant diagnoses (OR 2.22; 95% CI 1.00–4.93; p = 0.04) had higher rates of re-enrollment.
Discussion: The proportion of patients re-enrolled to the service was low. Both patient factors and disease factors were associated with re-enrollment. Future prospective studies evaluating prognostic factors to assist with effective discharge processes and guidelines are warranted.
Background: In the last years of life, burden of disease and disability and need of health- and social care often increase. Social, functional and psychological factors may be important in regard to social- and health care utilization. This study aims to describe use of health- and social care during the last year of life among persons living in ordinary housing or in assisted living facilities.
Methods: A retrospective study examining health- and social care utilization during their last year of life, using a subsample from the Swedish twin registries individually linked to several Swedish national quality registries (NQR). Persons that died during 2008–2009 and 2011–2012 (n = 1518) were selected.
Results: Mean age at death was 85.9 ± 7.3 (range 65.1–109.0). Among the 1518 participants (women n = 888, 58.5%), of which 741 (49%) were living in assisted living facilities and 1061 (69.9%) had at least one hospitalization during last year of life. The most common causes of death were cardiovascular disease (43.8%) and tumors (15.3%). A multivariable logistic regression revealed that living in ordinary housing, younger age and higher numbers of NQR’s increased the likelihood of hospitalization.
Conclusions: Persons in their last year of life consumed high amount of health- and social care although 12% did not receive any home care. Married persons received less home care than never married. Persons living in ordinary housing had higher numbers of hospitalizations compared to participants in assisted living facilities. Older persons and persons registered in fewer NQR’s were less hospitalized.
Background: African Americans receive more aggressive end-of-life care than Whites. Little is known about how palliative care consultation to discuss goals-of-care (“PCC”) is associated with acute care utilization and costs by race.
Objective: To compare future acute care costs and utilization between propensity-matched cohorts of African Americans with and without PCC, and Whites with and without PCC.
Design: Secondary analysis of a retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Thirty-five thousand one hundred and fifty-four African Americans and Whites age 18+ admitted for conditions other than childbirth or rehabilitation, who were not hospitalized at the end of the study, and did not die during index hospitalization (hospitalization during which the first PCC occurred).
Measurements: Accumulated mean acute care costs and utilization (30-day readmissions, future hospital days, future intensive care unit [ICU] admission, future number of ICU days) after discharge from index hospitalization.
Results: No significant difference between African Americans with or without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($11,651 vs. $15,050, p = 0.09), 30-day readmissions (p = 0.58), future hospital days (p = 0.34), future ICU admission (p = 0.25), or future ICU days (p = 0.30). There were significant differences between Whites with PCC and those without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($8,095 vs. $16,799, p < 0.001), 30-day readmissions (10.2% vs. 16.7%, p < 0.0001), and future days hospitalized (3.7 vs. 6.3 days, p < 0.0001).
onclusions: PCC decreases future acute care costs and utilization in Whites and, directionally but not significantly, in African Americans. Research is needed to explain why utilization and cost disparities persist among African Americans despite PCC.
BACKGROUND: Despite improvements in palliative care for critically ill children, the characteristics of end-of-life care for pediatric patients with advanced heart disease are not well-known. We investigated these characteristics among hospitalized children with advanced heart disease in a tertiary referral center in Korea.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 136 patients with advanced heart disease who died in our pediatric department from January 2006 through December 2013.
RESULTS: The median age of patients at death was 10.0 months (range 1 day-28.3 years). The median duration of the final hospitalization was 16.5 days (range 1-690 days). Most patients (94.1%) died in the intensive care unit and had received mechanical ventilation (89.7%) and inotropic agents (91.2%) within 24 hours of death. The parents of 74 patients (54.4%) had an end-of-life care discussion with their physician, and the length of stay of these patients in the intensive care unit and in hospital was longer. Of the 90 patients who had been hospitalized for 7 days or more, the parents of 54 patients (60%) had a documented end-of-life care discussion. The time interval from the end-of-life care discussion to death was 3 days or less for 25 patients.
CONCLUSION: Children dying of advanced heart disease receive intensive treatment at the end of life. Discussions regarding end-of-life issues are often postponed until immediately prior to death. A pediatric palliative care program must be implemented to improve the quality of death in pediatric patients with heart disease.
Background: factors associated with place of death inform policies with respect to allocating end-of-life care resources and tailoring supportive measures.
Objective: To determine factors associated with non-hospital deaths among cancer patients.
Design: Retrospective cohort study of cancer decedents, examining factors associated with non-hospital deaths using multinomial logistic regression with hospital deaths as the reference category.
Setting/subjects: Cancer patients (n = 15254) in Singapore who died during the study period from January 1, 2012 till December 31, 2105 at home, acute hospital, long-term care (LTC) or hospice were included.
Results: Increasing age (categories =65 years: RRR 1.25–2.61), female (RRR 1.40; 95% CI 1.28–1.52), Malays (RRR 1.67; 95% CI 1.47–1.89), Brain malignancy (RRR 1.92; 95% CI 1.15–3.23), metastatic disease (RRR 1.33–2.01) and home palliative care (RRR 2.11; 95% CI 1.95–2.29) were associated with higher risk of home deaths. Patients with low socioeconomic status were more likely to have hospice or LTC deaths: those living in smaller housing types had higher risk of dying in hospice (1–4 rooms apartment: RRR 1.13–3.17) or LTC (1–5 rooms apartment: RRR 1.36–4.11); and those with Medifund usage had higher risk of dying in LTC (RRR 1.74; 95% CI 1.36–2.21). Patients with haematological malignancies had increased risk of dying in hospital (categories of haematological subtypes: RRR 0.06–0.87).
Conclusions: We found key sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with non-hospital deaths in cancer patients. More can be done to enable patients to die in the community and with dignity rather than in a hospital.
BACKGROUND: We aim to describe the access to palliative care (PC) in hospitalized children during end-of-life care and compare the circumstances surrounding the deaths of hospitalized children as a basis for implementing a pediatric PC program at our institution.
METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of deceased pediatric patients at a tertiary referral hospital in Colombia. The study group was selected by randomly drawing a sample of 100 observations from the 737 deceased children from 2013 to 2016. A 1:1 propensity score (PS) matching was performed to compare the characteristics and outcomes between PC and non-PC treated patients.
RESULTS: We included 87 patients. After PS matching, we found that patients under the care of non-PC physicians were more likely to die in the pediatric intensive care unit (non-PC: 6/10 vs PC: 1/10; P = .02), to be on vasopressor agents and mechanical ventilation (non-PC: 7/10 vs PC: 1/10; P = .02), and to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the end of life (non-PC: 5/10 vs PC: 0/10; P = .03). In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of patients under the care of the pediatric PC team died with comfort measures (non-PC: 2/10 vs 8/10; P = .02) and nonescalation of care in physician orders (non-PC: 5/10 vs PC: 10/10; 0.03).
CONCLUSION: In this study, only 10 of 87 patients were treated by the pediatric PC team at the end of life. The latter finding is concerning and is a call to action to improve access to pediatric PC at our institution.
Background: In order to avoid unnecessary use of hospital services at the end-of-life, palliative care should be initiated early enough in order to have sufficient time to initiate and carry out good quality advance care planning (ACP). This single center study assesses the impact of the PC decision and its timing on the use of hospital services at EOL and the place of death.
Methods: A randomly chosen cohort of 992 cancer patients treated in a tertiary hospital between Jan 2013 –Dec 2014, who were deceased by the end of 2014, were selected from the total number of 2737 identified from the hospital database. The PC decision (the decision to terminate life-prolonging anticancer treatments and focus on symptom centered palliative care) and use of PC unit services were studied in relation to emergency department (ED) visits, hospital inpatient days and place of death.
Results: A PC decision was defined for 82% of the patients and 37% visited a PC unit. The earlier the PC decision was made, the more often patients had an appointment at the PC unit (> 180 days prior to death 72% and < 14 days 10%). The number of ED visits and inpatient days were highest for patients with no PC decision and lowest for patients with both a PC decision and an PC unit appointment (60 days before death ED visits 1.3 vs 0.8 and inpatient days 9.9 vs 2.9 respectively, p < 0.01). Patients with no PC decision died more often in secondary/tertiary hospitals (28% vs. 19% with a PC decision, and 6% with a decision and an appointment to a PC unit).
Conclusions: The PC decision to initiate a palliative goal for the treatment had a distinct impact on the use of hospital services at the EOL. Contact with a PC unit further increased the likelihood of EOL care at primary care.
Background: The relationship between clinical course and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) status has not been well studied in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) setting.
Objective: To describe the relationship between DNR order placement and clinical course.
Design: Single center retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients, ages 0–18 years, who have died in the PICU from 2008 to 2016.
Measurements: Retrospective chart review of DNR status, patient characteristics, and clinical course. We compared length of stay and number of consults/procedures/imaging studies done on patients with early DNR (>48 hours before death), late DNR (within 48 hours of death), and no DNR order placement.
Results: One-hundred and sixty-one children were included. Nearly half (48%) were male with median (interquartile range) age of 3 years (0–12). One-third (58) had an underlying oncologic diagnosis. Eighteen percent (29/161) were classified as early DNR, 33% (53/161) as late DNR, and 49% (79/161) as no DNR. We found no differences in patient characteristics or risk of mortality at admission among the groups. The early DNR group showed decreased number of invasive procedures (0.68), imaging studies (1), and consults (0.21) per day when compared with the late (2, 1.53, 0.50) and no DNR groups (2.09, 1.73, 0.43).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that early DNR placement in the PICU is associated with a change in clinical course centered around less invasive care. Earlier DNR placement can potentially trigger a shift in care goals that could improve the quality of life for patients and mitigate emotional and physical toll on patients and their families during the highly stressful end-of-life time period.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the characteristics of patients needing palliative care consultation in the ED. This study aimed to investigate the impacts of initiating screening in acute critically ill patients needing palliative care on mortality, healthcare resources, and end-of-life care (EOL) in the intensive care unit in ED (EICU).
METHODS: We conducted an analysis study in Taipei Veterans General Hospital. From February 1 to July 31, 2018, acute critically ill patients in EICU were recruited. The primary outcomes were inhospital mortality and EOL care. The secondary outcomes included clinical characteristics and healthcare utilization.
RESULTS: A total of 796 patients were screened, with 396 eligible and 400 non-eligible patients needing palliative care consultations. The mean age was 74.8 ± 17.1 years, and 62.6% of the patients were male. According to logistic regression analysis, clinical predictors, including age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.028; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.015-1.042), respiratory distress and/or respiratory failure (AOR, 2.670; 95% CI, 1.829-3.897), the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (AOR, 1.036; 95% CI, 1.009-1.064), Charlson Comorbidity Index score (AOR, 1.212; 95% CI, 1.125-1.306), and Glasgow Coma Scale (AOR, 0.843; 95% CI, 0.802-0.885), were statistically more significant in eligible patients than in non-eligible patients. The inhospital mortality rate was significantly higher in eligible patients than that in non-eligible patients (40.7% vs. 11.5%, p < 0.01). Eligible patients have a higher ratio in both vasopressor and narcotic use and withdrawal of endotracheal tube than non-eligible patients (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Our study results demonstrated that initiating palliative consultation for acute critically ill patients in ED had an impact on the utilization of healthcare resources and quality of EOL care. Further assessments of the viewpoints of ED patients and their family regarding palliative care consultations and hospice care are required.
BACKGROUND: Ethnicity may be associated with important aspects of end-of-life care, such as what treatments are received, access to palliative care and where people die. However, most studies have focused on end-of-life care of white, Hispanic and black patients. We sought to compare end-of-life care delivered to people of Chinese and South Asian ethnicity with that delivered to others from the general population, in Ontario, Canada.
METHODS: In this population-based cohort study, we included all people who died in Ontario, Canada, between Apr. 1, 2004, and Mar. 31, 2015. People were identified as having Chinese or South Asian ethnicity on the basis of a validated surname algorithm. We used modified Poisson regression analyses to assess location of death and care received in the last 6 months of life.
RESULTS: We analyzed 967 339 decedents, including 18 959 (2.0%) of Chinese and 11 406 (1.2%) of South Asian ethnicity. Chinese (13.6%) and South Asian (18.5%) decedents were more likely than decedents from the general population (10.1%) to die in the intensive care unit (ICU). The adjusted relative risk of dying in intensive care was 1.21 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.15 to 1.27) for Chinese and 1.25 (95% CI 1.20 to 1.30) for South Asian decedents. In their last 6 months of life, decedents of Chinese and South Asian ethnicity experienced significantly more ICU admission, hospital admission, mechanical ventilation, dialysis, percutaneous feeding tube placement, tracheostomy and cardiopulmonary resuscitation than the general population.
INTERPRETATION: Decedents of Chinese and South Asian ethnicity in Ontario were more likely than decedents from the general population to receive aggressive care and to die in an ICU. These findings may be due to communication difficulties between patients and clinicians, differences in preferences about end-of-life care or differences in access to palliative care services.
Background: Multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) are associated with increased intensity of end-of-life (EOL) care, but their effect is not well explored in patients with cancer.
Objective: we examined EOL health care intensity and advance care planning (ACP) documentation to better understand the association between MCCs and these outcomes.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients aged 18+ years at UW Medicine who died during 2010-2017 with poor prognosis cancer, with or without chronic liver disease, chronic pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, dementia, diabetes with end-stage organ damage, end-stage renal disease, heart failure, or peripheral vascular disease.
Measurements: ACP documentation 30+ days before death, in-hospital death, and inpatient or intensive care unit (ICU) admission in the last 30 days. We performed logistic regression for outcomes.
Results: Of 15,092 patients with cancer, 10,596 (70%) had 1+ MCCs (range 1-8). Patients with cancer and heart failure had highest odds of hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] 1.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.46-1.91), ICU admission (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.76-2.41), or in-hospital death (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.43-1.84) versus patients with cancer and other conditions. Patients with ACP 30+ days before death had lower odds of in-hospital death (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.60-0.71), hospitalization (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.61-0.74), or ICU admission (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.64-0.80).
Conclusions: Patients with ACP 30+ days before death had lower odds of high-intensity EOL care. Further research needs to explore how to best use ACP to ensure patients receive care aligned with patient and family goals for care.
PURPOSE: This study evaluates whether an intervention to identify Canadian patients eligible for a palliative approach changes the use of health care resources and costs within the final month of life.
METHODS: Between 2014 and 2017, physicians identified 1,187 patients in family practice units and cancer centers who were likely to die within 1 year based on diagnosis, symptom assessment, and performance status. A multidisciplinary intervention that included activation of community resources and initiation of palliative planning was started. By using propensity-score matching, patients in the intervention group were matched 1:1 with nonintervention controls selected from provincial administrative data. We compared health care use and costs (using 2017 Canadian dollars) for 30 days before death between patients who died within the 1-year follow-up and matched controls.
RESULTS: Groups (n = 629 in each group) were well-balanced in sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidities, and previous health care use. In the last 30 days, there was no differences in proportions between the two groups of patients regarding emergency department visits, intensive care unit admissions, or inpatient hospitalizations. However, patients in the intervention group had greater use of palliative physician encounters, community home care visits, and/or physician home visits (92.8% v 88.4%; P = .007). In the 507 pairs with cancer, more patients in the intervention group underwent chemotherapy (44% v 33%; P < .001) and radiation (18.7% v 3.2%; P = .043) in the last 30 days. Mean cost per patient was similar for the intervention group (mean, $17,231; 95% CI, $16,027 to $18,436) and for the control group (mean, $16,951; 95% CI, $15,899 to $18,004).
CONCLUSION: Even with the limitations in our observational study design, identification of palliative patients did not significantly change overall costs but may shift resources toward palliative services.
PURPOSE: The median overall survival (OS) for metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC) is < 1 year. Factors that contribute to quality of life during treatment are critical to quantify. One factor-time spent obtaining clinical services-is understudied. We quantified total outpatient time among patients with mPDAC receiving palliative systemic chemotherapy.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis using four patient-level time measures calculated from the medical record of patients with mPDAC receiving 5-fluorouracil infusion, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan; gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel; or gemcitabine within the University of Pennsylvania Health System between January 1, 2011 and January 15, 2019. These included the total number of health care encounter days (any day with at least one visit) and total visit time. Total visit time represented the time spent receiving care (care time) plus time spent commuting and waiting for care (noncare time). We performed descriptive statistics on these outpatient time metrics and compared the number of encounter days to OS.
RESULTS: A total of 362 patients were identified (median age, 65 years; 52% male; 78% white; 62% received gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel). Median OS was 230.5 days (7.6 months), with 79% of patients deceased at the end of follow-up. On average, patients had 22 health care encounter days, accounting for 10% of their total days survived. Median visit time was 4.6 hours, of which 2.5 hours was spent commuting or waiting for care.
CONCLUSION: On average, patients receiving palliative chemotherapy for mPDAC spend 10% of survival time on outpatient health care. More than half of this time is spent commuting and waiting for care. These findings provide an important snapshot of the patient experience during ambulatory care, and efforts to enhance efficiency of care delivery may be warranted.
OBJECTIVE: To document (using available data) the profile of the patients seen by the hospital's palliative service (PS) and who died in the medicine intensive care unit (ICU) of the Veterans Affairs Caribbean Healthcare System.
METHODS: A record review of subjects who died in the ICU from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2014. Demographic data, underlying comorbidities, the cause of death, the length of stay, evaluation made by the PS, and the withdrawal of life support (when such occurred) were recorded for each patient.
RESULTS: A total of 200 patients met the criteria, mostly males. All the women and 50% of the men were over 79 years old. Seventy three percent of the patients were on mechanical ventilation when admitted, most having come from the emergency department. Fewer than 15% had advance directives. Forty-nine percent had been admitted to a hospital facility at least once during the year prior to their current admission. Most of the patients (60.5%) died within the first week, while 13% died within the first 24 hours. PS was requested for 56% of those who survived more than 24 hours, of which only 10% underwent the withdrawal-of-care protocol.
CONCLUSION: A small percentage of the patients who died in the ICU had advance directives at the time of admission, this though all were of advanced age, had recently been discharged after a prior hospital stay, suffered from 1 or more chronic illnesses, or had a history of mental or physical disease. Our findings underscore the need for the early referral of patients of the type previously mentioned to a PS.