OBJECTIVES: Adult day service centers (ADSCs) may serve as an entrée to advance care planning. This study examined state requirements for ADSCs to provide advance directives (AD) information to ADSC participants, ADSCs' awareness of requirements, ADSCs' practice of providing AD information, and their associations with the percentage of participants with ADs.
METHODS: Using the 2016 National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, analyses included 3,305 ADSCs that documented ADs in participants' files. Bivariate and linear regression analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: Nine states had a requirement to provide AD information. 80.8% of ADSCs provided AD information. 41.3% of participants had documented ADs. There were significant associations between state requirement, awareness, and providing information with AD prevalence. State requirement was mediated by awareness.
DISCUSSION: This study found many ADSCs provided AD information, and ADSCs that thought their state had a requirement and provided information was associated with AD prevalence, regardless of state requirements.
Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of advance directives, healthcare proxies, and legal representatives in Austrian intensive care units (ICUs), and to explore barriers faced by adults engaged in the contemplation and documentation phase of the advance care planning process.
Methods: Two studies were conducted: (1) A 4-week multicenter study covering seven Austrian ICUs. A retrospective chart review of 475 patients who presented to the ICUs between 1 January 2019 and 31 January 2019 was conducted. (2) An interview and focus group study with 12 semi-structured expert interviews and three focus groups with 21 adults was performed to gain insights into potential barriers faced by Austrian adults planning medical decisions in advance.
Results: Of the 475 ICU patients, 3 (0.6%) had an advance directive, 4 (0.8%) had a healthcare proxy, and 7 (1.5%) had a legal guardian. Despite the low prevalence rates, patients and relatives reacted positively to the question of whether they had an advance directive. Patients older than 55 years and patients with children reacted significantly more positively than younger patients and patients without children. The interviews and focus groups revealed important barriers that prevent adults in Austria from considering planning in advance for potentially critical health states.
Conclusion: The studies show low prevalence rates of healthcare documents in Austrian ICUs. However, when patients were asked about an advance directive, reactions indicated positive attitudes. The gap between positive attitudes and actual document completion can be explained by multiple barriers that exist for adults in Austria when it comes to planning for potential future incapacity.
Background: Delirium is a distressing neurocognitive disorder that is common among terminally ill individuals, although few studies have described its occurrence in the acute care setting among this population.
Aim: To describe the prevalence of delirium in patients admitted to acute care hospitals in Ontario, Canada, in their last year of life and identify factors associated with delirium.
Design: Population-based retrospective cohort study using linked health administrative data. Delirium was identified through diagnosis codes on hospitalization records.
Setting/participants: Ontario decedents (1 January 2014 to 31 December 2016) admitted to an acute care hospital in their last year of life, excluding individuals age of <18 years or >105 years at admission, those not eligible for the provincial health insurance plan between their hospitalization and death dates, and non-Ontario residents.
Results: Delirium was recorded as a diagnosis in 8.2% of hospitalizations. The frequency of delirium-related hospitalizations increased as death approached. Delirium prevalence was higher in patients with dementia (prevalence ratio: 1.43; 95% confidence interval: 1.36–1.50), frailty (prevalence ratio: 1.67; 95% confidence interval: 1.56–1.80), or organ failure–related cause of death (prevalence ratio: 1.23; 95% confidence interval: 1.16–1.31) and an opioid prescription (prevalence ratio: 1.17; 95% confidence interval: 1.12–1.21). Prevalence also varied by age, sex, chronic conditions, antipsychotic use, receipt of long-term care or home care, and hospitalization characteristics.
Conclusion: This study described the occurrence and timing of delirium in acute care hospitals in the last year of life and identified factors associated with delirium. These findings can be used to support delirium prevention and early detection in the hospital setting.
Background: Use of implantable cardioverter defibrillators is increasingly common. As patients approach the end of life, it is appropriate to deactivate the shock function.
Aim: To assess the prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming to deactivate the shock function at the end of life and the prevalence of advance directives among this population.
Design: Following a previously established protocol available in PROSPERO, we performed a narrative synthesis of our findings and used the logit transformation method to perform our quantitative synthesis.
Data sources: We searched seven bibliographic databases (Embase, Cochrane Central register of controlled Trials, Medline-Ovid, Web-of-Science, Scopus, PsychInfo, and CINAHL) and additional sources until April 2019.
Results: Of the references we identified, 14 were included. We found a pooled prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming at the end of life of 28% (95% confidence interval, 22%–36%) with higher reprogramming rates after the recommendations for managing the device at the end of life were published. Among patients with advance directives, the pooled prevalence of advance directives that explicitly mentioned the device was 1% (95% confidence interval, 1%–3%).
Conclusions: The prevalence of implantable cardioverter defibrillator reprogramming and advance directives that explicitly mentioned the device was very low. Study data suggested reprogramming decisions were made very late, after the patient experienced multiple shocks. Patient suffering could be ameliorated if physicians and other healthcare professionals adhere to clinical guidelines for the good management of the device at the end of life and include deactivating the shock function in the discussion that leads to the advance directive.
Objective: Cultural backgrounds and values have a decisive impact on the phenomenon of the wish to die (WTD), and examination of this in Mediterranean countries is in its early stages. The objectives of this study were to establish the prevalence of WTD and to characterise this phenomenon in our cultural context.
Methods: A cross-sectional study with consecutive advanced inpatients was conducted. Data about WTD (Assessing Frequency & Extent of Desire to Die (AFFED) interview) and anxiety and depression (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-revised (ESAS-r)) were collected through two face-to-face clinical encounters. Data were analysed with descriptive statistics, 2 and analysis of variance.
Results: 201 patients participated and 165 (82%) completed both interviews. Prevalence of WTD was 18% (36/201) in the first interview and 16% (26/165) in the second interview (p=0.25). After the first interview, no changes in depression (p=0.60) or anxiety (p=0.90) were detected. The AFFED shows different experiences within WTD: 11% of patients reported a sporadic experience, while 7% described a persistent experience. Thinking about hastening death (HD) appeared in 8 (22%) out of 36 patients with WTD: 5 (14%) out of 36 patients considered this hypothetically but would never take action, while 3 (8%) out of 36 patients had a more structured idea about HD. In this study, no relation was detected between HD and frequency of the appearance of WTD (p=0.12).
Conclusions: One in five patients had WTD. Our findings suggest the existence of different experiences within the same phenomenon, defined according to frequency of appearance and intention to hasten death. A linguistically grounded model is proposed, differentiating the experiences of the ‘wish’ or ‘desire’ to die, with or without HD ideation.
Context: Off-label and unlicensed use of drugs is a widespread practice in pediatric care due to the lack of specific efficacy and safety data and the absence of formulations adapted to the needs of these individuals. Pediatric patients with a life-limiting illness frequently receive drugs under these conditions, though no studies have established the prevalence of this practice.
Aim: to describe the prevalence, indications, and most common uses of off-label and unlicensed drugs in a pediatric palliative care unit.
Methods: A prospective, cross-sectional observational study carried out between January and October 2019.
Setting/participants: The study included all patients admitted to the pediatric palliative care unit for home hospitalization and with at least one prescribed drug treatment.
Results: eighty-five patients involving 1198 prescriptions were analyzed. A total of 39.6% were off-label and 12.9% were unlicensed. All received at least one off-label drug, with a median of 5 per patient (IQR = 3–7), and 81.2% received at least one unlicensed drug. A total of 36.1% of the prescriptions were considered off-label due to indication, 33.8% due to dosage, and 26.6% due to age. The main drugs used off-label were oral morphine, oral levetiracetam, inhaled albuterol, sublingual ondansetron, oral tizanidine, sublingual fentanyl, and oral diazepam. The main symptoms treated with off-label drugs were dyspnea, pain, and nausea/vomiting.
Conclusions: Over half of the prescriptions in this PPCU were off-label or unlicensed. Treatment indication was one of the main reasons for off-label use. Administration of compounded preparations was common in patients with a life-limiting illness.
Background: Pain is a prevalent symptom at the end of life and negatively impacts quality of life. Despite this, little population level data exist that describe pain frequency and associated factors at the end of life. The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence of clinically significant pain at the end of life and identify predictors of increased pain.
Methods: Retrospective population-level cohort study of all decedents in Ontario, Canada, from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2015 who received a home care assessment in the last 30 days of life (n = 20,349). Severe daily pain in the last 30 days of life using linked Ontario health administrative databases. Severe pain is defined using a validated pain scale combining pain frequency and intensity: daily pain of severe intensity.
Results: Severe daily pain was reported in 17.2% of 20,349 decedents. Increased risk of severe daily pain was observed in decedents who were female, younger and functionally impaired. Those who were cognitively impaired had a lower risk of reporting pain. Disease trajectory impacted pain; those who died of a terminal illness (i.e. cancer) were more likely to experience pain than those with frailty (odds ratio 1.66).
Conclusion: Pain is a common fear of those contemplating end of life, but severe pain is reported in less than 1 in 5 of our population in the last month of life. Certain subpopulations may be more likely to report severe pain at the end of life and may benefit from earlier palliative care referral and intervention.
Purpose: We studied the prevalence of medications of questionable benefit in the last 6 months of life among older nursing home residents with and without dementia in Germany.
Methods: a retrospective cohort study was conducted on claims data from 67,328 deceased nursing home residents aged 65+ years who were admitted between 2010 and 2014. We analyzed prescription regimens of medications of questionable benefit in the 180–91-day period and the 90-day period prior to death for residents with dementia (n = 29,052) and without dementia (n = 38,276). Factors associated with new prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit prior to death were analyzed using logistic regression models among all nursing home residents and stratified by dementia.
Results: A higher proportion of nursing home residents with dementia were prescribed at least one medication of questionable benefit in the 180–91-day (29.6%) and 90-day (26.8%) periods prior to death, compared with residents without dementia (180–91 days, 22.8%; 90 days, 20.1%). Lipid-lowering agents were the most commonly prescribed medications. New prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit were more common among residents with dementia (9.8% vs. 8.7%). When excluding anti-dementia medication, new prescriptions of these medications were more common among residents without dementia (6.4% vs. 8.0%). The presence of dementia (odds ratio [OR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.32–1.48) and excessive polypharmacy were associated with new prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit prior to death (OR 4.74, 95%CI 4.15–5.42).
Conclusion: even when accounting for anti-dementia prescriptions, the prevalence of nursing home residents with dementia receiving medications of questionable benefit is considerable and may require further attention.
Futility denotes failure to achieve the projected outcome. We investigated the prevalence, predictors, and clinical risk model of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI)-related futility. We included 464 consecutive patients undergoing TAVI from 2010 to 2017. Futility was defined as death and/or hospitalization for heart failure (HFH) within 1 year after TAVI. Of 464 patients (mean age: 84.4 years), 69% were females (EuroSCOREII: 6.3%; Society of Thoracic Surgeons [STS] score: 6.9%). Forty-six patients (9.9%) experienced TAVI-related futility, and 36 of 46 patients (69.6%) died within 1 year due to cardiac (37.5%) and non-cardiac (62.5%) causes. Previous HFH (hazard ratio [HR], 2.20; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13–4.35, p = 0.020), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (HR, 3.39; 95% CI: 1.12–8.42, p = 0.033), and moderate/severe mitral or tricuspid regurgitation (HR, 2.98; 95% CI: 1.32–6.27, p = 0.010) were independent predictors of futility. With 1 point assigned to each predictor (total 0 point, futility low-risk; total 1 point, futility intermediate-risk; total 2–3 points, futility high-risk), the futility risk model clearly stratified individual futility risk into three groups (the freedom from futility at 1 year: 96.2%, 82.1%, and 67.9% each). Our futility risk model presented better discrimination than EuroSCOREII, and STS score (c-statistic: 0.73 vs. 0.68 vs. 0.67). Medical futility was recognized in 9.9% of patients undergoing TAVI. Previous HFH, COPD, and concomitant atrioventricular regurgitation were associated with futility. The risk model derived from three predictors showed good performance in predicting futility risk.
Background: Multidrug-resistant organisms are a growing challenge and burden to patient care. To date, there are only data concerning the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections. Thus, numbers of other multidrug-resistant organisms can only be extrapolated and inferred from more or less comparable cohorts.
Aim: To evaluate the prevalence of multidrug-resistant organisms on palliative care in-patients.
Design: A prospective cohort analysis
Setting/participants: A University Hospital–bound palliative care unit, in which all patients admitted to the unit were screened for inclusion.
Results: In total, 304 patients were included in this study. The prevalence for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus of 5.2% (95% confidence interval: 2.9%–8.4%), for vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium of 10.5% (95% confidence interval: 7.2%–14.8%), for Ciprofloxacin-resistant-extended spectrum beta-lactamases isolates of 5.8% (95% confidence interval: 3.4%–9.3%) and Ciprofloxacin-resistant Carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria of 0.3% (95% confidence interval: 0%–1.3%) was calculated. Except for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, patients carrying a multidrug-resistant organism had a significant longer duration of hospitalization. Median length of stay was 12 days (interquartile range: 14.5, no multidrug-resistant organisms), 14.5 days (interquartile range: 15, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), 21 days (interquartile range: 16.5, vancomycin-resistant enterococci), 22 days (interquartilsabstand: 20.75, Ciprofloxacin-resistant-extended spectrum beta-lactamases) and 32 days (interquartilsabstand: 22.00) for patients carrying two organisms.
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of all multidrug-resistant organisms within the hospitalized palliative care patients. However, the multidrug-resistant organisms do not seem to impact the survival within this cohort. Further studies should evaluate additional end-points, for example, quality of life, which are of special interest in this cohort.
INTRODUCTION: The primary function of palliative care is to improve quality of life. The recognition and treatment of symptoms causing suffering is central to the achievement of this goal. Insomnia reduces quality of life of patients under palliative care. Knowledge about prevalence, associated factors, and treatment of insomnia in palliative care is scarce.
METHODOLOGY: Literature review about the prevalence, predictors, and treatment options of insomnia in palliative care patients. Primary sources of investigation were identified and selected through Pubmed and Scopus databases. The research was complemented by reference search in identified articles and selected reviews. OpenGrey and Google Scholar were used for searching grey literature. Study quality analysis was based on the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.
RESULTS: A total of 65 studies were included in the review. Most studies had acceptable /good quality. The prevalence of insomnia in the included studies ranged from 2.1% to 100%, with a median overall prevalence of 49.5%. Sociodemographic factors such as age; clinical characteristics such as functional status, disease stage, pain, and use of specific drugs, including opioids; psychological factors such as anxiety/depression; and spiritual factors such as feelings of well-being were identified as predictors. The treatment options identified were biological (pharmacological and nonpharmacological), psychological (visualization, relaxation), and spiritual (prayer).
CONCLUSIONS: The systematic review showed that the prevalence of insomnia is high, with at least one in 3 patients affected in most studies. Insomnia's risk factors and treatment in palliative care are both associated to physical, psychological, social, and spiritual factors, reflecting its true holistic nature.
OBJECTIVES; To evaluate the prevalence and factors associated with statin pharmacotherapy in long-stay nursing home residents with life-limiting illness.
SETTING: US Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home facilities.
PARTICIPANTS: Long-stay nursing home resident Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years or older with life-limiting illness (n = 424 212).
MEASUREMENTS: Prevalent statin use was estimated as any low-moderate intensity (daily dose low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol [LDL-C] reduction <30%-50%) and high-intensity (daily dose LDL-C reduction >50%) use via Medicare Part D claims for a prescription supply on September 30, 2016, with a 90-day look-back period. Life-limiting illness was operationally defined to capture those near the end of life using evidence-based criteria to identify progressive terminal conditions or limited prognoses (<6 mo). Poisson models provided estimates of adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals for resident factors.
RESULTS: A total of 34% of residents with life-limiting illness were prescribed statins (65--75 y = 44.0%, high intensity = 11.1%; >75 y = 31.1%, high intensity = 5.4%). Prevalence of statins varied by life-limiting illness definition. Of those with a prognosis of less than 6 months, 23% of the 65 to 75 and 12% of the older than 75 age groups were on statins. Factors positively associated with statin use included minority race or ethnicity, use of more than five concurrent medications, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or risk factors.
CONCLUSION: Despite having a life-limiting illness, more than one-third of clinically compromised long-stay nursing home residents remain on statins. Although recent national guidelines have expanded indications for statins, the benefit of continued therapy in an advanced age population near the end of life is questionable. Efforts to deprescribe statins in the nursing home setting may be warranted.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life experience is a subject of significant policy interest. National longitudinal studies offer valuable opportunities to examine individual-level experiences. Ireland is an international leader in palliative and end-of-life care rankings. We aimed to describe the prevalence of modifiable problems (pain, falls, depression) in Ireland, and to evaluate associations with place of death, healthcare utilisation, and formal and informal costs in the last year of life.
METHODS: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) is a nationally representative sample of over-50-year-olds, recruited in Wave 1 (2009-2010) and participating in biannual assessment. In the event of a participant's death, TILDA approaches a close relative or friend to complete a voluntary interview on end-of-life experience. We evaluated associations using multinomial logistic regression for place of death, ordinary least squares for utilisation, and generalised linear models for costs. We identified 14 independent variables for regressions from a rich set of potential predictors. Of 516 confirmed deaths between Waves 1 and 3, the analytic sample contained 375 (73%) decedents for whom proxies completed an interview.
RESULTS: There was high prevalence of modifiable problems pain (50%), depression (45%) and falls (41%). Those with a cancer diagnosis were more likely to die at home (relative risk ratio: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.3-4.8) or in an inpatient hospice (10.2; 2.7-39.2) than those without. Place of death and patterns of health care use were determined not only by clinical need, but other factors including age and household structure. Unpaid care accounted for 37% of all care received but access to this care, as well as place of death, may be adversely affected by living alone or in a rural area. Deficits in unpaid care are not balanced by higher formal care use.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite Ireland's well-established palliative care services, clinical need is not the sole determinant of end-of-life experience. Cancer diagnosis and access to family supports were additional key determinants. Future policy reforms should revisit persistent inequities by diagnosis, which may be mitigated through comprehensive geriatric assessment in hospitals. Further consideration of policies to support unpaid carers is also warranted.
Objective: Even when medical treatments are limited, supporting patients’ coping strategies could improve their quality of life. Greater understanding of patients’ coping strategies, and influencing factors, can aid developing such support. We examined the prevalence of coping strategies and associated variables.
Methods: We used sociodemographic and baseline data from the ACTION trial, including measures of Denial, Acceptance, and Problem-focused coping (COPE; Brief COPE inventory), of patients with advanced cancer from six European countries. Clinicians provided clinical information. Linear mixed models with clustering at hospital level were used.
Results: Data from 675 patients with stage III/IV lung (342, 51%) or stage IV colorectal (333, 49%) cancer were used; mean age 66 (10 SD) years. Overall, patients scored low on Denial and high on Acceptance and Problem-focused coping. Older age was associated with higher scores on Denial than younger age (ß = 0.05; CI[0.023; 0.074]), and patients from Italy (ß = 1.57 CI[0.760; 2.388]) and Denmark (ß = 1.82 CI[0.881; 2.750]) scored higher on Denial than patients in other countries.
Conclusions: Patients with advanced cancer predominantly used Acceptance and Problem-focused coping, and Denial to a lesser extent. Since the studied coping strategies of patients with advanced cancer vary between subpopulations, we recommend taking these factors into account when developing tailored interventions to support patients’ coping strategies.
Objectives: To gain preliminary data regarding the prevalence of proximal deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in those with non-malignant conditions admitted to specialist palliative care units (SPCUs).
Methods: Data were collected as part of a prospective longitudinal observational study in five SPCUs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Registration: ISRCTN97567719) to estimate the prevalence of proximal femoral vein DVT in people admitted to SPCUs. The primary outcome for this exploratory substudy was the prevalence of DVT in patients with non-malignant palliative conditions. Consecutive consenting adults underwent bilateral femoral vein ultrasonography within 48 hours of admission. Data were collected on symptoms associated with venous thromboembolism. Patients were ineligible if the estimated prognosis was <5 days. Cross-sectional descriptive analysis was conducted on baseline data and prevalence estimates presented with 95% CIs.
Results: 1390 patients were screened, 28 patients had non-malignant disease and all were recruited. The mean age 68·8 (SD 12·0), range 43–86 years; men 61%; survival mean 86 (SD 108.5) range 1–345 days. No patient had a history of venous thromboembolism. Four (14%) were receiving thromboprophylaxis. Of 22 evaluable scans, 8 (36%, 95% CI: 17% to 59%) showed femoral vein DVT. The level of reported relevant symptoms (leg oedema, leg pain, chest pain and breathlessness) was high irrespective of the presence of DVT.
Conclusions: Our exploratory data indicate one in three people admitted to an SPCU with non-malignant disease had a femoral vein DVT. Although definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, these data justify a larger prospective survey.
BACKGROUND: Emergency departments (EDs) are crowded with critically ill patients, many of whom are no longer able to communicate with the emergency staff. Substitute decision makers are often unknown or not reachable in time. The availability of advance directives (ADs) among Swiss ED patients has not yet been evaluated. The purpose of this prospective survey was to investigate the prevalence of ADs among ED patients and to identify factors associated with the existence or absence of ADs.
METHODS: In a prospective survey, we enrolled consecutive patients from 10–30 July 2017 who visited a tertiary care ED. Patients completed a written, standardised and self-administrated questionnaire during the waiting time. The primary endpoint was the prevalence of ADs in ED patients. Secondarily, we defined predictors associated with the existence or absence of ADs. Two months after the first survey, there was a written follow-up survey asking patients without ADs whether they had completed an AD in the meantime.
RESULTS: Fifty-eight of 292 enrolled ED patients (19.9%) had a completed AD. Overall, 49.3% of the survey population was female. Patients having an AD were older (69.5 years, interquartile range [IQR] 57–81 vs 39 years, IQR 27–56) and had more comorbidities (67.2% vs 38.9%) compared with patients without ADs. The four leading reasons given for not having an AD were: 33.6% never considered completing one, 26% did not know about ADs, 14% preferred family to make decisions, 11.6% felt it was too early to make such a decision. Predictors for having an AD were older age (p <0.001), being in long-term medical treatment by a specialist (p = 0.050), being Swiss (p = 0.021) and living with nursing care (p = 0.043). Of the ED patients with ADs, 46.6% discussed their AD with the family and 31% with their general practitioner. Results of the follow-up survey showed that eight participants had completed an AD in the meantime. The prevalence of ADs increased from 19.9% to 22.6%.
DISCUSSION: During the last 20 years, the percentage of patients having an AD has not changed. Even today, only every fifth ED patient has a completed AD. Nearly two thirds of ED patients never considered completing one or did not know about ADs. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better inform and sensitise the public, so that they will define in a timely manner legally valid and specifically defined decisions about future medical treatments and wishes by completing individual directives.
Palliative care is seeing cancer patients earlier in the disease trajectory with a multitude of chronic issues. Chronic non-malignant pain (CNMP) in cancer patients is under-studied. In this prospective study, we examined the prevalence and management of CNMP in cancer patients seen at our supportive care clinic for consultation. We systematically characterized each pain type with the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and documented current treatments. The attending physician made the pain diagnoses according to the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) task force classification. Among 200 patients (mean age 60 years, 69% metastatic disease, 1-year survival of 77%), the median number of pain diagnosis was 2 (IQR 1-2); 67 (34%, 95% CI 28-41%) had a diagnosis of CNMP; 133 (67%) had cancer-related pain; and 52 (26%) had treatment-related pain. In total, 12/31 (39%) patients with only CNMP and 21/36 (58%) patients with CNMP and other pain diagnoses were on opioids. There was a total of 94 CNMP diagnoses among 67 patients, including 37 (39%) osteoarthritis and 20 (21%) lower back pain; 30 (32%) were treated with opioids. In summary, CNMP was common in the timely palliative care setting and many patients were on opioids. Our findings highlight the need to develop clinical guidelines for CNMP in cancer patients to standardize its management.
AIMS: Although diabetes mellitus at the end of life is associated with complex care, its end-of-life prevalence is uncertain. Our aim is to estimate diabetes prevalence in the end-of-life population, to evaluate which medical register has the largest added value to cause-of-death data in detecting diabetes cases, and to assess the extent to which reporting of diabetes as a cause of death is associated with disease severity.
METHODS: Our study population consisted of deaths in the Netherlands (2015-2016) included in Nivel Primary Care Database (Nivel-PCD; N=18,162). The proportion of deaths with diabetes (Type 1 or 2) within the last two years of life was calculated using individually linked cause-of-death, general practice, medication, and hospital discharge data. Severity status of diabetes was defined with dispensed medicines.
RESULTS: According to all data sources combined, 28.7% of the study population had diabetes at the end of life. The estimated end-of-life prevalence of diabetes was 7.7% using multiple cause-of-death data only. Addition of general practice data increased this estimate the most (19.7%-points). Of the cases added by primary care data, 76.3% had a severe or intermediate status.
CONCLUSIONS: More than one fourth of the Dutch end-of-life population has diabetes. Cause-of-death data are insufficient to monitor this prevalence, even of severe cases of diabetes, but could be enriched particularly with general practice data.
Background: The palliative care population is prescribed a large number of drugs, increasing as patients deteriorate. The cumulative effects of these medications combined with underlying symptom burden can result in significant morbidity. There is an urgent need to describe possible symptomatic events that could be exacerbated by commonly prescribed drugs in palliative care and their impact.
Objectives: To trial the feasibility and acceptability of determining baseline symptomatic event rates for community palliative care patients from which a composite measure of symptomatic events can be developed.
Design: This prospective pilot study of patient-reported symptomatic events recruited a convenience cohort of 27 community palliative care patients in a metropolitan specialist palliative care service in Australia.
Results: This study has demonstrated a high prevalence rate of symptomatic events (total crude event/participant day rate 0.87) in the study population.
Conclusion: Data collection of patient-centered symptomatic events was acceptable and feasible to participants. This pilot supports a fully powered study.
Purpose: Balancing medications that are needed and beneficial and avoiding medications that may be harmful is important to prevent drug-related problems, and improve quality of life. The aim of this study is to describe medication use, the prevalence of deprescribing of medications suitable for deprescribing, and the prevalence of new initiation of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in nursing home (NH) residents with life-limiting disease in Flanders.
Methods: NH residents aged = 65, suffering from end stage organ failure, advanced cancer, and/or dementia (n = 296), were included in this cross-sectional study with retrospective analyses of medication use at the time of data collection (t2) and 3 to 6 months before (t1). The appraisal of appropriateness of medications was done using a list of medications documented as suitable for deprescribing, and STOPPFrail criteria.
Results: Residents’ (mean age 86 years, 74% female) mean number of chronic medications increased from 7.4 (t1) to 7.9 (t2). In 31% of those using medications suitable for deprescribing, at least one medication was actually deprescribed. In 30% at least one PIM from the group of selected PIMs was newly initiated. In the subgroup (n = 76) for whom deprescribing was observed, deprescribing was associated with less new initiations of PIMs (r = - 0.234, p = 0.042).
Conclusion: Medication use remained high at the end of life for NH residents with life-limiting disease, and deprescribing was limited. However, in the subgroup of 76 residents for whom deprescribing was observed, less new PIMs were initiated.