Background: Palliative care strives to improve quality of life for patients with incurable diseases. This approach includes adequate support of the patients’ loved ones. Consequently, loved ones have personal experiences of providing end-of-life care for their next. This is a resource for information and may help to investigate the loved ones’ perspectives on need for improvements.
Aim: To identify further quality aspects considered important by loved ones to improve the quality of care at the end of life as an addition to quantitative results from the Care of the Dying Evaluation for the German-speaking area (CODE-GER) questionnaire.
Design: Within the validation study of the questionnaire ‘Care of the Dying Evaluation’ (CODETM) GER, loved ones were asked to comment (free text) in parallel on each item of the CODE-GER. These free-text notes were analysed with the qualitative content analysis method by Philipp Mayring.
Setting/participants: Loved ones of patients (n=237), who had died an expected death in two university hospitals (palliative and non-palliative care units) during the period from April 2016 to March 2017.
Results: 993 relevant paragraphs were extracted out of 1261 free-text notes. For loved ones, important aspects of quality of care are information/communication, respect of the patient’s and/or loved one’s will, involvement in decision-making at the end of life (patient’s volition) and having the possibility to say goodbye.
Conclusions: It is important for loved ones to be taken seriously in their sorrows, to be informed, that the caregivers respect the patients’ will and to be emotionally supported.
Trial registration number This study was registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00013916).
AIMS: To describe advance care planning in nursing homes when residents with cognitive impairment and/or their next of kin participated and identify associated challenges.
DESIGN: A qualitative study of nine advance care planning conversations in four Norwegian nursing home wards. During the implementation of advance care planning, we purposively sampled residents with cognitive impairment, their next of kin and healthcare personnel. The implementation followed a "whole-ward" approach aimed at involving the whole ward in fostering an inclusive, holistic advance care planning discussion. Involving as many residents as possible, preferably together with their next of kin, were central.
METHODS: From observed and audio-recorded advance care planning conversations that took place from November 2015 to June 2016, we conducted a thematic analysis of the transcripts and field notes. Reporting adhered to the COREQ guidelines.
RESULTS: Residents actively relayed their preferences regarding healthcare and end-of-life issues, despite the cognitive impairment. Next of kin provided constructive support and conversations were largely resident-focused. However, involving residents was also challenging, findings included: residents' preferences were often vague, relevant medical information from healthcare personnel lacked and the next of kin were sometimes unaware of the resident's previously held preferences. Moreover, residents tended to focus more on the past and present than the future end-of-life care.
CONCLUSIONS: Residents with cognitive impairment can participate actively and meaningfully in advance care planning, if the healthcare personnel actively listens. However, several challenges can arise. Supported decision-making can improve communication and resident involvement, reinforcing a relational understanding of autonomy.
IMPACT: Persons with cognitive impairment should be invited to participate in advance care planning. Their participation may make its benefits and more person-centred care attainable to persons that are often not involved. Successful involvement of persons with cognitive impairment in advance care planning may rely on robust implementation.
Les personnes qui participent aux rencontres proposées par Jalmalv Grenoble, dans le cadre de l’atelier « Face à la mort, où en suis-je dans ma vie ? », ont pour la plupart vécu l’accompagnement d’un proche, dans le cadre familial ou amical. Cette expérience forte a laissé des traces. Elle est souvent évoquée au cours des réunions et continue à nourrir leur réflexion.
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For critically ill burn patients without a next of kin, the medical team is tasked with becoming the surrogate decision maker. This poses ethical and legal challenges for burn providers. Despite this frequent problem, there has been no investigation of how the presence of a next of kin affects treatment in burn patients. To evaluate this relationship, a retrospective chart review was performed on a cohort of patients who died during the acute phase of their burn care. Variables collected included age, gender, length of stay, total body surface area, course of treatment, and presence of a next of kin. In total, 67 patients met inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 14 (21%) did not have a next of kin involved in medical decisions. Patients without a next of kin were significantly younger (p=.02), more likely to be homeless (p<.01), had higher total body surface area burns (p=.008), had shorter length of stay (p<.001), and were 5 times less likely to receive comfort care (p=.01). Differences in gender and ethnicity were not statistically significant. We report that patients without a next of kin present to participate in medical decisions are transitioned to comfort care less often despite having a higher burden of injury. This disparity in standard of care demonstrates a need for a cultural shift in burn care to prevent suffering of these marginalized patients. Burn providers should be empowered to reduce suffering when no decision maker is present.
Anne-Dauphine Julliand a perdu ses deux filles, Thaïs et Azylis, d’une maladie orpheline.
"J’ai beaucoup souffert et je souffre encore, écrit-elle. Mais j’ai appris la consolation, ce délicat rapport à l’autre: s’approcher, toucher, parler. »
Grâce à des scènes vécues, Anne-Dauphine partage ses réflexions qui touchent juste. Si elle évoque bien sûr sa famille, son livre est aussi un hommage à tous les consolants : une soeur qui vous prend dans les bras, une infirmière qui s’assoit quelques minutes au bord du lit et prend juste le temps « d’être là ».
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Few studies have explored the inter-relationships of sources of social support and caregiving self-efficacy with caregiver burden and patient's quality of life among patients with palliative care needs and their caregivers. This study tested the associations of two sources of social support (family and friends) and the mediating role of caregiving self-efficacy on caregiver burden and patient's quality of life. A convenience sample of 225 patient-caregiver dyads recruited between September 2016 and May 2017 from three hospitals in Hong Kong was included in the current analysis. Results showed that the final model provided a satisfactory fit (SRMR = 0.070, R-RMSEA = 0.055 and R-CFI = 0.926) with the data, as good as the hypothesized model did (p = 0.326). Significant associations were detected. Family support had a significant negative indirect effect on caregiver burden and a significant positive indirect effect on patient's quality of life through caregiving self-efficacy, whereas friend support had a significant positive direct effect on caregiver burden but a minimal effect, if any, on patient's quality of life. These findings emphasized (1) the importance of caregiving self-efficacy in improving caregiver burden and patient's quality of life and that (2) sources of social support may be an important dimension moderating the associations of caregiving self-efficacy with caregiver burden and patient's quality of life.
BACKGROUND: Quality of care for patients dying in hospital remains suboptimal. A major problem is the identification of valid sources of information about the views and experiences of dying patients and their relatives.
AIM: This study aimed to estimate the agreement on quality of end-of-life care from the perspectives of bereaved relatives, physicians and nurses interviewed after the patients' death.
DESIGN: In this prospective study, we interviewed, after the patient death, the bereaved relatives, the attending physicians and the reference nurses, using the Toolkit After-death Family Interview and the View Of Informal Carers-Evaluation of Services (VOICES). Agreement was assessed using Lin's concordance correlation coefficient, Cohen's kappa, overall concordance correlation coefficient and Fleiss' kappa.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: We enrolled a consecutive series of 40 adult patients who died of cancer between January and December 2016 who had spent at least 48 hours in the medical oncology ward of the Santa Maria Hospital of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
RESULTS: We interviewed all physicians and nurses, and 26 (65.0%) out of 40 relatives. We found a poor agreement on overall quality of care among the three proxies (+0.21; -0.04 to 0.44), between relatives and nurses (+0.05; -0.39 to +0.47), and between relatives and physicians (+0.25; -0.13 to +0.57). A similar poor agreement was observed for all the other Toolkit and VOICES scales.
CONCLUSIONS: The agreement was rather poor, confirming previous results in different settings. Information from professional proxies should not be used for assessing the quality of care or for estimating missing information from bereaved relatives.
OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study sought to obtain feedback from stakeholder cancer caregivers and bereaved family members on the implementation of bereavement risk screening in oncology.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 family members of patients with advanced cancer (n=12) and bereaved family members (n=26) on when and how to effectively implement bereavement risk screening. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Many participants indicated that they would be open to completing a self-report screening measure before and after the patient's death. Several suggested screening at multiple timepoints and the importance of follow-up. Participants viewed screening as an opportunity to connect to psychosocial support.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that family members appear supportive of sensitively-approached bereavement risk screening before and after a patient's death as an important component of quality psychosocial care. To optimize implementation, bereavement risk screening would involve screening at multiple timepoints and include follow-up. Findings suggest standardized risk screening using a brief, validated self-report tool would be a pragmatic approach to increasing access to bereavement care.
IMPORTANCE: In the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, there are no advance care planning (ACP) protocols being used to document patient preferences for end-of-life (EoL) care. There is a general avoidance of the topic and contemplating ACP in healthcare-limited regions can be an ethically complex subject. Nonetheless, evidence from similar settings indicate that an appropriate quality of life is valued, even as one is dying. What differs amongst cultures is the definition of a 'good death'.
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate perceptions of quality of death and advance EoL preparation in Moshi, Tanzania.
DESIGN: 13 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in Swahili using a semi-structured guide. These discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed, translated, and coded using an inductive approach.
SETTING: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), referral hospital for northern Tanzania.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 122 participants, including patients with life-threatening illnesses (34), their relatives/friends (29), healthcare professionals (29; HCPs; doctors and nurses), and allied HCPs (30; community health workers, religious leaders, and social workers) from KCMC, or nearby within Moshi, participated in this study.
FINDINGS: In characterizing Good Death, 7 first-order themes emerged, and, of these themes, Religious & Spiritual Wellness, Family & Interpersonal Wellness, Grief Coping & Emotional Wellness, and Optimal Timing comprised the second-order theme, EoL Preparation and Life Completion. The other first-order themes for Good Death were Minimal Suffering & Burden, Quality of Care by Formal Caregivers, and Quality of Care by Informal Caregivers.
INTERPRETATION: The results of this study provide a robust thematic description of Good Death in northern Tanzania and they lay the groundwork for future clinical and research endeavors to improve the quality of EoL care at KCMC.
BACKGROUND: The ERANet-LAC CODE (Care Of the Dying Evaluation) international survey assessed quality of care for dying cancer patients in seven countries, by use of the i-CODE questionnaire completed by bereaved relatives. The aim of this sub study was to explore which factors improve or reduce quality of end-of-life (EOL) care from Norwegian relatives' point of view, as expressed in free text comments.
METHODS: 194 relatives of cancer patients dying in seven Norwegian hospitals completed the i-CODE questionnaire 6-8 weeks after bereavement; recruitment period 14 months; response rate 58%. Responders were similar to non-responders in terms of demographic details.104 participants (58% spouse/partner) added free text comments, which were analyzed by systematic text condensation.
RESULTS: Of the 104 comments, 45% contained negative descriptions, 27% positive and 23% mixed. 78% described previous experiences, whereas 22% alluded to the last 2 days of life. 64% of the comments represented medical/surgical/oncological wards and 36% palliative care units. Four main categories were developed from the free text comments: 1) Participants described how attentive care towards the practical needs of patients and relatives promoted dignity at the end of life, which could easily be lost when this awareness was missing. 2) They experienced that lack of staff, care continuity, professional competence or healthcare service coordination caused uncertainty and poor symptom alleviation. 3) Inadequate information to patient and family members generated unpredictable and distressing final illness trajectories. 4) Availability and professional support from healthcare providers created safety and enhanced coping in a difficult situation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that hospitals caring for cancer patients at the end of life and their relatives, should systematically identify and attend to practical needs, as well as address important organizational issues. Education of staff members ought to emphasize how professional conduct and communication fundamentally affect patient care and relatives' coping.
Background: Lung cancer has a high impact on both patients and relatives due to the high disease burden and short life expectancy. Previous studies looked into treatment goals patients have before starting a systemic treatment. However, studies on relatives’ perceptions of treatment at the end of life are scarce. Therefore, we studied the perspectives of relatives in hindsight on the achievement of treatment goals and the choice to start treatment for metastatic lung cancer of their loved one.
Methods: we conducted a structured telephone interview study in six hospitals across the Netherlands, one academic and five non-academic hospitals, between February 2017 and November 2019. We included 118 relatives of deceased patients diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer who started a systemic treatment as part of usual care (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and who completed a questionnaire on their treatment goals before the start of treatment and when treatment was finished. We asked the relatives about the achievement of patients’ treatment goals and relatives’ satisfaction with the choice to start treatment. This study is part of a larger study in which 266 patients with metastatic lung cancer participated who started a systemic treatment and reported their treatment goals before start of the treatment and the achievement of these goals after the treatment.
Results: Relatives reported the goals ‘quality of life’, ‘decrease tumour size’ and ‘life prolongation’ as achieved in 21, 37 and 41% respectively. The majority of the relatives (78%) were satisfied with the choice to start a treatment and even when none of the goals were achieved, 70% of the relatives were satisfied. About 50% of relatives who were satisfied with the patients’ choice mentioned negative aspects of the treatment choice, such as the treatment did not work, there were side effects or it would not have been the relatives’ choice. Whereas, 80% of relatives who were not satisfied mentioned negative aspects of the treatment choice. The most mentioned positive aspects were that they tried everything and that it was the patient’s choice.
Conclusion: The majority of relatives reported patients’ treatment goals as not achieved. However, relatives were predominantly satisfied about the treatment choice. Satisfaction does not provide a full picture of the experience with the treatment decision considering that the majority of relatives mentioned (also) negative aspects of this decision. At the time of making the treatment decision it is important to manage expectations about the chance of success and the possible side effects of the treatment.
A growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS are participating in HIV cure-related research at the end of life (EOL). Due to the novelty of EOL HIV cure-related research, there is a need to understand how their next-of-kin (NOK) perceive such research. We conducted in-depth interviews with NOK of the Last Gift study participants at the University of California, San Diego. The Last Gift study occurs in the context of the EOL and involves a full body donation. NOK completed two interviews: (1) shortly after the participants' enrollment in the study and (2) following death. We applied thematic analysis to analyze qualitative data. NOK included seven individuals (five males and two females), including two spouses, one ex-partner, one sister, a grandmother/grandfather, and a close friend. Thematic analysis revealed five key themes: (1) NOK viewed the Last Gift program in a positive light and had an accurate overall understanding of the study; (2) NOK identified factors that motivated participants to donate their body to science; (3) NOK identified benefits of the Last Gift program for both the donors and themselves; (4) NOK did not perceive any physical risks or decisional regrets of study but wanted to minimize psychosocial impacts and ensure the dignity of participants at all times; and (5) NOK noted elements that remained essential to the successful implementation of EOL HIV cure-related research, such as early involvement and clear communication. Our study uniquely contributes to increased understanding and knowledge of what is important from the point of view of supportive NOK to ensure successful implementation of EOL HIV cure-related research. More research will be needed to understand perspectives of less supportive NOK.
In New Zealand, as in other industrialised societies, an ageing population has led to an increased need for palliative care services. A cross-sectional postal survey of bereaved carers was conducted in order to describe both bereaved carer experience of existing services in the last 3 months of life, and to identify factors associated with overall satisfaction with care. A self-complete questionnaire, using a modified version of the Views of Informal Carers – Evaluation of Services (VOICES) instrument was sent to 4,778 bereaved carers for registered deceased adult (>18yrs) patients in one district health board (DHB) for the period between November 2015 and December 2016. Eight hundred and twenty-six completed questionnaires were returned (response rate = 21%). The majority of respondents (83.8%) rated their overall satisfaction with care (taking all care during the last 3 months into account), as high. However, satisfaction varied by care setting. Overall satisfaction with care in hospice was significantly higher compared to other settings. Additionally, patients who died in hospice were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and under 65 years of age. The factors associated with overall satisfaction with care in the last 2 days of life were: caregiver perceptions of treatment with dignity and respect; adequate privacy; sufficient pain relief and decisions in line with the patient's wishes. A more in-depth exploration is required to understand the quality of, and satisfaction with, care in different settings as well as the factors that contribute to high/low satisfaction with care at the end-of-life.
"Papa, Maman, Faustine, ne vous inquiétez pas pour moi, je n'ai pas peur. Prenez soin de vous. Je vous aime." Ces mots sont ceux d'Emilie. Elle les écrit lorsqu'elle apprend qu'après deux années de combat contre le cancer, plus aucun traitement ne peut prolonger sa vie. A travers ces quelques mots, elle donne une leçon de vie à sa famille et à ses proches : elle fait le choix d'être heureuse pendant le peu de temps qui lui reste à vivre.
Elle souhaite partager son enjouement, son courage et sa force avec ceux qui l'ont toujours aimée et soutenue. Jusqu'où ira-t-elle dans le combat qu'elle mène contre la maladie ? Comment vivra-t-elle ses derniers instants ? Ses proches réussiront-ils à accepter la situation et à surmonter cette douloureuse épreuve ?
OBJECTIVE: Quality end-of-life (EOL) care is critical for dying residents and their family/friend caregivers. While best practices to support resident comfort at EOL in long-term care (LTC) homes are emerging, research rarely explores if and how the type of care received at EOL may contribute to caregivers' perceptions of a good death. To address this gap, this study explored how care practices at EOL contributed to caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death.
METHOD: This study used a retrospective cross-sectional survey design. Seventy-eight participants whose relative or friend died in one of five LTC homes in Canada completed self-administered questionnaires on their perceptions of EOL care and perceptions of a good resident death.
RESULTS: Overall, caregivers reported positive experiences with EOL care and perceived residents to have died a good death. However, communication regarding what to expect in the final days of life and attention to spiritual issues were often missing components of care. Further, when explored alongside direct resident care, family support, and rooming conditions, staff communication was the only aspect of EOL care significantly associated with caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The findings of this study suggest that the critical role staff in LTC play in supporting caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death. By keeping caregivers informed about expectations at the very end of life, staff can enhance caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death. Further, by addressing spiritual issues staff may improve caregivers' perceptions that residents were at peace when they died.
PURPOSE: Providing high-quality care for the dying is essential in palliative care. Quality of care can be checked, compared, and improved by assessing responses from bereaved next-of-kin. The objectives of this study are to examine quality of care in the last 2 days of life of hospitalized patients considering specific aspects of their place of care.
METHODS: The "Care of the Dying Evaluation" (CODE™) questionnaire, validated in German in 2018 (CODE-GER), examines quality of care for the patient and support of next-of-kin, allocating values between 0 (low quality) and 4 (high quality). The total score (0-104) is divided into subscales which indicate support/time given by doctors/nurses, spiritual/emotional support, information/decision-making, environment, information about the dying process, symptoms, and support at the actual time of death/afterwards. Next-of-kin of patients with an expected death in specialized palliative care units and other wards in two university hospitals between April 2016 and March 2017 were included.
RESULTS: Most of the 237 analyzed CODE-GER questionnaires were completed by the patient's spouse (42.6%) or children (40.5%) and 64.1% were female. Patients stayed in hospital for an average of 13.7 days (3-276; SD 21.1). Half of the patients died in a specialized palliative care unit (50.6%). The CODE-GER total score was 85.7 (SD 14.17; 25-104). Subscales were rated significantly better for palliative care units than for other wards. Unsatisfying outcomes were reported in both groups in the subscales for information/decision-making and information about the dying process.
CONCLUSION: The overall quality of care for the dying was rated to be good. Improvements of information about the dying process and decision-making are needed.
During an epidemic, almost all healthcare facilities restrict the visiting of patients to prevent disease transmission. For hospices with terminally ill patients, the trade-off between compassion and infection control becomes a difficult decision. This study aimed to survey the changes in visiting policy for all 76 hospice wards in Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The altered visiting policies were assessed by the number of visitors per patient allowed at one time, the daily number of visiting slots, the number of hours open daily, and requisites for hospice ward entry. The differences in visiting policies between hospice wards and ordinary wards were also investigated. Data were collected by reviewing the official website of each hospital and were supplemented by phone calls in cases where no information was posted on the website. One quarter (n = 20) of hospice wards had different visiting policies to those of ordinary wards in the same hospital. Only one hospice ward operated an open policy, and in contrast, nine (11.8%) stopped visits entirely. Among the 67 hospice wards that allowed visiting, at most, two visitors at one time per patient were allowed in 46 (68.6%), one visiting time daily was allowed in 32 (47.8%), one hour of visiting per day was allowed in 29 (43.3%), and checking of identity and travel history was carried out in 12 wards (17.9%). During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all hospice wards in Taiwan changed their visiting policies, but the degree of restriction varied. Further studies could measure the impacts of visiting policy changes on patients and healthcare professionals.
La souffrance est une entité universelle, multidimensionnelle, mais aussi unique et personnelle, paradoxalement sous-diagnostiquée, alors qu’elle est omniprésente dans notre pratique en milieu hospitalier. Le but de cet article est de proposer au lecteur quelques pistes pour l’exploration et l’identification de la souffrance des proches de patients en situation palliative, et surtout quelques outils d’accompagnement et de soutien.
Dr. Wakam: I’m 5 hours into my ICU shift at a community hospital in Detroit when the results of another arterial blood gas return. My patient has been hospitalized for 3 days and is Covid-19–positive. Over the past 12 hours, his treatment has progressed from intubation, to prone positioning on 100% fractional inspired oxygen, to medically induced paralysis, and finally to bilevel ventilation. The results from the arterial blood gas are dismal: pH 7.19, pCO2 70.1, pO2 63.7, HCO3 26.0. He has already experienced episodes of profound hypoxia when we try to rotate him into a supine position, and his heart has begun to show signs of strain, with periods of atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response and nonsustained runs of ventricular tachycardia. A request to transfer the patient for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is denied. It’s 11 p.m., and I’m worried that my patient won’t survive until morning.
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Simon allait souvent chez sa voisine Simone qui le gardait lorsque ses parents étaient absents. Simone est morte d'un arrêt du coeur. Dans l'appartement de Simone, Simon va découvrir les secrets que renferme la théière à voeux remplie de petits papiers écrits par Simon et Simone.