BACKGROUND: The Surprise Question (SQ) "would I be surprised if this patient were to die in the next 12 months?" has been suggested to help clinicians, and especially General Practitioners (GPs), identify people who might benefit from palliative care. The prognostic accuracy of this approach is unclear and little is known about how GPs use this tool in practice. Are GPs consistent, individually and as a group? Are there international differences in the use of the tool? Does including the alternative Surprise Question ("Would I be surprised if the patient were still alive after 12 months?") alter the response? What is the impact on the treatment plan in response to the SQ? This study aims to address these questions.
METHODS: An online study will be completed by 600 (100 per country) registered GPs. They will be asked to review 20 hypothetical patient vignettes. For each vignette they will be asked to provide a response to the following four questions: (1) the SQ [Yes/No]; (2) the alternative SQ [Yes/No]; (3) the percentage probability of dying [0% no chance - 100% certain death]; and (4) the proposed treatment plan [multiple choice]. A "surprise threshold" for each participant will be calculated by comparing the responses to the SQ with the probability estimates of death. We will use linear regression to explore any differences in thresholds between countries and other clinician-related factors, such as years of experience. We will describe the actions taken by the clinicians and explore the differences between groups. We will also investigate the relationship between the alternative SQ and the other responses. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and the option to receive feedback on their performance.
DISCUSSION: This study explores the extent to which the SQ is consistently used at an individual, group, and national level. The findings of this study will help to understand the clinical value of using the SQ in routine practice.
BACKGROUND: Evidence concerning when and in which manner older people living in nursing homes (NHs) would prefer to discuss advance care planning (ACP) is still scarce. This study explored the attitudes of NH residents and family members toward ACP and their opinions as to the right time to broach the subject, the manner in which it should be approached, and the content of ACP.
METHODS: This was a qualitative study using face-to-face interviews with 30 residents (age range 66-94), and 10 family members from 4 Italian NHs. The interviews were analyzed using content analysis.
RESULTS: Three main themes were identified: (1) life in the NH, including thoughts about life in a nursing home, residents' concerns, wishes and fears, and communication barriers; (2) future plans and attitudes toward ACP, including attitudes toward planning for the future and plans already made, and attitudes toward and barriers against ACP; (3) contents and manner of ACP, including contents of ACP discussions, the right moment to introduce ACP, with whom it is better to discuss ACP, and attitudes toward advance directives.
CONCLUSIONS: ACP was a welcome intervention for the majority of participants, but an individualized assessment of the person's readiness to be involved in ACP is needed. For people with dementia, it is essential to identify the right time to introduce ACP before NH admission. Participants in our study suggested that ACP should include palliative care and practical issues, and that in the NH setting all staff and family members may have a valuable role in ACP.
Il existe un fossé entre la connaissance des soins palliatifs et leur mise en oeuvre dans la pratique clinique quotidienne, affectant beaucoup de patients dans la population européenne vieillissante. C'est pourquoi a été conçu le projet IMPACT, financé par l'Union européenne, qui vise à développer une implémentation optimale de stratégies pour améliorer l'organisation des soins palliatifs pour les patients déments et cancéreux en Europe. Cet article décrit le projet.