OBJECTIVES: Research indicates that the increasing population of over 25 million people in the United States who have limited English proficiency experience differences in decision-making and subsequent care at end of life in the ICU when compared with the general population. The objective of this study was to assess the perceptions of healthcare team members about the factors that influence discussions and decision-making about end of life for patients and family members with limited English proficiency in the ICU.
DESIGN: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews with ICU physicians, nurses, and interpreters.
SETTING: Three ICUs at Mayo Clinic Rochester.
SUBJECTS: Sixteen ICU physicians, 12 ICU nurses, and 12 interpreters.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We conducted 40 semistructured interviews. We identified six key differences in end-of-life decision-making for patients with limited English proficiency compared with patients without limited English proficiency: 1) clinician communication is modified and less frequent; 2) clinician ability to assess patient and family understanding is impaired; 3) relationship building is impaired; 4) patient and family understanding of decision-making concepts (e.g., palliative care) is impaired; 5) treatment limitations are often perceived to be unacceptable due to faith-based and cultural beliefs; and 6) patient and family decision-making styles are different. Facilitators of high-quality decision-making in patients with limited English proficiency included: 1) premeeting between clinician and interpreter; 2) interpretation that communicates empathy and caring; 3) bidirectional communication of cultural perspectives; 4) interpretation that improves messaging including appropriate word choice; and 5) clinician cultural humility.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life decision-making is significantly different for ICU patients with limited English proficiency. Participants identified several barriers and facilitators to high-quality end-of-life decision-making for ICU patients and families with limited English proficiency. Awareness of these factors can facilitate interventions to improve high-quality, compassionate, and culturally sensitive decision-making for patients and families with limited English proficiency.
BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important determinant of disparities in health care and may play a role in end-of-life care and decision-making. The SES is difficult to retrospectively abstract from current electronic medical records and data sets.
OBJECTIVE: Using a validated SES measuring tool derived from home address, the HOUsing-based SocioEconomic Status index, termed HOUSES we wanted to determine whether SES is associated with differences in end-of-life care and decision-making.
DESIGN/SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional study utilized a cohort of Olmsted County adult residents admitted to 7 intensive care units (ICUs) at Mayo Rochester between June 1, 2011, and May 31, 2014.
MEASUREMENTS: Multiple variables that reflect decision-making and care at end of life and during critical illness were evaluated, including presence of advance directives and discharge disposition. The SES was measured by individual housing-based SES index (HOUSES index; a composite index derived from real property as a standardized z-score) at the date of admission to the ICU which was then divided into 4 quartiles. The greater HOUSES, the higher SES, outcomes were adjusted for age, 24-hour Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III score, sex, race/ethnicity, and insurance.
RESULTS:: Among the eligible 4134 participants, the addresses of 3393 (82%) were successfully geocoded and formulated into HOUSES. The adjusted odds ratios comparing HOUSES 1 versus 2, 3, and 4 demonstrated lower likelihood of advance directives -0.77(95% CI: 0.63-0.93) and lower likelihood of discharge to home -0.60(95% CI: 1.0.5-0.72).
CONCLUSION:: Lower SES, derived from a composite index of housing attributes, was associated with lower rates of advance directives and lower likelihood of discharge to home.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether code status, advance directives, and decisions to limit life support were different for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) in the intensive care unit (ICU) as compared with patients whose primary language was English.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study in adult patients admitted to 7 ICUs in a single tertiary academic medical center from May 31, 2011, through June 1, 2014.
RESULTS: Of the 27,523 patients admitted to the ICU, 779 (2.8%) had LEP. When adjusted for severity of illness, sex, education level, and insurance status, patients with LEP were less likely to change their code status from full code to do not resuscitate during ICU admission (odds ratio [OR], 0.62; 95% CI, 0.46-0.82; P<.001) and took 3.8 days (95% CI, 1.9-5.6 days; P<.001) longer to change to do not resuscitate. Patients with LEP who died in the ICU were less likely to receive a comfort measures order set (OR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.16-0.91; P=.03) and took 19.1 days (95% CI, 13.2-25.1 days; P<.001) longer to transition to comfort measures only. Patients with LEP were less likely to have an advance directive (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.18-0.29; P<.001), more likely to receive mechanical ventilation (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.07-1.48; P=.005), and more likely to have restraints used (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.11-1.65; P=.003). The hospital length of stay was 2.7 days longer for patients with LEP. Additional adjustment for religion, race, and age yielded similar results.
CONCLUSION: There are important differences in end-of-life care and decision making for patients with LEP.