BACKGROUND: Accurate awareness of the prognosis is an important factor in the treatment decision of patients with advanced cancer; however, prognostic disclosure is still subject to debate because it can reduce patient's satisfaction and increase depression.
AIM: The purpose of this study is to assess whether patients' prognostic awareness is associated with decreased quality of life (QoL) or increased depressive mood in patients with advanced cancer.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: In this cohort study, 386 patients with advanced cancer were recruited across 3 periods from December 2016 to August 2018. The outcome of this study was a change in QoL and depression according to the patients' prognostic awareness at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months.
RESULTS: This study found significant differences in changes of QoL based on patients' prognostic awareness. From baseline to 3 months, emotional functioning (P = .039), pain (P = .042), existential well-being (P = .025), and social support (P = .038) subscale scores improved significantly more in those with lack of prognostic awareness. Over 6 months, the group without prognostic awareness improved significantly in terms of physical functioning (P = .037), emotional functioning (P = .002), nausea/vomiting (P = .048), and constipation (P = .039) subscale scores and existential well-being scores (P = .025). No significant difference between the groups was found in terms of depression.
CONCLUSION: Accurate prognostic awareness may pose harm and may provide no additional benefits in terms of QoL and mood among patients with advanced cancer for a short period of time.
Context: Advance care planning (ACP) in a healthy general population could improve the quality of care when a health problem arises.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of video decision-support aid in increasing the intention to document ACP in the general, healthy population.
Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, we enrolled 250 members of the general population (aged =20 years and determined to be healthy), stratified by age and sex. The intervention was a video that provided information about ACP and end-of-life care options such as CPR and palliative care. An attention-control arm was given a booklet about advance directives. Primary outcome was a change in intention to document ACP. Secondary outcomes included the intention to refuse CPR at terminal status, CPR and palliative care knowledge score, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
Results: 250 participants were randomly assigned, half to the video-assisted intervention group and half to the attention-control group. Within 1 week post-intervention, the intention to document ACP was significantly higher in the video-assisted intervention arm (68.0% vs 39.2%; p < 0.001) and changes in the intention to document ACP were significantly greater in the video group than in the brochure group (p = 0.008; = 14.4%). Palliative care knowledge score was also significantly increased in the video group (p = 0.036).
Conclusion: A well-constructed, video decision support intervention can increase the intention to document ACP in the general population that presumably had little opportunity to discuss ACP with physicians.
CONTEXT: Few randomized controlled trials of advance care planning with a decision aid (DA) show an effect on patient preferences for end-of-life (EOL) care over time, especially in racial/ethnic settings outside the United States.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to examine the effect of a decision aid consisting of a video and an advance care planning (ACP) booklet for end-of-life (EOL) care preferences among patients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: Using a computer-generated sequence, we randomly assigned (1:1) advanced cancer patients to a group that received a video and workbook that both discussed either ACP (intervention group) or cancer pain control (control group). At baseline, immediately post-intervention, and at 7 weeks, we evaluated the subjects' preferences. The primary outcome was preference for EOL care (active treatment, life-prolonging treatment, or hospice care) on the assumption of a fatal disease diagnosis and the expectation of death 1) within 1 year, 2) within several months, and 3) within a few weeks. We used Bonferroni correction methods for multiple comparisons with an adjusted p level of 0.005.
RESULTS: From August 2017 to February 2018, we screened 287 eligible patients, of whom 204 were enrolled to the intervention (104 patients) or the control (100 patients). At post-intervention, the intervention group showed a significant increase in preference for active treatment, life-prolonging treatment, and hospice care on the assumption of a fatal disease diagnosis and the expectation of death within 1 year (p<0.005). Assuming a life expectancy of several months, the change in preferences was significant for active treatment and hospice care (p<0.005) but not for life-prolonging treatment. The intervention group showed a significant increase in preference for active treatment, life-prolonging treatment, and hospice care on the assumption of a fatal disease diagnosis and the expectation of death within a few weeks (p<0.005). From baseline to 7 weeks, the decrease in preference in the intervention group was not significant for active treatment, for life-prolonging treatment, and for hospice care in the intervention group in the subset expecting to die within 1 year, compared with the control group. Assuming a life expectancy of several months and a few weeks, the change in preferences was not significant for active treatment and for life-prolonging treatment, but was significantly greater for hospice care in the intervention group (p<0.005).
CONCLUSION: ACP interventions that included a video and an accompanying book improved preferences for EOL care.
CONTEXT: To respect a patient's wish for end-of-life care, "the Act on Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment for Patients at the End-of-Life" was enacted in South Korea in 2016. Current understanding of people who would be involved in advance care planning (ACP) is crucial to disseminate it systematically.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate awareness and attitudes toward ACP in South Korea.
METHODS: A multicenter, nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted a survey regarding ACP among four groups that would have different positions and experiences: 1,001 cancer patients, 1,006 family caregivers, 928 physicians, and 1,241 members of the general public.
RESULTS: A total of 15% of the general population, 33% of the patients and caregivers, and 61% of the physicians had knowledge of advance directives. More than 64% of the general population, above 72% of the patients and caregivers, and 97% of the physicians were willing to do so when the disease status was aggravated or terminal. The possibility for changing the plan, uncertainty as to whether directives would actually be followed, and psychological discomfort were common reasons for not wanting to engage in ACP. Routine recommendations for a specific medical condition, heightened accessibility, and health insurance support were common factors that could help facilitate ACP.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that strategies for promoting ACP should reflect different perspectives among the general public, patients, family caregivers, and physicians. Public advocacy, resources for approaching and integrating ACP into routine healthcare, as well as systematic support provisions, are needed.
PURPOSE: Understanding the concept of a "good death" is crucial to end-of-life care, but our current understanding of what constitutes a good death is insufficient. Here, we investigated the components of a good death that are important to the general population, cancer patients, their families, and physicians.
METHODS: We conducted a stratified nationwide cross-sectional survey of cancer patients and their families from 12 hospitals, physicians from 12 hospitals and the Korean Medical Association, and the general population, investigating their attitudes toward 10 good-death components.
FINDINGS: Three components-"not be a burden to the family," "presence of family," and "resolve unfinished business"-were considered the most important components by more than 2/3 of each of the three groups, and an additional three components-"freedom from pain," "feel that life was meaningful," and "at peace with God"-were considered important by all but the physicians group. Physicians considered "feel life was meaningful," "presence of family," and "not be a burden to family" as the core components of a good death, with "freedom from pain" as an additional component. "Treatment choices' followed, "finances in order," "mentally aware," and "die at home" were found to be the least important components among all four groups.
CONCLUSION: While families strongly agreed that "presence of family" and "not be a burden to family" were important to a good death, the importance of other factors differed between the groups. Health care providers should attempt to discern each patient's view of a good death.
BACKGROUND: In this study, we aimed to develop and validate an instrument that could be used by patients with cancer to evaluate their quality of palliative care.
METHODS: Development of the questionnaire followed the four-phase process: item generation and reduction, construction, pilot testing, and field testing. Based on the literature, we constructed a list of items for the quality of palliative care from 104 quality care issues divided into 14 subscales. We constructed scales of 43 items that only the cancer patients were asked to answer. Using relevance and feasibility criteria and pilot testing, we developed a 44-item questionnaire. To assess the sensitivity and validity of the questionnaire, we recruited 220 patients over 18 years of age from three Korean hospitals.
RESULTS: Factor analysis of the data and fit statistics process resulted in the 4-factor, 32-item Quality Care Questionnaire-Palliative Care (QCQ-PC), which covers appropriate communication with health care professionals (ten items), discussing value of life and goals of care (nine items), support and counseling for needs of holistic care (seven items), and accessibility and sustainability of care (six items). All subscales and total scores showed a high internal consistency (Cronbach alpha range, 0.89 to 0.97). Multi-trait scaling analysis showed good convergent (0.568-0.995) and discriminant (0.472-0.869) validity. The correlation between the total and subscale scores of QCQ-PC and those of EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL, MQOL, SAT-SF, and DCS was obtained.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the QCQ-PC can be adopted to assess the quality of care in patients with cancer.