Context: Providing patient care at the end of a patient's life is a humbling and sacred experience for both patient and provider. Without a truthful and meaningful conversation about end-of-life care preferences, the care that is delivered may not be the care that the patient prefers.
bjectives: Determine if there is a relationship between level of training, confidence, and presence of decisional conflict in making an accurate prognosis for 2 standardized cases. Additionally, we evaluated the correctness of the prognosis as measured against survival outcomes for patients with similar diagnoses.
Methods: Decisional conflict was measured with the SURE tool, a validated 4-item tool that has been used in assessing for the presence of decisional conflict.
Results: Following analysis of data, it was found that providers with no decisional conflict were much more likely to be attendings with more than 5 years' experience. Providers were more conflicted overall when confronted with a case with a more grave prognosis. It was determined that providers with a lower level of training were more likely to have decisional conflict.
Conclusions: Provider confidence increases and decisional conflict decreases as one increases their level of training. However, the degree in which the provider is correct in their prognosis does not change as one increases their level of training. These findings have broad implications on patients, providers, and the health-care system.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Patients with gynecologic malignancies face many difficult issues in the course of their diseases, ranging from physical symptoms to advance care planning in light of a poor prognosis. This review examines the evidence supporting integration of palliative care early in the course of disease and symptom management, and provides a framework for difficult conversations.
RECENT FINDINGS: Palliative care has been demonstrated to improve quality of life and promote survival if integrated early in the course of disease. An evidence-based approach should guide symptom management, such as pain and nausea. Advance care planning and goals of care discussions are enhanced by a framework guiding discussion and the incorporation of empathetic responses.
SUMMARY: Palliative care is a diverse multidisciplinary field that can provide significant benefit for patients with gynecologic malignancies.
BACKGROUND: Integrating palliative care into intensive care units (ICUs) requires involvement of bedside nurses, who report inadequate education in palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: To implement and evaluate a palliative care professional development program for ICU bedside nurses.
METHODS: From May 2013 to January 2015, palliative care advanced practice nurses and nurse educators in 5 academic medical centers completed a 3-day train-the-trainer program followed by 2 years of mentoring to implement the initiative. The program consisted of 8-hour communication workshops for bedside nurses and structured rounds in ICUs, where nurse leaders coached bedside nurses in identifying and addressing palliative care needs. Primary outcomes were nurses' ratings of their palliative care communication skills in surveys, and nurses' identification of palliative care needs during coaching rounds.
RESULTS: Each center held at least 6 workshops, training 428 bedside nurses. Nurses rated their skill level higher after the workshop for 15 tasks (eg, responding to family distress, ensuring families understand information in family meetings, all P < .01 vs preworkshop). Coaching rounds in each ICU took a mean of 3 hours per month. For 82% of 1110 patients discussed in rounds, bedside nurses identified palliative care needs and created plans to address them.
CONCLUSIONS: Communication skills training workshops increased nurses' ratings of their palliative care communication skills. Coaching rounds supported nurses in identifying and addressing palliative care needs.
PURPOSE: To test a simultaneous care model for palliative care for patients with advanced cancer by embedding a palliative care nurse practitioner (NP) in an oncology clinic.
METHODS: We evaluated the effect of the intervention in two oncologists' clinics beginning March 2014 by using implementation strategies, including use of a structured referral mechanism, routine symptom screening, integration of a psychology-based cancer supportive care center, implementation team meetings, team training, and a metrics dashboard for continuous quality improvement. After 1 year of implementation, we evaluated key process and outcome measures for supportive oncology and efficiency of the model by documenting tasks completed by the NP during a subset of patient visits and time-motion studies.
RESULTS: Of approximately 10,000 patients with active cancer treated in the health system, 2,829 patients had advanced cancer and were treated by 42 oncologists. Documentation of advance care planning increased for patients of the two intervention oncologists compared with patients of the other oncologists. Hospice referral before death was not different at baseline, but was significantly higher for patients of intervention oncologists compared with patients of control oncologists (53% v 23%; P = .02) over the intervention period. Efficiency evaluation revealed that approximately half the time spent by the embedded NP potentially could have been completed by other staff (eg, a nurse, a social worker, or administrative staff).
CONCLUSION: An embedded palliative care NP model using scalable implementation strategies can improve advance care planning and hospice use among patients with advanced cancer.