INTRODUCTION: Emotional disclosure (ED) is a term used to describe the therapeutic expression of emotion. ED underlies a variety of therapies aimed at improving well-being for various populations, including people with palliative-stage disease and their family carers. Systematic reviews of ED-based psychotherapy have largely focused on expressive writing as a way of generating ED. However, heterogeneity in intervention format and outcome measures has made it difficult to analyse efficacy. There is also debate about the mechanisms proposed to explain the potential effects of ED.We present a scoping review protocol to develop a taxonomy of ED-based interventions to identify and categorise the spectrum of interventions that could be classified under the umbrella term of 'emotional disclosure' in the palliative care setting. By mapping these to associated treatment objectives, outcome measures and explanatory frameworks, the review will inform future efforts to design and evaluate ED-based therapies in this population.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The review will be guided by Arksey and O'Malley's five-stage scoping review framework and Levac's extension. The following electronic databases will be searched from database inception: CENTRAL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science and MEDLINE. We will include peer-reviewed studies and reviews. We will also check grey literature, including clinical trial registers, conference proceedings and reference lists, as well as contacting researchers. Articles will be screened by at least two independent reviewers and data charted using an extraction form developed for this review. Results will be analysed thematically to create a taxonomy of interventions, outcome measures and theoretical frameworks.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This review does not require ethical approval as it is a secondary analysis of pre-existing, published data. The results will inform future research in the development of ED-based interventions and evaluation of their efficacy in the palliative care setting. We will disseminate findings through peer-reviewed journals.
Objectives The aims of this study were (1) to document the clinical condition of patients considered to be in the last 2 weeks of life and (2) to compare patients who did or did not survive for 72 hours.
Design A prospective observational study.
Setting Two sites in London, UK (a hospice and a hospital palliative care team).
Participants Any inpatient, over 18 years old, English speaking, who was identified by the palliative care team as at risk of dying within the next 2 weeks was eligible.
Outcome measures Prognostic signs and symptoms were documented at a one off assessment and patients were followed up 7 days later to determine whether or not they had died.
Results Fifty participants were recruited and 24/50 (48%) died within 72 hours of assessment. The most prevalent prognostic features observed were a decrease in oral food intake (60%) and a rapid decline of the participant’s global health status (56%). Participants who died within 72 hours had a lower level of consciousness and had more care needs than those who lived longer. A large portion of data was unavailable, particularly that relating to the psychological and spiritual well-being of the patient, due to the decreased consciousness of the patient.
Conclusions The prevalence of prognostic signs and symptoms in the final days of life has been documented between those predicted to die and those who did not. How doctors make decisions with missing information is an area for future research, in addition to understanding the best way to use the available information to make more accurate predictions.
An accurate prognosis about how long a terminally ill patient has left to live, when disclosed sensitively in open discussions, can facilitate patient-centred care and shared decision making. In addition, several guidelines, policies and funding streams rely, to some extent, on a clinician estimated prognosis. However, clinician predictions alone have been shown to be unreliable and over-optimistic. The factors underlying clinicians' prognostic decisions (particularly at the very end of life) are beginning to be elucidated. As an alternative to clinicians' subjective estimates, a number of prognostic algorithms and scores have been developed and validated, but only a few have consistently shown superiority to clinician predictions. Therefore, an element of uncertainty remains and this needs to be acknowledged when having conversations with patients and their families. Guidelines are available to advise clinicians about how to prepare for, participate in and record prognostic conversations.
BACKGROUND: Effectiveness evidence of complementary therapies in people with advanced disease is uncertain, and yet people are still keen to engage in complementary therapy. Insights into people's experiences of complementary therapy in palliative care, the perceived benefits, and how they want it delivered, can inform clinical guidelines and suggest ways to test therapies more appropriately in future evaluations.
AIMS: Explore in people with advanced disease (1) the experiences and perceptions of benefits and harms of aromatherapy, massage, and reflexology and (2) how they would like these therapies delivered.
DESIGN: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Database search terms were related to palliative care, aromatherapy, reflexology and massage. Citations and full texts were reviewed independently against predefined inclusion criteria. Studies were appraised for quality. This review is registered at PROSPERO (22/11/2017 CRD42017081409).
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, AMED, CINAHL, KoreaMed and ProQuest with a bibliography search to June 2018.
RESULTS: Five qualitative studies in advanced cancer were identified. Three analytical themes were identified: (1) Experience during the therapy (enhanced well-being and escapism), (2) beyond the complementary therapy session (lasting benefits and overall evaluation), and (3) delivery of complementary therapy in palliative care (value of the therapist and delivery of the complementary therapy).
CONCLUSIONS: People with advanced cancer experience benefits from aromatherapy, reflexology and massage including enhanced well-being, respite, and escapism from their disease. Complementary therapy interventions should be developed in consultation with the target population to ensure they are delivered and evaluated, where feasible, as they wish.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the accuracy of predictions of dying at different cut-off thresholds and to acknowledge the extent of clinical uncertainty.
DESIGN: Secondary analysis of data from a prospective cohort study.
SETTING: An online prognostic test, accessible by eligible participants across the UK.
PARTICIPANTS: Eligible participants were members of the Association of Palliative Medicine. 99/166 completed the test (60%), resulting in 1980 estimates (99 participants × 20 summaries).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The probability of death occurring within 72 hours (0% certain survival-100% certain death) for 20 patient summaries. The estimates were analysed using five different thresholds: 50/50%, 40/60%, 30/70%, 20/80% and 10/90%, with percentage values between these extremes being regarded as 'indeterminate'. The positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and the number of indeterminate cases were calculated for each cut-off.
RESULTS: Using a <50% versus >50% threshold produced a PPV of 62%, an NPV of 74% and 5% indeterminate cases. When the threshold was changed to =10% vs =90%, the PPV and NPV increased to 75% and 88%, respectively, at the expense of an increase of indeterminate cases up to 62%.
CONCLUSION: When doctors assign a very high (=90%) or very low (=10%) probability of imminent death, their prognostic accuracy is improved; however, this increases the number of ‘indeterminate’ cases. This suggests that clinical predictions may continue to have a role for routine prognostication but that other approaches (such as the use of prognostic scores) may be required for those cases where doctors’ estimates are indeterminate.
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: Little research has explored the detail of practice when using sedative medications at the end of life. One work package of the I-CAN-CARE research programme investigates this in UK palliative care.
AIMS: To investigate current practices when using sedative medication at the end of life in London, UK, by (1) qualitatively exploring the understandings of palliative care clinicians, (2) examining documented sedative use in patient records and (3) comparing findings from both investigations.
DESIGN: We conducted focus groups with experienced palliative care physicians and nurses, and simultaneously reviewed deceased patient records.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: In total, 10 physicians and 17 senior nurses in London hospice or hospital/community palliative care took part in eight focus groups. Simultaneously, 50 patient records for people who received continuous sedation at end of life in the hospice and hospital were retrieved and reviewed.
RESULTS: Focus group participants all said that they used sedative medication chiefly for managing agitation or distress; selecting drugs and dosages as appropriate for patients’ individual needs; and aiming to use the lowest possible dosages for patients to be ‘comfortable’, ‘calm’ or ‘relaxed’. None used structured observational tools to assess sedative effects, strongly preferring clinical observation and judgement. The patient records’ review corroborated these qualitative findings, with the median continuous dose of midazolam administered being 10 mg/24 h (range: 0.4–69.5 mg/24 h).
CONCLUSION: Clinical practice in these London settings broadly aligns with the European Association for Palliative Care framework for using sedation at the end of life, but lacks any objective monitoring of depth of sedation. Our follow-on study explores the utility and feasibility of objectively monitoring sedation in practice.
OBJECTIVES: To identify a group of palliative care doctors who perform well on a prognostic test and to understand how they make their survival predictions.
DESIGN: Prospective observational study and two cross-sectional online studies.
SETTING: Phase I: an online prognostic test, developed from a prospective observational study of patients referred to palliative care. Phase II: an online judgement task consisting of 50 hypothetical vignettes.
PARTICIPANTS: All members of the Association of Palliative Medicine (APM) were eligible (n=~1100). 99 doctors completed the prognostic test and were included in the phase I analysis. The top 20% were invited to participate in phase II; 14/19 doctors completed the judgement task and were included in the phase II analysis.
MEASURES: Phase I: participants were asked to give a probability of death within 72 hours (0%–100%) for all 20 cases. Accuracy on the prognostic test was measured with the Brier score which was used to identify the ‘expert’ group (scale range: 0 (expert)–1 (non-expert)). Phase II: participants gave a probability of death within 72 hours (0%–100%). A mixed model regression analysis was completed using the percentage estimate as the outcome and the patient information included in the vignettes as the predictors.
RESULTS: The mean Brier score of all participants was 0.237 (95% CI 0.235 to 0.239). The mean Brier score of the ‘experts’ was 0.184 (95% CI 0.176 to 0.192). Six of the seven prognostic variables included in the hypothetical vignettes were significantly associated with clinician predictions of death. The Palliative Performance Score was identified as being the most influential in the doctors’ prognostic decision making (ß=0.48, p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: This study identified six clinical signs and symptoms which influenced the judgement policies of palliative care doctors. These results may be used to teach novice doctors how to improve their prognostic skills.
Full integration of oncology and palliative care relies on the specific knowledge and skills of two modes of care: the tumour-directed approach, the main focus of which is on treating the disease; and the host-directed approach, which focuses on the patient with the disease. This Commission addresses how to combine these two paradigms to achieve the best outcome of patient care. Randomised clinical trials on integration of oncology and palliative care point to health gains: improved survival and symptom control, less anxiety and depression, reduced use of futile chemotherapy at the end of life, improved family satisfaction and quality of life, and improved use of health-care resources. Early delivery of patient-directed care by specialist palliative care teams alongside tumour-directed treatment promotes patient-centred care. Systematic assessment and use of patient-reported outcomes and active patient involvement in the decisions about cancer care result in better symptom control, improved physical and mental health, and better use of health-care resources. The absence of international agreements on the content and standards of the organisation, education, and research of palliative care in oncology are major barriers to successful integration. Other barriers include the common misconception that palliative care is end-of-life care only, stigmatisation of death and dying, and insufficient infrastructure and funding. The absence of established priorities might also hinder integration more widely. This Commission proposes the use of standardised care pathways and multidisciplinary teams to promote integration of oncology and palliative care, and calls for changes at the system level to coordinate the activities of professionals, and for the development and implementation of new and improved education programmes, with the overall goal of improving patient care. Integration raises new research questions, all of which contribute to improved clinical care. When and how should palliative care be delivered? What is the optimal model for integrated care? What is the biological and clinical effect of living with advanced cancer for years after diagnosis? Successful integration must challenge the dualistic perspective of either the tumour or the host, and instead focus on a merged approach that places the patient's perspective at the centre. To succeed, integration must be anchored by management and policy makers at all levels of health care, followed by adequate resource allocation, a willingness to prioritise goals and needs, and sustained enthusiasm to help generate support for better integration. This integrated model must be reflected in international and national cancer plans, and be followed by developments of new care models, education and research programmes, all of which should be adapted to the specific cultural contexts within which they are situated. Patient-centred care should be an integrated part of oncology care independent of patient prognosis and treatment intention. To achieve this goal it must be based on changes in professional cultures and priorities in health care.
Background: In the UK, many people experiencing homelessness whose health is deteriorating remain in homeless hostels due to few suitable alternative places of care. Hostel staff struggle to support residents with deteriorating health and palliative care services are rarely involved. There is recognition of the need for multiagency working to support this group.
Objectives: To pilot and evaluate the impact of a two-day training course for hostel staff around supporting clients with palliative care needs, and increasing multiagency working.
Design: Mixed methods evaluation using pre-and-post training data collection.
Settings and Participants: Frontline staff from two London homeless hostels.
Methods: Staff from two hostels attended a two day training course. Self-perceived confidence in supporting residents with deteriorating health, knowledge of palliative care, openness to discussing deteriorating health and work related stress were assessed at baseline and immediately after training using a novel questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected via focus groups immediately after and three months post-training.
Results: Twenty four participants attended at least one day of training, 21 (87%) completed the course. Training was reported to be useful and relevant. Modest improvements in self-perceived work related stress, knowledge, confidence and openness were observed following training. At three months, qualitative data indicated the beginnings of a shift in how palliative care was conceptualised and an increase in knowledge and confidence around supporting residents. Anxiety regarding the role of the hostel in palliative care, the recovery focused ethos of homelessness services and fragmented systems and services presented challenges to establishing changes.
Conclusions: Training can be useful for improving knowledge, confidence, openness and work related stress. Recommendations for implementing changes in how people experiencing homelessness are supported include embedding training into routine practice, promoting multidisciplinary working, incorporating flexibility within the recovery focused approach of services and recognising the need for emotional support for staff.
Studies indicate research ethics committee (REC) approval and clinician gatekeeping are two key barriers in recruiting children and young people (CYP) with life-limiting conditions (LLCs) and life-threatening illnesses (LTIs) and their families to research.
OBJECTIVES: To explore the reported experiences, difficulties and proposed solutions of chief investigators (CIs) recruiting CYP with LLCs/LTIs and families in the UK.
METHODS: 61 CIs conducting studies with CYP with LLCs/LTIs and their families, identified from the UK National Institute of Health Research portfolio, completed an anonymous, web-based questionnaire, including both closed and open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics and inductive and deductive coding were used to analyse responses.
RESULTS: UK CIs cited limitations on funding, governance procedures including Research and Development, Site-Specific and REC approval processes, and clinician gatekeeping as challenges to research. CIs offered some solutions to overcome identified barriers such as working with CYP and their families to ensure their needs are adequately considered in study design and communicated to ethics committees; and designing studies with broad inclusion criteria and developing effective relationships with clinicians in order to overcome clinician gatekeeping.
CONCLUSIONS: Many of the challenges and solutions reported by UK CIs have applicability beyond the UK setting. The involvement of clinicians, patients and their families at the inception of and throughout paediatric palliative care research studies is essential. Other important strategies include having clinician research champions and increasing the visibility of research. Further research on the perspectives of all stakeholders, leading to mutually agreed guidance, is required if care and treatment are to improve.
BACKGROUND: More accurate methods of prognostication are likely to lead to improvements in the quality of care of patients approaching the ends of their lives. The Prognosis in Palliative care Scales (PiPS) are prognostic models of survival. The scores are calculated using simple clinical data and observations. There are two separate PiPS models; PiPS-A for patients without blood test results and PiPS-B for patients with blood test results. Both models predict whether a patient is likely to live for "days", "weeks" or "months" and have been shown to perform as well as clinicians' estimates of survival. PiPS-B has also been found to be significantly better than doctors' estimates of survival. We report here a protocol for the validation of PiPS and for the evaluation of the accuracy of other prognostic tools in a new, larger cohort of patients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: This is a national, multi-centre, prospective, observational cohort study, aiming to recruit 1778 patients via palliative care services across England and Wales. Eligible patients have advanced, incurable cancer and have recently been referred to palliative care services. Patients with or without capacity are included in the study. The primary outcome is the accuracy of PiPS predictions and the difference in accuracy between these predictions and the clinicians' estimates of survival; with PiPS-B being the main model of interest. The secondary outcomes include the accuracy of predictions by the Palliative Prognostic Index (PPI), Palliative Performance Scale (PPS), Palliative Prognostic score (PaP) and the Feliu Prognostic Nomogram (FPN) compared with actual patient survival and clinicians' estimates of survival. A nested qualitative sub-study using face-to-face interviews with patients, carers and clinicians is also being undertaken to assess the acceptability of the prognostic models and to identify barriers and facilitators to clinical use.
DISCUSSION: The study closed to recruitment at the end of April 2018 having exceeded the required sample size of 1778 patients. The qualitative sub-study is nearing completion. This demonstrates the feasibility of recruiting large numbers of participants to a prospective palliative care study.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN13688211 (registration date: 28/06/2016).
INTRODUCTION: Measuring the quality of care at the end of life and/or the quality of dying and death can be challenging. Some measurement tools seek to assess the quality of care immediately prior to death; others retrospectively assess, following death, the quality of end-of-life care. The comparative evaluation of the properties and application of the various instruments has been limited.
OBJECTIVE: This systematic review identified and critically appraised the psychometric properties and applicability of tools used after death.
METHOD: We conducted a systematic review according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines by systematically searching MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO for relevant studies. We then appraised the psychometric properties and the quality of reporting of the psychometric properties of the identified tools using the COSMIN (Consensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments) checklist. The protocol of this systematic review has been registered on PROSPERO (CRD42016047296).
RESULTS: The search identified 4751 studies. Of these, 33 met the inclusion criteria, reporting on the psychometric properties of 67 tools. These tools measured quality of care at the end of life (n = 35), quality of dying and death (n = 22), or both quality of care at the end of life and dying and death (n = 10). Most tools were completed by family carers (n = 57), with some also completed by healthcare professionals (HCPs) (n = 2) or just HCPs (n = 8). No single tool was found to be adequate across all the psychometric properties assessed. Two quality of care at the end of life tools—Care of the Dying Evaluation and Satisfaction with Care at the End of Life in Dementia—had strong psychometric properties in most respects. Two tools assessing quality of dying and death—the Quality of Dying and Death and the newly developed Staff Perception of End of Life Experience—had limited to moderate evidence of good psychometric properties. Two tools assessing both quality of care and quality of dying and death—the Quality Of Dying in Long-Term Care for cognitively intact populations and Good Death Inventory (Korean version)—had the best psychometric properties.
CONCLUSION: Four tools demonstrated some promise, but no single tool was consistent across all psychometric properties assessed. All tools identified would benefit from further psychometric testing.
BACKGROUND: Opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OIBD) is characterised by constipation, incomplete evacuation, bloating, and gastric reflux. It is one of the major adverse events of treatment for pain in cancer and in palliative care, resulting in increased morbidity and reduced quality of life.This is an update of two Cochrane reviews. One was published in 2011, Issue 1 on laxatives and methylnaltrexone for the management of constipation in people receiving palliative care; this was updated in 2015 and excluded methylnaltrexone. The other was published in 2008, Issue 4 on mu-opioid antagonists (MOA) for OIBD. In this updated review, we only included trials on MOA (including methylnaltrexone) for OIBD in people with cancer and people receiving palliative care.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness and safety of MOA for OIBD in people with cancer and people receiving palliative care.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science to August 2017. We also searched clinical trial registries and regulatory websites. We contacted manufacturers of MOA to identify further data.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the effectiveness and safety of MOA for OIBD in people with cancer and people at a palliative stage irrespective of the type of terminal disease they experienced.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors assessed risk of bias and extracted data. The appropriateness of combining data from the trials depended upon sufficient homogeneity across the trials. Our primary outcomes were laxation, impact on pain relief, and adverse events. Impact on pain relief was a primary outcome because a possible adverse effect of MOAs is a reduction in pain relief from opioids. We assessed the evidence on these outcomes using GRADE.
MAIN RESULTS: We identified four new trials for this update, bringing the total number included in this review to eight. In total, 1022 men and women with cancer irrespective of stage or at a palliative care stage of any disease were randomised across the trials. The MOAs evaluated were oral naldemedine and naloxone (alone or in combination with oxycodone), and subcutaneous methylnaltrexone. The trials compared with MOA with a placebo or with the active intervention administered at different doses or in combination with other drugs. The trial of naldemedine and the two of naloxone in combination with oxycodone were in people with cancer irrespective of disease stage. The trial on naloxone alone was in people with advanced cancer. The four trials on methylnaltrexone were undertaken in palliative care where most participants had cancer. All trials were vulnerable to biases; four were at a high risk as they involved a sample of fewer than 50 participants per arm.In the trial of naldemedine compared to placebo in 225 participants, there were more spontaneous laxations over the two-week treatment for the intervention group (risk ratio (RR) 1.93, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.36 to 2.74; moderate-quality evidence). In comparison with higher doses, lower doses resulted in fewer spontaneous laxations (0.1 mg versus 0.2 mg: RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.95; 0.1 mg versus 0.4 mg: RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.89; moderate-quality evidence). There was moderate-quality evidence that naldemedine had no effect on opiate withdrawal. There were five serious adverse events. All were in people taking naldemedine (low-quality evidence). There was an increase in the occurrence of other (non-serious) adverse events in the naldemedine groups (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.79, moderate-quality evidence). The most common adverse event was diarrhoea.The trials on naloxone taken either on its own, or in combination with oxycodone (an opioid) compared to oxycodone only did not evaluate laxation response over the first two weeks of administration. There was very low-quality evidence that naloxone alone, and moderate-quality evidence that oxycodone/naloxone, had no effect on analgesia. There was low-quality evidence that oxycodone/naloxone did not increase the risk of serious adverse events and moderate-quality evidence that it did not increase risk of adverse events.In combined analysis of two trials of 287 participants, we found methylnaltrexone compared to placebo induced more laxations within 24 hours (RR 2.77, 95% CI 1.91 to 4.04. I² = 0%; moderate-quality evidence). In combined analysis, we found methylnaltrexone induced more laxation responses over two weeks (RR 9.98, 95% CI 4.96 to 20.09. I² = 0%; moderate-quality evidence). The proportion of participants who had a rescue-free laxation response within 24 hours of the first dose was 59.1% in the methylnaltrexone arms and 19.1% in the placebo arm. There was moderate-quality evidence that the rate of opioid withdrawal was not affected. Methylnaltrexone did not increase the likelihood of a serious adverse event; there were fewer in the intervention arm (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.93; I² = 0%; moderate-quality evidence). There was no difference in the proportion of participants experiencing an adverse event (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.45; I² = 74%; low-quality evidence). Methylnaltrexone increased the likelihood of abdominal pain and flatulence.Two trials compared differing methylnaltrexone schedules of higher doses with lower doses. For early laxation, there was low-quality evidence of no clear difference between doses on analgesia and adverse events. Both trials measured laxation response within 24 hours of first dose (trial one: RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.66; trial two: RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.42).
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: In this update, the conclusions for naldemedine are new. There is moderate-quality evidence to suggest that, taken orally, naldemedine improves bowel function over two weeks in people with cancer and OIBD but increases the risk of adverse events. The conclusions on naloxone and methylnaltrexone have not changed. The trials on naloxone did not assess laxation at 24 hours or over two weeks. There is moderate-quality evidence that methylnaltrexone improves bowel function in people receiving palliative care in the short term and over two weeks, and low-quality evidence that it does not increase adverse events. There is a need for more trials including more evaluation of adverse events. None of the current trials evaluated effects in children.
Mortality and symptom burden from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are similar but there is thought to be an inequality in palliative care support (PCS) between diseases. This nationally representative study assessed PCS for COPD patients within primary care in the UK.
This was a cohort study using electronic healthcare records (2004–2015). Factors associated with receiving PCS were assessed using logistic regression for the whole cohort and deceased patients.
There were 92 365 eligible COPD patients, of which 26 135 died. Only 7.8% of the whole cohort and 21.4% of deceased patients received PCS. Lung cancer had a strong association with PCS compared with other patient characteristics, including Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage and Medical Research Council Dyspnoea score (whole cohort, lung cancer: OR 14.1, 95% CI 13.1–15; deceased patients, lung cancer: OR 6.5, 95% CI 6–7). Only 16.7% of deceased COPD patients without lung cancer received PCS compared with 56.5% of deceased patients with lung cancer. In patients that received PCS, lung cancer co-diagnosis significantly increased the chances of receiving PCS before the last month of life (1–6 versus =1 month pre-death: risk ratio 1.4, 95% CI 1.3–1.7).
Provision of PCS for COPD patients in the UK is inadequate. Lung cancer, not COPD, was the dominant driver for COPD patients to receive PCS.
OBJECTIVES: To explore the views and experiences of people who are homeless and those supporting them regarding conversations and approaches to palliative care
SETTING: Data were collected between October 2015 and October 2016 in homeless hostels and day centres and with staff from primary and secondary healthcare providers and social care services from three London boroughs.
PARTICIPANTS: People experiencing homelessness (n=28), formerly homeless people (n=10), health and social care providers (n=48), hostel staff (n=30) and outreach staff (n=10).
METHODS: In this qualitative descriptive study, participants were recruited to interviews and focus groups across three London boroughs. Views and experiences of end-of-life care were explored with people with personal experience of homelessness, health and social care professionals and hostel and outreach staff. Saturation was reached when no new themes emerged from discussions.
RESULTS: 28 focus groups and 10 individual interviews were conducted. Participants highlighted that conversations exploring future care preferences and palliative care with people experiencing homelessness are rare. Themes identified as challenges to such conversations included attitudes to death; the recovery focused nature of services for people experiencing homelessness; uncertainty regarding prognosis and place of care; and fear of negative impact.
CONCLUSIONS: This research highlights the need for a different approach to supporting people who are homeless and are experiencing advanced ill health, one that incorporates uncertainty and promotes well-being, dignity and choice. We propose parallel planning and mapping as a way of working with uncertainty. We acknowledge that these approaches will not always be straightforward, nor will they be suitable for everyone, yet moving the focus of conversations about the future away from death and dying, towards the present and the future may facilitate conversations and enable the wishes of people who are homeless to be known and explored.
BACKGROUND: Clinicians are inaccurate at predicting survival. The "Surprise Question" (SQ) is a screening tool that aims to identify people nearing the end of life. Potentially, its routine use could help identify patients who might benefit from palliative care services. The objective was to assess the accuracy of the SQ by time scale, clinician, and speciality.
METHODS: Searches were completed on Medline, Embase, CINAHL, AMED, Science Citation Index, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Open Grey literature (all from inception to November 2016). Studies were included if they reported the SQ and were written in English. Quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.
RESULTS: A total of 26 papers were included in the review, of which 22 reported a complete data set. There were 25,718 predictions of survival made in response to the SQ. The c-statistic of the SQ ranged from 0.512 to 0.822. In the meta-analysis, the pooled accuracy level was 74.8% (95% CI 68.6–80.5). There was a negligible difference in timescale of the SQ. Doctors appeared to be more accurate than nurses at recognising people in the last year of life (c-statistic = 0.735 vs. 0.688), and the SQ seemed more accurate in an oncology setting 76.1% (95% CI 69.7–86.3).
CONCLUSIONS: There was a wide degree of accuracy, from poor to reasonable, reported across studies using the SQ. Further work investigating how the SQ could be used alongside other prognostic tools to increase the identification of people who would benefit from palliative care is warranted.
BACKGROUND: Being homeless or vulnerably housed is associated with death at a young age, frequently related to medical problems complicated by drug or alcohol dependence. Homeless people experience high symptom burden at the end of life, yet palliative care service use is limited.
AIM: To explore the views and experiences of current and formerly homeless people, frontline homelessness staff (from hostels, day centres and outreach teams) and health- and social-care providers, regarding challenges to supporting homeless people with advanced ill health, and to make suggestions for improving care.
DESIGN: Thematic analysis of data collected using focus groups and interviews.
PARTICIPANTS: Single homeless people ( n=28), formerly homeless people ( n=10), health- and social-care providers ( n=48), hostel staff ( n=30) and outreach staff ( n=10).
RESULTS: This research documents growing concern that many homeless people are dying in unsupported, unacceptable situations. It highlights the complexities of identifying who is palliative and lack of appropriate places of care for people who are homeless with high support needs, particularly in combination with substance misuse issues.
CONCLUSION: Due to the lack of alternatives, homeless people with advanced ill health often remain in hostels. Conflict between the recovery-focused nature of many services and the realities of health and illness for often young homeless people result in a lack of person-centred care. Greater multidisciplinary working, extended in-reach into hostels from health and social services and training for all professional groups along with more access to appropriate supported accommodation are required to improve care for homeless people with advanced ill health.
Cet article présente la version mise à jour des lignes directrices de l'Association Européenne de Soins Palliatifs (EAPC) sur l'utilisation d'opioïdes pour le traitement de la douleur cancéreuse. Ces lignes directrices sont présentées comme une liste de 16 recommandations fondées sur les preuves.
L'étude se propose de tester la validité des critères diagnostiques du syndrome de fatigue liée au cancer (CRFS) proposés dans la littérature par Cella et al.. Il s'agit également de vérifier si les troubles du sommeil et du rythme circadien expliquent la fatigue liée au cancer. Un groupe de 25 patientes cancéreuses a été comparée à 25 femmes volontaires sains. Elles ont partipé à une entrevue structurée et ont rempli des questionnaires. Les phases d'activité et de sommeil ainsi que le rythme circadien ont été déterminés par actimétrie.Selon Cella et al., l'existence de 6 symptomes de fatigue sur 10 définit le syndrome de fatigue liée au cancer, l'état physique fonctionnel étant altéré ceci en l'absence de trouble d'ordre psychiatrique. La prévalence du CRFS est de 56 % dans le groupe des patientes cancéreuses. Le syndrome de fatigue liée au cancer ne semble pas liée aux troubles du sommeil et du rythme circadien. Il est lié à une faible qualité de vie (QoL), la dépression, la constipation, et une altération de l'état physique fonctionnel auto-déclaré.