OBJECTIVE: Oncologists are exposed to suffering, loss, and death, which can potentially lead to grief reactions. Although grief over patients may be a natural consequence of the close and longstanding oncologist-patient relationship, the empathy that oncologists feel towards their patients may put them at risk for compassion fatigue (CF). This study examined the mediating role of the two components of CF - secondary traumatic stress (STS) and burnout - in the relation between empathy and grief among oncologists.
METHOD: Participants included 71 Israeli oncologists. Measures consisted of a demographic questionnaire, the Texas Revised Inventory of Grief-Present, the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, and the Professional Quality of Life questionnaire.
RESULTS: Oncologists reported moderate levels of grief, and relatively high levels of both STS and burnout. In addition, they reported high levels of the three components of empathy: perspective-taking, empathic concern, and personal distress. The PROCESS SPSS macro revealed support for the mediation model. The mediators (STS and burnout) fully accounted for the relationship between the following two components of empathy - perspective-taking and personal distress - and grief.
CONCLUSIONS: Oncologists commonly experience grief over patients. We found that oncologists' grief was related to their empathy, and that this association was explained by their levels of CF. The current research may mark a step toward recognizing oncologists' grief as well as understanding the processes associated with it.
BACKGROUND: Fatigue is a common symptom experienced by people with cancer and other long-term, non-malignant conditions. It can be disease-related or caused by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Patients frequently report this as a distressing symptom and, while some international guidelines for its management exist, evidence suggests that these are not always implemented.
METHOD: This article reviews the evidence basis for fatigue management, looking at exercise, education, psychological interventions, complementary therapies and pharmacological therapy, and finds that a one-size fits all approach to fatigue management is unrealistic.
FINDINGS: Research appears to support different interventions at various points in the disease trajectory and this is of importance for service design as palliative care is increasingly introduced earlier in the patient's pathway.
CONCLUSION: Although the body of research is growing, management of fatigue caused by non-malignant conditions remains poorly evidenced, making comprehensive recommendations for these patient groups even more challenging.
Novel immune-based cancer therapies such as programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitors continue to emerge for both curative and palliative intent. Post-market data of PD-1 inhibitors indicate that there are a wide range of side effects associated with these drugs, including ones that have relevance to symptom control and represent a diagnostic challenge at the end of life. We present a case of pembrolizumab-induced hypothyroidism causing extreme fatigue and persistent hypoglycemia.
BACKGROUND: People with metastatic cancers experience poor quality of life (QoL), fatigue, and decreased physical function. Exercise improves these symptoms in the curative setting, but the efficacy and safety of exercise in the metastatic setting is uncertain.
METHODS: Prospective, randomized trials of moderate/high intensity aerobic exercise or resistance training versus control in patients with advanced / metastatic solid cancers were identified from prior reviews and updated using a search of PubMed. The mean and standard deviation (SD) for validated outcome measures (QoL, physical function, and fatigue) were extracted for intervention and control groups at baseline and post-intervention. The Mann Whitney test was used to evaluate the effect of exercise on the pooled change between baseline and post-intervention. Safety was evaluated qualitatively.
RESULTS: Sixteen trials were analysed. Among patients with scores at the mean or 2SD above, exercise was not associated with significant or clinical difference in QoL or fatigue. In patients with baseline scores 2SD below mean, exercise was associated with non-significant difference meeting minimal clinical important difference in QoL (-2.8 vs 4.6, p=0.28). For function, patients at the mean had non-statistically significant, but clinically meaningful improvement in the 6-minute walk test (6-MWT) (14.7 vs 29.0 meters, p=0.44). In patients 2 SD below the mean, there was a clinically meaningful difference in two patient-reported functional subscales (0.1 vs 5.3, p=0.076 and 0.44 vs 8.5, p=0.465) and a clinically meaningful difference in the 6-MWT (-7.5 vs 27.0 meters, p=0.34), although none of these associations met statistical significance. There were no differences in falls, fractures, or pain.
DISCUSSION: Exercise is associated with clinically meaningful improvements in QoL, function, and 6-MWT in some patients with metastatic cancer. Despite poor reporting of safety, there was no signal of increased harm from exercise in this setting.
Purpose: To explore the methods through which physicians deliver compassionate care during end-of-life (EOL). Compassionate care provides benefits to patients and providers and is particularly important for patients with serious illnesses, yet its practice remains limited. We aim to qualitatively characterize methods utilized by physicians that facilitate the delivery of compassionate care at EOL.
Methods: We conducted 13 semi-structured interviews with physicians from palliative care and medical oncology subspecialities at a rural academic medical centre in New Hampshire. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using a qualitative research design.
Results: Participants described methods of compassionate care ranging from symptom control to less tangible, non-verbal methods. Primary barriers to the delivery of compassionate care were described as within the broader healthcare system and within the inherent emotional difficulty of EOL care. Physicians from both subspecialities emphasized the importance of successful inter-provider relationships.
Conclusions: Methods for delivering compassionate care at EOL are wide ranging, but barriers on a systemic and individual level should be addressed to make its practice more widespread. This can be accomplished, in part, by the standardization of EOL conversations, training physicians how to have meaningful EOL conversations, and integration of such conversations into electronic medical records.
BACKGROUND: The integration of palliative care into standard oncology care is supported by research to improve quality of life and symptom distress in patients with advanced cancer. In 2016, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released practice guidelines for oncology palliative care that emphasized interprofessional assessment and management of this patient population.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of clinical guidelines on symptom distress in patients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: In two oncology palliative care clinics, the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) scores for pain, fatigue, and anxiety were measured prior to consultation (T1) and at two subsequent visits (T2 and T3). A standardized documentation template was used to measure fidelity for key guideline components.
FINDINGS: Pain, fatigue, and anxiety ESAS scores were statistically lower from T1 to T3. The frequency of patients having a decrease of 2 or more points for all symptoms increased compared to baseline data. There was 100% compliance to the documentation template during the guideline implementation.
Au sommaire de ce dossier sur le ressenti et les émotions des soignants dans leur activité professionnelle : "Les soignants et leurs émotions au quotidien" : les soignants doivent, devant leurs émotions, adoptés des stratégies afin d'empêcher les débordements sans, pour autant, être dans l'évitement. "Fatigue compassionnelle et traumatisme vicariant chez les soignants" : le traumatisme vicariant évoque un état de stress post-traumatique chez le soignant confronté au récit traumatique d'un patient. La fatigue compassionnelle se manifeste par une érosion graduelle de l'empathie, de l'optimisme et de la compassion. Ces troubles nécessitent une prise en compte immédiate et adaptée. "Figures de la souffrance et du deuil des soignants" : le travail de verbalisation et de symbolisation est essentiel dans ce contexte. "L'impact des situations difficiles sur les soignants" : il est important de prendre en compte ces émotions et d'identifier les ressources qui peuvent être proposées aux soignants. La solidarité entre soignants et la cohésion d'équipe sont également essentielles. "Des ressources pour soutenir les soignants" : ces ressources sont les temps d'échanges, formels ou non, les réunions d'équipe, les retours d'expérience et l'analyse des pratiques. "A l'écoute de la souffrance du corps soignant". "Les soignants face aux événements douloureux, témoignages". "Rester soignant malgré l'inconcevable.".
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The purpose of this review was to define compassion fatigue in the context of palliative care nursing. Compassion fatigue was first introduced as a description for nursing burnout; however, it was not fully described. An initial concept analysis within nursing placed it in terms of a psychological model for secondary traumatic stress disorder, with continual revisions of this application. Palliative care nurses are routinely exposed to pain, trauma, and the suffering they witness by nature of ongoing symptom management and end-of-life care delivery; however, the focus of care is on healthy end-of-life management rather than preservation of life. The literature was reviewed to provide clarification of compassion fatigue for palliative care nurses to assist in future identification and direction in the profession. CINAHL, EBSCO, Journals@Ovid, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, and ScienceDirect databases were queried for peer-reviewed literature, and dictionaries were examined for subject-specific definitions. The method that was used was a concept analysis in the tradition of Walker and Avant. A concept definition was proposed for the discipline of palliative care nursing. Identification of compassion fatigue for this profession helps facilitate the recognition of symptoms for a group that deals with patient suffering on a regular basis.
Patients undergoing treatment for cancer often experience stress, fatigue, and pain during their treatment. Medical management of these symptoms can cause additional adverse effects, but it is possible that noninvasive complementary therapies may be able to reduce these symptoms without unwanted adverse effects. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and impact of the Seva Stress Release acupressure protocol on stress, fatigue, pain, and vital signs of patients hospitalized for cancer treatment. Thirty patients receiving cancer treatment and experiencing stress, fatigue, and pain were recruited for the study. After obtaining informed consent, baseline data (survey and vital signs) were obtained, followed by administration of the Seva Stress Release. After the intervention, vital signs were obtained, and patients completed 2 additional surveys. After Seva, patient stress, fatigue, pain, heart rate, and respirations were significantly decreased (P = .000). Sixty-six percent of participants experienced symptom relief for at least 1 to 4 hours. Qualitative findings also indicated that patients reported better sleep and mental clarity after the intervention. The Seva protocol could be taught to nurses and be used as an independent intervention for patients experiencing adverse effects of cancer treatment, to promote comfort and reduce stress and fatigue.
OBJECTIVE: Fatigue may be cause by all cancer treatments, maybe because the tissue damage or the build-up of dead cells derived products.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: At the Mede Clinic in Sacile, Pordenone, Italy, from February 2016 to May 2018 we studied 50 patients with cancer and fatigue (15 with breast cancer, 12 with lung cancer, 11 with colon cancer, 5 with renal cancer, 3 with prostate cancer, 2 with melanoma and 2 hepatocellular carcinoma). Patients were treated with Auto Hemotransfusion (GAE) according to the SIOOT (Scientific Society of Oxygen Ozone Therapy) protocols, two times a week for one month and then twice monthly as maintenance therapy.
RESULTS: Nineteen of them were undergoing neoplastic treatment, 10 had already ended the cancer therapy and 21 were in a palliative setting. The Fatigue Severity Scale was used to assess the extent of fatigue in patients, in order to estimate the severity of the symptom with a score from 1 to 7. No side effects were found, and 35 patients (70%) achieved a significant improvement (> 50%) of the symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary data demonstrate that ozone therapy is a valid supportive therapy for fatigue in cancer patients, both during cancer therapy and in a palliative setting with no significant side effects.
BACKGROUND: Pediatric cancer-related fatigue is prevalent and significantly impairs health-related quality of life, yet its patterns and correlates are poorly understood. The objectives of this study were to describe fatigue as prospectively reported by children with advanced cancer and to identify the factors associated with fatigue and associated distress.
METHODS: Children (age =2 years) with advanced cancer (N = 104) or their parents at 3 academic hospitals reported symptoms at most weekly over 9 months using the computer-based Pediatric Quality of Life Evaluation of Symptoms Technology (PediQUEST) system. PediQUEST administered a modified version of the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (PQ-MSAS) as part of a randomized controlled trial. Clinical information was abstracted from medical records. Primary outcomes were: 1) fatigue prevalence (yes/no response to PQ-MSAS fatigue item) and 2) fatigue distress (composite score of severity, frequency, and bother). Multivariable models were constructed to identify factors independently associated with fatigue prevalence and scores reflecting fatigue distress (ie, burden).
RESULTS: Of 920 reports, 46% (n = 425) noted fatigue. When reported, fatigue was of high frequency in 41% of respondents (n = 174), severity in 25% of respondents (n = 107), and bother in 34% of respondents (n = 143). Most reports (84%; n = 358) were associated with scores indicating fatigue distress. In multivariable analyses, fatigue was associated with older age, lower hemoglobin, and distress from particular symptoms (anorexia, nausea, sleep disturbance, sadness, and irritability). In contrast, fatigue distress was associated with distress from nausea, cough, and pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue is common among children with advanced cancer and is often highly distressing. Interventions focused on uncontrolled symptoms may ease fatigue distress in children with advanced cancer.
BACKGROUND: Compassion fatigue (CF) is prevalent in healthcare professionals, particularly in those caring for chronic, acutely ill, and/or those patients who might be moving toward comfort care. Over time, CF can lead to burnout (BO) and secondary traumatic stress and an overall decrease in professional quality of life. In this pilot study, participants completed a resiliency program focused on education about CF and self-awareness of its individualized impact and were expected to develop ongoing self-care practices to prevent/address the untoward effects.
METHODS: Healthcare professionals ( N = 15) participated in a formalized educational program consisting of three 90-minute educational sessions held 2 weeks apart. Preassessment and postintervention data were collected electronically in survey format. A postprogram evaluation was also offered.
RESULTS: Upon completion of the program, participants noted an increase in compassion satisfaction (CS) and a small reduction in BO. Secondary traumatic stress remained unchanged. Feedback about the program was positive, and participants reported the impact on their clinical practice and life to be moderately high. At 6 months, over half of the participants continued to report positive impact on their personal/professional lives.
CONCLUSION: While the small sample size of this pilot study limits the generalizability of the findings, there were positive effects for CS and BO in participants over time, indicating possible benefits of providing self-care education to healthcare providers. Additional research with a larger sample size is needed to address how healthcare providers might further benefit from resiliency education and interventions to improve professional quality of life.
Background: Red blood cell transfusions are commonly used in palliative care to treat anaemia or symptoms caused by anaemia. In patients with advanced disease, there is little evidence of benefit to guide treatment decisions in the face of increased risk of harms.
Aim: To determine national transfusion practice in hospices and compare this against National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and British Society of Haematology guidelines to develop recommendations to improve practice.
Design and Setting: Prospective data collection on red blood cell transfusion practice in UK adult hospices over a 3-month census period.
Results: A total of 121/210 (58%) hospices participated. A total of 465 transfusion episodes occurred in 83 hospices. Patients had a mean age of 71 years, and 96% had cancer. Mean pre-transfusion haemoglobin was 75 g/L (standard deviation = 11.15). Anaemia of chronic disease was the largest cause of anaemia (176; 38%); potentially amenable to alternative treatments. Haematinics were not checked in 70% of patients. Alternative treatments such as B12, folate and iron were rarely used. Despite transfusion-associated circulatory overload risk, 85% of patients were not weighed, and 84% had two or more units transfused. Only 83 (18%) patients had an improvement maintained at 30 days; 142 (31%) had <14 day improvement, and 50 (11%) had no improvement. A total of 150 patients (32%) were dead at 30 days.
Conclusion: More rigorous investigation of anaemia, increased use of alternative therapies and more restrictive approach to red cell transfusions are recommended. Clinicians should discuss the limited benefit versus potentially higher risks with patients in hospice services to inform treatment decisions.
BACKGROUND: Fatigue is a common symptom in stressed individuals. Bereavement is a major life event that has been associated with impaired mental health. Little research has investigated the prevalence of fatigue and its inflammatory correlates in bereaved individuals.
OBJECTIVES: To assess fatigue prevalence and its relationship with mental health outcomes and markers of inflammation, as indexed by C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) in bereaved individuals.
METHODS: Seventy-eight-bereaved adults were examined for fatigue (SF-36 energy/vitality scale), perceived stress (PSS), depression (CES-D), sleep quality (PSQI), pain (SF-36 pain scale), and general health (SF-36 general), and their serum levels of CRP, IL-6 and TNF-a were measured. Group differences between fatigued versus non-fatigued individuals were estimated using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), with adjustment for body mass index (BMI).
RESULTS: Fatigued bereaved individuals (33%; SF-36 energy/vitality score 0–45) had significantly higher CRP levels (p < .05) as compared to non-fatigued bereaved individuals and reported higher levels of pain (p < .001), greater stress (p < .001), depression (p < .001), and sleeping problems (p < .001), as well as poorer social functioning (p < .001) and general health (p < .001) than those in the non-fatigued group. No group differences were found for IL-6 and TNF-a.
CONCLUSIONS: Fatigued bereaved individuals showed elevated systemic inflammation as measured by CRP in comparison to non-fatigued bereaved individuals. They were also more likely to report mental health problems that co-occur with fatigue in the context of immune activation. Continued research is needed to help clarify the involvement of inflammatory markers in the development of fatigue in a larger sample of bereaved adults.
La partie de l'étude "Mourir d'un cancer en démocratie sanitaire" dont il est ici question (MOCADESA, EHESS/APHP) visait à mieux connaître l'abord de la fin de vie et de la mort pour les malades du cancer. L'enquête a consisté à rencontrer des patients qui se situaient à un ou deux mois de leur mort, selon qu'ils se trouvaient dans un service d'oncologie, qu'ils étaient hospitalisés à leur domicile ou bien dans un service de soins palliatifs.
Background: Ageing populations worldwide and a concomitant increase in chronic conditions translates into an increased demand for the delivery of palliative and end of life care by nurses. This increasing demand for palliative care provision may produce stressors resulting in negative outcomes such as burnout and compassion fatigue.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to explore burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as potential protective factors, among nurses in New Zealand.
Methods: An online survey was conducted with 256 registered nurses (between January 2016 and February 2017) recruited through nursing organisations and a large tertiary level hospital. Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis of variance, Pearson correlations, and hierarchical multiple regression.
Results: Psychological empowerment and the commitment and challenge components of psychological hardiness significantly predicted lower scores for the burnout while previous palliative care education and challenge predicted lower scores for the secondary traumatic stress component of compassion fatigue. Significant predictors of compassion satisfaction included previous palliative care education, psychological empowerment and both the commitment and challenge components of psychological hardiness.
Conclusion: Nurses draw upon unique combinations of “psychological capital” to deal with caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses. Any interventions to increase nurse palliative care education uptake must be tailored to develop and support these internal resources.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Palliative care professionals are frequently exposed to stressful and demanding situations in the assistance of patients and their families, therefore research related to their quality of life is a relevant topic to provide evidence on interventions oriented to professional self-care.
RECENT FINDINGS: Research about professionals' quality of life is having a profuse development with core concepts being under review.
SUMMARY: Currently, burnout syndrome and compassion fatigue are considered relevant determinants of professionals' quality of life. Self-awareness-based interventions could bring positive influence on the context of a multidimensional approach to professionals' self-care. Self-care topics should be considered to be included in professional training programmes.
Le premier piège qui attend les accompagnants et les soignants est celui du sacrifice et de l’abnégation. Ce qui passe pour être des vertus hautement morales et spirituelles peut se transformer en piège et devenir un obstacle radical à une relation vivante. C’est un paradoxe qui aboutit à un retournement de sens, qu’on peut éclairer en prenant en compte les actions et les réactions qui gravitent autour et à l'intérieur de la relation d'aide.