Malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) is a common manifestation in patients with advanced intra-abdominal malignancy. It is especially common with bowel or gynecological cancers and produces distressing symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and pain. Medical management options are less effective than decompressive strategies for symptom control. Surgery is the gold-standard treatment but is unsuitable for most patients with high complication rates. Consensus guidelines recommend nonsurgical management with a venting gastrostomy in those unsuitable for surgery or for whom medical management is ineffective. The aim of this systematic review is to establish the safety and efficacy of percutaneous venting gastrostomy in relieving symptoms of MBO. Twenty-five studies were included in this review comprising 1194 patients. Gastrostomy insertion was successful at first attempt in 91% of cases and reduction in symptoms of nausea and vomiting was reported in 92% of cases. Mean survival following the procedure ranged from 35 to 147 days. Major complications were rare, with most complications classed as minor wound infections or leakage of fluid around the tube. Studies suggest that the presence of ascites is not an absolute contraindication to the insertion of percutaneous venting gastrostomy in patients with MBO; however, these studies lack longitudinal outcomes and complication rates related to this. However, it is reasonable to suggest that ascitic drainage is performed to reduce potential complications. There is a relative lack of good quality robust data on the utilization of percutaneous venting gastrostomy in MBO, but overall, the combination of being a safe and efficacious procedure alongside the known complication profile suggests that it should be considered a suitable management option.
In palliative care, opioids and other controlled drugs are among the most commonly used and important medications. Opioids are associated with significant risk of dependence and misuse. In many developed countries, there is an epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and overdose deaths. Palliative care has a critical role educating patients about the safe use of opioids, providing universal screening and close monitoring, and prescribing opioids appropriately balancing the risks and benefits. This is particularly important in the era of early palliative care, when patients have much longer survival and potentially greater risk of misuse while on chronic opioid therapy. Here, we provided a critical appraisal of opioid use in the context of opioid crisis and early palliative care. We also present a pragmatic 10-step approach for the judicious use of opioids.
Aim: To explore medication safety issues faced by general and palliative care community nurses working in rural and remote palliative care domiciliary settings.
Method: An online survey for nurses working in rural communities was conducted across the South East region of rural Victoria, Australia. Nurses from 18 community based health care organisations across the region were invited to participate in an anonymous survey addressing medication safety issues in the palliative care settings. Qualitative data obtained from the open-ended survey questions were analysed inductively.
Results: A total of 29 nurses completed the survey (response rate 28% from potential respondents). Most of the nurses were working in a rural practice providing a mixed model of community palliative care and community nursing. Medication safety issues raised by the nurses included; errors associated with dose administration aids, frequency of medications reviews undertaken by clinical pharmacists of clients’ medications, high occurrence of medications error reporting, lack of awareness of medications initiated by nurses and cytotoxic medications handling.
Conclusion: Targeted interventions addressing the identified issues raised by community general and palliative care nurses have the potential to improve medication safety in the domiciliary palliative care setting.
PURPOSE: The diagnosis of a terminal disease bears existential challenges, which activate the attachment system. Attachment insecurity, as well as existential resources, such as spiritual well-being, influences patients' extent of psychological distress. Knowledge about the interrelation of these constructs is limited. Based on current research, we assume spiritual well-being to mediate the association of attachment insecurity and psychological distress.
METHODS: We obtained data from the baseline measurement of a randomized controlled trial in advanced cancer patients. Patients were sampled from the University Medical Centers of Hamburg and Leipzig, Germany. Main outcome measures included the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), the Death and Dying Distress Scale (DADDS), the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being Scale (FACIT-Sp), and the Experience in Close Relationships Scale (ECR-M16) for assessing attachment insecurity. We tested the mediation hypothesis with two regression analyses using bootstrapping procedure.
RESULTS: A total of 190 patients were included. Spiritual well-being mediated the association of attachment insecurity and depression (R2 = 11%), as well as death anxiety (R2 = 15%), in fearful-avoidant attached patients. Neither dismissingly nor preoccupied attached patients differ in terms of spiritual well-being and psychological distress in comparison with secure attached patients.
CONCLUSION: Spiritual well-being plays a relevant role in advanced cancer patient's mental health through mediating the association of attachment and psychological distress. Developing a better understanding of the interdependency of the constructs of spiritual well-being and attachment can help to develop individually tailored advanced cancer care programs and psychotherapeutic interventions.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is commonly found in most conditions among patients with progressive noncancer disease.
OBJECTIVE: To clarify the effectiveness and safety of opioid administration for the treatment of dyspnea immediately before death in patients with noncancer disease.
METHODS: A retrospective case-series study involving 13 consecutive terminally ill patients who were near death and diagnosed with noncancer disease, and had refractory dyspnea and received opioid therapy, was performed. The authors investigated the route of administration, period, dosage of opioids, intensity of dyspnea-scored according to the Japanese version of the Support Team Assessment Schedule-and clinical course from a review of medical records.
RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 86.5 ± 7.6years (range: 72-98years). The primary causes of dyspnea that led to opioid administration were heart failure (n = 10) and respiratory failure (n = 3). Oxycodone was used in one patient who experienced a complication of chronic renal failure; morphine was used in the other 12 patients. The route of opioid administration was continuous infusions in 11 patients, suppository in one, and oral administration in one. The final dose of oral morphine equivalents was 20.1 ± 8.1 mg/d (range: 5-36 mg [median: 18 mg]). All patients improved in symptom score after opioid administration. The score was significantly decreased from 3.2 ± 0.7 at the beginning of opioid administration to 1.2 ± 0.6 at final estimation ( P < .001). No severe adverse events occurred.
CONCLUSIONS:: Low-dose opioid administration in patients with terminally ill noncancer improved dyspnea and occurred no severe adverse events.
Objectifs: L’implication des proches dans les soins palliatifs est considérée comme un élément essentiel de la qualité de la prise en charge du patient. Leur intégration est tributaire de leurs attentes vis à vis de l’unité de soins palliatifs et de leurs représentations des soins palliatifs. Dans un contexte où la population se dit peu informée, cette étude pilote visait à interroger la dynamique des attentes et des représentations des proches en unité de soins palliatifs dans le but d’améliorer la qualité de vie des patients et de leur famille.
Matériel et méthodes : L’approche compréhensive par une méthodologie qualitative a été privilégiée. Des entretiens semi-directifs auprès des proches ont été menés au sein d’une unité de soins palliatifs, à l’entrée puis quelques jours après.
Résultats : Huit proches de patients en soins palliatifs ont été inclus dans l’étude et deux d’entre eux ont pu participer au second entretien. Les proches témoignaient à leur entrée dans l’unité une attente commune, celle d’une prise en charge différente de celle vécue pendant les précédentes hospitalisations. Le besoin de sécurité apparaît en lien avec la crainte de l’abandon du patient et de ses proches et révèle un manque de connaissance sur le rôle de l’unité de soins palliatifs. La qualité des échanges instaurés d’emblée, grâce au premier entretien d’accueil avec le médecin, semble initier une réponse appropriée.
Conclusion: La dimension relationnelle apparaît comme un levier pour soutenir les proches dans leur besoin de sécurisation et d’informations. Une étude à plus grande échelle permettrait de comprendre davantage et plus précisément comment les proches traitent une période qui demeure insupportable et de proposer aux équipes soignantes des éléments d’une réponse mieux adaptée aux besoins et aux attentes.
BACKGROUND: Driving is a complex activity that requires physical abilities and adequate executive and cognitive functioning. There is concern among specialist palliative care services about patients continuing to drive despite having progressive incurable illnesses, comorbidities and medications to manage their symptoms.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the quality of literature available about driving that would apply to palliative care patients, specifically in relation to road test or simulated driving scores and neurocognitive testing.
METHOD: A literature search based on systematic principles was conducted on the Ovid Medline, PsycINFO, Embase and CINAHL database up to 14 October 2018. Patient populations with life-limiting illness such as cancer, cardiorespiratory and neurological diagnoses were included.
RESULTS: 37,546 articles were screened. 14 articles satisfied the search criteria. Six studies focused on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Four studies investigated driving ability in patients with Huntington's disease. The remaining four articles studied heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease and patients with cancer. In the road test studies, 19%-47% of patients with MS and Huntington's failed the behind-the-wheel assessment. The simulated driving scores in seven studies demonstrated statistically significant differences in errors made between study participants and controls. Divided attention was found in seven studies to be associated with poorer road-test or simulated driving ability.
CONCLUSIONS: This review highlights the scarcity of studies available for patients who would be known to palliative care services. For most patient groups, a battery of neurocognitive tests combined with a road-test or simulated driving assessment is still considered the best practice in determining driving safety.
BACKGROUND: Patients receiving palliative care are often at increased risk of unsafe care with the out-of-hours setting presenting particular challenges. The identification of improved ways of delivering palliative care outside working hours is a priority area for policymakers.
AIM:: To explore the nature and causes of unsafe care delivered to patients receiving palliative care from primary-care services outside normal working hours.
DESIGN: A mixed-methods cross-sectional analysis of patient safety incident reports from the National Reporting and Learning System. We characterised reports, identified by keyword searches, using codes to describe what happened, underlying causes, harm outcome, and severity. Exploratory descriptive and thematic analyses identified factors underpinning unsafe care.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS:: A total of 1072 patient safety incident reports involving patients receiving sub-optimal palliative care via the out-of-hours primary-care services.
RESULTS: Incidents included issues with: medications (n = 613); access to timely care (n = 123); information transfer (n = 102), and/or non-medication-related treatment such as pressure ulcer relief or catheter care (n = 102). Almost two-thirds of reports (n = 695) described harm with outcomes such as increased pain, emotional, and psychological distress featuring highly. Commonly identified contributory factors to these incidents were a failure to follow protocol (n = 282), lack of skills/confidence of staff (n = 156), and patients requiring medication delivered via a syringe driver (n = 80).
CONCLUSION: Healthcare systems with primary-care-led models of delivery must examine their practices to determine the prevalence of such safety issues (communication between providers; knowledge of commonly used, and access to, medications and equipment) and utilise improvement methods to achieve improvements in care.
Patient safety and quality of care are increasing concerns for healthcare internationally. This paper examines the spatial achievement of safety and wellbeing by healthcare staff, patients and their carers within UK primary care and Australian palliative care contexts. Two key socio-spatial modes of safety and wellbeing were found across these healthcare contexts. The technical mode was spatially managed by staff and driven by formal approaches to safety with a limited focus on wellbeing. In contrast, the relational mode was driven by attentiveness to the wellbeing and spatial engagement of staff, patients and carers that drew on informal elements of safety. Both modes extended across public, private, biomedical and administrative spaces, with technical and relational safety-wellbeing configurations often inhabiting the same spaces. Differences also existed across primary and palliative care contexts that reflected the unique pressures present within each context, and the ability of people and places to adapt to these demands. In the context of increasing workloads in healthcare internationally, this study highlights the benefits of attending as much to the relational dimensions of safety and quality of care as to the technical ones through increased focus on the safety and wellbeing of healthcare staff, patients and carers within and beyond traditional sites of care.
I hate being asked this question: after all, what exactly is meant by safe? How safe does this need to be? Much as I dodge it though, it doesn't stop people from asking. Sometimes, it is just a way to express concern about the patient's social situation and how that might affect his or her health. And sometimes, it is about much more.
There is a need for guiding theory to understand the experiences and outcomes of bereaved siblings, particularly from a family systems framework. The present study investigated the relevance of emotional security theory in a sample of 72 young adults who experienced sibling bereavement. We investigated (1) whether perceptions of prolonged parental grief predicted key aspects of emotional security (disengagement, preoccupation, and security), and (2) whether emotional security mediated a relation between perceptions of prolonged parental grief and young adult emotional functioning. Results supported the potential utility of emotional security theory as a theoretical framework for understanding sibling bereavement.
BACKGROUND: Olanzapine as an antiemetic represents a new use of an antipsychotic drug. People with cancer may experience nausea and vomiting whilst receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or whilst in the palliative phase of illness.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy and safety of olanzapine when used as an antiemetic in the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting related to cancer in adults.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE and Embase for published data on 20th September 2017, as well as ClinicalTrials.gov and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for unpublished trials. We checked reference lists, and contacted experts in the field and study authors.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of olanzapine versus any comparator with or without adjunct therapies for the prevention or treatment, or both, of nausea or vomiting in people with cancer aged 18 years or older, in any setting, of any duration, with at least 10 participants per treatment arm.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane methodology. We used GRADE to assess quality of evidence for each main outcome. We extracted data for absence of nausea or vomiting and frequency of serious adverse events as primary outcomes. We extracted data for patient perception of treatment, other adverse events, somnolence and fatigue, attrition, nausea or vomiting severity, breakthrough nausea and vomiting, rescue antiemetic use, and nausea and vomiting as secondary outcomes at specified time points.
MAIN RESULTS: We included 14 RCTs (1917 participants) from high-, middle- and low-income countries, representing over 24 different cancers. Thirteen studies were in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Oral olanzapine was administered during highly emetogenic (HEC) or moderately emetogenic (MEC) chemotherapy (12 studies); chemoradiotherapy (one study); or palliation (one study). Eight studies await classification and 13 are ongoing.The main comparison was olanzapine versus placebo/no treatment. Other comparisons were olanzapine versus NK1 antagonist, prokinetic, 5-HT3 antagonist or dexamethasone.We assessed all but one study as having one or more domains that were at high risk of bias. Eight RCTs with fewer than 50 participants per treatment arm, and 10 RCTs with issues related to blinding, were at high risk of bias. We downgraded GRADE assessments due to imprecision, inconsistency and study limitations. Olanzapine versus placebo/no treatment Primary outcomes Olanzapine probably doubles the likelihood of no nausea or vomiting during chemotherapy from 25% to 50% (risk ratio (RR) 1.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.59 to 2.47; 561 participants; 3 studies; solid tumours; HEC or MEC therapy; moderate-quality evidence) when added to standard therapy. Number needed to treat for additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) was 5 (95% CI 3.3 - 6.6).It is uncertain if olanzapine increases the risk of serious adverse events (absolute risk difference 0.7% more, 95% CI 0.2 to 5.2) (RR 2.46, 95% CI 0.48 to 12.55; 7 studies, 889 participants, low-quality evidence).Secondary outcomes. Four studies reported patient perception of treatment. One study (48 participants) reported no difference in patient preference. Four reported quality of life but data were insufficient for meta-analysis. Olanzapine may increase other adverse events (RR 1.71, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.96; 332 participants; 4 studies; low-quality evidence) and probably increases somnolence and fatigue compared to no treatment or placebo (RR 2.33, 95% CI 1.30 to 4.18; anticipated absolute risk 8.2% more, 95% CI 1.9 to 18.8; 464 participants; 5 studies; moderate-quality evidence). Olanzapine probably does not affect all-cause attrition (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.73; 943 participants; 8 studies; I² = 0%). We are uncertain if olanzapine increases attrition due to adverse events (RR 3.00, 95% CI 0.13 to 70.16; 422 participants; 6 studies). No participants withdrew due to lack of efficacy. We are uncertain if olanzapine reduces breakthrough nausea and vomiting (RR 0.38, 95% CI 0.10 to 1.47; 501 participants; 2 studies; I² = 54%) compared to placebo or no treatment. No studies reported 50% reduction in severity of nausea or vomiting, use of rescue antiemetics, or attrition.We are uncertain of olanzapine's efficacy in reducing acute nausea or vomiting. Olanzapine probably reduces delayed nausea (RR 1.71, 95% CI 1.40 to 2.09; 585 participants; 3 studies) and vomiting (RR 1.28, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.42; 702 participants; 5 studies).Subgroup analysis: 5 mg versus 10 mg. Planned subgroup analyses found that it is unclear if 5 mg is as effective an antiemetic as 10 mg. There is insufficient evidence to exclude the possibility that 5 mg may confer a lower risk of somnolence and fatigue than 10 mg.Other comparisons One study (20 participants) compared olanzapine versus NK1 antagonists. We observed no difference in any reported outcomes.One study (112 participants) compared olanzapine versus a prokinetic (metoclopramide), reporting that olanzapine may increase freedom from overall nausea (RR 2.95, 95% CI 1.73 to 5.02) and overall vomiting (RR 3.03, 95% CI 1.78 to 5.14). One study (62 participants) examined olanzapine versus 5-HT3 antagonists, reporting olanzapine may increase the likelihood of 50% or greater reduction in nausea or vomiting at 48 hours (RR 1.82, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.97) and 24 hours (RR 1.36, 95% CI 0.80 to 2.34). One study (229 participants) compared olanzapine versus dexamethasone, reporting that olanzapine may reduce overall nausea (RR 1.73, 95% CI 1.37 to 2.18), overall vomiting (RR 1.27, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.48), delayed nausea (RR 1.66, 95% CI 1.33 to 2.08) and delayed vomiting (RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.45).
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is moderate-quality evidence that oral olanzapine probably increases the likelihood of not being nauseous or vomiting during chemotherapy from 25% to 50% in adults with solid tumours, in addition to standard therapy, compared to placebo or no treatment. There is uncertainty whether it increases serious adverse events. It may increase the likelihood of other adverse events, probably increasing somnolence and fatigue. There is uncertainty about relative benefits and harms of 5 mg versus 10 mg. We identified only RCTs describing oral administration. The findings of this review cannot be extrapolated to provide evidence about the efficacy and safety of any injectable form (intravenous, intramuscular or subcutaneous) of olanzapine.
BACKGROUND: In rural settings, relationships between place and self are often stronger than for urban residents, so one may expect that rural people would view dying at home as a major feature of the 'good death'.
AIM: To explore the concept of the 'good death' articulated by rural patients with life-limiting illnesses, and their family caregivers.
DESIGN: Ethnography, utilising open-ended interviews, observations and field-notes.
PARTICIPANTS: In total, 12 rural (town and farm) patients with life-limiting illnesses, 18 family caregivers and 6 clinicians, in the Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales, Australia, participated in this study over the course of the deaths of the patients. Interviews were transcribed and analysed with observational data using an emergent thematic process.
RESULTS: A 'safe death' was central to a 'good death' and was described as a death in which one could maintain (1) a connection with one's previous identity; (2) autonomy and control over decisions regarding management of end-of-life care and (3) not being overwhelmed by the physical management of the dying process. For all participants, the preferred place of death was the 'safe place', regardless of its physical location.
CONCLUSION: Safety, in this study, is related to a familiar place for death. A home death is not essential for and does not ensure a 'good death'. We all have a responsibility to ensure all places for dying can deliver the 'safe death'. Future research could explore the inter-relationships between safety and preference for home or home-like places of death.
Purpose: Treatment strategies in palliation of pediatric cancer remain a significant challenge. In this study, we aimed to assess efficacy and safety of a short course of hypofractionated RT for metastatic, or recurrent childhood tumors.
Methods and Materials: A total of 104 lesions in 62 pediatric patients with metastatic or recurrent cancer were treated with a short hypofractionation schedule (>1 but =5 fractions; =3 Gy per fraction) between 2007 and 2017 in our institution. Primary endpoint was local control (LC). Other endpoints included treatment response, overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and toxicity. Toxicities were assessed using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v.4.0.
Results: The most common histologies were neuroblastoma - 50 (48.1%), osteosarcoma - 17 (16.4%), and Ewing sarcoma - 13 (12.5%). A median total dose of 24 Gy was delivered in a median of 5 fractions. Out of 104 lesions, 26 (25.0%) were treated with SBRT, 24 (23.1%) – IMRT, 48 (46.2%) – 2D or 3D-CRT. Complete/partial response was observed in 63 (60.6%) lesions, stable disease - in 34 (32.7%). At a median follow-up of 8.7 months, there were 21 (20.2%) local failures. The 1- and 2-year LC rates were 74% and 68%, respectively. LC was better for tumors without prior irradiation 83% vs 57% with prior RT (p=0.004). LC rates did not differ between RT techniques, or total BED10 (=30 vs >30 Gy). At the time of analysis, 38 (61.3%) deaths were recorded. The 1-year PFS and OS rates were 31% and 44%, respectively. Incidence of any grade =3 toxicity was 6.7% (7 of 104). There were no grade 5 events.
Conclusions: Short hypofractionation scheme yields effective disease control and treatment response with favorable side effect profile. Select pediatric patients with symptomatic metastases or recurrent disease can be considered for a short course of palliative RT.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care patients often do not have decision-making capacity at the end of life so this patient group is vulnerable to violations of patient safety.
AIM: To determine the attitudes of nurses in palliative care centres in Turkey towards the patient safety culture and to identify factors affecting these.
METHOD: A descriptive, cross-sectional design using self-report questionnaires was used.
RESULTS: The mean Patient Safety Culture Scale points of the whole group were 2.91 ± 0.44. In the sub-dimensions of the scale, the highest points were determined in Employee Training (2.99 ± 0.51) and the lowest in Unexpected Events and Error Reporting (2.81 ± 0.54).
CONCLUSIONS: Patient safety culture is related to nurses' working conditions and the attitude of management towards errors, etc. The results of this study will provide a contribution to the development of healthcare and healthcare training policies for critical units vulnerable to patient safety violations.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is common in interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients and often refractory to conventional treatment. Little is known regarding the safety of systemic morphine in ILD patients.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to evaluate the safety of a single subcutaneous morphine injection and to determine the recommended dose of morphine for alleviating dyspnea in ILD patients.
DESIGN: We conducted a dose-escalation Phase I study for investigating the recommended dose of a single subcutaneous morphine injection to alleviate dyspnea in ILD patients.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Eligible subjects were ILD inpatients with dyspnea at rest who were refractory to conventional dyspnea treatment. The morphine doses used were 1 mg and 2 mg in cohort 1 and cohort 2, respectively. The primary endpoint was dose-limiting toxicity, which was defined as (1) respiratory depression, that is, 30% reduction of respiratory rate and 10 Torr increase of PaCO2 compared with baseline; (2) hypotension, that is, 20% reduction of systemic blood pressure compared with baseline and presentation of hypotension-related symptoms; or (3) grade 3, 4, or 5 treatment-emergent adverse events graded by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (version 4).
RESULTS: A total of six patients were enrolled, with three patients each in cohorts 1 and 2. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed; three patients experienced worsened somnolence, but no patients experienced sedation.
CONCLUSION: We conclude that 2 mg of morphine has a tolerable safety profile in ILD patients with dyspnea, and can be tested in further clinical trials.
BACKGROUND: Patients receiving palliative care are vulnerable to patient safety incidents but little is known about the extent of harm caused or the origins of unsafe care in this population.
AIM: To quantify and qualitatively analyse serious incident reports in order to understand the causes and impact of unsafe care in a population receiving palliative care.
DESIGN: A mixed-methods approach was used. Following quantification of type of incidents and their location, a qualitative analysis using a modified framework method was used to interpret themes in reports to examine the underlying causes and the nature of resultant harms.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Reports to a national database of 'serious incidents requiring investigation' involving patients receiving palliative care in the National Health Service (NHS) in England during the 12-year period, April 2002 to March 2014.
RESULTS: A total of 475 reports were identified: 266 related to pressure ulcers, 91 to medication errors, 46 to falls, 21 to healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs), 18 were other instances of disturbed dying, 14 were allegations against health professions, 8 transfer incidents, 6 suicides and 5 other concerns. The frequency of report types differed according to the care setting. Underlying causes included lack of palliative care experience, under-resourcing and poor service coordination. Resultant harms included worsened symptoms, disrupted dying, serious injury and hastened death.
CONCLUSION: Unsafe care presents a risk of significant harm to patients receiving palliative care. Improvements in the coordination of care delivery alongside wider availability of specialist palliative care support may reduce this risk.
BACKGROUND: Delirium in patients with terminal cancer is irreversible and increases treatment resistance, which leads to a deterioration in quality of life.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate factors affecting the effectiveness and safety of intravenous chlorpromazine for irreversible delirium in patients with terminal cancer.
DESIGN/MEASUREMENTS: Multiple regression analysis for factors affecting treatment effectiveness was carried out based on a retrospective comparison between responders and nonresponders to intravenous chlorpromazine.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Ninety-seven patients with terminal cancer who were treated with intravenous chlorpromazine for irreversible delirium were included.
RESULTS: The rate of patients with =50% improvement in mean Nursing Delirium Screening Scale score from pretreatment to day three of chlorpromazine treatment was 0.48 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.38–0.58). Factors affecting chlorpromazine treatment effectiveness were hyperactive delirium (odds ratio [OR]: 6.25, 95% CI: 1.14–34.5) and longer survival (OR: 1.096, 95% CI: 1.05–1.14). The mean chlorpromazine dose was low, at 17.9 mg/day. Adverse events were reported in 11 patients (11.3%) by day three of chlorpromazine treatment, and all were observed in patients who survived less than two weeks after chlorpromazine treatment. Patients who died, who had decreased blood pressure during chlorpromazine administration, and who showed acute akathisia all displayed shock index =1.
CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous administration of low-dose chlorpromazine may be an effective and safe treatment option for delirium in patients with terminal cancer who have hyperactive delirium, longer predictive prognosis, and shock index <1.
BACKGROUND: Opioid errors have the potential to cause significant patient harm. These high-risk medications are used in high volumes in palliative care services to manage pain and other symptoms. Palliative patients are at greater risk of harm from opioid errors, as they are generally older and taking numerous medications to manage multiple comorbidities. Understanding factors contributing to opioid errors in inpatient palliative care services is a largely underexplored, yet, essential aspect of patient safety.
OBJECTIVE: To explore and identify the characteristics and associated contributing factors of reported opioid errors in palliative care inpatient services using a multi-incident analysis framework.
DESIGN: A multi-incident analysis of opioid errors reported over three years in two Australian specialist palliative care inpatient services.
RESULTS: A total of 78 opioid errors were reported. The majority (76%) of these errors occurred during opioid administration, primarily due to omitted dose (34%) and wrong dose (17%) errors. Eighty-five percent of reported errors reached the patient resulting in opioid underdose for over half (59%) of these patients. Over one-third (37%) of errors caused patient harm, which required clinical intervention. Error contributing factors included the following: noncompliance with policy; individual factors such as distraction; poor clinical communication systems; and workload.
CONCLUSIONS: This multi-incident analysis has provided initial insights into factors contributing to opioid errors in palliative care inpatient services. Further exploration is warranted to understand palliative care clinicians' perspectives of systems, individual, and patient factors that influence safe opioid delivery processes.