AIMS: To evaluate the effectiveness of a two-session multicomponent family strengths- oriented therapeutic conversation intervention among family caregivers of an individual with advanced/final stage cancer during ongoing palliative home-care.
BACKGROUND: Family caregivers of patients in the advanced/final phases of cancer, experience multifaceted psychological distress and morbidity. Psychosocial interventions improve the well-being of family members who are caring for their close relative.
DESIGN: A pre-experimental design with a one-group pre-test/posttests measurements.
METHODS: Forty-eight family caregivers were assigned to receive two 60-90 min sessions of the intervention. The primary outcome was perceived emotional and cognitive support and psychological well-being, measured at baseline (T1). Then the participants were offered the first session of the intervention. About one week later, the second session was administered. The participants answered the same questionnaires again (T2) and then 2-4 weeks later (T3). The guideline; Criteria for Reporting Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions 2, guided the reporting of the study.
RESULTS: Family caregivers reported significantly higher emotional and cognitive support post-intervention (T2) and (T3). They also reported significantly reduced stress symptoms at (T3) and reduced caregiver burden post-intervention (T2) and at (T3).
CONCLUSION: The provision of the intervention contributed to extending knowledge about the usefulness of family conversations in the context of advanced/final stage cancer care.
IMPACT: There is a lack of knowledge regarding the benefit of therapeutic conversations interventions for family caregivers. The therapeutic conversation intervention offered, resulted in perceived support, decreased stress and decreased caregiving demands among caregivers in palliative home-care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Alors qu'elle s'apprêtait à profiter d'un week-end romantique pour célébrer le troisième anniversaire de sa guérison, Daisy reçoit une terrible nouvelle : elle est atteinte d'un nouveau cancer en phase terminale. La mort est une perspective effrayante ; abandonner Jack, son mari brillant mais adorablement démuni face à la vie, l'est encore plus. Daisy se lance donc avec acharnement dans la quête de la femme idéale pour qu'après son départ, Jack ne se retrouve pas seul.
Mais lorsque l'image de son mari avec une autre ne devient que trop réelle, Daisy devra choisir ce qui compte le plus pour elle dans les quelques mois qu'il lui reste : son propre bonheur ou celui de Jack...
PURPOSE: Patients with advanced cancer can experience debilitating physical symptoms, making participation in exercise programs difficult. This systematic review investigated the recruitment, adherence, and attrition rates of patients with advanced cancer participating in exercise interventions and examined components of exercise programs that may affect these rates.
METHODS: Relevant studies were identified in a systematic search of CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, and EMBASE to December 2017. Two quality assessment tools were used, and levels of evidence were assigned according to the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) guidelines.
RESULTS: The search identified 18 studies published between 2004 and 2017. Recruitment, adherence, and attrition rates varied widely among the studies reviewed. The mean recruitment rate was 49% (standard deviation [SD] = 17; range 15-74%). Patient-reported barriers to recruitment included time constraints and difficulties in traveling to exercise centers. Levels of adherence ranged from 44% to 95%; however, the definition of adherence varied substantially among trials. The average attrition rate was 24% (SD = 8; range 10-42%), with progression of disease status reported as the main cause for dropout during exercise interventions.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Concentrated efforts are needed to increase the numbers of patients with advanced disease recruited to exercise programs. Broadening the eligibility criteria for exercise interventions may improve accrual numbers of patients with advanced cancer to exercise trials and ensure patients recruited are representative of clinical practice.
Cancer family history is not systematically assessed during the cancer care trajectory. Palliative care may emerge as the last opportunity for health professionals to collect, from dying cancer patients, family history and biological samples that could inform relatives’ cancer risk assessment and management. At-risk relatives can then be offered genetic counseling and testing and preventive strategies if needed. Discussions on cancer heritability between patients, family members, and providers may become more frequent in palliative care due to increasing public awareness about advances in genomics and risks associated with a cancer family history.
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BACKGROUND: Intervention trials confirm that patients with advanced cancer receiving early palliative care experience a better quality of life and show improved knowledge about and use of palliative care services. To involve patients in future health-care decisions, health professionals should understand patients' perspectives. However, little is known about how patients' experience such interventions.
AIM: To explore advanced cancer patients' experiences with a structured early palliative care intervention, its acceptability and impact on the patients' life including influencing factors.
DESIGN: Qualitative content analysis of in-depth, semi-structured interviews.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Patients with various advanced cancer diagnoses were enrolled in a multicenter randomized controlled trial (NCT01983956), which investigated the impact of "Symptoms, End-of-life decisions, Network, Support," a structured early palliative care intervention, on distress. Of these, 20 patients who underwent the intervention participated in this study.
RESULTS: Participants received the intervention well and gained a better understanding of their personal situation. Patients reported that the intervention can feel "confronting" but with the right timing it can be confirming and facilitate family conversations. Patients' personal background and the intervention timing within their personal disease trajectory influenced their emotional and cognitive experiences; it also impacted their understanding of palliative care and triggered actions toward future care planning.
CONCLUSION: Early palliative care interventions like "Symptoms, End-of-life decisions, Network, Support" may provoke emotions and feel "confrontational" often because this is the first time when issues about one's end of life are openly discussed; yet, advanced cancer patients found it beneficial and felt it should be incorporated into routine care.
OBJECTIVE: Thiamine deficiency (TD) is recognized in various kinds of disease with associated loss of appetite including cancer. However, it has not been recognized to date in bereaved partners after spousal loss from cancer.
METHOD: From a series of bereaved partners who lost a spouse to cancer, we report on those who developed TD after bereavement. ResultCase 1 was a 57-year-old woman who sought consultation at our "bereavement clinic." Her husband had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer one year earlier and had died one month previously. At the first visit, she was observed to suffer depression, anxiety, and decreased appetite. Neurological, blood, and biochemical examinations did not reveal any noteworthy findings. She was diagnosed with uncomplicated bereavement. Detailed examination revealed that her appetite had been markedly decreased for approximately five weeks. The diagnosis of TD was supported by her abnormally low serum thiamine level. Case 2 was a bereaved 73-year-old male who had lost his wife to hypopharyngeal cancer one month previously after a five-year illness. He had shown a lack of energy for the month preceding his wife's death, but because there was no improvement after her death, his family recommended he seek consultation at our "bereavement clinic." He was suffering from major depressive disorder. Detailed examination revealed that his appetite had been decreased for more than two weeks. Again, the diagnosis of TD was supported by his abnormally low serum thiamine level.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: These reports demonstrate that there is a possibility that bereaved could develop TD after the loss of a loved one. TD should be considered whenever there is a loss of appetite lasting for more than 2 weeks, and medical staff should pay careful attention to the physical condition of the bereaved to prevent complications because of TD.
OBJECTIVE: To select outcomes and indicators of the Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC), in order to assess patients with cancer under palliative care with Acute and Chronic Pain Nursing Diagnoses; and to construct the conceptual and operational definitions of the indicators.
METHOD: Expert opinion study and literature review. The sample consisted of 13 experts. The data collection was in own tool applied in face-to-face meeting and by e-mail. In the analysis of the data, it was considered between 75% and 100% of agreement.
RESULTS: Eight outcomes and 19 indicators were selected. The results with higher scores were Pain Level, Pain Control and Client Satisfaction: Pain Management. For all indicators selected, conceptual and operational definitions were constructed.
CONCLUSION: The selection of results and priority indicators for the assessment of pain in palliative care, as well as the construction of its definitions, will support clinical practice.
OBJECTIVE: Clinicians frequently overestimate survival time among seriously ill patients, and this can result in medical treatment at end of life that does not reflect the patient's preferences. Little is known, however, about the sources of clinicians' optimistic bias in survival estimation. Related work in social networks and experimental psychology demonstrates that psychological states-such as optimism-can transfer from one person to another.
METHODS: We directly observed and audio recorded 189 initial inpatient palliative care consultations among hospitalized patients with advanced cancer. Patients self-reported their level of trait optimism and expectations for survival prognosis prior to the palliative care consultation, and the palliative care clinicians rated their expectations for the patient's survival time following the initial conversation with the patient. We followed patient mortality for 6 months.
RESULTS: Patient optimism was associated with clinician overestimation of their survival in a dose-response relationship. Clinicians were approximately three times as likely to overestimate the survival of patients endorsing both high trait optimism and optimistic ratings of their survival time compared with neither (OR: 2.95; 95% CI: 1.24-7.02). This association was not attenuated by adjustment for age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, income, cancer type, functional status, quality of life, or white blood cell count (ORadj : 3.45; 95% CI: 1.24-9.66).
CONCLUSION: Patients' optimism may have some influence over their clinicians' prognostic judgments.
BACKGROUND: Inadequate description of palliative care cancer patients in research studies often leads to results having limited generalizability. To standardize the description of the sample, the European Association for Palliative Care basic data set was developed, with 31 core demographic and disease-related variables.
AIM: To pilot test the data set to check acceptability, comprehensibility and feasibility.
DESIGN: International, multi-centre pilot study at nine study sites in five European countries, using mixed methods.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Adult cancer patients and staff in palliative care units, hospices and home care.
RESULTS: In all, 191 patients (544 screened) and 190 health care personnel were included. Median time to fill in the patient form was 5 min and the health care personnel form was 7 min. Ethnicity was the most challenging item for patients and requires decisions at a national level about whether or how to include. Health care personnel found weight loss, principal diagnosis, additional diagnoses and stage of non-cancer diseases most difficult to respond to. Registration of diagnoses will be changed from International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th version code to a predefined list, while weight loss and stage of non-cancer diseases will be removed. The pilot study has led to rewording of items, improvement in response options and shortening of the data set to 29 items.
CONCLUSION: Pilot testing of the first version of the European Association for Palliative Care basic data set confirmed that patients and health care personnel understand the questions in a consistent manner and can answer within an acceptable timeframe. The pilot testing has led to improvement, and the new version is now subject to further testing.
Background: Pain remains one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of advanced cancer. To date, there is a lack of studies on pain and its treatment among Malaysian palliative care patients.
Objective: This study aimed to explore the prevalence of pain and its treatment outcomes among adult cancer patients admitted to a palliative care unit in Sabah, Malaysia.
Methods: Of 327 patients screened (01/09/15-31/12/17), 151 patients with assessed self-reported pain scores based on the numerical rating scale of 0-10 (current, worst and least pain within the past 24 hours) upon admission (baseline), 24, 48 and 72 hours post-admission and discharge were included. Pain severity and pain score reductions were analysed among those who experienced pain upon admission or in the past 24 hours. Treatment adequacy was measured by the Pain Management Index (PMI) among discharged patients. The PMI was constructed upon worst scores categorised as 0 (no pain), 1 (1-4, mild pain), 2 (5-6, moderate pain), or 3 (7-10, severe pain) which is then subtracted from the most potent level of prescribed analgesic drug scored as 0 (no analgesia), 1 (non-opioid), 2 (weak opioid) or 3 (strong opioid). PMI =0 indicated adequate treatment.
Results: Upon admission, 61.1% [95%CI 0.54:0.69] of 151 patients presented with pain. Of 123 patients who experienced pain upon admission or in the past 24 hours, 82.1% had moderate to severe worst pain. Throughout patients' ward stay until discharge, there was an increased prescribing of analgesics and adjuvants compared to baseline, excluding weak opioids, with strong opioids as the mainstay treatment. For all pain score types (current, worst and least pain within the past 24 hours), means decreased at each time point (24, 48 and 72 hours post-admission and discharge) from baseline, with a significant decrease at 24 hours post-admission (p<0.001). Upon discharge (n=100), treatment adequacy significantly improved (PMI=0 100% versus 68% upon admission, p<0.001).
Conclusions: Accounting for pain's dynamic nature, there was a high prevalence of pain among cancer patients in the palliative care unit. Continuous efforts incorporating comprehensive pain assessments, evidence-based treatments and patient education are necessary to provide adequate pain relief and end-of-life comfort care.
Background: An international panel achieved consensus on 9 need-based and 2 time-based major referral criteria to identify patients appropriate for outpatient palliative care referral. To better understand the operational characteristics of these criteria, we examined the proportion and timing of patients who met these referral criteria at our Supportive Care Clinic.
Methods: We retrieved data on consecutive patients with advanced cancer who were referred to our Supportive Care Clinic between January 1, 2016, and February 18, 2016. We examined the proportion of patients who met each major criteria and its timing.
Results: Among 200 patients (mean age 60, 53% female), the median overall survival from outpatient palliative care referral was 14 (95% confidence interval 9.2, 17.5) months. A majority (n = 170, 85%) of patients met at least 1 major criteria; specifically, 28%, 30%, 20%, and 8% met 1, 2, 3, and = 4 criteria, respectively. The most commonly met need-based criteria were severe physical symptoms (n = 140, 70%), emotional symptoms (n = 36, 18%), decision-making needs (n = 26, 13%), and brain/leptomeningeal metastases (n = 25, 13%). For time-based criteria, 54 (27%) were referred within 3 months of diagnosis of advanced cancer and 63 (32%) after progression from = 2 lines of palliative systemic therapy. The median duration from patient first meeting any criterion to palliative care referral was 2.4 (interquartile range 0.1, 8.6) months.
Conclusions: Patients were referred early to our palliative care clinic and a vast majority (85%) of them met at least one major criteria. Standardized referral based on these criteria may facilitate even earlier referral.
PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine the impact of advanced care planning (ACP) on potentially avoidable hospital admissions at the end of life (EOL) among a sample of hospice-referred patients with cancer, in order to present actionable considerations for the practicing clinician.
METHODS: This study was designed as a retrospective cohort using electronic health record data that assessed likelihood of hospital admissions in the last 30 days of life for 1185 patients with a primary diagnosis of cancer, referred to hospice between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015, at a large academic medical center. Inverse probability treatment weighting based on calculated propensity scores balanced measured covariates between those with and without ACP at baseline. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated from estimated potential outcome means for the impact of ACP on admissions in the last 30 days of life.
RESULTS: A verified do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order prior to the last 30 days of life was associated with reduced odds of admission compared to those without a DNR (OR = 0.30; P < .001). An ACP note in the problem list prior to the last 30 days of life was associated with reduced odds of admission compared to those without an ACP note (OR = 0.71, P = .042), and further reduced odds if done 6 months prior to death (OR = 0.35, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that dedicated ACP documentation is associated with fewer admissions in the last 30 days of life for patients with advanced cancer referred to hospice. Improving ACP processes prior to hospice referral holds promise for reducing EOL admissions.
BACKGROUND: Aggressive end-of-life (EOL) care is associated with lower quality of life and greater regret about treatment decisions. Higher EOL costs are also associated with lower quality EOL care. Advance care planning and goals-of-care conversations ("EOL discussions") may influence EOL health-care utilization and costs among persons with cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To describe associations among EOL discussions, health-care utilization and place of death, and costs in persons with advanced cancer and explore variation in study measures.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL. Twenty quantitative studies published between January 2012 and January 2019 were included.
RESULTS: End-of-life discussions are associated with lower health-care costs in the last 30 days of life (median US$1048 vs US$23482; P < .001); lower likelihood of acute care at EOL (odds ratio [(OR] ranging 0.43-0.69); lower likelihood of intensive care at EOL (ORs ranging 0.26-0.68); lower odds of chemotherapy near death (ORs 0.41, 0.57); lower odds of emergency department use and shorter length of hospital stay; greater use of hospice (ORs ranging 1.79 to 6.88); and greater likelihood of death outside the hospital. Earlier EOL discussions (30+ days before death) are more strongly associated with less aggressive care outcomes than conversations occurring near death.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life discussions are associated with less aggressive, less costly EOL care. Clinicians should initiate these discussions with patients having cancer earlier to better align care with preferences.
The objectives of the study were to evaluate the relationship between depression, preparatory grief, and loss of dignity in patients with advanced cancer and whether depression has a mediator and/or a mediator role between preparatory grief and dignity. The participants were 120 patients with advanced cancer who completed the Greek version of the Patient Dignity Inventory, the Greek Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Preparatory Grief in Advanced Cancer Patients questionnaire. Depression was highly correlated with preparatory grief and loss of dignity. Additionally, strong relationship was found between preparatory grief and loss of dignity. Mediation analyses revealed that preparatory grief influenced loss of dignity as well as indirectly by its effect on depression. However, there was not any affect of depression as moderator. The effect of depression on preparatory grief in patients with advanced cancer and dignity emphasizing the need for further research to confirm the current relationship as well as the need for treatment of depression.
IMPORTANCE: The Engagement of Patients with Advanced Cancer (EPAC), comprised of a lay health worker (LHW) who assists patients with advance care planning, is an effective intervention for improving patient experiences and reducing acute care use and total health-care costs. The objective of this study was to assess patients' and caregivers' experiences with the intervention.
METHODS: We invited all patients enrolled in EPAC and their caregivers to complete an 8-item survey at the end of the intervention and a random 35% sample to participate in a qualitative interview to assess their experiences. At 15-month follow-up, we invited all caregivers of patients who died during the study to participate in a qualitative interview. We analyzed survey responses using bivariate methods and recorded, transcribed, and analyzed interviews using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients were alive at completion of the intervention and all 30 identified caregivers completed the survey. All viewed the intervention as a critical part of cancer care and recommended the intervention for other patients. In qualitative interviews, among 30 patients, all reported improved comfort in discussing their end-of-life care preferences. In qualitative interviews with 24 bereaved caregivers, all viewed the intervention as critical in ensuring that their loved ones' wishes were adhered to at the end of life.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Incorporating an LHW into end-of-life cancer care is an approach supported and viewed as highly effective in improving care by patients and caregivers. The LHW-led EPAC intervention is one solution that can significantly impact patient and caregiver experiences.
BACKGROUND: Advanced cancer patients' end-of-life care preferences in oncology units, medical-surgical units, nursing homes and palliative care services have been established. However, less is known about end-of-life care preferences of patients with advanced cancer in intensive care units and their families.
AIM: To explore end-of-life care preferences of patients with advanced cancer and their families in intensive care units and if these align with essential elements for end-of-life care.
DESIGN: Electronic databases were searched up to February 2018. Reference lists of retrieved articles were screened for potential studies.
RESULTS: A total of 112 full text articles were retrieved. Of these, 12 articles reporting outcomes from 10 studies were eligible for inclusion. The majority were retrospective chart reviews (n = 7) and conducted in developed countries (n = 9). Care preferences change over time with deteriorating physical condition. Ongoing patient-centred communication and shared decision-making are critical as is teamwork and involvement of a palliative care team. Marital status, gender and ethnicity appear to influence care preferences. Of those studies examining patient preferences and/or the receiving of their preferences, these could be aligned with approximately half of the Australian essential elements for end-of-life care.
CONCLUSIONS: Providing end-of-life care for patients with advanced cancer in intensive care units is challenging. No studies have investigated prospectively the end-of-life care preferences of patients and their families in this acute setting. Further research is required to determine the elements of care preferences for patients with advanced cancer and their families in intensive care units in developing countries.
This longitudinal nonheroic narrative study allows familiarity with personal and societal transitions in the self-identity of individuals with life-threatening cancer. The theoretical anchor is Bion's container-contained theory. Five interviews with a terminally ill hospitalized male in his 30s were conducted along intervals of between 6 and 8 weeks, up to 2 months before his death. Data were analyzed using the selection mechanisms method. Findings provide insights about the hospitalization experience, his grief, and disenfranchised grief. A rigid mode of container-contained relationships with clinicians created disenfranchised grief. Reflection and coherence among self-identities lead to inner strength and emotional growth despite the body's deterioration. Clinicians have a role in holistic identity transitions of individuals with cancer. Findings illuminate practical recommendations that clinicians may adopt to improve the experience of individuals suffering from cancer at the chronic and terminal phase of illness.
BACKGROUND: Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, causing a substantial economic burden on cancer suffers and their families. The aim of this study is to explore the prevalence, determinants and consequences of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) among urban and rural end-of-life (EOF) cancer patients in China.
METHODS: Using respondent-driven sampling and face-to-face interviews, field research was conducted with a specialist questionnaire. Data were collected on 792 cancer patients who died between June 2013 and June 2016 in China. The determinants of household catastrophic expenditure were identified by multivariate logistic regression.
FINDINGS: It is found that more than 80% of cancer patients received life-extending treatment. Extremely high rates of CHE were identified among EOL cancer patients, at 94.3% for urban families and 96.1% for rural families. After spending for health, 84.1% of urban and 91.1% rural EOL cancer patient households were impoverished, falling below the poverty line. For both urban and rural households, income was the most significant factor associated with catastrophic health expenditure (CHE). Health insurance did not adequately compensate for CHE. Rural families experienced higher CHE, lower levels of health care utilization, a different mix of health care access and higher rates of borrowing for out-of-pocket (OOP) health care expenditures than urban families. Both urban and rural households suffered long-term economic disadvantage due to CHE and borrowing for OOP medical care expenses.
CONCLUSIONS: EOL cancer patients experienced severe CHE, with families forced into poverty. With only about 1% of EOL cancer patients receiving palliative care, developing palliative care services and expanding the acceptance of palliative care in China is both urgent and essential. To help address impoverishment due to CHE, China should also develop targeted programs to reduce income inequality, especially rural-urban inequalities; increase access to health care; and accelerate health reform. Increasing the retirement age would provide households with more savings and wealth to withstand CHE.
INTRODUCTION: Anxiety is a common symptom in the palliative phase, and symptom management depends on the competencies of individual professionals. This study aims to get insight into the needs of anxious hospice patients with advanced cancer regarding support.
METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were performed in admitted hospice patients with cancer. Patients admitted from May 2017 till May 2018 were eligible whether or not they were anxious. Interviews were analyzed and coded within predefined topics.
RESULTS: Fourteen patients were included: 10 females, median age 71, and median World Health Organization performance score 3. Most patients were highly educated. Thirteen patients were interviewed within 6 months before death. Information, open communication, sense of control, safety, adequate symptom management, and respect for patients' coping strategy were the 6 main expressed needs.
CONCLUSION: Assessing patients' needs regarding anxiety provided important angles where health-care professionals can make a difference in order to support anxious patients in their final stage of life to realize tailored palliative care. Future research should focus on the development of a systematic approach for health-care professionals to manage anxiety in daily care of terminal patients.
In this needs assessment, gathered patient perceptions on how telemedicine video visits might influence their care. Patients in this study (n = 13) were all diagnosed with end-stage cancer and were receiving palliative care at an urban academic medical center. Interview themes addressed: 1. impact on patient's health management, 2. user experience, 3. technical issues and 4. cost and time. Ultimately, despite concerns over truncated physical exams and prescription limits, the majority of patients favored having the opportunity for telemedicine video visits, felt that the doctor-patient relationship would not suffer, had confidence in their or their surrogate's technical abilities to navigate the video visit, had privacy concerns on par with other technologies, had few cost concerns, and believed a video alternative to an in-person visit might increase access, save time as well as increase comfort and safety by avoiding a trip to the office. These results suggest potential for acceptance of video-based telemedicine by an urban population of oncology patients receiving palliative care.