For patients at the end of life, the oncologist's care continues beyond the cessation of disease-directed therapy. When cure or even prolongation of life is no longer possible, oncologists have one last task remaining: to provide expert care to patients at the end of life and support for their families. Physical comfort, clear communication, emotional support, helping patients maintain a sense of purpose, clarifying wishes about attempts at resuscitation, working on legacies, addressing patient distress, and helping families as they struggle with their loss are all the work of a team of clinicians, led by the oncologist, who the patient and family continue to look to as their guide, even when no further antineoplastic therapies or immunotherapies can be offered. The team often includes the rest of the oncology team of clinicians, as well as social workers, chaplains, a palliative care clinician, and, when appropriate, a hospice team. Families with young children need specialized counseling and support. Ongoing losses (in identity or function or of roles in the family, community, or workplace) contribute to spiritual and existential distress. The palliative care and hospice teams can help with life reviews and reconnection with sources of spiritual support, including religious rituals, to help reaffirm identity and roles. The oncologist's final responsibility is ongoing communication with the survivors after the patient's death. Survivors appreciate ongoing communication, cards, and phone calls to answer any remaining questions and quell any lingering doubts. These communications also bring closure to the oncologist and oncology team, allowing them to reflect on and grieve their loss and to remember the work they did with the patient and his or her family.
OBJECTIVE: to identify, in scientific productions, nursing interventions in palliative care in children and adolescents with cancer.
METHOD: integrative review of the literature through the databases: CINAHL, MEDLINE, IBECS, LILACS and SCIELO, carried out in October and November 2017.
RESULTS: we analyzed 18 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The results showed that, among the articles selected, Brazil is the country with the largest number of publications and that interventions such as music therapy, massage, ludic application, early consultation of palliative care, social interventions and physical exercises aimed at the resolution of a specific symptom obtained better results when compared to interventions that aimed at the comprehensiveness of palliative care.
FINAL CONSIDERATION: we conclude that greater emphasis should be given to palliative care in academic and professional training and that further studies in search of the best evidence should be conducted to support nursing Evidence-Based Practices.
OBJECTIVE: Qualitatively evaluate the operation of a palliative care service in oncology.
METHODOLOGY: Qualitative study conducted in a service in southern Brazil based on a fourth generation evaluation. Between September 2014 and June 2015, 460 hours of operation were observed, and 45 semi-structured interviews and five negotiation meetings were conducted; data were analyzed using the constant comparative method.
RESULTS: Potential services are: provision of outpatient palliative care, home and inpatient care provided by a multidisciplinary and support team, meeting the patient's biological, psychological, social and spiritual needs. Study limitations: ineffective communication between clinical and surgical oncology and palliative care sectors, lack of specialized training for professionals and in interpersonal relationship issues among team members.
FINAL CONSIDERATION: For palliative care progress in the service, some arrangements are required to enhance integrality of care.
PURPOSE: To analyse the preference of end of life care place in paediatric oncology patients, and to understand the end of life care needs and regrets among the care givers.
METHOD: This was an observational qualitative study. Parents of in-curable paediatric malignancy patients who died during the years 2016-2018 were interviewed using a pre-formed open-ended questionnaire. Fears during the last phase of child's life, most disturbing symptoms, choice of end of life care plan, regret of care givers and reasons for such choices were noted and analysed.
RESULT: Twenty six families were interviewed. A median of 3 months of discordance was noted between declaration of in-curability and acceptance of the same by the family. During terminal months, pain (84.62%) was described as the most bothersome symptom followed by respiratory distress (73.08%). Eighteen families (69%) opted for home-based terminal care, 8 (31%) for hospital-based terminal care. Regret of choice was noted in 62.5% families of the hospital-based care group (separation from home environment being the main reason) and 38.89% of the home-based care group (lack of access to health care personnel and pain medication being the main reasons).
CONCLUSION: Home-based care is the preferred option for end of life care by the care givers. Lack of community-based terminal care support system and availability of analgesics are the main areas to work on in India.
RATIONALE: The palliative sedation therapy is defined as the intentional reduction of the alert state, using pharmacological tools. Propofol is a short-acting general anesthetic agent, widely used for induction and maintenance of general anesthesia and rarely employed in palliative care.
PATIENT CONCERNS AND DIAGNOSES: This case series describes 5 pediatric oncology inpatients affected by relapsed/refractory solid tumors received palliative sedation using propofol alone or in combination with opioids and benzodiazepines.
INTERVENTIONS AND OUTCOMES: Five terminally ill children affected by solid tumors received propofol-based palliative sedation. All patients were previously treated with opioids and some of them reduced the consumption of these drugs after propofol starting. In all cases the progressive increase of the level of sedation until the death has been the only effective measure of control of refractory symptoms related todisease progression and psychological suffering.
LESSONS: We evaluated the quality of propofol-based palliative sedation in a series of pediatric oncology patients with solid tumors at the end of their life. We concluded that propofol represents an effective and tolerable adjuvant drug for the management of intractable suffering and a practicable strategy for palliative sedation in pediatric oncology patients at the end of their life.
Oncology nursing is a rewarding, challenging, and ever-changing specialty. Oncology affords the nurse an opportunity to care for individuals with unique, complex issues during his or her cancer journey. I assumed that, at some point, I would care for a patient who may not have a positive outcome. It became clear to me that I would be there during the dying process and, subsequently, face issues related to the death of a patient. I really thought I knew what I was getting into; however, I now understand that I was not sufficiently prepared.
PURPOSE: The identification and referral of patients in need of palliative care should be improved. The French society for palliative support and care recommended to use the PALLIA-10 questionnaire and its score greater than 3 to refer patients to palliative care. We explored the use of the PALLIA-10 questionnaire and its related score in a population of advanced cancer patients.
METHODS: This prospective multicentric study is to be conducted in authorized French comprehensive cancer centers on hospitalized patients on a given day. We aimed to use the PALLIA-10 score to determine the proportion of palliative patients with a score >3. Main secondary endpoints were to determine the proportion of patients already managed by palliative care teams at the study date or referred to palliative care in six following months, the prevalence of patients with a score greater than 5, and the overall survival using the predefined thresholds of 3 and 5.
RESULTS: In 2015, eighteen French cancer centers enrolled 840 patients, including 687 (82%) palliative patients. 479 (69.5%) patients had a score >3, 230 (33.5%) had a score >5, 216 (31.4%) patients were already followed-up by a palliative care team, 152 patients were finally referred to PC in the six subsequent months.
The PALLIA-10 score appeared as a reliable predictive (adjusted ORRef=3: 1.9 [1.17-3.16] and 3.59 [2.18-5.91]) and prognostic (adjusted HRRef=3 = 1.58 [95%CI 1.20-2.08] and 2.18 [95%CI 1.63-2.92]) factor for patients scored 4-5 and >5, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The PALLIA-10 questionnaire is an easy-to-use tool to refer cancer inpatients to palliative care in current practice. However a score greater than 5 using the PALLIA-10 questionnaire would be more appropriate for advanced cancer patients hospitalized in comprehensive cancer center.
BACKGROUND: Research on nurses' perceptions of dignity is limited, with much work instead focusing on patients' experiences. Maintaining the dignity of patients is considered to be an important element of nursing care; however, it is often diminished by the acts and omissions of healthcare providers.
OBJECTIVES: The purposes of this study were to understand oncology nurses' perceptions of care that supports patients' dignity during end-of-life hospitalization and to propose a theoretical foundation consistent with these perceptions as a guide to practice.
METHODS: A qualitative study using grounded theory was employed. Semistructured interviews with 11 experienced female oncology nurses generated insights into their perceptions of dignity in caring for terminally ill patients. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method until data saturation was reached.
FINDINGS: This study revealed an emerging model for dignity care that uses communication, support, and facilitation in the education of nurses during end-of-life care. The proposed model could enhance the facilitation of nursing education and aid in the design of nursing course curricula and practical experiences that may improve nurses' ability to provide care supporting dignity.
BACKGROUND: Preoperative advance care planning (ACP) may benefit patients undergoing major surgery.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate feasibility, safety, and early effectiveness of video-based ACP in a surgical population.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial with two study arms.
SETTING: Single, academic, inner-city tertiary care hospital.
SUBJECTS: Patients undergoing major cancer surgery were recruited from nine surgical clinics. Of 106 consecutive potential participants, 103 were eligible and 92 enrolled.
INTERVENTIONS: In the intervention arm, patients viewed an ACP video developed by patients, surgeons, palliative care clinicians, and other stakeholders. In the control arm, patients viewed an informational video about the hospital's surgical program.
MEASUREMENTS: Primary Outcomes-ACP content and patient-centeredness in patient-surgeon preoperative conversation. Secondary outcomes-patient Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) score; patient goals of care; patient and surgeon satisfaction; video helpfulness; and medical decision maker designation.
RESULTS: Ninety-two patients (target enrollment: 90) were enrolled. The ACP video was successfully integrated with no harm noted. Patient-centeredness was unchanged (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.06, confidence interval [0.87–1.3], p = 0.545), although there were more ACP discussions in the intervention arm (23% intervention vs. 10% control, p = 0.18). While slightly underpowered, study results did not signal that further enrollment would have yielded statistical significance. There were no differences in secondary outcomes other than the intervention video was more helpful (p = 0.007).
CONCLUSIONS: The ACP video was successfully integrated into surgical care without harm and was thought to be helpful, although video content did not significantly change the ACP content or patient-surgeon communication. Future studies could increase the ACP dose through modifying video content and/or who presents ACP.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier NCT02489799.
The purpose of this study was to describe pediatric oncology nurse managers' (NMs) perspectives of palliative care/end-of-life (PC/EOL) communication. The study, guided by group-as-a-whole theory and empirical phenomenology, was part of a larger, multisite study aimed at understanding pediatric oncology nurses' experiences of PC/EOL communication. Nurses were assigned to focus groups based on length or type of experience (i.e., nurses with <1, 2-5, or >5 years' work experience and NMs). Eleven NMs from three Midwestern pediatric hospitals with large oncology programs participated in one focus group. The participants' mean years of experience was 15.8 in nursing and 12 in pediatric oncology; 90% had a BSN or higher degree; all had supervisory responsibilities. The authors identified 2,912 meaning statements, which were then analyzed using Colaizzi's method. Findings include NMs' overall experience of "Fostering a Caring Climate," which includes three core themes: (1) Imprint of Initial Grief Experiences and Emotions; (2) Constant Vigilance: Assessing and Optimizing Family-Centered Care; and (3) Promoting a Competent, Thoughtful, and Caring Workforce. Findings indicate that pediatric oncology NMs draw on their own PC/EOL experiences and their nursing management knowledge to address the PC/EOL care learning needs of nursing staff and patient/family needs. NMs need additional resources to support nursing staff's PC/EOL communication training, including specific training in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs and national and hospital-based training programs.
Background: Responding to an epidemic of opioid-related deaths, guidelines and laws have been implemented to promote safe opioid prescribing practices.
Objective: This study evaluates differences in screening practices and knowledge of laws between oncologists and cardiologists who prescribe opiates.
Design: Surveys regarding screening practices and knowledge of opioid prescribing laws were distributed in March 2017 to oncology and congestive heart failure (CHF) clinicians at the University of Virginia. Chi-square and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used.
Results: Forty-six of 129 (35.6%) oncology providers and 7 of 14 (50%) CHF providers reported prescribing opiates in their clinic with usable survey results. The majority of oncology (65.22%) and cardiology (85.71%) providers report screening for substance abuse “when indicated” (p = 0.053). Only 19.6% of oncologists reported always using the prescription monitoring program (PMP), while 71.43% of cardiologists reported using it always (p = 0.014). Of the oncology providers, 66.67% report never using the urine drug screen (UDS), while 86.7% of cardiologists reported using it “when indicated” (p = 0.0086). Up to 34.78% of the oncologists and 57.14% of the cardiologists reported of never screening the family members for misuse (p = 0.317). Knowledge of laws was similar between groups, with 14.29% of cardiology and 17.39% of oncology providers reporting no knowledge of opioid prescribing laws (p = 0.2869).
Conclusions: Routine screening for substance misuse risk was uncommon for both groups, but cardiology providers were more likely to use the PMP or UDS. Knowledge gaps regarding Virginia laws were noted in both groups. Improved education regarding best practices and laws, as well as programs to promote screening, is needed for all providers.
Background: Legal concerns have been implicated in the occurrence of variability in decisions of limitations of medical treatment (LOMT) before death.
Objective: We aimed to assess differences in perceptions between physicians and prosecutors toward LOMT.
Measurements: We sent a survey to intensivists, oncologists, and prosecutors from Brazil, from February 2018 to May 2018. Respondents rated the degree of agreement with withholding or withdrawal of therapies in four different vignettes portraying a patient with terminal lung cancer. We measured the difference in agreement between respondents.
Results: There were 748 respondents, with 522 (69.8%) intensivists, 106 (14.2%) oncologists, and 120 (16%) prosecutors. Most respondents agreed with withhold of chemotherapy (95.2%), withhold of mechanical ventilation (MV) (90.2%), and withdrawal of MV (78.4%), but most (75%) disagreed with withdrawal of MV without surrogate's consent. Prosecutors were less likely than intensivists and oncologists to agree with withhold of chemotherapy (95.7% vs. 99.2% vs. 100%, respectively, p < 0.001) and withhold of MV (82.4% vs. 98.3% vs. 97.9%, respectively, p < 0.001), whereas intensivists were more likely to agree with withdrawal of MV than oncologists (87.1% vs. 76.1%, p = 0.002). Moreover, prosecutors were more likely to agree with withholding of active cancer treatment than with withholding of MV [difference (95% confidence interval, CI) = 13.2% (5.2 to 21.6), p = 0.001], whereas physicians were more likely to agree with withholding than with withdrawal of MV [difference (95% CI) = 10.9% (7.8 to 14), p < 0.001].
Conclusions: This study found differences and agreements in perceptions toward LOMT between prosecutors, intensivists, and oncologists, which may inform the discourse aimed at improving end-of-life decisions.
Pediatric phase I clinical oncology trials represent a unique cohort of patients who have not responded to standard therapies and remain highly vulnerable to treatment toxicity and/or disease burden. Incorporating a palliative care consultation into the care plan for those with relapsed/refractory cancer where chance of cure is limited is generally recommended. A retrospective chart review of pediatric phase I trials revealed that palliative care was consulted in <20% of patients, most often for symptom management. Efforts to increase the use of palliative services in this population may enhance quality of life for children and families enrolled in phase I studies.
BACKGROUND: In increasingly multi-ethnic societies fostering cultural awareness and integration of immigrants is not only a political duty but also an obligation for social and healthcare systems. Importantly, cultural beliefs and needs strongly impact on the quality of life of cancer patients and may become even more crucial at the end of life. However, to date, ethnic and cultural aspects of palliative care are insufficiently researched.
METHODS: This qualitative study at the Medical University of Vienna included 21 staff members from different disciplines in oncology and palliative care working with patients with various cultural backgrounds at the end of life. Semi-structured interviews were performed to gain insights into specific aspects of palliative care that are important in the clinical encounter with terminally ill cancer patients with migrant backgrounds and their relatives.
RESULTS: Interviews revealed specific aspects of palliative care, which fell into four fundamental categories and were all perceived as beneficial in the clinical encounter with migrant clients: (A) structural and (B) personal conditions of the palliative care setting, (C) specific care and treatment intentions and (D) personnel requirements and attitudes.
CONCLUSION: This study revealed first insights into possibilities and prospects of transcultural palliative care for migrants and their relatives. The results might have important implications for the end of life care in this growing population.
CONTEXT: Hospice utilization is an end-of-life quality indicator. The Deep South has known disparities in palliative care that may affect hospice utilization.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the association among Deep South patient and hospital characteristics and hospice utilization.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study evaluated patient and hospital characteristics associated with hospice among Medicare cancer decedents aged >=65 in 12 southeastern cancer centers between 2012-2015. We examined patient-level characteristics (age, race, gender, cancer type, and received patient navigation) and hospital-level characteristics (board-certified palliative physician, inpatient palliative care beds, and hospice ownership). Outcomes included hospice (within 90 vs 3 days of death). Relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals evaluated the association between patient- and hospital-level characteristics and hospice outcomes using generalized log-linear models with Poisson distribution and robust variance estimates.
RESULTS: Of 12,725 cancer decedents, 4,142 (33%) did not utilize hospice. "No hospice" was associated with non-white (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.17, 1.32) and non-navigated patients (RR 1.17, 95% CI 1.10, 1.25), and those at a hospital with inpatient palliative care beds (RR 1.15, 95% CI 1.10, 1.21). "Late hospice" (20%; n=1,458) was associated with being male (RR 1.31, 95% CI 1.19, 1.44) and seen at a hospital without inpatient palliative care beds (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.75, 0.90).
CONCLUSION: Hospice utilization differed by patient and hospital characteristics. Patients who were non-white, and non-navigated; and, hospitals with inpatient palliative care beds were associated with no hospice. Research should focus on ways to improve hospice utilization in Deep South older cancer patients.
CONTEXT: Postloss depressive-symptom trajectories are heterogeneous and predicted by preloss psychosocial resources, but this evidence was from one old study on terminal cancer patients' caregivers for whom these issues are highly relevant.
OBJECTIVES: To identify depressive-symptom trajectories among cancer patients' bereaved caregivers and examine if they are predicted by preloss psychosocial resources while considering caregiving burden.
METHODS: Preloss psychosocial resources (sense of coherence [SOC] and social support) were measured among 282 caregivers. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression [CES-D] scale 1, 3, 6, 13, 18, and 24 months postloss (CES-D scores >16 indicate severe depressive symptoms). Distinct depressive-symptom trajectories and their predictors were identified by latent-class growth analysis.
RESULTS: We identified five depressive-symptom trajectories (prevalence): endurance (47.2%), resilience (16.7%), transient-reaction (20.2%), prolonged symptomatic (11.7%), and chronically distressed (4.2%). Over 2 years postloss, the endurance group never experienced severe depressive symptoms. Severe depressive symptoms lasted 6, 7-12, and 18 months for the resilience, transient-reaction, and prolonged-symptomatic groups, respectively. The chronically distressed group's severe depressive symptoms persisted. The endurance and chronically distressed groups had the best and weakest psychological resources, respectively. Endurance-group caregivers perceived the greatest social support, whereas the resilience and transient-reaction groups had higher social support than the prolonged-symptomatic group.
CONCLUSIONS: Most (84.1%) caregivers' depressive symptoms subsided within 1-year postloss. Preloss psychosocial resources predicted depressive-symptom trajectories for bereaved caregivers. Healthcare professionals can help caregivers adjust their bereavement by providing support to enhance their SOC and encouraging social contacts while they are providing end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: Newer models of palliative and supportive cancer care view the person as an active agent in managing physical and psychosocial challenges. Therefore, personal efficacy is an integral part of this model. Due to the lack of instruments in Italian to assess coping self-efficacy, the present study included the translation and validation of the Italian version of the Cancer Behavior Inventory-Brief (CBI-B/I) and an initial analysis of the utility of self-efficacy for coping in an Italian sample of palliative care patients.
METHODS: 216 advanced cancer patients who attended palliative care clinics were enrolled. The CBI-B/I was administered along with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30), the Mini Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (Mini-MAC), the Cancer Concerns Checklist (CCL), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG-PS) ratings of functional capacity were completed by physicians.
RESULTS: Factor analysis confirmed that the structure of the CBI-B/I was consistent with the English version. Internal consistency reliability and significant correlations with the EORTC QLQ-C30, Mini-MAC, and HADS supported the concurrent validity of the CBI-B/I. Differences in CBI-B/I scores for high versus low levels of the CCL and ECOG-PS supported the clinical utility of the CBI-B/I.
CONCLUSIONS: The CBI-B/I has strong psychometric properties and represents an important addition to newer model of palliative and supportive care. In order to improve clinical practice, the CBI-B/I could be useful in identifying specific self-efficacy goals for coping in structured psychosocial interventions.
BACKGROUND: Accessible indicators of aggressiveness of care at the end-of-life are useful to monitor implementation of early integrated palliative care practice. To determine the intensity of end-of-life care from exhaustive data combining administrative databases and hospital clinical records, to evaluate its variability across hospital facilities and associations with timely introduction of palliative care (PC).
METHODS: For this study designed as a decedent series nested in multicentre cohort of advanced cancer patients, we selected 997 decedents from a cohort of patients hospitalised in 2009-2010, with a diagnosis of metastatic cancer in 3 academic medical centres and 2 comprehensive cancer centres in the Paris area. Hospital data was combined with nationwide mortality databases. Complete data were collected and checked from clinical records, including first referral to PC, chemotherapy within 14 days of death, >=1 intensive care unit (ICU) admission, >=2 emergency department visits (ED), and >= 2 hospitalizations, all within 30 days of death.
RESULTS: Overall (min-max) indicator values as reported by facility providing care rather than the place of death, were: 16% (8-25%) patients received chemotherapy within 14 days of death, 16% (6-32%) had >=2 admissions to acute care, 6% (0-15%) had >=2 emergency visits and 18% (4-35%) had >=1 intensive care unit admission(s). Only 53% of these patients met the PC team, and the median (min-max) time between the first intervention of the PC team and death was 41 (17-112) days. The introduction of PC > 30 days before death was independently associated with lower intensity of care.
CONCLUSIONS: Aggressiveness of end-of-life cancer care is highly variable across centres. This validates the use of indicators to monitor integrated PC in oncology. Disseminating a quality audit-feedback cycle should contribute to a shared view of appropriate end-of-life care objectives, and foster action for improvement among care providers.
A consensus document on early palliative care was produced by a committed Working Group of the Italian Society of Medical Oncology and the Italian Society of Palliative Care to improve the early integration of palliative care in medical oncology and to stimulate and guide the choices of those who daily face the problems of advanced stage cancer patients. The simultaneous administration of antineoplastic treatments and early palliative care was shown to be beneficial in metastatic cancer pathway outcomes. Patients who could benefit from early palliative care are those with an advanced cancer at presentation, a compromised PS for cancer, and/or morbidities, and who are too frail to receive treatment. According to the Bruera practice models, in which the combination of cancer management with early palliative care can be offered, three groups of patients needing simultaneous care were identified and three different models of the delivery of palliative care were proposed. In patients with good prognosis and low need of simultaneous care, the solo practice model and the request for consultations were suggested, while in patients with poor prognosis disease with high need of simultaneous care and in conditions with high need of simultaneous care, regardless of cancer prognosis, the integrated care approach should be offered. Palliative care consultation services are seldom accessible in the majority of Italian hospitals; thus the application of various practice models depends on available resources, and a shared care model with the structures of palliative care operating in the area is often required.
OBJECTIVE: With increasing evidence from controlled trials on benefits of early palliative care, there is a need for studies examining implementation in real-world settings. The INTEGRATE Project was a 3-year real-world project that promoted early identification and support of patients with cancer who may benefit from palliative care. This study assesses feasibility, stakeholder experiences, and early impact of the INTEGRATE Project
METHODS: The INTEGRATE Project was implemented in four cancer centres in Ontario, Canada, and consisted of interdisciplinary provider education and an integrated care model. Providers used the Surprise Question to identify patients for inclusion. A mixed methods evaluation of INTEGRATE was conducted using descriptive data, interviews with providers and managers, and provider surveys.
RESULTS: A total of 760 patients with cancer (lung, glioblastoma, head and neck, gastrointestinal) were included. Results suggest improvement in provider confidence to deliver palliative care and to initiate the Advanced Care Planning (ACP) conversation. The majority of patients (85%) had an ACP or goals of care (GOC) conversation initiated within a mean time to conversation of 5-46 days (SD 20-93) across centres. A primary care report was transmitted to family doctors 48-100% of the time within a mean time to transmission of 7-54 days (SD 9-27) across centres. Enablers and barriers influencing success of the model were also identified.
CONCLUSIONS: A standardized model for the early introduction of palliative care for patients with cancer can be integrated into the routine practice of oncology providers, with appropriate education, integration into existing clinical workflows, and administrative support.