Many critically ill patients with COVID-19 need specialty level palliative care to manage symptoms, conduct goals of care conversations, and facilitate medical decision making in ethically and emotionally charged situations. During the apex of the COVID-19 crisis in New York, the Adult Palliative Care Service at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC)/NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) received a 7-fold increase in consultation requests. This unprecedented increase in demand outpaced the palliative care team's ability to respond. We describe the rapid development and implementation of a scalable virtual consultation model staffed by out-of-state palliative care specialist volunteers.
Dans cette réflexion sur les soins palliatifs, nous pointons la parole médicale comme structurellement traumatique.
Fréquemment, elle bloque le sujet à l’Éternel présent et rend difficile la projection vers l’à-venir.
Nous avançons ici l’idée que l’accompagnement palliatif aide à se dégager de ce traumatisme. Nous distinguerons deux positions relationnelles différentes dans le rapport au patient, positions qui occasionnent des modalités distinctes de maniement de la parole...
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: acute hospitalization may be an ideal opportunity to introduce palliative care to dementia patients, who may benefit from symptom management and goals of care discussions. We know little about patients who receive inpatient palliative care consultations (IPCCs).
DESIGN: Retrospective analysis using electronic medical record.
SETTING: Tertiary academic medical center and affiliated community hospital.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients with dementia by International Classification of Diseases diagnosis, 65 years or older, hospitalized between July 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015.
MEASUREMENTS: We used 2 and t -test/Mann-Whitney U test to compare characteristics (living arrangement, advanced dementia markers, diagnoses of delirium and dementia with behavior disturbance, and admitting diagnosis) and outcomes (change in code status, length of stay [LOS], discharge disposition, and discharge medications for symptom management) of patients who did and did not receive IPCC. Patients were matched on sex, age, and race.
RESULTS: Among 927 hospitalized patients with dementia, 17% received IPCC (N = 157). Patients who received IPCC were more likely to be admitted from a nursing facility (35.7% vs 12.7%; P < .0001), experience delirium (71.3% vs 57.3%; P = .01), have behavior disturbance (23.6% vs 13.4%; P = .02), have a pressure ulcer at admission (26.1% vs 11.5%; P = .001), have hypernatremia (12.7% vs 3.2%; P = .002), and be bedbound (20.4% vs 3.2%; P < .000). Patients who received IPCC had a longer LOS (median = 5.9 vs 4.3 days; P = .004) and were more likely to be discharged to hospice (56% vs 3.1%; P < .0001). Patients with IPCC were more likely to have a discharge code status of do not attempt resuscitation (89% vs 46%). There was no significant difference in comfort medications at discharge between groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients who received IPCC had evidence of more advanced dementia. These patients were more likely to change their code status and enroll in hospice. IPCC may be useful to prioritize patient-centered care and discuss what matters most to patients and families.
The integration of specialized geriatric providers with trauma services has received increased attention with promising results. Palliative medicine consultation (PMC) has been shown to reduce length of stay, improve symptom management, and clarify advance directives in the geriatric trauma population. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether PMC reduced tracheostomies and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies (trach/PEG) and readmission rates in the geriatric trauma population. Retrospective cohort analysis of patients 65 years of age and older, admitted to a Level I trauma center surgical intensive care unit from 2013 to 2014. Patients who died within 1 day were excluded. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, independent-samples t test for continuous variables, 2 test for categorical variables, and logistic regression analysis. A total of 202 patients were included. Palliative medicine consultation occurred in 48%. Average time from admission to PMC was 2.91 days. Thirty-day readmission rate was 19.3%. Patients with a PMC (69.1%) were less likely to undergo trach/PEG (30.9%; p < .001) but more likely if the consult was late (>72 hr posttrauma; 22.0% vs. 40.4%; p = .05). Patients without a trach/PEG were more likely to survive 1 year posttrauma (85.7% vs. 14.3%; p = .003). Thirty-day readmission rates were similar between groups. In a logistic regression analysis, PMC, age, and injury severity score demonstrated an independent association with trach/PEG (all p < .05). Early palliative consults (<72 hr posttrauma) for geriatric trauma patients may reduce tracheostomy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy procedures and hospital stays.
Background: African Americans receive more aggressive end-of-life care than Whites. Little is known about how palliative care consultation to discuss goals-of-care (“PCC”) is associated with acute care utilization and costs by race.
Objective: To compare future acute care costs and utilization between propensity-matched cohorts of African Americans with and without PCC, and Whites with and without PCC.
Design: Secondary analysis of a retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Thirty-five thousand one hundred and fifty-four African Americans and Whites age 18+ admitted for conditions other than childbirth or rehabilitation, who were not hospitalized at the end of the study, and did not die during index hospitalization (hospitalization during which the first PCC occurred).
Measurements: Accumulated mean acute care costs and utilization (30-day readmissions, future hospital days, future intensive care unit [ICU] admission, future number of ICU days) after discharge from index hospitalization.
Results: No significant difference between African Americans with or without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($11,651 vs. $15,050, p = 0.09), 30-day readmissions (p = 0.58), future hospital days (p = 0.34), future ICU admission (p = 0.25), or future ICU days (p = 0.30). There were significant differences between Whites with PCC and those without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($8,095 vs. $16,799, p < 0.001), 30-day readmissions (10.2% vs. 16.7%, p < 0.0001), and future days hospitalized (3.7 vs. 6.3 days, p < 0.0001).
onclusions: PCC decreases future acute care costs and utilization in Whites and, directionally but not significantly, in African Americans. Research is needed to explain why utilization and cost disparities persist among African Americans despite PCC.
Background: The Palliative Care Consult Service (PCCS) programme was among the first initiations in Hungary to provide palliative care for patients admitted to hospital. The PCCS team provides palliative care for mainly cancer patients and their family members and manages the patient pathway after being discharged from the hospital. The service started in 2014 with 300–400 patient visits per year. The aim of this study is to give a comprehensive overview of the PCCS programme guided by a conceptual framework designed by SELFIE (“Sustainable intEgrated chronic care modeLs for multi-morbidity: delivery, FInancing, and performancE”), a Horizon2020 funded EU project and to identify the facilitators and barriers to its wider implementation.
Methods: PCCS has been selected by the SELFIE consortium for in-depth evaluation as one of the Hungarian integrated care models for persons with multi-morbidity. The qualitative analysis of the PCCS programme was based on available documents of the care provider and interviews with different stakeholders related to the programme.
Results: The integrated, multidisciplinary and patient-centred approach was well-received among the patients, family members and clinical departments, as verified by the increasing number of requests for consultations. As a result of the patient pathway management across providers (e.g. from inpatient care to homecare) a higher level of coordination could be achieved in the continuity of care for seriously-ill patients. The regulatory framework has only partially been established, policies to integrate care across organizations and sectors and adequate financial mechanism to support the enhancement and sustainability of the PCCS are still missing.
Conclusions: The service integration of palliative care could be implemented successfully in an academic hospital in Hungary. However, the continuation and enhancement of the programme will require further evidence on the performance of the integrated model of palliative care and a more systematic approach particularly regarding the evaluation, financing and implementation process.
Context and Objectives: The myriad of benefits of early palliative care (PC) integration in oncology are well established, and emerging evidence suggests that PC improves symptom burden, mood, and quality of life for hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. Specific impact of PC consultation on outcomes of older allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT) recipients, a historically high-risk population vulnerable to transplant-related complications and mortality, has not been explored.
Design and Methods: In this single institution, retrospective analysis of 527 first allo-HCT recipients aged =60 years, we characterized 75 patients who had received post-HCT PC consultation and its association with geriatric vulnerabilities identified by pre-HCT geriatric assessment. We also examined end-of-life care outcomes among patients who died within one-year of allo-hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Results: In multivariate analysis, higher disease risk, female gender, and, importantly, pre-HCT functional limitation (hazard ratio 2.35, 95% confidence interval, 1.35–4.09, p = 0.003) were associated with post-HCT PC utilization. Within one-year of hematopoietic cell transplantation, 127 patients died; among those, recipients of early PC consultation had significantly higher rates of hospice enrollment (25% vs. 9%, p = 0.019) and lower rates of hospital death (71% vs. 90%, p = 0.013), intensive care unit admission (44% vs. 75%, p = 0.001), and high-intensity medical care in last 30 days of life (46% vs. 77%, p = 0.001).
Conclusions: Our results highlight important pre-HCT risk factors associated with increased PC needs posthematopoietic cell transplantation and benefits of PC involvement for older allo-HCT recipients at the end of life. Prospective studies should examine the optimal timing of PC consultation and its multidimensional benefits for older allo-HCT patients.
Background: Palliative care is becoming an important component for infants with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and their families. Yet palliative care practices appear to be inconsistent and sporadically used for infants.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the use of an established pediatric palliative care team for seriously ill infants in a metropolitan hospital.
Methods: This was a retrospective medical record review.
Findings: The population included 64 infants who were admitted to a level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and then died during hospitalization between January 2015 and December 2016. Most infants died in an ICU (n = 63, 95%), and only 20 infants (31%) received palliative care consultation. Most common reasons for consultation were care coordination, defining goals of care and end-of-life planning, and symptom management.
Implications for Practice: Palliative care consultation at this institution did not change the course of end-of-life care. Interventions provided by the ICU team to infants surrounding end of life were similar to those in infants receiving palliative care services from the specialists. Our findings may be useful for developing guidelines regarding how to best utilize palliative care services for infants with life-threatening conditions who are admitted to an ICU.
Implications for Research: These finding support continued research in neonatal palliative care, more specifically the impact of palliative care guidelines and algorithms.
Background: Heart failure (HF) impacts 6.2 million American adults. With no cure, therapies aim to prevent progression and manage symptoms. Inclusion of palliative care (PC) helps improve symptoms and quality of life. Heart failure guidelines recommend the inclusion of PC in HF therapy, but referrals are often delayed.
Objective: Introduce PC to patients with HF and examine the impact on PC consults, readmission, mortality, and intensive care unit (ICU) transfers.
Methods: Patients (n = 60) admitted with HF to an academic hospital were asked to view a PC educational module. A number of PC consults, re-admissions, mortality, and transfers to the ICU were compared among participants and those who declined.
Results: Nine patients in the intervention group (n = 30) requested a PC consult ( P = .042) versus 2 in the usual care group (n = 30; P = .302). There was no statistically significant difference in readmissions, mortality, or ICU transfers between groups.
Conclusions: Palliative care education increases the likelihood of PC utilization but in this short-term project was not found to statistically impact mortality, re-admissions, or transfers to higher levels of care.
Purpose: The responsibility of taking care of terminal patients is accepted as a role of family members in Taiwan. Only a few studies have focused on the effect of palliative care consultation service (PCCS) on caregiver burden between terminal cancer family caregivers (CFCs) and non-cancer family caregivers (NCFCs). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to address the effect of PCCS on caregiver burden between CFC and NCFC over time.
Methods: A prospective longitudinal study was conducted in a medical center in northern Taiwan from July to November 2017. The participants were both terminally ill cancer and non-cancer patients who were prepared to receive PCCS, as well as their family caregivers. Characteristics including family caregivers and terminal patients and Family Caregiver Burden Scale (FCBS) were recorded pre-, 7, and 14 days following PCCS. A generalized estimating equation model was used to analyze the change in the level of family caregiver burden (FCB) between CFC and NCFC.
Results: The study revealed that there were no statistically significant differences in FCB between CFC and NCFC 7 days and 14 days after PCCS (p > 0.05). However, FCB significantly decreased in both CFC and NCFC from pre-PCCS to 14 days after PCCS (ß = - 12.67, p = 0.013). PPI of patients was the key predictor of FCB over time following PCCS (ß = 1.14, p = 0.013).
Conclusions: This study showed that PCCS can improve FCB in not only CFC but also NCFC. We suggest that PCCS should be used more widely in supporting family caregivers of terminally ill patients to reduce caregiver burden.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the characteristics of patients needing palliative care consultation in the ED. This study aimed to investigate the impacts of initiating screening in acute critically ill patients needing palliative care on mortality, healthcare resources, and end-of-life care (EOL) in the intensive care unit in ED (EICU).
METHODS: We conducted an analysis study in Taipei Veterans General Hospital. From February 1 to July 31, 2018, acute critically ill patients in EICU were recruited. The primary outcomes were inhospital mortality and EOL care. The secondary outcomes included clinical characteristics and healthcare utilization.
RESULTS: A total of 796 patients were screened, with 396 eligible and 400 non-eligible patients needing palliative care consultations. The mean age was 74.8 ± 17.1 years, and 62.6% of the patients were male. According to logistic regression analysis, clinical predictors, including age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.028; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.015-1.042), respiratory distress and/or respiratory failure (AOR, 2.670; 95% CI, 1.829-3.897), the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (AOR, 1.036; 95% CI, 1.009-1.064), Charlson Comorbidity Index score (AOR, 1.212; 95% CI, 1.125-1.306), and Glasgow Coma Scale (AOR, 0.843; 95% CI, 0.802-0.885), were statistically more significant in eligible patients than in non-eligible patients. The inhospital mortality rate was significantly higher in eligible patients than that in non-eligible patients (40.7% vs. 11.5%, p < 0.01). Eligible patients have a higher ratio in both vasopressor and narcotic use and withdrawal of endotracheal tube than non-eligible patients (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Our study results demonstrated that initiating palliative consultation for acute critically ill patients in ED had an impact on the utilization of healthcare resources and quality of EOL care. Further assessments of the viewpoints of ED patients and their family regarding palliative care consultations and hospice care are required.
BACKGROUND: Expert consultation supports general practitioners (GPs) in delivering adequate palliative homecare. Insight into consultation practices from a GP's perspective is needed in order to shape consultation services to their wishes and needs.
AIM: To explore palliative care consultation practices from a GP's perspective.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Cross-sectional web-based survey among all GPs (n=235) in the region of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
METHODS: Our questionnaire contained questions about the delivery of palliative care by GPs, their consultation practices and satisfaction with current services. Questions consisted mainly of 5-point Likert scales. We transformed these scales into numerical values to calculate mean scores. Linear mixed models for repeated measurements were used to study differences in scores.
RESULTS: GPs most often consulted informal caregivers (mean score 3.6) or fellow GPs (mean score 3.3). Physical problems were discussed the most (mean score 3.5), while social and existential issues were discussed least (mean score 1.9 for both). In their choice of a particular consultation service, GPs considered the quality of the provided advice to be the most important factor. GPs were satisfied with current consultation services, with fellow GPs receiving the highest satisfaction scores (mean score 4.6). Finally, when recalling their last palliative patient, most GPs started requesting consultation during this patient's last month of life.
CONCLUSIONS: Next to informal caregivers, GPs preferably seek advice from fellow GPs. Physical issues receive much attention during consultations; however, other vital aspects of palliative care seem to remain relatively neglected, such as social and existential issues and a proactive care approach.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care consultation (PCC) is recommended for older adults hospitalized with cardiopulmonary conditions, but frequently is reserved for patients with malignant conditions and those with advanced age.
OBJECTIVES: To compare age-adjusted PCC trends and the relationship between increasing age and PCC among older adults with cardiopulmonary and malignant conditions.
METHODS: Observational analysis of patients age = 65 years, stratified by age and cardiopulmonary (heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) vs. malignant (lung and gastrointestinal) conditions. Age-adjusted PCC trends over time and compound annual growth rates (CAGR) were compared.
RESULTS: Discharges with cardiopulmonary vs. malignant conditions were older, more likely to be female, and white. Relative to malignant conditions, discharges with cardiopulmonary conditions had lower age-adjusted PCC rates but higher CAGRS. Increasing age was associated with PCC in both groups but had a stronger effect among cardiopulmonary conditions.
CONCLUSIONS: Older adults with cardiopulmonary conditions experienced lower rates of PCC, but higher rates of growth over time relative to those with malignant conditions.
Importance: Growing evidence shows that palliative care (PC) improves treatment outcomes in patients with heart failure (HF), but few large-scale studies have prospectively evaluated the processes and outcomes associated with PC consultation for such patients in the real world.
Objective: To characterize processes and outcomes of PC consultations for hospitalized patients with HF compared with patients with cancer.
Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study of inpatient encounters at community and academic hospitals in the Palliative Care Quality Network enrolled participants between 2013 and 2017. Of a total of 135 197 patients, 57 272 adults with a primary diagnosis of HF or cancer receiving PC consultation were enrolled. Data analysis was performed from April 2018 to December 2019.
Exposures: Primary diagnosis of HF or cancer.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Symptom improvement and changes in care planning documentation after PC consultation.
Results: At the time of consultation, patients with HF were older (mean age, 75.3 years [95% CI, 75.0-75.5 years] vs 65.2 years [95% CI, 65.0-65.3 years]; P < .001), had lower Palliative Performance Scale scores (mean, 35.6% [95% CI, 35.3%-35.9%] vs 42.4% [95% CI, 42.2%-42.6%]; P < .001), and were more likely to be in a critical care unit (5808 of 16 741 patients [35.3%] vs 4985 of 40 531 patients [12.5%]; P < .001) or a telemetry or step-down unit (5802 of 16 741 patients [35.2%] vs 7651 of 40 531 patients [19.2%]; P < .001) compared with patients with cancer. Patients with HF were less likely than patients with cancer to be referred to PC within 24 hours of admission (6773 of 16 741 patients [41.2%] vs 19 348 of 40 531 patients [49.0%]; P < .001) and had longer hospitalizations before receiving PC consultation requests (mean, 4.6 days [95% CI, 4.4-4.8 days] vs 3.9 days [95% CI, 3.8-4.0 days]; P < .001). Patients with HF were referred less frequently for symptoms other than pain (1686 of 16 488 patients [10.2%] vs 8587 of 39 609 patients [21.7%]; P < .001), but were equally likely to report improvements in anxiety (odds ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.71-1.02; P = .08) and more likely to report improvements in dyspnea (odds ratio, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.83-2.57; P < .001) compared with patients with cancer. Patients with HF were less likely than those with cancer to be discharged alive (odds ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.64-0.96; P = .02) or to be referred to hospice (odds ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.47-0.53; P < .001).
Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that PC referral comes late for patients with HF and is used primarily to discuss care planning. Practitioners caring for patients with HF should consider involving PC experts earlier for symptom management.
OBJECTIVES: Describe pediatric palliative care consult in children with heart disease; retrospectively apply Center to Advance Palliative Care criteria for pediatric palliative care consults; determine the impact of pediatric palliative care on end of life.
DESIGN: A retrospective single-center study.
SETTING: A 16-bed cardiac ICU in a university-affiliated tertiary care children's hospital.
PATIENTS: Children (0-21 yr old) with heart disease admitted to the cardiac ICU from January 2014 to June 2017.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Over 1,000 patients (n = 1, 389) were admitted to the cardiac ICU with 112 (8%) receiving a pediatric palliative care consultation. Patients who received a consult were different from those who did not. Patients who received pediatric palliative care were younger at first hospital admission (median 63 vs 239 d; p = 0.003), had a higher median number of complex chronic conditions at the end of first hospitalization (3 vs 1; p < 0.001), longer cumulative length of stay in the cardiac ICU (11 vs 2 d; p < 0.001) and hospital (60 vs 7 d; p < 0.001), and higher mortality rates (38% vs 3%; p < 0.001). When comparing location and modes of death, patients who received pediatric palliative care were more likely to die at home (24% vs 2%; p = 0.02) and had more comfort care at the end of life (36% vs 2%; p = 0.002) compared to those who did not. The Center to Advance Palliative Care guidelines identified 158 patients who were eligible for pediatric palliative care consultation; however, only 30 patients (19%) in our sample received a consult.
CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric palliative care consult rarely occurred in the cardiac ICU. Patients who received a consult were medically complex and experienced high mortality. Comfort care at the end of life and death at home was more common when pediatric palliative care was consulted. Missed referrals were apparent when Center to Advance Palliative Care criteria were retrospectively applied.
OBJECTIVE: Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a single ventricle defect. While staged surgical palliative treatments have revolutionised care, patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome continue to have significant morbidity and mortality. In 2017, the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative recommended all single ventricle patients to receive a prenatal palliative care consult. This study aimed to elucidate provider perspectives on the implementation of prenatal palliative care consults for families expecting a child with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
METHODS: An online survey was administered to obstetric and paediatric providers of relevant disciplines to assess their experience with palliative care involvement in hypoplastic left heart syndrome cases.
RESULTS: Nearly, all physicians (97%) and most registered nurses (79%) agreed that the initial palliative care consult for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome should occur during the prenatal period. Respondents also indicated that prenatal palliative care consults should also be offered in a variety of other CHD conditions. Participants believed positive aspects of this new referral protocol included an expanded support network for families, decreased family stress during the postnatal period, increased patient education about what to expect during the postnatal period, and continuity of care.
CONCLUSION: Multidisciplinary healthcare professionals believe that prenatal palliative care consults provide a variety of benefits for patients and families with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Additional, multi-centre research is necessary to evaluate whether prenatal palliative care consults should become standard of care for families expecting a child with a single ventricle defect.
BACKGROUND: The significance of palliative care consultation in psychiatry is unclear.
ACTUAL CASE SERIES: Analysis of the introduction of palliative care consultation in a large psychiatric hospital.
POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION: Continue without offering, survey the need for or offer palliative care consultation, and analyse its introduction.
FORMULATION OF A PLAN: Palliative care consultation was established and details including patient age, department, diagnosis, main problem, solution and discharge were analysed during the first 2 years.
OUTCOME: Two consultations in the first year and 18 consultations in the second year were requested (18 geriatric, 2 addiction, 0 general, clinical social and forensic psychiatry) involving two domains: delirium associated with dementia or another condition (75%) and mental illness (e.g. alcoholic psycho-syndrome, psychosis, suicidal tendency, schizophrenia, depression) and cancer (25%). Recommendations of consultations were realized in 95%.
LESSONS FROM THE CASE SERIES: Implementation of palliative care consultation in psychiatry is one possible method of how to introduce palliative care in a field of medicine with lack of palliative care.
VIEW: Future research should focus on reasons for reservations about palliative care in psychiatry, include more patients with severe persistent mental illness and assess the value of palliative care consultation in resolving this problem.
Objective: To characterize the use of palliative care for patients with metastatic prostate cancer and identify its associations with costs, hospital course, and discharge.
Materials and Methods: Using the National Inpatient Sample database from 2012 to 2013, we identified 99 070 patients with metastatic prostate cancer and analyzed the data from their hospital admissions using descriptive statistics, 2 analysis, and regression modeling.
Results: Palliative care services were consulted in 10.4% (10 300) of metastatic prostate cancer admissions. These admissions were associated with nonelective origin, acute complications, and reduced surgical procedures and chemotherapy. Patients in private, investor-owned hospitals had a 51.6% less consultations (P < .001), while nonprofit and government, nonfederal hospitals had 4.7% and 7.8% more consultations (P < .001). Median costs and charges were only marginally less (2.1% and 5.6%, respectively, P < .001), length of stay was 22% higher (P < .001), and in-house mortality was 147.2% higher in the consultation group (P < .001). Controlling for other factors, patients seen by palliative care were more likely to have do-not-resuscitate orders (odds ratio [OR]: 5.25, P < .001) and be transferred to another facility like hospice (OR: 3.90, P < .001) or to home health (OR: 3.85, P < .001).
Conclusions: Palliative care consultation could improve care for patients with metastatic prostate cancer in a different manner than observed in other diseases. With our characterization of the incidence and patient and hospital factors, we can conclude that there is room to expand palliative care’s role beyond uninsured patients in large, urban teaching hospitals.
BACKGROUND: Inpatient palliative care consultation (IPCC) teams have been established to improve care for patients with specialist palliative care (PC) needs throughout all hospital departments. The objective is to explore physicians' perceptions on the impact of IPCC, its triggers, challenges and limits, and their suggestions for future service improvements.
METHODS: A Qualitative study drawing on semi-structured interviews with 10 PC specialists of an IPCC team and nine IPCC requesting physicians from oncology and non-oncological departments of a university hospital. Analysis was performed using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: PC specialists and IPCC requesting physicians likewise considered organization of further care and symptom-burden as main reasons for IPCC requests. The main impact however was identified from both as improvement of patients' (and their caregivers') coping strategies and relief of the treating team. Mostly, PC specialists emphasized a reduction of symptom burden, and improvement of further care. Challenges in implementing IPCC were lack of time for both. PC specialists addressed requesting physicians' skepticism towards PC. Barriers for realization of IPCC included structural aspects for both: limited time, staff capacities and setting. PC specialists saw problems in implementing recommendations like disagreement towards their suggestions. All interviewees considered education in PC a sensible approach for improvement.
CONCLUSIONS: IPCC show various positive effects in supporting physicians and patients, but are also limited due to structural problems, lack of knowledge, insecurity, and skepticism by the requesting physicians. To overcome some of these challenges implementation of PC education programs for all physicians would be beneficial.
Palliative care has evolved over the past five decades as an interprofessional specialty to improve quality of life and quality of care for patients with cancer and their families. Existing evidence supports that timely involvement of specialist palliative care teams can enhance the care delivered by oncology teams. This review provides a state-of-the-science synopsis of the literature that supports each of the five clinical models of specialist palliative care delivery, including outpatient clinics, inpatient consultation teams, acute palliative care units, community-based palliative care, and hospice care. The roles of embedded clinics, nurse-led models, telehealth interventions, and primary palliative care also will be discussed. Outpatient clinics represent the key point of entry for timely access to palliative care. In this setting, patient care can be enhanced longitudinally through impeccable symptom management, monitoring, education, and advance care planning. Inpatient consultation teams provide expert symptom management and facilitate discharge planning for acutely symptomatic hospitalized patients. Patients with the highest level of distress and complexity may benefit from an admission to acute palliative care units. In contrast, community-based palliative care and hospice care are more appropriate for patients with a poor performance status and low to moderate symptom burden. Each of these five models of specialist palliative care serve a different patient population along the disease continuum and complement one another to provide comprehensive supportive care. Additional research is needed to define the standards for palliative care interventions and to refine the models to further improve access to quality palliative care.