To investigate the effect of multidisciplinary interventions on pain management in cancer inpatients.
Four hundred thirty eight patients with cancer pain, who performed the multidisciplinary intervention were recruited. Before and after intervention, the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) score as the primary endpoints and QOL scores as the secondary endpoint were all evaluated. To investigate the factors that led to different responses to multidisciplinary interventions, patients were classified as non-responders or responders.
Finally, 92 patients (63 male and 29 female) scheduled for cancer pain management by inter-professional team were studied. After individualized multidisciplinary therapy, both pain and symptom severity was improved, as demonstrated by lowered BPI worst and average pain scores, as well as symptom severity score measured by MDASI (P = .017, P = .003, and P = .011, respectively). The proportion of patients with mild pain increased regarding the BPI worst and average pain at baseline and after treatment (P < .05). The QOL analyses showed multidisciplinary interventions could significantly improve the function and symptom scores (P < .001). More patients in responder group received chemotherapy (58, 70.7%, P = .003), while fewer received mini-invasive therapy (6, 7.32%, P = .011).
Multidisciplinary interventions had certain beneficial effect on cancer pain management, especially in patients with moderate or severe pain.
Background: Cancer patients experience multiple symptoms throughout the course of the disease. We aimed to provide a comprehensive analysis of the symptom burden in patients with advanced cancer at admission to specialist palliative care (PC) services and seven days later to estimate the immediate impact of PC intervention.
Patient and methods: The analysis was based on an observational, prospective, multicenter study (named DEMETRA) conducted in Italy on new patients accessing network specialist PC centers during the period May 2017-November 2017. The prevalence and intensity of symptoms were assessed at baseline and after seven days using three tools including the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS).
Results: Five PC centers recruited 865 cancer patients. Thirty-three different symptoms were observed at the baseline, the most frequent being asthenia (84.9%) and poor well-being (71%). The intensity of the most frequent symptoms according to ESAS ranged from 5.5 for asthenia to 3.9 for nausea. The presence and intensity of physical symptoms increased with increasing levels of anxiety and depression. After seven days, prevalence of nausea and breathlessness as well as intensity of almost all symptoms significantly decreased.
Conclusions: The study confirmed the considerable symptom burden of patients with advanced cancer. PC intervention has significantly reduced the severity of symptoms, despite the patients' advanced disease and short survival.
Context: The unmet needs of patients with advanced disease are indicative of the patient centredness of healthcare. By tracking unmet needs in clinical practice, palliative interventions are aligned with patient priorities, and clinicians receive support in intervention delivery decisions for patients with overlapping, complex needs.
Objective: Identify tools used in everyday clinical practice for the purpose of identifying and addressing unmet healthcare needs for patients with advanced disease.
Methods: We conducted PubMed and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature searches to include studies published between 1 January 2008 and 21 April 2020. Three concepts were used in constructing a search statement: (1) patient need, (2) validated instrument and (3) clinical practice. 2313 citations were reviewed according to predefined eligibility, exclusion and inclusion criteria. Data were collected from 17 tools in order to understand how instruments assess unmet need, who is involved in tool completion, the psychometric validation conducted, the tool’s relationship to delivering defined palliative interventions, and the number of palliative care domains covered.
Results: The majority of the 17 tools assessed unmet healthcare needs and had been validated. However, most did not link directly to clinical intervention, nor did they facilitate interaction between clinicians and patients to ensure a patient-reported view of unmet needs. Half of the tools reviewed covered =3 dimensions of palliative care. Of the 17 tools evaluated, 4 were compared in depth, but all were determined to be insufficient for the specific clinical applications sought in this research.
Conclusion: A new, validated tool is needed to track unmet healthcare needs and guide interventions for patients with advanced disease.
A palliative approach to care focuses on what matters most to patients with life-limiting illness, including chronic kidney disease (CKD). Despite recent publication of related clinical practice guidelines in nephrology, there is limited information about how to practically implement these recommendations. In this Perspective, we describe our experience integrating a palliative approach within routine care of patients with CKD G4-G5 across a provincial kidney care network over the past 15 years. The effort was led by a multidisciplinary group, tasked with building capacity and developing tools and resources for practical integration within a provincial network structure. We used an evidence-based framework that includes recommendations for four pillars of palliative care to guide our work: 1) patient identification, 2) advance care planning, 3) symptom assessment & management, and 4) caring of the dying patient & bereavement. Activities within each pillar have been iteratively implemented across all kidney care programs using existing committees and organizational structures. Key quality indicators were used to guide strategic planning and improvement. We supported culture change through use of multiple strategies simultaneously. Altogether, we established and integrated palliative care activities into routine CKD G4-G5 care, across the continuum from non-dialysis to dialysis populations.
Objective: This report describes a pilot hospice inpatient unit dedicated to individuals experiencing distressing behaviors from dementia.
Background: Patients with dementia who experience distressing symptoms cannot be well managed on typical inpatient units. Hospice of the Valley selected one unit to dedicate to dementia care.
Methods: Data were analyzed from 237 patients admitted to the unit between May 2019 and April 2020. Behaviors were identified and rated for severity on admission, discharge, and postdischarge. Rates of inpatient death and associated behaviors were calculated.
Results: Fifty percent of patients had their behaviors sufficiently managed to allow discharge. The most common behavior exhibited was agitation; the most common symptom leading to death was pain.
Discussion: An inpatient hospice unit dedicated to patients with dementia can be successful. The hospice agency gains admissions that would otherwise be diverted to behavioral care settings. This successful pilot may be a model for other hospices.
As the health status of patients living with multiple chronic conditions declines, these patients experience a variety of symptoms (eg, respiratory, gastrointestinal, psychological symptoms; overall symptoms of decline; and pain). Respiratory symptoms can include dyspnea, cough, and excessive upper respiratory tract secretions. Gastrointestinal symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, constipation, and malignant bowel obstruction. Overall symptoms include anorexia, cachexia, and fatigue. Psychological symptoms may manifest as depression, anxiety, or delirium. For patients with chronic pain and progressive disease, it is important to identify the etiology and type of pain (ie, visceral, somatic, neuropathic) because management differs. An evaluation of total pain should consider the various domains of suffering, including physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering. It is imperative to attempt to identify the underlying causes of the symptoms and address it if possible. It also is important to relieve symptoms using nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic approaches. In patients unable to self-report symptoms, family members and/or caregivers can provide insight into the condition of the patient.
Approximately 18,000 patients annually in the United States are diagnosed with adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. These patients have numerous and complex symptoms, including pain, dysphagia, malnutrition and psychological symptoms due to location of the tumor and required treatments, and patients benefit from a comprehensive approach to care to effectively support their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Palliative care is a medical subspecialty that focuses on providing comprehensive care for patients with any kind of advanced or serious illness to allow them to live well and fully for as long as possible in the face of that illness. In recent years, palliative care has become more widely available to patients with esophageal cancer and this is beneficial for patients with esophageal cancer given the severity of symptoms and complexities of needs. Primary oncology providers should provide basic palliative care including symptom management and clear communication, and palliative care specialists can provide additional support to extend the care of the primary clinician and treat the advanced and complex physical and psychological symptoms, as well as engaging in advance care planning. This paper outlines the key components of high-quality palliative care, including advanced care planning, symptom management and psychosocial support.
BACKGROUND: Forty-five percent of hospice patients currently have a primary or secondary diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related disorders. However, few programs have focused specifically on assisting hospices in providing evidence-based symptom management to persons living with dementia (PLWD).
OBJECTIVE: To adapt and pilot the training component of Aliviado Dementia Care, a dementia symptom management quality improvement program originally developed for home healthcare, for use by social workers as part of the hospice interdisciplinary team.
DESIGN: A prospective pre-post design was utilized, measuring knowledge, confidence, and attitudes at baseline, and immediately and 1-month post-training. Analysis was performed using paired t-tests and repeated measures ANOVA.
SUBJECTS: Hospice social workers currently practicing in the United States with at least 1 year of experience.
MEASUREMENTS: The Dementia Symptom Knowledge Assessment and a post-training continuing education evaluation form.
RESULTS: Forty-six subjects were enrolled, of whom 26 completed the first post-test and 23 both post-tests. There was a poor baseline level of knowledge and confidence in caring for PLWD. Significant improvements occurred following training, particularly in implementing non-pharmacologic interventions for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) (16.64% increase, p < .0001) and confidence in managing behavioral symptoms (16.86%, p = .01) and depression (25.18%, p < .0001). Changes were maintained over time. All respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the quality and content of the program.
CONCLUSIONS: The training modules of Aliviado Dementia Care were successfully tailored for use by hospice social workers, showing significant improvement in knowledge and confidence in caring for behavioral symptoms in PLWD. Future work will examine whether the larger program, including this training, can subsequently improve patient outcomes in hospice.
This is a personal account of using hypnosis as an adjunct to specialist palliative care (SPC) treatment approaches. After a brief systematic review of the literature, one clinician's experience is outlined illustrated by short, anonymized case histories. It argues that the approach is underused in SPC. The barriers currently restricting its routine adoption in SPC are discussed including (1) a lack of SPC clinical trials, (2) a misunderstanding of hypnosis leading to stigma, and (3) its absence from clinicians' training pathways. While the evidence base for the effectiveness of hypnosis in 'supportive care', for example, managing chemotherapy-induced vomiting, is appreciable, there is a gap in SPC. There is little data to guide the use of hypnosis in the intractable symptoms of the dying, for example, breathlessness or the distress associated with missed or late diagnosis. There are many people now 'living with and beyond cancer' with chronic symptomatic illness, 'treatable but not curable'. Patients often live with symptoms over a long period, which are only partially responsive to pharmacological and other therapies. Hypnosis may help improve symptom control and quality of life. SPC trials are needed so that this useful tool for self-management of difficult symptoms can be more widely adopted.
OBJECTIVE: There is an increasing recognition of the significance of music as a complementary therapy in palliative care. Limited studies exist on how music is used as a coping mechanism by palliative care patients. Therefore, the purpose of this scoping review was to explore the efficacy of music interventions for palliative care.
METHOD: We conducted a literature search between June and November 2019 in the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), British Nursing Index (BNI), and PubMed, which includes MEDLINE. The search identified eight articles which met the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
RESULTS: Using thematic analysis, six themes were synthesied to show how music contributes to palliative care. The six themes include Pain management; Relaxation; Happiness and hope; Anxiety and depression management; Enhanced spirituality; and Improved quality of life. These themes reflect the psychological and emotional benefits palliative care patients derive from music therapies.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Music therapy can be an effective psychosocial approach when managing palliative symptoms through its therapeutic effects on physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
BACKGROUND: A growing number of informal caregivers (IFCs) manage hospice patients' anxiety by administering lorazepam (Ativan), yet little is known about prescribing practices in home care or the extent to which IFCs carry out regimens.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Data on hospice prescribed lorazepam was determined through a retrospective review of medication records from 216 deceased patients. The dose of lorazepam and type of regimen (i.e., scheduled, PRN, combination) as well as frequency with which it was administered by IFCs was calculated upon admission to a residential care home and on patients' day of death.
RESULTS: The majority (63.1%) of patients were prescribed lorazepam on admission to the home, and more (79.5%) were prescribed lorazepam on the day of death. While higher doses of lorazepam were prescribed and administered on the day of death, the percentage of medication consumed was low on admission (17%) and day of death (27%). Nearly all (92.8%) prescribed lorazepam on the day of death were allowed PRN medication. For PRN only regimens, less than a quarter (24.4%) of patients were given lorazepam on admission with less than half (40.4%) given it while dying. Highest lorazepam administration rates (91.2%) occurred on the day of death when lorazepam was prescribed under a combined regimen.
CONCLUSION: The high frequency of PRN regimens reveal that IFCs are frequently tasked with making decisions about if and when to administer lorazepam. Low overall lorazepam administration suggests a closer monitoring of lorazepam use and enhanced support of IFCs may be needed.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the content validity of the Symptom Control nursing outcome for heart failure patients in palliative care and to analyze the influence of experts' experience in the judgment of the relevance of indicators.
METHODS: A methodological study conducted in São Paulo in 2018, with an adaptation of Fehring's validation model. The relevance of the 11 outcome indicators was assessed by 19 experts by means of an electronically submitted survey. The influence of the experts' experience on judgment was analyzed by the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test and by Kendall's Tau correlation.
RESULTS: The indicators were considered pertinent; with 54.5% classified as critical. There was no association between the weighted means of the indicators and the experts' experience.
CONCLUSIONS: The indicators analyzed are relevant for the evaluation of the Symptom Control outcome in this group of patients. The experts' judgment was not influenced by their area of clinical experience or by their experience with the Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC).
BACKGROUND: Palliative care is an essential component of emergency medicine, as many patients with terminal illness will present to the emergency department (ED) for symptomatic management at the end of life (EOL).
OBJECTIVE: This narrative review evaluates palliative care in the ED, with a focus on the literature behind management of EOL symptoms, especially dyspnea and cancer-related pain.
DISCUSSION: As the population ages, increasing numbers of patients present to the ED with severe EOL symptoms. An understanding of the role of palliative care in the ED is crucial to effectively communicating with these patients to determine their goals and provide medical care in line with their wishes. Beneficence, nonmaleficence, and patient autonomy are essential components of palliative care. Patients without medical decision-making capacity may have an advance directive, do not resuscitate or do not intubate order, or Portable Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment available to assist clinicians. Effective and empathetic communication with patients and families is vital to EOL care discussions. Two of the most common and distressing symptoms at the EOL are dyspnea and pain. The most effective treatment of EOL dyspnea is opioids, with literature showing little efficacy for other therapies. The most effective treatment for cancer-related pain is opioids, with expeditious pain control achievable with a rapid fentanyl titration. It is also important to address nausea, vomiting, and secretions, as these are common at the EOL.
CONCLUSIONS: Emergency clinicians play a vital role in EOL patient care. Clear, empathetic communication and treatment of EOL symptoms are essential.
Agitation is a common, treatable symptom that profoundly impacts quality of life and exacerbates caregiver fatigue in the hospice setting for patients with dementia. The objective of this study was to analyze the efficacy of tailored nonpharmacological interventions for mitigation of unwanted behaviors in the population of patients with behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia while receiving hospice care. The 4-domain Pittsburgh Agitation Scale (PAS; Motor, Verbal, Aggressive, Resistance to Care) was used for multiple baseline and posttest measurements of agitation. Effectiveness of nonpharmacological interventions was evaluated using analysis of variance for repeated measures for the total PAS score. Motor agitation was the presenting problem with highest-rated severity compared with Verbal, Aggression, and Resistance to Care domains. Analysis of variance demonstrated no difference between baseline referral and pretest total PAS measures (P = .8), but a significant drop in total PAS agitation after intervention (P < .001). The best outcomes, however, were with patients receiving both nonpharmacological and standard pharmacological interventions as opposed to nonpharmacological interventions alone (P = .034). For patients with dementia presenting with behavioral and psychological symptoms, selected nonpharmacological interventions provide significant mitigation of agitation.
In this case report, an elderly patient with COVID-19 pneumonia and a protracted intensive care course, who was unable to wean from mechanical ventilation, was transferred to the hospice unit for ventilator withdrawal and end of life care. Although symptom management was anticipated to focus on treating acute dyspnea, conditions mandated a shift to addressing the psychological challenges associated with prolonged critical illness. The interventions typical to hospice care—patient centered, family focused, and culturally sensitive—served to alleviate psychological symptoms of demoralization and despair, contributing to an outcome that pointed beyond pulmonary pathophysiology. Thought to be facing imminent death once the ventilator was removed, this patient defied the science behind weaning protocols, which can only be explained by a “will to live,” through loving engagement with his family, his favorite music, and a dedicated multidisciplinary hospice team.
INTRODUCTION: Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms for patients with advanced cancer. While there is evidence for acupuncture point stimulation for treatment of these symptoms for patients having anticancer treatment, there is little for when they are not related to such treatment.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether acupressure at the pericardium 6 site can help in the treatment of nausea and vomiting suffered by palliative care patients with advanced cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Double blind randomised controlled trial-active versus placebo acupressure wristbands. In-patients with advanced cancer in two specialist palliative care units who fitted either or both of the following criteria were approached: Nausea that was at least moderate; Vomiting daily on average for the prior 3 days.
RESULTS: 57 patients were randomised to have either active or placebo acupressure wristbands. There was no difference in any of the outcome measures between the two groups: change from baseline number of vomits; Visual Analogue Scale for 'did acupressure wristbands help you to feel better?'; total number of as needed doses of antiemetic medication; need for escalation of antiemetics.
CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to a previously published feasibility study, active acupressure wristbands were no better than placebo for specialist palliative care in-patients with advanced cancer and nausea and vomiting.
Background: Delirium is highly problematic in palliative care (PC). Preliminary data indicate a potential role for melatonin to prevent delirium, but no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are reported in PC.
Methods: Patients aged =18 years, with advanced cancer, admitted to an inpatient Palliative Care Unit (PCU), having a Palliative Performance Scale rating = 30%, and for whom consent was obtained, were included in the study. Patients with delirium on admission were excluded. The main study objectives were to assess the feasibility issues of conducting a double-blind RCT of exogenous melatonin to prevent delirium in PC: recruitment, retention, procedural acceptability, appropriateness of outcome measures, and preliminary efficacy and safety data. Study participants were randomized in a double-blind, parallel designed study to receive daily melatonin 3 mg or placebo orally at 21:00 over 28 days or less if incident delirium, death, discharge or withdrawal occurred earlier. Delirium was diagnosed using the Confusion Assessment Method. Efficacy endpoints in the melatonin and placebo groups were compared using time-to-event analysis: days from study entry to onset of incident delirium.
Results: Over 16 months, 60/616 (9.7%; 95% CI: 7.5–12.4%) screened subjects were enrolled. The respective melatonin (n = 30) vs placebo (n = 30) outcomes were: incident delirium in 11/30 (36.7%; 95%CI: 19.9–56.1%) vs 10/30 (33%; 95% CI: 17.3–52.8%); early discharge (6 vs 5); withdrawal (6 vs 3); death (0 vs 1); and 7 (23%) vs 11 (37%) reached the 28-day end point. The 25th percentile time-to-event were 9 and 18 days (log rank, 2 = 0.62, p = 0.43) in melatonin and placebo groups, respectively. No serious trial medication-related adverse effects occurred and the core study procedures were acceptable. Compared to those who remained delirium-free during their study participation, those who developed delirium (n = 21) had poorer functional (p = 0.036) and cognitive performance (p = 0.013), and in particular, poorer attentional capacity (p = 0.003) at study entry.
Conclusions: A larger double-blind RCT is feasible, but both subject accrual and withdrawal rates signal a need for multisite collaboration. The apparent trend for shorter time to incident delirium in the melatonin group bodes for careful monitoring in a larger trial.
Introduction : Les personnes atteintes de cancer et vivant à domicile sont de plus en plus en nombreuses. Les proches aidants sont des acteurs importants auprès de la personne malade. Ils sont confrontés, à ce titre, aux douleurs cancéreuses sévères de leur proche. La douleur est l’un des symptômes les plus fréquents en cancérologie, souvent insuffisamment soulagée. L’objectif de cette étude était de mieux connaître la perception qu’ont les proches aidants de leur rôle à domicile, particulièrement vis-à-vis de la douleur liée au cancer et de ses traitements.
Méthode : Une étude qualitative a été menée au moyen d’entretiens semi-dirigés auprès de proches aidants de patients atteints d’un cancer en phase palliative spécifique ou symptomatique et présentant des douleurs nécessitant l’administration d’opioïdes. Les thèmes explorés ont été la communication, l’anticipation, la coordination, l’accompagnement et l’adaptation.
Résultats : Douze entretiens ont été réalisés. La plupart des proches aidants disent se rendre disponibles pour le confort du patient, la surveillance des symptômes et l’usage des opioïdes. Ces derniers sont sources de nombreux questionnements. En outre, les proches aidants se sentent responsables de tout faire et de s’organiser pour faire face à la douleur. Enfin, ils se considèrent comme les mieux placés pour soutenir au quotidien le patient, tant pour les aspects pratiques que socio-affectifs. Les professionnels de santé, en particulier les infirmiers libéraux, sont des éléments importants sur lesquels ils peuvent s’appuyer.
Discussion : L’enjeu pour les proches aidants est de conforter leur rôle dans le soulagement des douleurs du malade à domicile. Communiquer, coordonner les différents acteurs et participer aux prises de décision sont les moyens d’y parvenir mais ces fonctions sont variables dans le temps. Il convient de trouver l’équilibre dans la charge qui leur incombe. Cela invite les professionnels à être attentifs à leurs besoins en proposant une aide flexible et adaptée à chaque situation.
Yoga was developed >5,000 years ago as a comprehensive system of health and well-being for the mind, body, and soul. The word is believed to derive from the Sanskrit root "yuj" meaning to bind, yoke, union, and/or to concentrate one's attention. In health care, it often serves as a complementary mind-body practice, and it is increasingly being integrated into cancer care. It can be performed in the privacy of one's home through DVD or web-based programs or through group practices led by instructors who are often experienced working with students with medical issues. Most published evidence regarding yoga for seriously ill patients involves breast cancer survivors or breast cancer (stages I-IV) patients undergoing cancer treatment with a preserved functional capacity (ECOG <3). There is limited data examining its effectiveness or feasibility in children or for those with terminal cancer.