The coronavirus disease 2019 surge in New York City created an increased demand for palliative care (PC) services. In staff-limited settings such as safety net systems, and amid growing reports of health care worker illness, leveraging help from less-affected areas around the country may provide an untapped source of support. A national social media outreach effort recruited 413 telepalliative medicine volunteers (TPMVs). After expedited credentialing and onboarding of 67 TPMVs, a two-week pilot was initiated in partnership with five public health hospitals without any previous existing telehealth structure. The volunteers completed 109 PC consults in the pilot period. Survey feedback from TPMVs and on-site PC providers was largely positive, with areas of improvement identified around electronic health record navigation and continuity of care. This was a successful, proof of concept, and quality improvement initiative leveraging TPMVs from across the nation for a PC pandemic response in a safety net system.
During the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is particularly critical to ensure that life-sustaining treatment (LST) such as intubation and resource-intensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are aligned with a patient’s goals and values, and to avoid LSTs in patients with a poor prognosis that are unlikely to be beneficial, but have a high risk of causing additional suffering. The high volume and acuity of COVID-19 patients makes it extremely challenging for emergency department (ED) clinicians to take adequate time to clarify goals of care (GOC). We implemented an ED-based COVID-19 palliative care response team focused on providing high-quality GOC conversations in time-critical situations. We examined the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients who received this intervention.
Methods: This retrospective observational study was conducted in the ED of an urban, quaternary care academic medical center in New York, New York. We included 110 patients for whom the palliative care team was consulted between March 27, 2020, and April 10, 2020, with follow-up through May 9, 2020. Columbia University institutional review board approved this study and waived the need for informed consent.
Emergency department clinicians consulted the palliative care team for assistance with any palliative care-related needs, including GOC clarification and cases where stated GOC did not align with expected prognosis. The palliative care team (1 attending physician who was board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine, 1 hospice/palliative medicine fellow clinician, and 4 psychiatry resident physicians and fellow clinicians, all trained in GOC conversations and supervised by the palliative care attending physician) was available in person 12 hours per day, and for phone consultation overnight and on weekends. The palliative care intervention focused on GOC conversations: conveying the prognosis in a clear and simple way, exploring patients’ goals and values, and making care recommendations based on elicited goals.1,2
Deidentified demographic data were collected from the medical record. Primary outcomes included GOC before and after palliative care intervention, as well as GOC on death or discharge. Secondary outcomes included clinical course and length of stay in the hospital
Goals of care were defined as “full code” (pursue all LSTs including intubation and CPR); “do-not-resuscitate (DNR) only” (pursue all LSTs excluding CPR); “DNR/do-not-intubate (DNI), continue medical treatment” (pursue all LSTs excluding intubation and CPR); and “comfort-directed care” (forgo LSTs, deliver symptom-focused treatment only). The GOC were presumed to be full code if no advance directives or medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST) were found on presentation to the ED.
Six patients were still hospitalized at the time of data review; they were excluded from the analysis for clinical course.
Results: The 110 patients were aged a median (range) of 81.5 (46-101) years and 61 (55.4%) were women. Patient demographic and clinical characteristics are reported in Table 1. Most patients were community-dwelling elderly persons (aged >75 years) with at least 2 comorbidities and lacked decision-making capacity at the time of presentation. Very few patients presented with documented advance directives or MOLST and therefore were presumed to be full code.
The primary outcomes are summarized in Table 2. After initial palliative care intervention, the number of full code decreased from 91 patients (82.7%) to 20 patients (18.2%). Among these 71 patients (64.5%) in whom CPR was declined, mechanical ventilation was also declined in 61 patients (55.5%) (ie, 32 patients in DNR/DNI, continue medical treatment, 29 patients in comfort-directed care). On discharge, the number of full code further decreased to 9 patients (8.6%), whereas comfort-directed care increased to 54 patients (51.9%). The median (range) length of stay was 4 (0-28) days and 71 patients (68.2%) died in the hospital. Among 33 patients (31.7%) who were discharged alive, 6 patients (5.8%) were discharged with hospice care.
Discussion: The included patients’ demographic characteristics were consistent with those of critically ill patients with COVID-19 previously reported and with those of patients reported to be at highest risk of death from COVID-19. Patients without advance care planning conversations are known to be at risk of receiving unwanted, high-intensity, lower-quality care,5 even though many seriously ill patients do not prefer LSTs at the end of life.6
The most important finding in this study was, after palliative care intervention in the ED, most patients and their surrogates opted to forgo mechanical ventilation and/or CPR, and that tendency further increased on discharge. We believe timely GOC conversations by the palliative care team helped avoid unwanted LSTs for patients with a poor prognosis. Study limitations include potentially limited generalizability given the retrospective design at a single institution. Also, palliative care consultation was initiated by ED clinicians, which may have led to selection bias, though a high rate of altered GOC after intervention suggests significant, unaddressed need in the outlying population.
Aims and objectives: To explore nurses’ experiences and perspectives on discharge collaboration when patients receiving palliative care for cancer are discharged home from hospitals.
Background: Patients receiving palliative care for cancer experience multiple transitions between the hospital and their home. Poor discharge collaboration is a major cause of preventable hospital readmissions. Collaborative discharge planning could improve the care for these patients outside the hospital setting. Previous research has mostly been conducted in noncancer populations. Further research regarding both home care nurses’ and hospital nurses’ perspectives on care transitions is required.
Design: A qualitative study with descriptive and explorative design.
Methods: Data were collected through 10 individual, semi-structured interviews of nurses working at two oncology wards at a university hospital and home care services in four municipalities within the hospital's catchment area. Data were analysed using systematic text condensation. COREQ guidelines were adhered to in the reporting of this study.
Results: Three categories emerged from the data analysis: lack of familiarity and different perceptions lead to distrust; inefficient communication creates a need for informal collaboration; and delayed discharge planning challenges collaboration.
Conclusions: The nurses lacked an understanding of each other's work situation, which created distrust, misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding each other's abilities to care for the patient. This led to inefficient communication, relying on individual knowledge, informal communication and personal networking. Delays in the discharge planning resulted in poorly prepared discharges often lacking necessary equipment and documentation.
L’objectif de l’étude est d’identifier les freins et les leviers à la mise en place de la démarche palliative en EHPAD. C’est une étude ancillaire. Nous avons mené une enquête qualitative par entretiens semi-directifs auprès de médecins coordonnateurs d’EHPAD en Lorraine. Le recueil de données a débuté en janvier 2018 et s’est achevé en juin 2018. Les verbatim ont été analysés par théorisation ancrée. Onze médecins coordonnateurs ont participé à notre enquête. L’analyse met en évidence des contraintes structurelles et conjoncturelles propres à l’EHPAD dont l’absence de permanence médicale et infirmière, les limites des moyens matériels et personnels, ainsi que la possibilité des EHPAD intra-hospitaliers de s’affranchir de ces contraintes. La sensibilisation et la formation des acteurs de la prise en soins ont été identifiées comme des leviers majeurs dans la prise en charge palliative. À l’inverse, le manque de formation est apparu comme un obstacle. L’intervention des équipes ressources hospitalisation à domicile et équipe mobile de soins palliatifs est décrite comme un appui primordial. L’analyse a montré que l’organisation et la coopération des différents acteurs est un enjeu majeur pour la mise en place de la démarche palliative. Les dispositifs de personne de confiance et directives anticipées sont mal utilisés et ne sont d’aucune aide à la démarche palliative dans les EHPAD. Ainsi, la majorité des freins identifiés par l’enquête sont les contraintes structurelles et le manque de formation. Le principal levier à développer semble être celui de la formation, aux soins palliatifs et à l’utilisation des différents outils crées pour contourner les contraintes structurelles.
Objectives: Optimal cystic fibrosis (CF) end-of-life care (EOLC) is a challenge. There is little formal guidance about who should deliver this and how CF multi-disciplinary teams should interact with specialist palliative care. We assessed the knowledge, experience and preparedness of both CF and palliative care professionals for CF EOLC.
Methods: An electronic questionnaire was distributed to all members of the Oxford adult CF and palliative care teams.
Results: 35 of a possible 63 members responded (19 CF team; 16 palliative care). Levels of preparedness were low in both groups. Only 11% of CF and 19% of palliative care team members felt fully prepared for EOLC in adult CF. 58% of CF members had no (21%) or minimal (37%) general palliative care training. Similarly, 69% of the palliative care team had no CF-specific training. All respondents desired additional education. CF team members preferred further education in general EOLC while palliative care team members emphasised a need for more CF-specific knowledge.
Conclusions: Few members of either the CF or palliative care teams felt fully prepared to deliver CF EOLC and many desired additional educations. They expressed complementary knowledge gaps, which suggests both could benefit from increased collaboration and sharing of specialist knowledge.
Background: When patients receiving palliative care are transferred between care settings, adequate collaboration and information exchange between health care professionals is necessary to ensure continuity, efficiency and safety of care. Several studies identified deficits in communication and information exchange between care settings. Aim of this study was to get insight in the quality of collaboration and information exchange in palliative care from the perspectives of nurses.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional regional survey study among nurses working in different care settings. Nurses were approached via professional networks and media. Respondents were asked questions about collaboration in palliative care in general and about their last deceased patient. Potential associations between quality scores for collaboration and information handovers and characteristics of respondents or patients were tested with Pearson’s chi-square test.
Results: A total of 933 nurses filled in the questionnaire. Nurses working in nursing homes were least positive about inter-organizational collaboration. Forty-six per cent of all nurses had actively searched for such collaboration in the last year. For their last deceased patient, 10% of all nurses had not received the information handover in time, 33% missed information they needed. An adequate information handover was positively associated with timeliness and completeness of the information and the patient being well-informed, not with procedural characteristics.
Conclusion: Nurses report that collaboration between care settings and information exchange in palliative care is suboptimal. This study suggests that health care organizations should give more attention to shared professionalization towards inter-organizational collaboration among nurses in order to facilitate high-quality palliative care.
Background: Caregivers are decision stakeholders; yet, few interventions have been developed to help patients and caregivers collaborate on advance care planning (ACP).
Objective: To evaluate a theory-based ACP pilot intervention, Deciding Together, to improve decisional quality, readiness, collaboration, and concordance in ACP decisions for older adult home health (HH) patients and caregivers.
Design: A one-group, pre- and posttest study using matched questionnaires was conducted. The intervention consisted of a clinical vignette, theoretically guided conversation prompts, and a shared decision-making activity.
Setting/Subjects:N = 36 participants (n = 18 HH patients; n = 18 family and nonfamily caregivers) were purposively recruited from a HH agency to participate in the intervention at patients' homes.
Measurements: Demographic and baseline measures were collected for relationship quality, health status, and previous ACP engagement. Outcome measures included perceptions of collaboration, readiness for ACP, concordance in life-sustaining treatment preferences (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, antibiotics, artificial nutrition and hydration, and mechanical ventilation), and decisional conflict. Descriptive statistics, Cohen's coefficients, paired t tests, McNemar's tests, and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests (and effect size estimates, r = z/vN) were calculated using R-3.5.1 (p < 0.05). Single value imputation was used for missing values.
Results: While no significant differences were found for perceptions of collaboration, and readiness for ACP, patients (r = 0.38, p = 0.02) and caregivers (r = 0.38, p = 0.02) had reduced decisional conflict at posttest. Patients' and caregivers' agreement increased by 27.7% for an item assessing patients' preference for artificial nutrition and hydration (p = 0.03).
Conclusions: This study suggests that collaborative ACP decision making may improve decisional conflict for older adult HH patients and their caregivers.
Interprofessional education allows students to collaborate with students and professionals of multiple disciplines. An Interdisciplinary Palliative Care (IPC) Seminar, held in the Midwest, involves students from disciplines of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and chaplaincy. The curriculum of the seminar incorporates asynchronous and synchronous didactic presentations, experiential learning through group exercises and discussion, along with home visits by students in interdisciplinary dyads. The purpose of this study was to determine whether students’ participation in a 3-week IPC seminar would positively influence their socialization and value of interprofessional collaboration with the ultimate goal of developing skilled professionals who engage in interprofessional practice in hospice and palliative care settings. This descriptive study invited participants to take a pre- and postseminar online survey using the Interprofessional Socialization and Valuing Scale-21 (ISVS-21) to assess shifts in students’ perceptions of interprofessional socialization and the value of collaborative health-care practice. In their pre-and postseminar scores, 71 participants reported they more strongly agreed with all items on the ISVS-21 after completing the seminar. The results from this study suggest the IPC Seminar is an effective educational model for advancing the value of interprofessional socialization and collaborative practice in hospice and palliative health-care.
OBJECTIVES: Palliative care services have, up to now, paid insufficient attention to social aspects of dying and bereavement and this has affected how patients and their families experience end of life and bereavement within their communities. New public health approaches to palliative care offer a different way forward by seeking to develop communities that support death and bereavement. Such approaches are now a priority for the majority of hospices in the UK and work with schools has been identified as a key area of work. Practice that engages schools and children on issues concerning end-of-life care is, however, underdeveloped and underdocumented. This research explored the role of hospices in working with schools to promote education and support around end-of-life and bereavement experiences.
METHODS: Action research was used to explore the potential for hospices to work with schools and engage participants in change processes. The research was conducted in 1 hospice and 2 primary schools in Scotland. Participants included children, parents and school and hospice staff.
RESULTS: Seven innovations were identified that were found to be useful for the school curriculum and the relationship between hospices, school communities and wider society. A model for integrated practice between hospices and schools is suggested.
CONCLUSIONS: This research adds to knowledge about how hospices might engage in community engagement activities that encourage school staff to develop greater openness and support around end-of-life and bereavement care for their children. This will require a rethinking of normal hospice services to also participate in community capacity building.
L’intervention des équipes mobiles de soins palliatifs, le plus souvent sollicitée par le médecin traitant, est essentielle pour accompagner et soutenir les professionnels et les patients. Anticipation, coopération et coordination sont les clés du succès.
La recherche en santé autochtone au Canada a été négligée dans le passé et qualifiée de problématique, notamment en raison du manque de collaboration avec les peuples autochtones. L'Énoncé de politique des trois Conseils sur l'éthique de la recherche avec des êtres humains décrit au chapitre 9 la conduite éthique de la recherche axée sur les Premières nations, les Inuits et les Métis. Les principes PCAP® des Premières nations (propriété, contrôle, accès et possession) soulignent l'importance majeure de l'engagement et de la gouvernance autochtones. En vue d'assurer que les buts et les activités de la recherche développée soient réalisés en partenariat complet et significatif avec les peuples et les communautés autochtones, il est possible de faire appel à des méthodes de recherche participative communautaire (RPC) intégrant leur plein engagement. Les recherches utilisant des ensembles de données secondaires, telles que les données administratives sur la santé recueillies en routine, ne devraient plus être exclues de cette approche. Notre objectif était de décrire comment notre équipe de chercheurs universitaires, alliée à un organisme national de santé autochtone, a adapté les méthodes de RPC dans le cadre d'un projet de recherche utilisant des données recueillies antérieurement pour examiner les lacunes dans la prestation de soins de fin de vie aux peuples autochtones en Ontario. Nous décrivons le processus d'élaboration de ce partenariat de recherche et expliquons comment l'intégration des principes de base et des processus de formation du savoir autochtones ont guidé cette collaboration. Notre partenariat de recherche, qui implique l'adaptation de méthodes de RPC, illustre un processus d'engagement qui pourrait guider d'autres chercheurs désirant mener des recherches en santé autochtone à l'aide de données déjà recueillies. Nous faisons aussi état d'une entente de recherche transparente, négociée équitablement entre un organisme national de santé autochtone et des chercheurs, qui pourrait servir de cadre pour des collaborations de recherche similaires. Il est essentiel de s'assurer que les perspectives autochtones soient au cœur des processus de recherche et qu'elles soient reflétées dans ceux-ci lorsque des données administratives sur la santé sont utilisées.
Cet article fait le bilan de plusieurs années de collaboration entre un établissement médicoéducatif et une équipe ressource régionale de soins palliatifs. Il décrit les évidences à la rencontre de ces deux équipes, l’une issue du « monde » médicosocial, l’autre du « monde » sanitaire. Par nature, le polyhandicap, et l’extrême fragilité médicale qui en découle, nécessitent que le projet personnalisé des enfants accueillis dans ce type d’établissement prenne en compte leurs besoins de santé. Aussi, la collaboration avec l’équipe ressource régionale de soins palliatifs est devenue un outil de travail intéressant pour l’établissement, avec des répercussions en termes de culture d’établissement, d’accompagnement familial et d’accueil des enfants. Au-delà de ces évidences, le lien « ville – hôpital » devient une réalité au bénéfice des enfants accueillis.
This book, written as a PhD dissertation, explores palliative care volunteering in the Flemish healthcare system through quantitative and qualitative studies from the perspective of health services, volunteers, patients, family caregivers and healthcare professionals.
[Extrait résumé éditeur]
BACKGROUND: International evidence on the outcome of generalist versus specialist palliative care provision in palliative care trajectories is limited and varied. In general, intervention studies can influence the organisation of palliative care practice and professional collaborations. However, randomised clinical trials in palliative care rarely consider the organisational significance of the studies, as experienced by the professionals involved. DOMUS is the abbreviation for a Danish intervention study designed as a randomised clinical trial, investigating an accelerated transition from oncological to specialist palliative care at home for patients with incurable cancer. Alongside conducting the palliative care intervention study, we wanted to discover the perspectives of the healthcare professionals involved.
AIM: To explore the organisational significance of the DOMUS intervention study as experienced by the professionals involved.
DESIGN: A qualitative interview study, using thematic content analysis and inspired by organisational theory.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-eight professionals from four units involved in the DOMUS intervention study took part in 10 groups and six individual interviews.
RESULTS: The DOMUS randomised clinical trial intervention influenced and sometimes disrupted both the ways of organising, collaborating and practising palliative care, and patients' and relatives' understanding of their own situation. It did this by (1) referring a broader palliative care target group to specialist palliative care, leading to (2) different palliative care needs, professional tasks, and perceived impact on (3) the organisation of palliative care and (4) professional collaboration.
CONCLUSION: Professionals involved in the DOMUS palliative care intervention found that the study had organisational significance, with an influence on professionals, patients and relatives. Specialist palliative care in Denmark is devoted organisationally and professionally to patients with severe or complex palliative care needs. Hence, new ways of organising palliative care for people in the earlier stages of their disease are needed.
Experience-based design, co-design, and experience-based co-design can be used within healthcare to design services that improve the patient, carer and staff experience of the services. As palliative and end-of-life care centrally value person-centred care, we believe that service designers, commissioners and those tasked with making quality improvements will be interested in this growing field. This paper outlines these approaches-with a particular emphasis on experience-based co-design-and describes how they are and can be used within palliative and end-of-life care. Based on a rapid review and several case studies, this article highlights the key lessons learnt from previous projects using these approaches and discusses areas for improvement in current reporting of service design projects.
Palliative care (PC) teams are primed to support patients with advanced illness, including patients with mechanical circulatory support (MCS), and are increasingly being called upon to help care for these patients. Detailed guidelines for PC engagement are lacking despite key stakeholders' endorsements of collaboration. PC should encompass the decision-making period, the duration of therapy, and end-of-life care. PC teams can assist with symptom management, advance care planning, and communication across the continuum of MCS care. However, the current state of MCS and PC collaboration is variable and can be hindered by staffing challenges and clinician discomfort. To best care for patients who receive advanced cardiopulmonary life-sustaining therapies, meaningful engagement of PC during all phases of MCS is essential.
The care philosophy of palliative care has demonstrated a rapid growth in the past several years (Dumanovsky et al., 2016). Home care agencies and hospital systems have collaborated on reducing excessive costs and focusing on the effective management of patients with late-stage chronic desease .
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Context: Governments intend to meet resource constraints in professional palliative care by stimulating informal care, including volunteerism. However, little is known about current volunteer-professional collaboration. Such insights are relevant for future policy development regarding volunteer efficiency, quality of care and the capacity of volunteer care to support healthcare services and professionals.
Objectives: To explore what constitutes volunteer-professional collaboration around palliative care.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured focus groups with volunteers, nurses, psychologists and family physicians and semi-structured interviews with people with serious illnesses and with family carers. Participants were recruited from hospital, home-care, day-care and live-in services in Flanders, Belgium. Interviews and focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed employing a phenomenological approach. Two researchers coded independently in NVIVO 11 and reached a definitive coding scheme by comparing their resulting conceptual schemes.
Results: Seventy-nine people participated in the study. Volunteers collaborate mostly with nurses, less with psychologists but not with physicians. Volunteer-professional collaboration entails mutual information-sharing regarding patient conditions and coordination of care provision, while nurses and psychologists provide emotional and functional support for volunteers. Lack of access to nurses, of leadership and of patient-information sharing guidelines were the most prominent barriers to collaboration.
Conclusion: Volunteers are in the front line of palliative care provision and therefore collaborate intensely with nurses, particularly in dedicated palliative care services. However, collaboration with other professionals is limited. The presence and availability of nurses was found to be crucial for volunteers, both for support and to achieve integration through collaboration.
Interest in the potential for public health and palliative care to work together is now widely established. Based on a mapping review of existing literature, we describe for the first time the ways in which public health has entered palliative care policy and practice and how this has been specifically articulated. We then go on to pursue analytical and critical lines of enquiry that are largely absent from the existing literature. We do this in three ways: (i) by considering why the link between public health and palliative care has become so ubiquitous within palliative care policy; (ii) by establishing how this has been constructed; and (iii) by exploring public health as a 'reference discipline' from which its 'secondary deployment' can become embedded inside another disciplinary field. From this, we develop a range of critical perspectives on the relationship between public health and palliative care by scrutinising its claims of utility and effectiveness and questioning the strength of the interdisciplinary interaction between the two disciplines. We see their relationship in a 'cross disciplinary' context which is still largely symbolic and tactical in nature. We conclude by considering the significance of these insights for policy and practice, with two possible scenarios. If the use of public health is essentially figurative and its resources are not unique, the particular and exclusive use of the term becomes insignificant. Progressive and effective policy and practice is possible, independent of any explicit public health label. If however public health is considered to have intrinsic and definable worth, we suggest that this currently asymmetrical association needs to be significantly developed with much higher levels of theoretical, practical and critical engagement between the two disciplines. Such work would result in more reflective and robust policy and practice.