L'auteure a suivi durant huit mois la vie de neuf résidents d'un habitat collectif pour personnes âgées. Située dans la région lyonnaise, cette structure accueille des personnes atteintes de la maladie d'Alzheimer et de différents troubles psychiatriques. Les notes prises au jour le jour reflètent avec humour les soins et les difficultés qui caractérisent le quotidien de ces patients.
Cultural competence, a clinical skill to recognise patients' cultural and religious beliefs, is an integral element in patient-centred medical practice. In the area of death and dying, physicians' understanding of patients' and families' values is essential for the delivery of culturally appropriate care. Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition marked by the decline of cognitive functions. When the condition progresses and deteriorates, patients with advanced dementia often have eating and swallowing problems and are at high risk of developing malnutrition. Enteral tube feeding is a conventional means of providing artificial nutrition and hydration to meet nutritional needs, but its benefits to the frail population are limitedly shown in the clinical evidence. Forgoing tube feeding is ethically challenging when patients are mentally incompetent and in the absence of an advance directive. Unlike some developed countries, like the United States of America, death and dying is a sensitive issue or even a taboo in some cultures in developing countries that forgoing enteral tube feeding is clinically and ethically challenging, such as China and Malaysia. This article in three parts 1) discusses the clinical and ethical issues related to forgoing tube feeding among patients with advanced dementia, 2) describes how Hong Kong Chinese, North American, and Malaysian Islamic cultures respond differently in the decision-making patterns of forgoing tube feeding for patients with advanced dementia, and 3) reiterates the clinical implications of cultural competence in end-of-life care.
Objective: To improve patient participation in advance care planning in nursing homes where most patients have some degree of cognitive impairment.
Methods: This was a pair-matched cluster randomized clinical trial with eight wards in eight Norwegian nursing homes. We randomized one ward from each of the matched pairs to the intervention group. We included all patients above 70. The primary outcome was prevalence of documented patient participation in end-of-life treatment conversations. The intervention included implementation support using a whole-ward approach where regular staff perform advance care planning and invite all patients and next of kin to participate.
Results: In intervention group wards the patients participated more often in end-of-life treatment conversations (p < 0.001). Moreover, the patient's preferences, hopes AND worries (p = 0,006) were more often documented, and concordance between provided TREATMENT and patient preferences (p = 0,037) and next of kin participation in advance care planning with the patient (p = 0,056) increased.
Conclusion: Improved patient participation - also when cognitively impaired - is achievable through advance care planning in nursing homes using a whole-ward approach.
Practice implications: Patients with cognitive impairment should be included in advance care planning supported by next of kin. A whole-ward approach may be used to implement advance care planning.
Introduction: Older patients with hip fracture have a 20% to 30% mortality rate in the year after surgery. Nonoperative care has higher 1-year mortality rates and is generally only pursued in those with an extraordinarily high surgical risk. As the population ages, more patients with hip fracture may fall into this category. The orthopedic surgeon is typically the main consultant responsible for deciding between surgery and conservative management, and the reasoning behind one decision over the other is often poorly understood. We undertook a review to determine decision-making tools for surgery in high-risk patients with hip fracture.
Materials and Methods: A review was conducted using PubMed to determine articles published using the terms palliative care, conservative care, nonoperative, hip fracture, orthopedic procedures, fracture fixation, and surgery. Our search resulted in 13 articles to review. These were further screened to determine tools for use in surgical decision-making.
Results: Several potential decision-making tools were found in our search. The potential tools to identify patients who would benefit from nonoperative treatment included the Palliative Performance Scale for severe dementia, the Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and Katz Activities of Daily Living scales for prefracture immobility, a combination of clinical signs and laboratory tests to determine risk of imminent death, and the Charlson Comorbidity Score for additional serious comorbidities. No tools have been prospectively tested in a clinical setting.
Discussion: Evaluation of each patient using a variety of decision making tools should help the orthopedic surgeon determine which patients would be better suited to non-operative management. After determining the benefit of non-operative care, they must effectively allow the fracture to heal while ameliorating pain. Palliative care physicians can fulfill this role by providing support and symptom relief.
Conclusions: Surgical decision-making for hip fracture repair in the elderly patients is not straight forward. Several tools may be helpful to the surgeon in determining who may be better suited for nonoperative care or a palliative care referral. Prospective data do not exist in these decision-making tools.
For a growing number of persons with dementia (PWDs), advance care planning (ACP) can help families make important end-of-life (EOL) care decisions that reflect PWDs' values and preferences. The current exploratory study aimed to understand advance directive planning and decision making among PWDs and caregivers. A survey was conducted with a convenience sample of 47 ethnically diverse PWD caregivers recruited from rural health care facilities in Southwest Texas. Sixty-eight percent of PWDs and caregivers were Hispanic. The majority of PWDs had completed an advance directive (60%) and preferred equally shared decision making between family (including the PWD) and physicians (57%). Under a hypothetical EOL scenario for PWDs, caregivers chose comfort (40%) and palliative care treatment (55%) more than other goals and treatment options. In this scenario, Hispanic PWDs were less likely than non-Hispanic White counterparts to complete an advance directive (48% vs. 81%, p < 0.05) and to choose only pain and symptom management (46% vs. 81%, p < 0.05). Although the overall ACP rates among rural PWDs may be comparable to those for the general PWD population, ethnic differences exist. More culturally competent education efforts are needed to promote ACP among PWDs in culturally diverse rural communities.
General practitioners (GPs) play a key role in the timely diagnosis of dementia and also in advance care planning (ACP). They often have known patients and their families for decades and are familiar with their values and treatment preferences; they are, therefore, in a position to initiate the ACP process even before the appearance of the first symptoms of dementia and certainly following disclosure of the diagnosis. To do so, they should recognise whether patients are receptive to an ACP consultation or whether they might reject it for personal, social or cultural reasons. Under no circumstances should the patient or their family be coerced into making these provisions. In most countries, the current framework does not provide enough time and money for GPs to carry out actual ACP consultations completely on their own. There is evidence that specially trained health professionals are able to more effectively discuss treatment goals and limits of life-prolonging measures than GPs who are well acquainted with their patients. Consequently, we suggest that it will be the GPs' task to seize the right moment for starting an ACP process, to raise awareness of patients and their relatives about ACP, to test the patient's decision-making capacity and, finally, to involve appropriately trained healthcare professionals in the actual ACP consultation process. Care should be taken that these professionals delivering time-intensive ACP consultations are not only able to reflect on the patient's values but are also familiar with the course of the disease, the expected complications and the decisions that can be anticipated. The GP will ensure an active exchange with the ACP professional and should have access to the documentation drawn up in the ACP consultation process (treatment plan and advance directive including instructions for medical emergencies) as soon as possible. GPs as coordinators of healthcare provision should document appropriately all specialists involved in the care and ensure that treatment decisions are implemented in accordance with the patient's preferences for future care or the presumed will of the patient.
This article presents an integrative literature review of the experience of dementia care associated with the extended palliative phase of dementia. The aim was to highlight how dementia is defined in the literature and describe what is known about the symptomatology and management of advanced dementia regarding the needs and preferences of the person with dementia and their family carer/s. There was no consistent definition of advanced dementia. The extended palliative phase was generally synonymous with end-of-life care. Advanced care planning is purported to enable professionals to work together with people with dementia and their families. A lack of understanding of palliative care among frontline practitioners was related to a dearth of educational opportunities in advanced dementia care. There are few robust concepts and theories that embrace living the best life possible during the later stages of dementia. These findings informed our subsequent work around the concept, 'Dementia Palliare'.
People with advanced dementia living in care homes can experience social death before their physical death. Social death occurs when a person is no longer recognised as being an active agent within their relationships. A shift is required in how we perceive people with advanced dementia so that the ways they continue to be active in their relationships are noticed. Paying attention to embodied and interembodied selfhood broadens the scope and opportunities for relationships with people with advanced dementia, acting as a counter to social death. This has the potential to improve the quality of care, including end of life care, of people with advanced dementia in care homes. This study examined the role of embodied and interembodied selfhood within care-giving/care-receiving relationships in a specialist dementia care home. Empirical findings and their implications for the development of relationship-centred care and the Senses Framework in care homes are discussed.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is identified as being an important process for people with dementia. However, its efficacy for improving outcomes relevant for the individual, carers and the health system has yet to be established.AimWe conducted a systematic review with the aims of testing the efficacy of ACP for people with dementia and describing the settings and population in which it has been evaluated.
METHODS: A search was completed of electronic databases in August 2016. Articles were included if they described interventions aimed at increasing planning for future care of people with dementia, delivered to the person with dementia, their carers and/or health professionals.
RESULTS: Of 4,772 articles returned by searches, 30 met the inclusion criteria, testing interventions in nursing home (n= 16) community (n = 10) and acute care (n = 4) settings. Only 18 interventions directly involved the person with dementia, with the remainder focusing on surrogate decision-makers. In all settings, interventions were found effective in increasing ACP practice. In nursing homes, ACP was found to influence care and increase the concordance between end of life wishes and care provided. Interventions in the community were found to improve patient quality of life but were not shown to influence concordance.
CONCLUSION: Future research should focus on ways to involve people with dementia in decision-making through supported means.
BACKGROUND: The European Association for Palliative Care White Paper defined optimal palliative care in dementia based on evidence and expert consensus. Yet, we know little on how to achieve this for people with dementia living and dying at home.
AIMS: To examine evidence on home palliative care interventions in dementia, in terms of their effectiveness on end-of-life care outcomes, factors influencing implementation, the extent to which they address the European Association for Palliative Care palliative care domains and evidence gaps.
DESIGN: A systematic review of home palliative care interventions in dementia.
DATA SOURCES: The review adhered to the PRISMA guidelines and the protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018093607). We searched four electronic databases up to April 2018 (PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane library and CINAHL) and conducted lateral searches.
RESULTS: We retrieved eight relevant studies, none of which was of high quality. The evidence, albeit of generally weak quality, showed the potential benefits of the interventions in improving end-of-life care outcomes, for example, behavioural disturbances. The interventions most commonly focused on optimal symptom management, continuity of care and psychosocial support. Other European Association for Palliative Care domains identified as important in palliative care for people with dementia, for example, prognostication of dying or avoidance of burdensome interventions were under-reported. No direct evidence on facilitators and barriers to implementation was found.
CONCLUSIONS: The review highlights the paucity of high-quality dementia-specific research in this area and recommends key areas for future work, for example, the need for process evaluation to identify facilitators and barriers to implementing interventions.
BACKGROUND: Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are often called upon to assess swallowing function for older adults with advanced dementia at high risk of aspiration and make recommendations about whether the patient can safely continue oral nutrition.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the circumstances under which SLPs recommend oral nutritional intake for these patients.
METHODS: A mail survey of a national probability sample of SLPs (n = 731). Speech-language pathologists were asked if there were circumstances in which they would recommend oral feeding for patients with advanced dementia at high risk of aspiration, and if yes, to describe the circumstances under which they do so.
RESULTS: Six themes emerged: (1) when patient preferences are known; (2) for quality of life near end of life; (3) if aspiration risk mitigation strategies are employed; (4) if physician's preference; (5) if aspiration risk is clearly documented and acknowledged; and (6) if SLP is knowledgeable about current evidence of lack of benefit of feeding tubes in advanced dementia or that nothing by mouth status will not necessarily prevent aspiration pneumonia.
CONCLUSIONS: Speech-language pathologists have an important role within the interprofessional team in assessing swallowing in patients with advanced dementia, advising family and hospital staff about risks and benefits of oral feeding, and the safest techniques for doing so, to maximize quality of life for these patients near the end of life. Speech-language pathologists are often faced with balancing concerns about aspiration risk and recommending the more palliative approach of oral feeding for pleasure and comfort, potentially creating moral distress for the SLP.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the quality of end of life care in long-term care (LTC) for residents with different diagnostic trajectories. The aim of this study was to compare symptoms before death in LTC for those with cancer, dementia or chronic illness.
METHODS: After-death prospective staff survey of resident deaths with random cluster sampling in 61 representative LTC facilities across New Zealand (3709 beds). Deaths (n = 286) were studied over 3 months in each facility. Standardised questionnaires - Symptom Management (SM-EOLD) and Comfort Assessment in End of life with Dementia (CAD-EOLD) - were administered to staff after the resident’s death.
RESULTS: Primary diagnoses at the time of death were dementia (49%), chronic illness (30%), cancer (17%), and dementia and cancer (4%). Residents with cancer had more community hospice involvement (30%) than those with chronic illness (12%) or dementia (5%). There was no difference in mean SM-EOLD in the last month of life by diagnosis (cancer 26.9 (8.6), dementia 26.5(8.2), chronic illness 26.9(8.6). Planned contrast analyses of individual items found people with dementia had more pain and those with cancer had less anxiety. There was no difference in mean CAD-EOLD scores in the week before death by diagnosis (total sample 33.7(SD 5.2), dementia 34.4(SD 5.2), chronic illness 33.0(SD 5.1), cancer 33.3(5.1)). Planned contrast analyses showed significantly more physical symptoms for those with dementia and chronic illness in the last month of life than those with cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, symptoms in the last week and month of life did not vary by diagnosis. However, sub-group planned contrast analyses found those with dementia and chronic illness experienced more physical distress during the last weeks and months of life than those with cancer. These results highlight the complex nature of LTC end of life care that requires an integrated gerontology/palliative care approach.
The number of people living with Alzheimer disease and other dementias continues to grow because of the aging of the US population. Increasingly, the issue of patient- and/or surrogate-directed withholding of oral, hand-fed food and fluids in cases of late-stage dementia is confronting caregivers. Major media outlets have covered several cases wherein patients with explicit directives or clear surrogate decision making were not allowed to face the end of their lives according to their wishes. Ethical and legal scholars, as well as many end-of-life advocacy groups, are working to develop a framework and provide guidance in these cases. A local hospice organization was faced with these ethical deliberations when an activated proxy decision maker advocated for caregivers to stop hand feeding an incapacitated patient with end-stage dementia. In this article, this case is summarized, and this important ethical issue is presented in the setting of a literature review and nursing implications.
BACKGROUND: transitions between care settings near the end-of-life for people with dementia can be distressing, lead to physical and cognitive deterioration, and may be avoidable.
OBJECTIVE: to investigate determinants of end-of-life hospital transitions, and association with healthcare use, among people with dementia.
DESIGN: retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: electronic records from a mental health provider in London, linked to national mortality and hospital data.
SUBJECTS: people with dementia who died in 2007-2016.
METHODS: end-of-life hospital transitions were defined as: multiple admissions in the last 90 days (early), or any admission in the last three days of life (late). Determinants were assessed using logistic regression.
RESULTS: of 8,880 people, 1,421 (16.0%) had at least one end-of-life transition: 505 (5.7%) had early, 788 (8.9%) late, and 128 (1.5%) both types. Early transitions were associated with male gender (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.11-1.59), age (>90 vs <75 years OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.97), physical illness (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.20-1.94), depressed mood (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.17-1.90), and deprivation (most vs least affluent quintile OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37-0.90). Care home residence was associated with fewer early (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.76) and late (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.97) transitions. Early transitions were associated with more hospital admissions throughout the last year of life compared to those with late and no transitions (mean 4.56, 1.89, 1.60; P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: in contrast to late transitions, early transitions are associated with higher healthcare use and characteristics that are predictable, indicating potential for prevention.
Aims: There is a lack of data on physical functional status near death of patients with different types of dementia that can contribute to decisions about what kind of care is needed. The aim of this study was to investigate the course of functional status along with the documented reasons for death in participants with dementia who had regularly been followed at a geriatric outpatient unit.
Setting and Design: A retrospective observational cohort study was done using the database of a geriatric outpatient clinic.
Subjects and Methods: Sociodemographic and medical records of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia, mixed dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)/Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) who had received routine care in a geriatrics outpatient setting for a minimum of 12 months before death were analyzed. Scores for activities of daily living and documented probable causes of death were recorded.
Results: Of the 258 participants, 111 (42 female and 69 male) were included in this study. AD was the leading cause of dementia (51.8%). The median duration of survival with dementia was 4 years. The leading causes of death were cardiovascular disease (CVD) (27.0%) and dementia (27.0%) followed by infections (21.6%) and stroke (10.8%). Disability was the highest in patients with DLB/PDD.
Conclusions: This study found relatively shorter survival after the diagnosis of dementia when compared to other populations. CVD still appeared as a major cause of that in this particular disease. Most debilitating type of dementia was DLB/PDD.
BACKGROUND: Nutritional problems often manifest during late-stage dementia, and some families may request to instigate artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) therapies. In the US, an estimated one-third of nursing home patients with a severe cognitive impairment have artificial feeding tubes inserted. Fear that a relative could experience extreme hunger or thirst if they are not mechanically fed tends to be the main driver behind family's requests to implement artificial or enteral feeding methods. In contrast, artificial hydration is rarely given to older people with dementia in the UK and this practice of non-intervention tends to apply across all healthcare and hospice type environments.
AIM: This literature review aims to evaluate the evidence to support the use and non-use of ANH.
METHOD: A literature review was undertaken to examine the evidence around ANH for patients with dementia to offer support to families or carers contemplating feeding choices.
CONCLUSION: This paper challenges the implementation of invasive ANH worldwide. It highlights how resorting to ANH does not necessarily lead to improvements in comfort, survival or wound healing. The risk of aspiration does not appear to significantly alter either.
OBJECTIVE: The Canadian province of Quebec has recently legalized medical aid in dying (MAID) for competent patients who satisfy strictly defined criteria. The province is considering extending the practice to incompetent patients. We compared the attitudes of four groups of stakeholders toward extending MAID to incompetent patients with dementia.
METHODS: We conducted a province-wide postal survey in random samples of older adults, informal caregivers of persons with dementia, nurses, and physicians caring for patients with dementia. Clinical vignettes featuring a patient with Alzheimer's disease were used to measure the acceptability of extending MAID to incompetent patients with dementia. Vignettes varied according to the stage of the disease (advanced or terminal) and type of request (written or oral only). We used the generalized estimating equation (GEE) approach to compare attitudes across groups and vignettes.
RESULTS: Response rates ranged from 25% for physicians to 69% for informal caregivers. In all four groups, the proportion of respondents who felt it was acceptable to extend MAID to an incompetent patient with dementia was highest when the patient was at the terminal stage, showed signs of distress, and had written a MAID request prior to losing capacity. In those circumstances, this proportion ranged from 71% among physicians to 91% among informal caregivers.
CONCLUSION: We found high support in Quebec for extending the current MAID legislation to incompetent patients with dementia who have reached the terminal stage, appear to be suffering, and had requested MAID in writing while still competent.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care and Advance Care Planning (ACP) are increasingly recommended for an optimal management of late-stage dementia. In Belgium, euthanasia has been decriminalized in 2002 for patients who are "mentally competent" (interpreted as non-demented). It has been suggested that advance directives for euthanasia (ADE) should be made possible for dementia patients.
OBJECTIVE: This study presents the results of an internet survey among Belgian dementia specialists.
METHODS: In 2013, the Belgian Dementia Council (BeDeCo) organized a debate on end of life decisions in dementia. Participants were medical doctors who are specialists in the dementia field. After the debate, an anonymous internet survey was organized. The participation rate was 55%. The sample was representative of the BeDeCo members.
RESULTS: The results showed consensus in favor of palliative care and ACP, although ACP is not systematically addressed in practice. Few patients with dementia have requested euthanasia, but for those who did the participants had agreed to implement it for some patients. A majority of participants (94%) believe that most patients and their families are poorly informed about euthanasia. Although most participants (77%) said they approved the Law on euthanasia, 65% said they were against an extension of the Law to allow ADE for dementia.
CONCLUSION: Palliative care and ACP are clearly accepted by professionals, although a gap between recommendation and practice remain. Euthanasia is a much more debated issue, even if a majority of professionals are, in principle, in favor of the current Law and seem to disapprove with a Law change allowing ADE for dementia. A better education for both health professionals and the lay public will be a key element in the future.
Background: Dementia is a terminal illness making the palliative and hospice approach to care appropriate for older people with advanced dementia.
Objective: To examine clinical and health services outcomes of a quality improvement pilot project to provide home hospice care for older people with advanced dementia.
Study design: Twenty older people with advanced dementia being treated in the Maccabi Healthcare Services homecare program, received home hospice care as an extension of their usual care for 6–7 months (or until they died) from a multidisciplinary team who were available 24/7. Family members were interviewed using validated questionnaires about symptom management, satisfaction with care, and caregiver burden. Hospitalizations prevented and medications discontinued, were determined by medical record review and team consensus.
Findings: The findings are based on 112 months of care with an average of 5.6 (SD 1.6) months per participant. The participants were on average 83.5 (SD 8.6) years old, 70% women, in homecare for 2.8 (SD 2.0) years, had dementia for 5.6 (SD 3.6) years with multiple comorbidities, and had been hospitalized for an average of 14.0 (SD 18.1) days in the year prior to the project. Four patients were fed via artificial nutrition. During the pilot project, 4 patients died, 2 patients withdrew, 1 patient was transferred to a nursing home and 13 returned to their usual homecare program. The home hospice program lead to significant (p < 0.001)improvement in: symptom management (score of 33.8 on admission on the Volicer symptom management scale increased to 38.3 on discharge), in satisfaction with care (27.5 to 35.3,), and a significant decline in caregiver burden (12.1 to 1.4 on the Zarit Burden index). There were five hospitalizations, and 33 hospitalizations prevented, and an average of 2.1(SD 1.4) medications discontinued per participant. Family members reported that the professionalism and 24/7 availability of the staff provided the added value of the program.
Conclusions: This pilot quality improvement project suggests that home hospice care for older people with advanced dementia can improve symptom management and caregiver satisfaction, while decreasing caregiver burden, preventing hospitalizations and discontinuing unnecessary medications. Identifying older people with advanced dementia with a 6 month prognosis remains a major challenge.