Advance care planning (ACP) enables individuals to think ahead and define their goals and preferences for future treatment and care. Such a process has been shown to have a positive impact on both the indivdual and those close to them, and is widely considered to be an integral part of best practice long-term care. Implementation in daily nursing home practice however still seems to be a challenge, and research has failed to provide recommendations on how to implement ACP successfully in the complex setting of a nursing home. Effectiveness research has therefore been recommended to go beyond "does it work?" to "how and under what circumtances does it work?".
Towards successfull advance care planning in nursing homes was written as a Joint PhD dissertation and explores how to implement advance care planning successfully in nursing homes. Through the theory-based development and evaluation of a complex intervention, using qualitative and quantitative research methods, this work aims to contribute to improving advance care planning in routine nursing home care in Flanders, Belgium.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is common chronic respiratory disorder, predominantly caused by exposure to cigarette smoke or biomass fuels, and it usually affects older adults. Dyspnea in COPD that is unresponsive to traditional management is a challenging disease complication for both the patient and the health care professional. Off-label use of opioids has been advocated as a pharmacotherapy strategy for refractory dyspnea. However, negative respiratory outcomes are a potential concern with opioids drugs, especially among individuals with COPD. In this review, randomized controlled trials evaluating opioid efficacy among individuals with COPD are reviewed and critically analyzed, and data from observational drug safety studies is also presented. In summary, the evidence in support of using opioids for refractory dyspnea in COPD is minimal and weak, and there is mounting data demonstrating that opioids are associated with increased respiratory-related morbidity and mortality in this population. Therefore, current evidence does not support the broad application of opioids for refractory dyspnea among individuals with COPD. However, there may be subsets of individuals that experience modest improvement in dyspnea with opioids, and better understanding predictors and mechanisms of such opioid responsiveness should be a focus of future research endeavours.
The aim of the present study is to validate the Self-Efficacy in Palliative Care Scale (SEPC) in Spanish nursing professionals and students, to describe their levels of self-efficacy, and to determine the influencing factors. A validation study and a cross-sectional descriptive study were carried out, with the data analysed using contrast tests and multiple linear regression; 552 nurses and 440 nursing students participated. The Spanish version consists of 23 items and has a high degree of reliability (a = 0.944). Confirmatory factor analysis revealed one additional factor (i.e., management of psychosocial and spiritual aspects) in comparison to the original scale. Contrast tests revealed that the mean SEPC score was higher in professionals than in students (p < 0.001) and that the professionals who had higher levels of self-efficacy were older (p < 0.001), had more previous training (p < 0.001), and had more experience in end-of-life care (p = 0.001). The linear analysis results confirm a significant association between age and previous training in end-of-life care. The Spanish version of the SEPC is a reliable tool for both nursing professionals and students. The level of self-efficacy of both groups is moderate and is influenced by age, experience, and training in end-of-life care.
Background: In health care, clinical effectiveness involves evaluating the degree to which clinical interventions achieve beneficial patient and caregiver outcomes.
Objective: To evaluate the clinical effectiveness of care in a specialist palliative care unit (SPCU) in Ireland, including an analysis of the temporal relationship among admission, Phase of Illness and patient and family distress.
Design/Measurements: A consecutive case series with prospectively collected admission data (n = 400). Using a casemix tool (Phase of Illness), pain, other symptoms, psychological and family distress, and performance status were documented on admission and then daily by medical staff.
Results: Three hundred forty-two (85%) patients had complete data recorded on day 1. After admission, there were linear correlations between days since admission and progressive improvements in pain (Cramer's V = 0.131, p < 0.001), other symptoms (V = 0.206, p < 0.001), psychological distress (V = 0.101, p < 0.001), and family distress (V = 0.124, p < 0.001). Forty-three percent were in an unstable phase on admission. Nearly two thirds (60.7%) of these unstable patients converted to a stable phase within 48 hours of admission. Over the first 72 hours, 70.7% of unstable patients converted to a stable phase. There was also a significant correlation between phase stabilization and pain and symptom control (p = 0.007). Stable phase over the first 4 days and first 14 days was associated with significantly higher performance status.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the significant clinical effectiveness of SPCU admission across the different aspects of patient and family care.
Background: Treatment of delirium often includes haloperidol. Second-generation antipsychotics like olanzapine have emerged as an alternative with possibly fewer side effects. The aim of this multicenter, phase III, randomized clinical trial was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of olanzapine with haloperidol for the treatment of delirium in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer.
Materials and Methods: Eligible adult patients (=18 years) with advanced cancer and delirium (Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98 [DRS-R-98] total score =17.75) were randomized 1:1 to receive either haloperidol or olanzapine (age-adjusted, titratable doses). Primary endpoint was delirium response rate (DRR), defined as number of patients with DRS-R-98 severity score <15.25 and =4.5 points reduction. Secondary endpoints included time to response (TTR), tolerability, and delirium-related distress.
Results: Between January 2011 and June 2016, 98 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. DRR was 45% (95% confidence interval [CI], 31–59) for olanzapine and 57% (95% CI, 43–71) for haloperidol ( DRR -12%; odds ratio [OR], 0.61; 95% CI, 0.2–1.4; p = .23). Mean TTR was 4.5 days (95% CI, 3.2–5.9 days) for olanzapine and 2.8 days (95% CI, 1.9–3.7 days; p = .18) for haloperidol. Grade =3 treatmen-related adverse events occurred in 5 patients (10.2%) and 10 patients (20.4%) in the olanzapine and haloperidol arm, respectively. Distress rates were similar in both groups. The study was terminated early because of futility.
Conclusion: Delirium treatment with olanzapine in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer did not result in improvement of DRR or TTR compared with haloperidol. Clinical trial identification number. NCT01539733. Dutch Trial Register. NTR2559.
Implications for Practice: Guidelines recommend that pharmacological interventions for delirium treatment in adults with cancer should be limited to patients who have distressing delirium symptoms. It was suggested that atypical antipsychotics, such as olanzapine, outperform haloperidol in efficacy and safety. However, collective data comparing the efficacy and safety of typical versus atypical antipsychotics in patients with cancer are limited. If targeted and judicious use of antipsychotics is considered for the treatment of delirium in patients with advanced cancer, this study demonstrated that there was no statistically significant difference in response to haloperidol or olanzapine. Olanzapine showed an overall better safety profile compared with haloperidol, although this difference was not statistically significant.
PURPOSE: Many assert the need for home hospice care. However, limited research has shown its effectiveness. The authors of this study thus evaluated the effectiveness of a home hospice care pilot project regarding (1) early enrollment in hospice care, (2) efficient use of inpatient hospice resources, and (3) enabling terminally ill patients to stay at their preferred place of care.
METHODS: The authors conducted a nationwide prospective observational study. Patients were divided into home hospice care users (ever-users, n = 902) and inpatient-only hospice care users (never-users, n = 8210). Information about hospice service utilization was collected from a web-based registry system. Patients were registered if they started to receive the hospice service after providing written informed consent during the pilot project from March 2016-July 2017.
RESULTS: Most ever-users preferred to stay at home (84.0%), while never-users preferred hospital admission (66.9%). Most ever-users were enrolled in hospice by home care (78.9%) and used both home and inpatient care (72.4%). The overall duration of hospice care was significantly longer among ever-users than never-users (median 39 vs. 15 days, respectively; mean ± SD 59.6 ± 62.8 vs. 24.8 ± 32.1, respectively; p < .001). Participation in the pilot program improved bed utilization (p = .025) and turnover rate (p < .001) of inpatient hospice service.
CONCLUSIONS: Home hospice care enabled early enrollment in hospice services and provided a valid option to patients who wished to stay at home. Policy efforts to facilitate home hospice care are needed.
AIM: This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of palliative chemotherapy by the lines of chemotherapy in recurrent/metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and to compare the efficacy between the patients with initially metastatic ESCC and those with recurrent/progressed ESCC after curative treatment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: All 107 patients who began palliative chemotherapy for recurrent/metastatic ESCC from March 2015 to October 2017 were included, and grouped according to previous treatment: Groups A (previous chemoradiation alone, n = 30), B (previous surgery alone, n = 11), C (previous chemoradiation and surgery, n = 30), and D (initially metastatic or de novo stage IV, n = 36). Groups A, B, and C (pretreated group) and Group D (treatment-naïve group) were reorganized according to treatment history. Overall response rate (ORR) and survival data were retrospectively evaluated for each group, lines of chemotherapy, and chemotherapeutic regimen.
RESULTS: ORR was 25.2%, 7.3%, and 3.4% in first-, second-, and third-line chemotherapy, respectively. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.7, 2.0, and 2.2 months in first-, second-, third-line chemotherapy, respectively. The median overall survival (OS) after first-line palliative chemotherapy was 10.1 months, and it was not significantly different between pretreated and treatment-naive groups. Previous surgery, good performance, =3 lines of chemotherapy, and low C-reactive protein level were linked to a significantly longer OS in multivariate analysis.
CONCLUSION: Because PFS rapidly declines with advancement of line of chemotherapy, incorporation of effective treatment modalities in early line treatments is crucial in the management of recurrent/metastatic ESCC. If tolerable, continuing advanced lines of chemotherapy may prolong survival.
BACKGROUND/AIM: The aim of this study was to review the outcomes of palliative radiotherapy (RT) for hematuria treated with modern RT techniques.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study. The primary endpoint was symptom response rate. Secondary endpoints included symptom recurrence rate, overall survival and treatment-related toxicity.
RESULTS: Median age was 82 years (range=36-98 years). Median biologically effective dose (BED) was 36 Gy. Sixty-seven percent of patients (39/58) responded to RT. The median survival duration was 5.6 months (range=0.02-47.6 months). One third (13/39) of responders had recurrence of hematuria. Competing Risk regression with death as the competing risk showed that patients treated with low BED regimen (<36 Gy) had 5.76 times the hazard of recurrence compared to high BED regimen (>36 Gy) (p=0.01). One patient (2%) developed grade 3 nausea and vomiting which required admission for intravenous hydration.
CONCLUSION: BED regimens should be recommended as they are associated with a significantly lower rate of recurrent hematuria.
PURPOSE: The aim of this review was to examine efficacy of palliative interventional radiotherapy (IRT) in esophageal cancer compared with other treatment in terms of dysphagia-free survival (DyFS) and safety.
METHODS AND MATERIAL: A systematic research using PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane library was performed to identify full articles evaluating the efficacy of IRT as palliation in patients with esophageal cancer. ClinicalTrials.gov was searched for ongoing or recently completed trials, and PROSPERO was searched for ongoing or recently completed systematic reviews. We analyzed only clinical study as full text of patients with symptomatic esophageal cancer treated with IRT alone or in combination with other treatment. Conference paper, survey, letter, editorial, book chapter, and review were excluded. Time restriction (1990-2018) as concerns the years of the publication was considered. The primary outcome was the duration of dysphagia relief (DyFS) after brachytherapy vs. other treatment (external-beam radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy, argon plasma coagulation, stent, and laser) during followup. Secondary outcomes included overall survival and adverse event rates.
RESULTS: The literature search resulted in 554 articles. Sixty-six articles were assessed via full text for eligibility. Of these, 59 articles were excluded for various reasons, leaving seven randomized studies. The number of evaluated patients was 905 patients, and median age was 70.5 years. In the IRT group, the median DyFS was 99 days, the most relevant G3-G4 toxicity were fistula development and stenosis reported, respectively, in 8.3% and 12.2%; the overall median survival was 175.5 days.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we provided evidence-based support that IRT is an effective and safe treatment option; therefore, its underuse is no longer justified.
Purpose: Patients with locally advanced and metastatic esophageal cancer are usually affected by cancer-related symptoms, which worsen their performance status and quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of short-course accelerated radiation therapy for symptomatic palliation in a low resourced setting where only a 2-dimensional radiation therapy (RT) technique was available.
Methods and Materials: A phase II trial based on Simon’s 2-stage design was planned. A total dose of 12 Gy in 4 fractions, twice per day, over 2 days, =8 hours apart, using a 2-dimensional conventional RT technique was delivered with a Cobalt 60 unit (Equinox, Best Theratronics, Ottawa, Ontario). Symptoms were graded using the International Atomic Energy Agency scoring system.
Results: A total of 17 patients were treated (male/female = 10/7; median age, 50.0 years; range, 27-78 years; histology: 6 adenocarcinomas and 11 squamous cell carcinomas; tumor site: 4 gastresophageal junction and 13 esophagus). The most frequent baseline symptoms were dysphagia or regurgitation (100%), odynophagia (76%), and chest or back pain (53%). At 1 month after RT, all patients were alive with palliative response rates (complete plus partial) for dysphagia, regurgitation, odynophagia, and chest or back pain of 76%, 82%, 69%, and 56%, respectively. No patients presented acute =G3 toxicity.
Conclusions: Short-course accelerated radiation therapy treatment, planned and delivered using a conventional 2-dimensional RT technique, was effective and well tolerated for the symptomatic palliation of locally advanced or metastatic esophageal cancer. This schedule may be useful for RT centers in developing countries to reduce treatment times, costs, and patient waiting times before treatment.
BACKGROUND: While early-integrated palliative home care (PHC) is believed to be beneficial for COPD patients, trials testing this hypothesis are rare and show inconclusive results.
AIM: To test feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of early-integrated PHC for end-stage COPD.
METHOD: Testing a six-month early-integrated PHC pilot RCT given by PHC nurses for end-stage COPD with five components: (1) pre-inclusion COPD support training for PHC nurses; (2) monthly PHC visits; (3) leaflets on coping mechanisms; (4) a protocol on symptom management and support, a care and action plan; (5) integration of PHC and usual care through reporting and communication mechanisms. Patient-reported outcomes were assessed six-weekly. Participants and healthcare professionals involved were interviewed.
RESULTS: Of 70 eligible patients, 39 (56%) participated (20:19 intervention-control) and 64% completed the trial. A patient received on average 3.4 PHC visits, mainly for disease insight, symptom management and care planning. Nurses distributed all reports but hardly connected with health professionals except general practitioners (GPs); 8/10 interviewed patients referred to the psychosocial support, breathing exercises and care decisions as helpful. Some GPs criticised PHC being given too early but pulmonologists and PHC nurses did not. Effectiveness analysis showed no overall intervention effect for the outcomes, but between baseline and week 24 fewer hospitalisations in the control group (p=0.03) and a trend of higher perceived quality of care in the intervention group (p=0.06) was found. A clinically relevant difference was observed at week 24 for health-related quality of life in favour of the control group.
CONCLUSION: Our intervention on early-integrated PHC for end-stage COPD is feasible and accepted but did not yield the anticipated preliminary effectiveness. Before moving to a Phase III-trial, enhanced coordination of care, more GP involvement, more intensive training for PHC nurses in COPD support and revision of the trial design, e.g. of targeted outcomes in line with individual patient goals and care preferences should be improved.
Au cours du siècle dernier, les réactions et processus de deuil ont de plus en plus été perçus et conceptualisés comme « a-normaux », c’est-à-dire pathologiques lorsqu’ils sont inhabituels, trop longs ou trop courts, trop intenses ou pas assez présents. Le deuil est souffrance (dolere étymologiquement) et notre société veut le bonheur, le contrôle et l’efficacité. Le deuil doit donc être « traité ». Pourtant, le deuil existe car il est le coût de l’attachement essentiel entre les êtres humains, attachement qui a été phylogénétiquement et ontologiquement sélectionné pour notre survie et notre développement. La perspective humaniste, centrée sur la personne et expérientielle, permet d’envisager les réactions et processus de deuil de manière plus compréhensive, humaine, idiosyncratique. Dans cet article, au-delà d’un bref retour sur les développements théoriques et empiriques dans ce domaine, je présenterai les éléments scientifiques permettant d’appuyer une perspective d’accompagnement centrée sur la personne que tout un chacun peut vivre de manière privée et/ou professionnelle. Basée sur les preuves scientifiques, celle-ci apparaît comme plus respectueuse des diversités intra- et interindividuelles, considérant la personne de manière holistique et intervenant par la relation de qualité à l’autre. L’aidant authentique, respectueux, empathique, flexible et chaleureux est amené à entreprendre un travail humanisant l’autre et le soin qu’il lui apporte tout en répondant aux critères sociétaux d’efficacité attendue.
Malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) is a common manifestation in patients with advanced intra-abdominal malignancy. It is especially common with bowel or gynecological cancers and produces distressing symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and pain. Medical management options are less effective than decompressive strategies for symptom control. Surgery is the gold-standard treatment but is unsuitable for most patients with high complication rates. Consensus guidelines recommend nonsurgical management with a venting gastrostomy in those unsuitable for surgery or for whom medical management is ineffective. The aim of this systematic review is to establish the safety and efficacy of percutaneous venting gastrostomy in relieving symptoms of MBO. Twenty-five studies were included in this review comprising 1194 patients. Gastrostomy insertion was successful at first attempt in 91% of cases and reduction in symptoms of nausea and vomiting was reported in 92% of cases. Mean survival following the procedure ranged from 35 to 147 days. Major complications were rare, with most complications classed as minor wound infections or leakage of fluid around the tube. Studies suggest that the presence of ascites is not an absolute contraindication to the insertion of percutaneous venting gastrostomy in patients with MBO; however, these studies lack longitudinal outcomes and complication rates related to this. However, it is reasonable to suggest that ascitic drainage is performed to reduce potential complications. There is a relative lack of good quality robust data on the utilization of percutaneous venting gastrostomy in MBO, but overall, the combination of being a safe and efficacious procedure alongside the known complication profile suggests that it should be considered a suitable management option.
AIM: To define safety and efficacy of a palliative, short-course accelerated radiation therapy for symptomatic locally advanced primary pelvic cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A phase II trial was planned based on the minimax Simon's two-stage design. A total of 18 Gy in 4.5 Gy/fraction administered twice a day was delivered (SHARON). Pain and quality of life were recorded according to the Visual Analogue self-assessment and the cancer linear analog scales (CLAS), respectively.
RESULTS: Twenty-five patients were enrolled in the study. The most frequent baseline symptoms were pain (48%), bleeding (40%), bleeding/pain (8%), and intestinal sub-occlusion (4%). The overall palliative response rate was 96.0%, with a median palliative duration of 6 months. An improvement of quality-of-life indices (well-being, fatigue, and ability to perform daily activities) was noted in 64.0%, 36.0%, and 48.0% of patients, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The SHARON regimen was well tolerated and effective in the palliative treatment of patients with locally advanced pelvic cancer. Based on these results, a multicentric prospective phase III trial is ongoing to compare this regimen with traditional 2-week radiotherapy treatment.
In preclinical studies, selenite had single agent activity and radiosensitized tumors in vivo. Here we report results from a Phase 1 trial in 15 patients with metastatic cancer treated with selenite (5.5 to 49.5 mg) orally as a single dose 2 hours before each radiation therapy (RT) treatment. Patients received RT regimens that were standard of care. The primary objective of the study was to assess the safety of this combination therapy. Secondary objectives included measurement of pharmacokinetics (PK) and evaluation of efficacy. Endpoints included assessment of PK, toxicity, tumor response, and pain before and after treatment. The half-life of selenite was 18.5 hours. There were no adverse events attributable to selenite until the 33 mg dose level, at which the primary toxicities were grade 1 GI side effects. One patient treated with 49.5 mg had grade 2 GI toxicity. Although this was not a DLT, it was felt that the highest acceptable dose in this patient population was 33 mg. Most patients had stabilization of disease within the RT fields, with some demonstrating objective evidence of tumor regression. Most patients had a marked improvement in pain and seven out of nine patients with prostate cancer had a decrease in PSA ranging from 11-78%. Doses up to 33 mg selenite were well tolerated in combination with RT. A randomized, well controlled study is needed at the 33 mg dose level to determine if selenite results in clinically meaningful improvements in the response to palliative RT.
Most patients in palliative care have problems with dry mouth caused by medication or as a direct result of their condition. Dry mouth may cause problems that affect the primary disease negatively and contribute to poorer quality of life in palliative patients. This randomized controlled trial compared the efficacy of three different oral moisturizers: 17% watery solution of glycerol; oxygenated glycerol triester (marketed as Aequasyal in Europe and as Aquoral in the USA); and a newly developed product, Salient. Of the three products, glycerol provided the best relief from xerostomia directly after application, but had no effect after 2 h. By contrast, the effects of Aequasyal and Salient were largely maintained over the same period. The findings for oral discomfort and pain and speech problems showed a similar pattern. Despite its poor effect after 2 h, patients preferred glycerol over Salient and Aequasyal, probably because of the unpleasant taste of Aequasyal and the consistency and mode of application of Salient. Within the limitations of this study, none of the three products tested was found to be clinically completely adequate. However, the glycerol solution was preferred by this group of patients, and its short-lived effect can be compensated for by frequent applications.
Background: People with advanced cancer face difficulties with their everyday activities at home that may reduce their health-related quality of life. To address these difficulties, we developed the ‘Cancer Home-Life Intervention’.
Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of the ‘Cancer Home Life-Intervention’ compared with usual care with regard to patients’ performance of, and participation in, everyday activities, and their health-related quality of life.
Design and intervention: A randomised controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02356627). The ‘Cancer Home-Life Intervention’ is a brief, tailored, occupational therapy–based and adaptive programme for people with advanced cancer targeting the performance of their prioritised everyday activities.
Setting/participants: Home-living adults diagnosed with advanced cancer experiencing functional limitations were recruited from two Danish hospitals. They were assessed at baseline, and at 6 and 12 weeks of follow-up. The primary outcome was activities of daily living motor ability. Secondary outcomes were activities of daily living process ability, difficulty performing prioritised everyday activities, participation restrictions and health-related quality of life.
Results: A total of 242 participants were randomised either to the intervention group (n = 121) or the control group (n = 121). No effect was found on the primary outcome (between-group mean change: -0.04 logits (95% confidence interval: -0.23 to 0.15); p = 0.69). Nor was any effect on the secondary outcomes observed.
Conclusion: In most cases, the ‘Cancer Home-Life Intervention’ was delivered through only one home visit and one follow-up telephone contact, which not was effective in maintaining or improving participants’ everyday activities and health-related quality of life. Future research should pay even more attention to intervention development and feasibility testing.
Many patients have advanced esophageal cancer at diagnosis. However, the most optimal treatment has not been identified. Therefore, we evaluated a weekly regimen of carboplatin (area under the curve (AUC)) of 4 and paclitaxel at 100 mg/m2 as an induction or palliative treatment. All patients with advanced (gastro)esophageal cancer treated with this regimen between 2002-2018 were included. Exclusion criteria were previous radiotherapy or treatment elsewhere. Data on toxicity, response, and survival were collected. Analyses were performed in two groups: induction (iCT) or palliative chemotherapy (pCT). Median progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method. A total of 291 patients was included (iCT: 122; pCT: 169). Most patients had T3 carcinoma (iCT: 54%; pCT: 66%) and stage IV disease (iCT: 42%; pCT: 91%). A toxicity grade 3 occurred mainly as hematological toxicity (iCT: 71%; pCT: 73%) and gastrointestinal toxicity (iCT: 3%; pCT: 5%). Response rates were 48% (iCT) and 44% (pCT). Esophagectomy or definitive chemoradiotherapy followed in 42% of iCT, resulting in a PFS of 22.1 months (interquartile range (IQR): 12.4-114.2) and OS of 26.8 months (IQR: 15.4-91.7). For pCT, PFS was 8.2 months (IQR: 5.1-14.5) and OS 10.9 months (IQR: 6.5-18.3). This retrospective cohort study demonstrated that weekly carboplatin (AUC4) and paclitaxel (100 mg/m2) is a well-tolerated and effective induction or palliative treatment regimen for patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease. Future research should directly compare this treatment regimen with other first-line treatment options to determine its true value for clinical practice.
Background: Previous literature suggests that ketamine may be an effective drug in the palliative care population as this drug has been shown to treat multiple conditions that are common in these patients.
Objective: This review examines the efficacy of ketamine for the treatment of depression and physical pain in palliative care patients.
Methods: Eleven studies were included on the topic of ketamine as an antidepressant in the palliative care population. Additionally, 5 RCT studies were included on the topic of physical pain in this population.
Results: All 11 studies, including one RCT, found antidepressant effects of ketamine in this patient population. Ketamine's effect on treating physical pain was mixed with the largest and most recent RCTs suggesting no significant analgesic effect.
Discussion: This review suggests that starting qualified patients on intravenous (IV) ketamine and switching to oral or intranasal administration may be the most effective and convenient for treating depression, especially for patients who wish to receive treatment at home. Significant analgesia was found in patients who received epidural or intrathecal ketamine as well as in one study using intravenous administration. More research is necessary to determine which palliative care patients may benefit from ketamine treatment.