Background: Information routinely collected during a palliative care consultation request may help predict the level of complexity of that patient encounter.
Objectives: We examined whether patient and consultation characteristics, as captured in consultation requests, are associated with the number of unmet palliative care needs that emerge during consultation, as an indicator of complexity.
Design: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of palliative care consultations.
Setting: We analyzed quality-of-care data from specialty palliative care consultations contained in the Quality Data Collection Tool of the Global Palliative Care Quality Alliance from 2012 to 2017.
Measurements: Using 13 point-of-care assessments of quality of life, symptoms, advance care planning, and prognosis, we created a complexity score ranging from 0 (not complex) to 13 (highest complexity). Using multivariable linear regression, we examined the relationships of consultation setting and patient characteristics with complexity score.
Results: Patients in our cohort (N = 3121) had an average complexity score of 6.7 (standard deviation = 3.7). Female gender, nonwhite race, and neurological (e.g., dementia) and noncancer primary diagnosis were associated with increased complexity score. The hospital intensive care unit, compared with the general floor, was associated with higher complexity scores. In contrast, outpatient and residence, compared with the general floor, were associated with lower complexity scores.
Conclusion: Patient, disease, and care setting factors known at the time of specialty palliative care consultation request are associated with level of complexity, and they may inform teams about the right service provisions, including time and expertise, required to meet patient needs.
Objectives: We evaluated the trend of end-of-life healthcare utilization and life-sustaining interventions for older adults with dementia 3 to 4 years after the change in hospice policy.
Design: Population-based retrospective cohort study.
Setting and participants: we used the National Health Insurance Research database of enrolled patients =65 years of age diagnosed with dementia who died in 2010-2013 (n = 2062).
Methods: Aggressive treatments, including healthcare utilization and life-sustaining interventions, were recorded within 6 months of death. Aggressive healthcare utilization included =1 emergency department visits, =1 hospitalizations, >14 days of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death in an acute care hospital. Life-sustaining interventions were enteral tube, artificial nutrition, blood transfusion, hemodialysis, invasive ventilation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Results: Compared with 2010 2012, 2013 rates significantly decreased for all measures (P < .001). Composite scores of healthcare utilization and life-sustaining treatments in 2013 were significantly lower than for 2010 2012, after controlling for confounding variables (both P < .001).
Conclusions and implications: Older patients with dementia had a trend of reduced healthcare utilization and fewer life-sustaining treatments near the end of life from 2010 to 2013 after a policy change.
Background: Delirium is a distressing neurocognitive disorder that is common among terminally ill individuals, although few studies have described its occurrence in the acute care setting among this population.
Aim: To describe the prevalence of delirium in patients admitted to acute care hospitals in Ontario, Canada, in their last year of life and identify factors associated with delirium.
Design: Population-based retrospective cohort study using linked health administrative data. Delirium was identified through diagnosis codes on hospitalization records.
Setting/participants: Ontario decedents (1 January 2014 to 31 December 2016) admitted to an acute care hospital in their last year of life, excluding individuals age of <18 years or >105 years at admission, those not eligible for the provincial health insurance plan between their hospitalization and death dates, and non-Ontario residents.
Results: Delirium was recorded as a diagnosis in 8.2% of hospitalizations. The frequency of delirium-related hospitalizations increased as death approached. Delirium prevalence was higher in patients with dementia (prevalence ratio: 1.43; 95% confidence interval: 1.36–1.50), frailty (prevalence ratio: 1.67; 95% confidence interval: 1.56–1.80), or organ failure–related cause of death (prevalence ratio: 1.23; 95% confidence interval: 1.16–1.31) and an opioid prescription (prevalence ratio: 1.17; 95% confidence interval: 1.12–1.21). Prevalence also varied by age, sex, chronic conditions, antipsychotic use, receipt of long-term care or home care, and hospitalization characteristics.
Conclusion: This study described the occurrence and timing of delirium in acute care hospitals in the last year of life and identified factors associated with delirium. These findings can be used to support delirium prevention and early detection in the hospital setting.
Background: Anticancer treatment exposes patients to negative consequences such as increased toxicity and decreased quality of life, and there are clear guidelines recommending limiting use of aggressive anticancer treatments for patients near end of life. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life and adverse events contributing to death and elucidate how adverse events can be used as a measure of quality and safety in end-of-life cancer care.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 247 deceased hospitalised cancer patients at three hospitals in Norway in 2012 and 2013. The Global Trigger Tool method were used to identify adverse events. We used Poisson regression and binary logistic regression to compare adverse events and association with use of anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life.
Results: 30% of deceased hospitalised cancer patients received some kind of anticancer treatment during the last 30 days of life, mainly systemic anticancer treatment. These patients had 62% more adverse events compared to patients not being treated last 30 days, 39 vs. 24 adverse events per 1000 patient days (p < 0.001, OR 1.62 (1.23–2.15). They also had twice the odds of an adverse event contributing to death compared to patients without such treatment, 33 vs. 18% (p = 0.045, OR 1.85 (1.01–3.36)). Receiving follow up by specialist palliative care reduced the rate of AEs per 1000 patient days in both groups by 29% (p = 0.02, IRR 0.71, CI 95% 0.53–0.96).
Conclusions: Anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life is associated with a significantly increased rate of adverse events and related mortality. Patients receiving specialist palliative care had significantly fewer adverse events, supporting recommendations of early integration of palliative care in a patient safety perspective.
Purpose: The USA has observed a significant increase in the use of palliative care for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer. However, it is unknown how geographic variation affects patients’ use of palliative care services. We examined temporal and demographic trends in receipt of and timing of palliative care by state and region.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. Study sample included community-dwelling patients aged = 65 years with metastatic lung cancer who were diagnosed between 2001 and 2015. Cochran-Armitage trend test was used to evaluate temporal trends in receipt of and timing of palliative care by states and census region.
Results: The proportion of metastatic lung cancer patients who received palliative care ranged from 16.4% in Washington and 16.3% in Connecticut to 6.4% in Louisiana. From 2001 to 2015, use of palliative care increased from 3.2 to 29.8% in the West region, from 3.3 to 31.9% in the Northeast region, from 3.8 to 36.2% in the Midwest region, and from 0.9 to 23.3% in the South region (all P < 0.001). The median time from the date of cancer diagnosis to the date of first palliative care visit varied geographically, from 44 days in Utah to 66 days in California. Hospital-based palliative care was most common in these states.
Conclusion: The substantial geographic variation in the use of palliative care suggesting a need for additional research on geographic disparities in palliative care and strategies that might improve state-level palliative care delivery.
Background: The association between palliative care and life-sustaining treatment following emergency department (ED) resuscitation is unclear. This study aims to analyze the usage of palliative care and life-sustaining treatments among ED triage level I resuscitation patients based on a nationally representative sample of patients in Taiwan.
Methods: A matched-pair retrospective cohort study was conducted to examine the association between palliative care and outcome variables using multivariate logistic regression and Kaplan–Meier survival analyses. Between 2009 and 2013, 336 ED triage level I resuscitation patients received palliative care services (palliative care group) under a universal health insurance scheme. Retrospective cohort matching was performed with those who received standard care at a ratio of 1:4 (usual care group). Outcome variables included the number of visits to emergency and outpatient departments, hospitalization duration, total medical expenses, utilization of life-sustaining treatments, and duration of survival following ED triage level I resuscitation.
Results: The mean survival duration following level I resuscitation was less than 1 year. Palliative care was administered to 15% of the resuscitation cohort. The palliative care group received significantly less life-sustaining treatment than did the usual care group.
Conclusion: Among patients who underwent level I resuscitation, palliative care was inversely correlated with the scope of life-sustaining treatments. Furthermore, triage level I resuscitation status may present a possible new field for starting palliative care intervention and reducing low-value care.
Objective: to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of a cohort of patients referred to pediatric hospice and home-based palliative care (HBPC) programs across Ohio in 2016.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study of patients referred to hospice/HBPC from 3 pediatric palliative care programs in Ohio in 2016. Demographic and clinical data were extracted from the medical record and analyzed with descriptive statistics.
Results: There were 209 patients referred: 49 (24%) to hospice and 160 (77%) to HBPC. The most common diagnoses were genetic/chromosomal syndromes (23%), neurologic or neurodegenerative conditions (23%), and cancer (21%). Durable medical equipment use was frequent (85%), with gastrostomy or jejunostomy tubes (22%) the most common. Most patients (64%) retained full-code resuscitation status. Fifty-seven patients (27%) died before July 1, 2018: 37 in hospice (18% of the overall cohort, 65% of decedents) and 20 in HBPC (10% of the overall cohort, 35% of decedents). Sixty-seven percent of hospice and 40% of HBPC patients died at home.
Conclusions: Pediatric hospice and HBPC programs serve a diverse cohort of patients. Patients referred to pediatric HBPC programs commonly die and are likely to die at home despite not being enrolled in hospice care. The high proportion of decedent HBPC patients indicates that the notion of hospice vs palliative care may present a false dichotomy in many children with life-limiting conditions. Reimbursement models for HBPC should reflect the clinical similarity to hospice in the care of children with life-limiting illnesses.
Objective: We studied if preferences about end-of-life care of people having an advance directive (AD) stay stable over time and if (in) stability is associated with health status.
Methods: A longitudinal cohort study with a population owning different types of ADs (n = 4638). Respondents repeatedly answered questionnaires between 2005-2010. Using hypothetical scenarios about advanced cancer and dementia we assessed preferences for continuing or forgoing resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and antibiotics. Using generalized estimated equations we analysed whether life-events and quality of life influenced changes in preferences.
Results: The proportion of respondents with stable preferences ranged from 67 to 98 %. Preferences were most stable concerning resuscitation and least stable concerning mechanical ventilation. In only a few instances we found life-events or a change in quality of life could both increase or decrease odds to change preferences.
Conclusion: Preferences concerning continuing or forgoing treatment at the end of life are stable for a majority of people with ADs, which supports their validity.
Background: Controlled donation after circulatory death (cDCD) is a major source of organs for transplantation. A potential cDCD donor poses considerable challenges in terms of identification of those dying within the predefined time frame of warm ischemia after withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment (WLST) to circulatory arrest. Several attempts have been made to develop models predicting the time between treatment withdrawal and circulatory arrest. This time window determines whether organ donation can occur and influences the quality of the donated organs. However, the selected patients used for these models were not always restricted to potential cDCD donors (eg, patients with cancer or severe infections were also included). This severely limits the generalizability of those data.
Objective: The objectives of this study are the following: (1) to develop a model predicting time to death within 60 minutes in potential cDCD patients; (2) to validate and update previous prediction models on time to death after WLST; (3) to determine timing and patient characteristics that are associated with prognostication and the decision-making process that leads to initiating end-of-life care; (4) to evaluate the impact of timing of family approach on organ donation approval; and (5) to assess the influence of variation in WLST processes on postmortem organ donor potential and actual postmortem organ donors.
Methods: In this multicenter observational prospective cohort study, all patients admitted to the intensive care unit of 3 university hospitals and 3 teaching hospitals who met the criteria of the cDCD protocol as defined by the Dutch Transplant Foundation were included. The target of enrolment was set to 400 patients. Previously developed models will be refitted in our data set. To further update previous prediction models, we will apply least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) as a tool for efficient variable selection to develop the multivariable logistic regression model.
Results: This protocol was funded in August 2014 by the Dutch Transplant Foundation. We expect to have the results of this study in July 2020. Patient enrolment was completed in July 2018 and data collection was completed in April 2020.
Conclusions: This study will provide a robust multimodal prediction model, based on clinical and physiological parameters, that can predict time to circulatory arrest in cDCD donors. In addition, it will add valuable insight in the process of WLST in cDCD donors and will fill an important knowledge gap in this essential field of health care.
Background: Palliative care is associated with improved survival and quality of life among patients with lung cancer; however, its influence on healthcare utilization and quality of care is unclear.
Research Question: Is palliative care, and the setting in which it occurs, associated with healthcare resource utilization and quality of care among patients with advanced lung cancer?
Study Design and Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 23,142 patients with Stage IIIB/IV lung cancer in the VA HealthCare System between 2007-2013. Exposures included the receipt of specialist-delivered palliative care, and setting of the initial palliative care encounter (inpatient or outpatient) received after cancer diagnosis. Primary outcomes included rates of emergency department (ED) visits, along with rates of hospitalization and odds of ICU admission within the last 30 days of life. Secondary outcomes included any healthcare utilization (ED, hospital, or ICU) related to chemotherapy toxicity. We used propensity score methods to perform Poisson and logistic regression modeling.
Results: Among 23,142 patients, 57% received palliative care, and 36% of initial palliative care encounters were outpatient. Compared to no palliative care, initial palliative care encounter in the outpatient setting was associated with reduced rates of ED visits (aIRR=0.86, 95% CI:0.77-0.96) and hospitalizations in the last 30 days of life (aIRR=0.64, 95% CI:0.59-0.70). Initial palliative care encounters in both inpatient (aOR=0.63, 95% CI 0.53-0.75) and outpatient (aOR=0.42, 95% CI 0.35-0.52) settings were associated with reduced odds of ICU admission in the last 30 days of life. Palliative care was also associated with reduced healthcare utilization related to chemotherapy toxicity (aOR=0.88, 95% CI:0.82-0.95).
Interpretation: Palliative care (particularly in outpatient settings) is associated with reduced healthcare utilization at the end of life and may improve the quality of care among patients with advanced lung cancer. These findings support the role of palliative care as an important component of comprehensive cancer care and highlight the potential benefits of outpatient palliative care services.
Introduction: Palliative care in Parkinson's Disease (PD) is an effective intervention to improve quality of life, although historically, access and availability have been very restricted.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study using the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) data from 2007 to 2014. Diagnostic codes were used to identify patients with PD and palliative care referral. Trends were calculated and logistic analysis performed to identify predictors of palliative care use.
Results: We identified 397,963 hospitalizations from 2007 to 2014 for patients with PD. Of these, 10,639 (2.67%) were referred to palliative care. The rate of consultation increased from 0.85% in 2007 to 4.49% in 2014. For 1 unit in year increase, there was 1.23 time the odds of receiving palliative consultation (OR 1.23, CI 1.21–1.25, p < 0.0001). Hispanics (OR 0.90, CI 0.81–1.01, p = 0.0550), Black (OR 0.90, CI 0.81–1.01, p = 0.0747) and White patients had similar rates of referral after adjustment. Women were less likely to be referred to palliative care (OR 0.90, CI 0.87–0.94, p < 0.0001). Other factors strongly associated with a higher rate of referrals included private insurance when compared to Medicare (OR 2.14, CI 1.89–2.41, p < 0.0001) and higher income (OR 1.41, CI 1.30–1.53, p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: There has been a significant increase in palliative care referrals among hospitalized patients with PD in the US, although the overall rate remains low. After controlling for confounders, racial and ethnic disparities were not found. Women, patients with Medicare/Medicaid, and those with lower income were less likely to be referred to palliative care.
Background: The use of formalized criteria (or triggers) for palliative care services (PCSs) has been associated with increased use of PCSs in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Objective: To explore the utility/validity of frailty as a trigger for providing PCSs.
Design: This is a prospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Older adults (age =50 years) admitted to ICUs were enrolled.
Measurements: We measured frailty using the Clinical Frailty Scale. We reviewed electronic health records for the presence/absence of six evidence-based triggers, the use and quality of specialty palliative care (SPC), and markers of primary palliative care (PPC). We used descriptive statistics to describe the differences in PPC, SPC, and six-month mortality by frailty and by the presence/absence of triggers.
Results: In a study population of 302 older adults, mean (standard deviation) age 67.2 years (10.5), 151 (50%) were frail and 105 (34.8%) had =1 trigger for PCSs. Of the 151 (55.6%) frail patients, 84 had no triggers for PCSs, despite a 46.4% six-month mortality in this group. Patients with =1 trigger had higher rates of SPC than those without (39.1% vs. 18.3%, p < 0.001); frail patients also had higher SPC than nonfrail patients (32.5% vs. 18.5%, p = 0.006). Patients with =1 trigger had higher rates of PPC than those without (66.7% vs. 44.2%, p < 0.001); no statistically significant difference in PPC was found by frailty (56.3% vs. 47.7%, p = 0.134).
Conclusion: The rates of PCSs and six-month mortality by frailty are consistent with frailty being a valid trigger for PCSs in ICUs; the high prevalence of frailty relative to triggers suggests that ways to increase PCSs would be needed.
Background: Oesophageal and gastric cancer are highly lethal malignancies with a 5-year survival rate of 15–29%. More knowledge is needed about the quality of end-of-life care in order to understand the burden of the illness and the ability of the current health care system to deliver timely and appropriate end-of-life care. The aim of this study was to describe the impact of initial treatment strategy and survival time on the quality of end-of-life care among patients with oesophageal and gastric cancer.
Methods: This register-based cohort study included patients who died from oesophageal and gastric cancer in Sweden during 2014–2016. Through linking data from the National Register for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer, the National Cause of Death Register, and the Swedish Register of Palliative Care, 2156 individuals were included. Associations between initial treatment strategy and survival time and end-of-life care quality indicators were investigated. Adjusted risk ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using modified Poisson regression.
Results : Patients with a survival of =3 months and 4–7 months had higher RRs for hospital death compared to patients with a survival =17 months. Patients with a survival of =3 months also had a lower RR for end-of-life information and bereavement support compared to patients with a survival =17 months, while the risks of pain assessment and oral assessment were not associated with survival time. Compared to patients with curative treatment, patients with no tumour-directed treatment had a lower RR for pain assessment. No significant differences were shown between the treatment groups regarding hospital death, end-of-life information, oral health assessment, and bereavement support.
Conclusions : Short survival time is associated with several indicators of low quality end-of-life care among patients with oesophageal and gastric cancer, suggesting that a proactive palliative care approach is imperative to ensure quality end-of-life care.
Background: Our objectives were to test whether during a potentially life-threatening medical emergency, perceived threat (a patient’s sense of life endangerment) in the emergency department (ED) is common and associated with the subsequent development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
Methods: This study was an ED-based prospective cohort study in an academic hospital. We included adult patients requiring acute intervention in the ED for resuscitation of a potentially life-threatening medical emergency, defined as respiratory or cardiovascular instability. We measured patient-perceived threat in the ED using a validated patient self-assessment measure (score range = 0 to 21, with higher scores indicating greater perceived threat). We performed blinded assessment of PTSD symptoms 30 days after discharge using the PTSD Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (PCL-5).
Results: Ninety-nine of 113 (88%) patients completed follow-up, with 98% reporting some degree of perceived threat, median (interquartile range [IQR]) perceived threat score 12 (6 to 17), and 72% reported PTSD symptoms in relation to their ED visit (median [IQR] PC-5 score = 7 [0 to 30]). Patients with respiratory instability had higher median (IQR) perceived threat scores (16 [9 to 18] vs. 9 [6 to 14)] and PCL-5 scores (10 [2 to 40] vs. 3 [0 to 17]) compared to patients without respiratory instability. In a multivariable linear regression model adjusting for potential confounders, greater perceived threat in the ED was independently associated with higher PCL-5 scores (ß = 0.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.15 to 1.42). Among the individual perceived threat items, the feeling of helplessness during resuscitation had the strongest association with PCL-5 score (ß = 5.24, 95% CI = 2.29 to 8.18).
Conclusions: Perceived threat during potentially life-threatening emergencies is common and independently associated with development of PTSD symptoms. Additional research to test whether reduction of perceived threat in the ED attenuates the development of PTSD symptoms following potentially life-threatening emergencies is warranted.
Purpose: Our study aimed to evaluate the association between CDS and survival time using the likelihood of receiving CDS to select a matched non-CDS group through an accurate measurement of survival time based on initiation of CDS.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed using an electronic database to collect data regarding terminally ill cancer patients admitted to a specialized palliative care unit from January 2012 to December 2016. We first used a Cox proportional hazard model with receiving CDS as the outcome to identify individuals with the highest plausibility of receiving CDS among the non-CDS group (n = 663). We then performed a multiple regression analysis comparing the CDS group (n = 311) and weighted non-CDS group (n = 311), using initiation of CDS (actual for the CDS group; estimated for the non-CDS group) as the starting time-point for measuring survival time.
Results: Approximately 32% of participants received CDS. The most common indications were delirium or agitation (58.2%), intractable pain (28.9%), and dyspnea (10.6%). Final multiple regression analysis revealed that survival time was longer in the CDS group than in the non-CDS group (Exp(ß), 1.41; P < 0.001). Longer survival with CDS was more prominent in females, patients with renal dysfunction, and individuals with low C-reactive protein (CRP) or ferritin, compared with their counterpart subgroup.
Conclusions: CDS was not associated with shortened survival; instead, it was associated with longer survival in our terminally ill cancer patients. Further studies in other populations are required to confirm or refute these findings.
PURPOSE: To determine how demographic, socioeconomic, health and psychosocial factors predict preferences to accept life prolonging treatments (LPT) at the end of life.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study of a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling older Americans (N=1,648). Acceptance of LPT was defined as wanting to receive all life prolonging treatments in the hypothetical event of severe disability or severe chronic pain at the end of life (EOL). Participants with a DPOA, living will or who discussed EOL with family were determined to have expressed their EOL preferences. The primary analysis used survey-weighted logistic regression to measure the association between older adult characteristics and acceptance of LPT. Secondarily, the associations between LPT preferences and health outcomes were measured using regression models.
RESULTS: Approximately 31% of older adults would accept LPT. Non-white race/ethnicity (OR=0.54, CI (0.41,0.70), White vs. non-White), self-realization (OR=1.34, CI (1.01,1.79)), attendance of religious services (OR=1.44, CI (1.07,1.94)), and expression of preferences (OR=0.54, CI(0.40,0.72)) were associated with acceptance of LPT. LPT preferences were not independently associated with mortality or disability.
CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 1/3 of older Americans would accept LPT in the setting of severe disability or severe chronic pain at the end of life. Adults who discussed their EOL preferences were more likely to reject LPT. Conversely, minorities were more likely to accept LPT. Sociodemographics, physical capacity and health status were poor predictors of acceptance of LPT. A better understanding of the complexities of LPT preferences is important to ensuring patient-centered care.
OBJECTIVES: to establish the accuracy of community nurses' predictions of mortality among older people with multiple long-term conditions, to compare these with a mortality rating index and to assess the incremental value of nurses' predictions to the prognostic tool.
DESIGN: a prospective cohort study using questionnaires to gather clinical information about patients case managed by community nurses. Nurses estimated likelihood of mortality for each patient on a 5-point rating scale. The dataset was randomly split into derivation and validation cohorts. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate risk equations for the Revised Minimum Dataset Mortality Risk Index (MMRI-R) and nurses' predictions of mortality individually and combined. Measures of discrimination and calibration were calculated and compared within the validation cohort.
SETTING: two NHS Trusts in England providing case-management services by nurses for frail older people with multiple long-term conditions.
PARTICIPANTS: 867 patients on the caseload of 35 case-management nurses. 433 and 434 patients were assigned to the derivation and validation cohorts, respectively. Patients were followed up for 12 months.
RESULTS: 249 patients died (28.72%). In the validation cohort, MMRI-R demonstrated good discrimination (Harrell's c-index 0.71) and nurses' predictions similar discrimination (Harrell's c-index 0.70). There was no evidence of superiority in performance of either method individually (P = 0.83) but the MMRI-R and nurses' predictions together were superior to nurses' predictions alone (P = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: patient mortality is associated with higher MMRI-R scores and nurses' predictions of 12-month mortality. The MMRI-R enhanced nurses' predictions and may improve nurses' confidence in initiating anticipatory care interventions.
Importance: Less than 25% of African American individuals have completed advance directives and are thus vulnerable to poor end-of-life care. Low-cost interventions are needed to increase engagement in advance care planning (ACP).
Objectives: To investigate whether an end-of-life conversation game motivates African American attendees to engage in ACP and to assess whether the game is well received and endorsed.
Exposures: Attendance at an end-of-life conversation game (Hello) played in groups of 4 to 6 participants for 60 minutes.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective, mixed-methods cohort study conducted from 2018 to 2019 with a 3- to 11-month follow-up interview. Game events were held in 53 community venues across the US; 15 were purposively sampled for onsite research procedures. Of 428 attendees at purposively sampled sites, 386 (90%) consented to research procedures (6 attendees were removed from analysis for protocol deviation). Of 367 attendees who provided accurate contact information, 232 (63%) were contacted, and 220 were included in follow-up analyses.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was advance directive completion rates after the intervention. Secondary outcomes included rates of other ACP behaviors, ACP engagement, conversation satisfaction and realism, and participants’ Net Promoter Score (a measure of endorsement). Follow-up telephone interviews explored the game experience and relevant ACP behaviors of attendees.
Results: Of 380 individuals who participated (mean [SD] age, 62.2 [13.8] years; 304 were female [80%], and 348 were [92%] African American), none withdrew because of an adverse event. After the intervention, 91 of 220 attendees (41%) completed a new advance directive; 176 of 220 attendees (80%) discussed end-of-life wishes with loved ones, and 214 of 219 attendees (98%) completed at least 1 ACP behavior. There was a moderate increase in the self-efficacy domain on the ACP Engagement Survey (mean [SD] change from before to after the game, 0.54 [0.98]; P < .001). The mean (SD) conversation satisfaction score was 6.21 (0.93) (range, 1-7, with 7 being highest satisfaction), and the overall Net Promoter Score was 57.89 (range, -100 to 100, with 100 being highest endorsement). Interviews revealed 5 themes about the game: (1) it was a useful forum for ACP; (2) it provided new information and perspective; (3) it was emotionally beneficial; (4) it increased appreciation for ACP; and (5) it empowered and motivated participants to perform ACP. Mixed-methods integration showed convergence across data sets.
Conclusions and Relevance: Among a nationwide sample of African American individuals, the end-of-life conversation game appeared to be well received and was associated with high rates of ACP behavior. This low-cost and scalable tool may help reduce health disparities associated with end-of-life care.
The integration of specialized geriatric providers with trauma services has received increased attention with promising results. Palliative medicine consultation (PMC) has been shown to reduce length of stay, improve symptom management, and clarify advance directives in the geriatric trauma population. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether PMC reduced tracheostomies and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies (trach/PEG) and readmission rates in the geriatric trauma population. Retrospective cohort analysis of patients 65 years of age and older, admitted to a Level I trauma center surgical intensive care unit from 2013 to 2014. Patients who died within 1 day were excluded. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, independent-samples t test for continuous variables, 2 test for categorical variables, and logistic regression analysis. A total of 202 patients were included. Palliative medicine consultation occurred in 48%. Average time from admission to PMC was 2.91 days. Thirty-day readmission rate was 19.3%. Patients with a PMC (69.1%) were less likely to undergo trach/PEG (30.9%; p < .001) but more likely if the consult was late (>72 hr posttrauma; 22.0% vs. 40.4%; p = .05). Patients without a trach/PEG were more likely to survive 1 year posttrauma (85.7% vs. 14.3%; p = .003). Thirty-day readmission rates were similar between groups. In a logistic regression analysis, PMC, age, and injury severity score demonstrated an independent association with trach/PEG (all p < .05). Early palliative consults (<72 hr posttrauma) for geriatric trauma patients may reduce tracheostomy and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy procedures and hospital stays.
BACKGROUND: There is increasing recognition of the importance of early incorporation of palliative care services in the care of patients with advanced cancers. Hospice-based palliative care remains underutilized for black patients with cancer, and there is limited literature on racial disparities in use of non-hospice-based palliative care services for patients with cancer.
OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study is to describe racial differences in the use of inpatient palliative care consultations (IPCC) for patients with advanced cancer who are admitted to a hospital in the United States.
DESIGN: This retrospective cohort study analyzed 204 175 hospital admissions of patients with advanced cancers between 2012 and 2014. The cohort was identified through the National Inpatient Dataset. International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision codes were used to identify receipt of a palliative care consultation.
RESULTS: Of this, 57.7% of those who died received IPCC compared to 10.5% who were discharged alive. In multivariable logistic regression models, black patients discharged from the hospital, were significantly less likely to receive a palliative care consult compared to white patients (odds ratio [OR] black: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.62-0.76).
CONCLUSIONS: Death during hospitalization was a significant modifier of the relationship between race and receipt of palliative care consultation. There are significant racial disparities in the utilization of IPCC for patients with advanced cancer.