Objective: To describe how breaking bad news (BBN) is currently taught in Canadian general paediatric residency programs and the confidence level of fourth year paediatric residents (Ped-PGY4) in BBN and managing end-of-life-care (EOLC).
Methods: A prospective, cross-sectional survey of General Paediatric Residency Program Directors (PDs) and Ped-PGY4s was conducted.
Results: When learning to BBN, residents state faculty observation (22/23) and interactive workshops (14/23) are the most helpful, while PDs state interactive workshops (9/16) and deliberate practice (5/16) are ideal. Residents identified a knowledge gap and discomfort with providing anticipatory guidance, and symptom management, including prescribing opioids.
Conclusions: In the era of competency-based medical education, there is an opportunity to create a standardized national curriculum addressing universal competencies related to BBN and EOLC.
BACKGROUND: Patients with multiple myeloma, an incurable haematological cancer, often receive palliative care only late in their trajectory. Criteria for early referral are lacking.
AIM: To identify which patients might benefit from early integration, by identifying trajectories of health-related quality of life and the determinants for declining or poor Health related quality of life .
DESIGN: Prospective, longitudinal cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS: Multiple myeloma patients at all stages (newly diagnosed, first-line or second-line treatment, early or later treatment-free interval, refractory disease) from in- and outpatient units at 14 hospitals in England were recruited. In addition to clinical information and standardised Health related quality of life and psychological aspects, the Myeloma Patient Outcome Scale (MyPOS) measured palliative care concerns.
RESULTS: A total of 238 patients were recruited, on average 3.5 years (SD: 3.4) post-diagnosis. Latent mixture growth models identified four Health related quality of life trajectories. Classes 3 and 4 represent trajectories of stable poor Health related quality of life or declining Health related quality of life over an 8-month period. The strongest predictors of poor outcome at the end of follow-up were general symptom level (odds ratio (OR): 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0–1.6, p = 0.028), presence of clinically relevant anxiety (OR: 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0–1.4, p = 0.019), and presence of pain (OR: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.0–1.1, p = 0.018), all being more predictive than demographic or clinical characteristics.
CONCLUSION: General symptom level, pain and presence of anxiety predict declining Health related quality of life in multiple myeloma. Identification of patients with palliative care needs should focus on assessing patient-reported symptoms and psychosocial well-being for identifying those at risk of deterioration.
BACKGROUND: The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm is an effective advance care planning tool. However, barriers to implementation persist. In the United States, POLST program development occurs at the state-level. Substantial differences between states has left POLST implementation largely unstandardized. No peer-reviewed studies to date have evaluated state-based POLST program development over time.
OBJECTIVE: To assess and learn from the successes and barriers in state-based POLST program development over time to improve the reach of POLST or similar programs across the United States.
DESIGN: An exploratory, prospective cohort study that utilized semistructured telephone interviews was conducted over a 3-year period (2012-2015). Stakeholder representatives from state POLST coalitions (n = 14) were repeatedly queried on time-relevant successes, barriers, and innovations during POLST program development with levels of legislative and medical barriers rated 1 to 10. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using techniques grounded in qualitative theory.
RESULTS: All coalition representatives reported continuous POLST expansion with improved outreach and community partnerships. Significant barriers to expansion included difficulty in securing funding for training and infrastructure, lack of statewide metric systems to adequately assess expansion, lack of provider support, and legislative concerns. Medical barriers (mean [standard deviation]: 5.0 [0.2]) were rated higher than legislative (3.0 [0.6]; P < .001).
CONCLUSION: POLST programs continue to grow, but not without barriers. Based on the experiences of developing coalitions, we were able to identify strategies to expand POLST programs and overcome barriers. Ultimately the "lessons learned" in this study can serve as a guide to improve the reach of POLST or similar programs.
This longitudinal nonheroic narrative study allows familiarity with personal and societal transitions in the self-identity of individuals with life-threatening cancer. The theoretical anchor is Bion's container-contained theory. Five interviews with a terminally ill hospitalized male in his 30s were conducted along intervals of between 6 and 8 weeks, up to 2 months before his death. Data were analyzed using the selection mechanisms method. Findings provide insights about the hospitalization experience, his grief, and disenfranchised grief. A rigid mode of container-contained relationships with clinicians created disenfranchised grief. Reflection and coherence among self-identities lead to inner strength and emotional growth despite the body's deterioration. Clinicians have a role in holistic identity transitions of individuals with cancer. Findings illuminate practical recommendations that clinicians may adopt to improve the experience of individuals suffering from cancer at the chronic and terminal phase of illness.
OBJECTIVE: To describe children's anxiety, depression, behaviors, and school performance at 2-13 months after sibling neonatal/pediatric intensive care unit (NICU/PICU) or emergency department (ED) death and compare these outcomes by child age, sex, race/ethnicity, whether the child saw their sibling in the NICU/PICU/ED, and attended the sibling's funeral.
STUDY DESIGN: Children in 71 families were recruited for this longitudinal study from 4 children's hospitals and 14 other Florida hospitals. Children rated anxiety (Spence Children's Anxiety Scale) and depression (Children's Depression Inventory); parents rated child behaviors (Child Behavior Checklist) and reported school performance (detentions, suspensions, requested parent-teacher meetings) at 2, 4, 6, and 13 months post-sibling death. Analyses included repeated measures-ANOVA, t-tests, and 1-way ANOVA.
RESULTS: In total, 132 children and 96 parents participated. More children were female (58%), black (50%), and school-age (72%). Of the children, 43% had elevated anxiety and 6% had elevated depression over 13 months post-sibling death. Child-rated anxiety was higher for girls and black vs white children. Child-rated anxiety and depression were lower if they saw their sibling in the NICU/PICU/ED before and/or after the death, and/or attended the funeral. Teens were more withdrawn than school-age children at all time points. Children who did not see their deceased sibling in the NICU/PICU/ED after death had more requests for parent-teacher conferences.
CONCLUSIONS: Children's anxiety was more common than depression, especially in girls and black children. Children who saw their siblings in the NICU/PICU/ED before/after death and/or attended funeral services had lower anxiety and depression over the first 13 months after sibling death.
BACKGROUND: Older trauma patients have increased risk of adverse in-hospital outcomes. We previously demonstrated that low pre-injury Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) independently predicted poor discharge outcomes. We hypothesized that low PPS would predict long-term outcomes in older trauma patients.
METHODS: Prospective observational study of trauma patients aged > 55 admitted between 7/2016-4/2018. Pre-injury PPS was assessed at admission; low PPS was defined as <70. Primary outcomes were mortality and functional outcomes, measured by GOSE, at discharge and 6 months. Poor functional outcomes were defined as GOSE < 4. Secondary outcomes were patient-reported outcomes at 6 months: EQ-5D and SF-36. Adjusted relative risks (aRRs) were obtained for each primary outcome using multivariable modified Poisson regression, adjusting for PPS, age, race/ethnicity, gender, and injury severity.
RESULTS: In-hospital data were available for 516 patients; mean age 70 years and median ISS 13. 30% had low PPS. 6% (n=32) died in hospital, and half of survivors (n=248) had severe disability at discharge. Low PPS predicted hospital mortality (aRR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.3) and poor outcomes at discharge (aRR 2.0, 95% CI 1.7-2.3). Six-month data were available for 176/203 (87%) patients who were due for follow-up. Functional outcomes improved in 64% at 6 months. However, 63% had moderate to severe pain, and 42% moderate to severe anxiety/depression. Mean GOSE improved less over time in low-PPS patients (7% vs. 24%; p<0.01). Low PPS predicted poor functional outcomes at 6 months (aRR 3.1, 95% CI 1.8-5.3) while age and ISS did not.
CONCLUSIONS: Pre-injury PPS predicts mortality and poor outcomes at discharge and 6 months. Despite improvement in function, persistent pain and anxiety/depression were common. Low-PPS patients fail to improve over time compared to high-PPS patients. Pre-injury PPS can be used on admission for prognostication of short- and long-term outcomes and is a potential trigger for palliative care in older trauma patients.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic study - level II.
The article explores the underlying reasons for patients' self-perception of being a burden (SPB) in family settings, including its impact on relationships when wishes to die (WTD) are expressed. In a prospective, interview-based study of WTD in patients with advanced cancer and non-cancer disease (organ failure, degenerative neurological disease, and frailty) SPB was an important emerging theme. In a sub-analysis we examined (a) the facets of SPB, (b) correlations between SPB and WTD, and (c) SPB as a relational phenomenon. We analyzed 248 interviews with 62 patients, their family caregivers, and professionals using grounded theory and interpretive phenomenological analysis. SPB appeared as important empathic concern in care situations. Patients expressed many sorts of concerns for others, but also perceived an altered self-understanding that did not meet mutual expectations within relationships. In SPB associated with WTD three constellations were found: (a) WTD to unburden others; (b) patients decided against hastening death to prevent being a further burden to others (in these cases, the SPB counteracted the wish to die); and (c) both wishes for and against dying were sustained by SPB. These patients often felt paralyzed and suffered deeply. Family caregivers felt emotionally touched by SPB and tried to unburden patients by caring and compassion. We concluded that the impact of SPB on a WTD and the various meanings the facets of SPB have in balancing relationships need to be worked out individually. An early palliative and narrative approach is warranted.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the accuracy of predictions of dying at different cut-off thresholds and to acknowledge the extent of clinical uncertainty.
DESIGN: Secondary analysis of data from a prospective cohort study.
SETTING: An online prognostic test, accessible by eligible participants across the UK.
PARTICIPANTS: Eligible participants were members of the Association of Palliative Medicine. 99/166 completed the test (60%), resulting in 1980 estimates (99 participants × 20 summaries).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The probability of death occurring within 72 hours (0% certain survival-100% certain death) for 20 patient summaries. The estimates were analysed using five different thresholds: 50/50%, 40/60%, 30/70%, 20/80% and 10/90%, with percentage values between these extremes being regarded as 'indeterminate'. The positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and the number of indeterminate cases were calculated for each cut-off.
RESULTS: Using a <50% versus >50% threshold produced a PPV of 62%, an NPV of 74% and 5% indeterminate cases. When the threshold was changed to =10% vs =90%, the PPV and NPV increased to 75% and 88%, respectively, at the expense of an increase of indeterminate cases up to 62%.
CONCLUSION: When doctors assign a very high (=90%) or very low (=10%) probability of imminent death, their prognostic accuracy is improved; however, this increases the number of ‘indeterminate’ cases. This suggests that clinical predictions may continue to have a role for routine prognostication but that other approaches (such as the use of prognostic scores) may be required for those cases where doctors’ estimates are indeterminate.
PURPOSE: The identification and referral of patients in need of palliative care should be improved. The French society for palliative support and care recommended to use the PALLIA-10 questionnaire and its score greater than 3 to refer patients to palliative care. We explored the use of the PALLIA-10 questionnaire and its related score in a population of advanced cancer patients.
METHODS: This prospective multicentric study is to be conducted in authorized French comprehensive cancer centers on hospitalized patients on a given day. We aimed to use the PALLIA-10 score to determine the proportion of palliative patients with a score >3. Main secondary endpoints were to determine the proportion of patients already managed by palliative care teams at the study date or referred to palliative care in six following months, the prevalence of patients with a score greater than 5, and the overall survival using the predefined thresholds of 3 and 5.
RESULTS: In 2015, eighteen French cancer centers enrolled 840 patients, including 687 (82%) palliative patients. 479 (69.5%) patients had a score >3, 230 (33.5%) had a score >5, 216 (31.4%) patients were already followed-up by a palliative care team, 152 patients were finally referred to PC in the six subsequent months.
The PALLIA-10 score appeared as a reliable predictive (adjusted ORRef=3: 1.9 [1.17-3.16] and 3.59 [2.18-5.91]) and prognostic (adjusted HRRef=3 = 1.58 [95%CI 1.20-2.08] and 2.18 [95%CI 1.63-2.92]) factor for patients scored 4-5 and >5, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The PALLIA-10 questionnaire is an easy-to-use tool to refer cancer inpatients to palliative care in current practice. However a score greater than 5 using the PALLIA-10 questionnaire would be more appropriate for advanced cancer patients hospitalized in comprehensive cancer center.
In Norway, approximately 50% of older people die in nursing homes (NH). Holistic care and pharmacological management are key factors in quality at the end of life. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to describe the use of opioids in an NH during a 5-year period. We focused on palliative care, symptoms, and suffering during the last 3 days before death. Data were collected from spring 2013 to spring 2018. We used the interRAI assessment instrument annually and when the resident died. We conducted a semi-structured interview with nurses on duty at the deathbed. At the time of death, the residents had an average age of 88.9 years and an average stay of 2.9 years (N = 100). At the first assessment, 19% of the residents used 1 or more type of opioids. On the day of death, 55% had an active prescription for opioids, mainly as subcutaneous injections. The results illustrate the different uses of opioids, including managing pain, dyspnoea, sedation, for comfort, as a prophylaxis, or a combination of reasons. Cancer- and cardiovascular diagnoses were the strongest predictor for using morphine (P < 0.05). Identification of the residents’ needs for opioids is a challenge for palliative care nurses, both ethically and legally.
Background: Learning palliative care is challenging for nursing students. Simulation is recommended as a learning approach. Whether experiences from simulation transfer into clinical practice must be investigated.
Objective: The aim of this study was to explore nursing students' experiences of participating in palliative care simulation and examine how they describe the perceived transfer of knowledge, skills, and competence into clinical practise.
Method: This prospective, qualitative study was comprised of 11 in-depth interviews with second-year bachelor nursing students. Content analysis was performed to analyse the answers to open-ended questions.
Results: From this sample, simulation is a preferred method to gather knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards palliative care. Realistic cases stimulated senses and feelings. Courage grew through active participation and debriefing and influenced the students' self-confidence. Debriefing seemed to alter the situation from one of chaos to control.
Conclusions: Experiences from the simulation were perceived to transfer to practice, serve as a sound basis for clinical judgement, and enable communication with patients and their relatives. Continuity in learning through simulation combined with practice is highlighted.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined trajectories of emotional functioning in three domains (depressive symptoms, emotional and social loneliness) for individuals who experienced spousal bereavement, and investigated cross-domain adaptation. We hypothesized that emotional difficulties after bereavement would be more detectable in emotional loneliness than depressive symptoms or social loneliness.
METHOD: Using latent class growth analysis, we modelled changes in depressive symptoms, emotional loneliness and social loneliness from 12 years pre- to 12 years post-bereavement on data from 686 older adults to identify trajectories indicating adaptive and maladaptive functioning in each domain.
RESULTS: Most participants reported depressive symptoms below the clinically relevant threshold by showing a resilient (15.5%) or a slightly elevated (53.5%) trajectory post-bereavement. One-third (31%) reported clinically relevant depressive symptoms. More than half of the sample reported emotional loneliness post-bereavement, varying form prolonged (17%), increasing and prolonged (28.3%), and chronically high (8.9%) levels. Remaining participants displayed resilience (13.5%) or recovery (32.3%). Social loneliness showed four trajectories: very low and resilient (43.3%), low and resilient (27.5%), increasing (20.2%), and chronically high (9%) levels. One third of participants maintained adaptive, whereas 12% displayed maladaptive, functioning across all domains post-bereavement.
DISCUSSION: An increase in emotional loneliness was the most commonly observed change after spousal bereavement. This highlights the central role of emotional loneliness in depression after bereavement.
PURPOSE: Family meetings in the medical intensive care unit can improve outcomes. Little is known about when meetings occur in practice. We aimed to determine the time from admission to family meetings in the medical intensive care unit and assess the relationship of meetings with mortality.
METHODS: We performed a prospective cohort study of critically ill adult patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit at an urban academic medical center. Using manual chart review, the primary outcome was any attempt at holding a family meeting within 72 hours of admission. Competing risk models estimated the time from admission to family meeting and to patient death or discharge.
RESULTS: Of the 131 patients who met inclusion criteria in the 12-month study period, the median time from admission to family meeting was 4 days. Fewer than half of patients had a documented family meeting within 72 hours of admission (n = 60/131, 46%), with substantial interphysician variability in meeting rates ranging from 28% to 63%. Patients with family meetings within 72 hours were 30 times more likely to die within 72 hours (32% vs 1%, P < .001). Of the 55 patients who died in the intensive care unit, 27 (49%) had their first family meeting within 1 day of death.
CONCLUSIONS: Family meetings occur considerably later than 72 hours and are often held in close proximity to a patient's death. This suggests for some physicians, family meetings may primarily be used to negotiate withdrawal of life support rather than to support the patient and family.
Research conducted using the Haley Transcultural Strengths Assessment Interview Guide used in several studies has identified 11 sources of strength routinely utilized by parents caring for their child with intensive needs and child in hospice/palliative care. Results of past studies demonstrated this Strengths Guide (SG) interview to be an intervention bringing a heightened realization of the importance and utilization of one's inner strengths. The purpose of this study was to assess the long-term impact of this SG with a population of parents who participated in a previous study using the SG. This descriptive study was conducted using a quantitative tool, the Personal Strength Rating Scale, comparing the post-SG interview results with those results obtained 3 years later. Participants in this study were parents caring for a child receiving palliative/hospice care at home in Kenya. Results revealed the long-term retention of strengths following the SG interview 3 years previously was, for most sources of strength, equal to or greater than those obtained immediately following the SG.
CONTEXT: The need for increased use and earlier initiation of palliative home care has been advocated by several international organizations.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate time trends in the use and timing of initiating palliative home care support (PHCS).
METHODS: Observational study using routinely collected population-level databases linked with health claims data for the entire population living at home that died from diseases indicative of palliative care needs in Belgium between 2010 and 2015 (n=230,704). Trends and trends by cause of death and age were measured through changes over time in prevalence of use of PHCS. Rates were standardized for age, sex and cause of death distribution in 2010. The median number of days before death when PHCS was initiated was calculated for each year.
RESULTS: Uptake of PHCS increased from 31.7% to 34.9% between 2010 and 2015. Trends were similar in size for all groups, except for people who died from dementia (smallest increase with 1.9 percent-point). The timing of initiating PHCS advanced from 41 days to 46 days before death, with the smallest increase observed among people who died from dementia (+2.5 days). The proportion of people receiving PHCS only in the last week of life changed from 15.3% to 13.9%.
CONCLUSION: This population-level study found a slight trend towards more and earlier initiation of PHCS between 2010 and 2015. However, uptake of PHCS remained below estimated needs in the population and the proportion of people receiving PHCS very late in life remained stable over time.
This paper reports the impact of a major life event-death-on the physical, psychological and social well-being of the deceased's close friends. We utilised data from a large longitudinal survey covering a period of 14 years (2002-2015) consisting a cohort of 26,515 individuals in Australia, of whom 9,586 had experienced the death of at least one close friend. This longitudinal cohort dataset comprises responses to the SF-36 (health related quality of life measure) and allowed for analysis of the short and longer-term impacts of bereavement. In order to manage the heterogeneity of the socio-demographics of respondents who did/not experience a death event, we use a new and robust approach known as the Entropy Balancing method to construct a set of weights applied to the bereaved group and the control group (the group that did not experience death). This approach enables us to match the two groups so that the distribution of socio-demographic variables between the two groups are balanced. These variables included gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, personality traits, religion, relative socio-economic disadvantage, economic resources, and education and occupation and where they resided. The data show, for the first time, a range of negative and enduring consequences experienced by people following the death of a close friend. Significant adverse physical and psychological well-being, poorer mental health and social functioning occur up to four years following bereavement. Bereaved females experienced a sharper fall in vitality, suffered greater deterioration in mental health, impaired emotional and social functioning than the male counterparts up to four years after the death. The data show that the level of social connectedness plays an important role in bereavement outcomes. Specifically, we found that less socially active respondents experienced a longer deterioration in physical and psychological health. Finally, we found evidence that the death of a close friend lowered the respondent's satisfaction with their health. Since death of friends is a universal phenomenon, we conclude the paper by reflecting on the need to recognise the death of a close friend as a substantial experience, and to offer support and services to address this disenfranchised grief. Recognising bereaved friends as a group experiencing adverse outcomes can be used internationally to prompt health and psychological services to assist this specific group, noting that there may be substantial longevity to the negative sequelae of the death of a friend. Facilitating bereaved people's support networks may be a fruitful approach to minimising these negative outcomes.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Clinical management for terminal patients should consider various aspects, particularly the patient's functional assessment, which correlates well with the short-term prognosis. The prognosis could improve if the presence of symptoms strongly associated with a poorer progression were included. The study's main objective was to assess whether the prognosis according to the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) improved with the presence/absence of pain-dyspnoea-delirium symptoms. The secondary objective was to determine caregiver satisfaction with the transfer to medium-stay palliative care units (MSPCUs), which are prepared for medium stays of approximately one month.
PATIENTS AND METHOD: We conducted a prospective, observational, multicentre (regional) study that analysed survival in MSPCUs according to the PPS dichotomized to > 20% and = 20%. We estimated the mean survival functions using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared them according to the Cox proportional hazards ratios (HR). Caregiver satisfaction was studied using an anonymous self-administered Likert questionnaire.
RESULTS: The study included 130 patients. The PPS = 20% and PPS > 20% subgroups had a median survival of 6 (3-13) days and 21 (11-42) days, respectively, with an unadjusted mortality HR 3.1-fold greater in the PPS = 20% subgroup. The HR did not change when adjusted for the symptoms. Eighty-three percent of the caregivers found the transfer beneficial, and 40% observed better patient care.
CONCLUSIONS: For patients transferred from general hospitals to MSPCUs, PPS scores = 20% were associated with survival shorter than one week, with a 3-fold higher mortality HR than patients with PPS scores > 20%, without the analysis adjusted for the presence of pain-dyspnoea-delirium providing greater prognostic accuracy. The caregivers found benefits mainly in the convenience of the facilities and distance.
BACKGROUND: The use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in the emergency setting to reverse hypercapnic coma in frail patients with end-stage chronic respiratory failure and do-not-intubate orders remains a questionable issue given the poor outcome of this vulnerable population. We aimed to answer this issue by assessing not only subjects' outcome with NIV but also subjects' point of view regarding NIV for this indication.
METHODS: A prospective observational case-control study was conducted in 3 French tertiary care hospitals during a 2-y period. Forty-three individuals who were comatose (with pH < 7.25 and PaCO2 > 100 mm Hg at admission) were compared with 43 subjects who were not comatose and who were treated with NIV for acute hypercapnic respiratory failure. NIV was applied by using the same protocol in both groups. They all had a do-not-intubate order and were considered vulnerable individuals with end-stage chronic respiratory failure according to well-validated scores.
RESULTS: NIV yielded similar outcomes in the 2 groups regarding in-hospital mortality (n = 12 [28%] vs n = 12 [28%] in the noncomatose controls, P > .99) and 6-month survival (n = 28 [65%] vs n = 22 [51%] in the noncomatose controls, P = .31). Despite poor quality of life scores (21.5 ± 10 vs 31 ± 6 in the awakened controls, P = .056) as assessed by using the VQ11 questionnaire 6 months to 1 y after hospital discharge, a large majority of the survivors (n = 23 [85%]) would be willing to receive NIV again if a new episode of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure occurs.
CONCLUSION: In the frailest subjects with supposed end-stage chronic respiratory failure that justifies treatment limitation decisions, it is worth trying NIV when acute hypercapnic respiratory failure occurs, even in the case of extreme respiratory acidosis with hypercapnic coma at admission.
BACKGROUND: With the rapid growth in the number of fellowship programs in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM), many are in the process of developing ways to demonstrate that fellows are attaining educational milestones. Reflection and self-assessment are key components of 2 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice, which have both been historically challenging to learn and assess.
OBJECTIVE: This article describes results of a content analysis of narrative data collected from HPM fellows' self-assessments as they performed hospice home visits independently in a new clinical rotation.
DESIGN: This was a prospective qualitative study.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: Eight fellows completed 217 unsupervised hospice home visits from 2014 to 2016.
MEASUREMENTS: Fellows completed weekly self-assessment forms, which captured both clinical visit information and practice data elicited from responses to open-ended reflection prompts.
RESULTS: Analysis of 29 self-assessment forms generated 6 themes: patient- and family-centered care, self-efficacy, systems-based care, commitment to doing their best, catalyst for professional growth, and purpose and meaning in work. The fellows recognized numerous barriers distinct to providing care in homes. All fellows felt prepared to perform home visits throughout the rotation and after training.
CONCLUSIONS: Narrative data collected during the independent home visit rotation provided evidence that HPM fellows detected gaps in their performance, planned for practice improvements in subsequent visits, and valued working within an interprofessional team. Built-in opportunities for fellows to reflect during training are critical in meeting ACGME milestones, and are integral to their professional development.
This perspective review considers analytic features of the design of a longitudinal trial regarding antimicrobial therapy in older terminal cancer patients receiving palliative care. We first overview antimicrobial use at the end of life; both the potential hazards and benefits. Antimicrobial prescribing should consider both initiation as well as cessation of medications when analyzing the burden of medications. Approaches to decision making regarding antimicrobial use are presented and the importance of health literacy in these decision processes. We next present aspects of both feasibility and comparative trial design with a health literacy intervention to reduce antimicrobial use in older terminal cancer patients receiving palliative care. Considerations to clustered randomization and given that infections can reoccur over a trial period, we share suggestions of longitudinal modeling of clustered randomized trial data.