Background: End-of-life cancer care involves multidisciplinary teams working in various settings. Evaluating the quality of care and the feedback from such processes is an important aspect of health care quality improvement. Our retrospective cohort study reviewed health care use by lung cancer patients at end of life, their reasons for visiting the emergency department (ed), and feedback from regional health care professionals.
Methods: We assessed 162 Ontario patients with small-cell and relapsed or advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Demographics, disease characteristics, and resource use were collected, and the consenting caregivers for patients with ed visits were interviewed. Study results were disseminated, and feedback about barriers to care was sought.
Results: Median patient age was 69 years; 73% of the group had non-small-cell lung cancer; and 39% and 69% had received chemotherapy and radiation therapy respectively. Median overall survival was 5.6 months. In the last 3 months of life, 93% of the study patients had visited an oncologist, 67% had telephoned their oncology team, 86% had received homecare, and 73% had visited the ed. Death occurred for 55% of the patients in hospital; 23%, at home; and 22%, in hospice. Goals of care had been documented for 68% of the patients. Homecare for longer than 3 months was associated with fewer ed visits (80.3% vs. 62.1%, p = 0.022). Key themes from stakeholders included the need for more resources and for effective communication between care teams.
Conclusions: Use of acute-care services and rates of death in an acute-care facility are both high for lung cancer patients approaching end of life. In our study, interprofessional and patient-provider communication, earlier connection to homecare services, and improved access to community care were highlighted as having the potential to lower the need for acute-care resources.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the change over time in place of death (hospital, home, hospice) among all women in the United States who died of gynecologic malignancies and compare them with other leading causes of female cancer deaths.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study using national death certificate data from the Mortality Multiple Cause-of-Death Public Use Record Data. All women who died from gynecologic, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers were identified according to International Classification of Diseases, 10 Revision, cause of death from 2003 to 2015. Regression analyses with ordinary least-squares linear probability modeling were used to test for differences in location of death over time, and differences in trends by cancer type, while controlling for age, race, ethnicity, marital status, and education status.
RESULTS: From 2003 to 2015, 2,133,056 women died from gynecologic, lung, breast, and colorectal malignancies in the United States. A total of 359,340 died from gynecologic malignancies, including ovarian cancer (n=188,366 [52.4%]), uterine cancer (n=106,454 [29.6%]), cervical cancer (n=52,320 [14.6%]), and vulvar cancer (n=12,200 [3.4%]). Overall, 49.2% (n=176,657) of gynecologic cancer deaths occurred at home or in hospice. The relative increase from 2003 to 2015 in the rate of deaths at home or in hospice was 47.2% for gynecologic cancer deaths (40.5% in 2003 to 59.5% in 2015). In adjusted analyses, the trend in the percentage of deaths at home or in hospice increased at a rate of 1.6 percentage points per year for gynecologic cancer deaths (95% CI 1.5-1.6) vs 1.5 (95% CI 1.4-1.5, P<.001), 1.4 (95% CI 1.4-1.5, P<.001), and 1.5 (95% CI 1.4-1.5, P=.09) percentage points per year for lung, breast, and colorectal cancer deaths, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Between 2003 and 2015, there was a 47.2% increase (40.5-59.5%) in the rates of gynecologic cancer deaths occurring at home or in hospice. This trend may represent an increase in advance care planning and value-based treatment decisions.
Healthcare professionals have limited formal end-of-life care training despite the large proportion of hospital deaths. A retrospective review of 201 acute hospital deaths revealed 166 (82.6%) had documentation to suggest the patient was dying but this was performed late with a median time between documentation and death of 0.84 days. Furthermore, 132 (66%) patients received an intervention in the final 48 h of life. This highlights the need to improve the recognition and management of dying patients in acute hospitals.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate factors predictive for 'death at home' for patients admitted to an advanced medical home care unit in Stockholm, Sweden, with a focus on possible gender differences. In addition, place of death in relation to the patient's wishes was studied.
METHOD: A retrospective review of medical records of all 456 deceased patients, 233 men and 223 women, admitted to the unit during 2017 was performed. Data on age, diagnosis, living conditions, Swedish language skills, desired place of death (if stated) and place of death were retrieved from the patients' charts.
RESULTS: A total of 114 of 456 patients died at home (25%). The probability of 'death at home' was independent of gender, age, diagnosis, living conditions and Swedish language skills. In a binary logistic regression model, the only factor significantly associated with death at home was 'the wish to die at home' (p<0.001). In the study population, 154 patients (34%) had expressed a preferred place of death, 116 (75%) wanted to die at home and 38 (25%) wanted to die in hospice. Of all patients who expressed a preferred place of death, 80% (n=123) had their wishes fulfilled and there were no differences between the sexes.
CONCLUSION: This study indicates equal opportunities regarding the possibility to die at home for patients admitted to advanced medical home care. It emphasises the importance of asking patients where they want to be at the end of life, as it was the foremost prognostic factor for place of death.
PURPOSE: To evaluate demographics of survival in patients with gastroesophageal cancer so that it informs nursing practice.
METHOD: Data on 2215 patients diagnosed with gastroesophageal cancer who presented to a specialist referral centre between the years 2000 and 2011 were extracted from a Public Health repository. Survival time was calculated and analysed against clinical and lifestyle factors to reveal whether they had an impact on survival outcomes.
RESULTS: Over 60% of patients had died within the first year, 39% of these died within the first 6 months. Survival outcomes were reduced in advancing age, and in those patients who present as 'emergency' cases. One quarter of patients were seen by a GP, but were not referred urgently through the two week wait system, to specialist care. Thus, gastroesophageal cancer patients need specific and appropriate treatment options, including earlier referrals to palliative care provision. There is also a need for cancer specific education and information at community and clinical levels.
CONCLUSIONS: The globally applied one and five-year statistics applied to cancer survival studies do not adequately capture rates of early demise with gastroesophageal cancer. This study presents a novel approach to statistical analysis, based on patient derived data. It identifies factors linked to earlier deaths. However, rather than a focus on early presentation and diagnosis (which are essential) - it also reveals a significant need to consider early referrals for palliative care and nursing interventions to alleviate pain and suffering in patients with poor prognosis.
Purpose: Among individuals with COPD and/or lung cancer, to describe end-of-life health service utilization, costs, and place of death; to identify predictors of home palliative care use, and to assess benefits associated with palliative care use.
Patients and methods: We conducted a retrospective population-based study using provincial linked health administrative data (Ontario, Canada) between 2010 and 2015. We examined health care use in the last 90 days of life in adults 35 years and older with physician-diagnosed COPD and/or lung cancer identified using a validated algorithm and the Ontario Cancer Registry, respectively. Four mutually exclusive groups were considered: (i) COPD only, (ii) lung cancer only, (iii) COPD and lung cancer, and (iv) neither COPD nor lung cancer. Multivariable generalized linear models were employed.
Results: Of 445,488 eligible deaths, 34% had COPD only, 4% had lung cancer only, 5% had both and 57% had neither. Individuals with COPD only received less palliative care (20% vs 57%) than those with lung cancer only. After adjustment, people with lung cancer only were far more likely to receive palliative care (OR=4.22, 4.08-4.37) compared to those with neither diagnosis, while individuals with COPD only were less likely to receive palliative care (OR=0.82, 0.81-0.84). Home palliative care use was associated with reduced death and fewer days in acute care, and less cost, regardless of the diagnosis.
Conclusion: Although individuals with lung cancer were much more likely to receive palliative care than those with COPD, both populations were underserviced. Results suggest greater involvement of palliative care may improve the dying experience of these populations and reduce costs.
In the Netherlands, approximately 1300 women aged =75 years die every year of metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Data on palliative chemotherapy (CT) in very elderly patients are rare, and prospective studies appeared cumbersome. Therefore, we retrospectively analyzed the outcome and feasibility of chemotherapy in elderly MBC patients. Records of all patients with MBC aged =75 years who received first-line palliative chemotherapy between January 2000 and December 2014 at two large teaching hospitals in the Netherlands were reviewed. We registered patient and tumor characteristics together with data on previous adjuvant treatment, palliative endocrine treatment, comorbidities, clinical benefit (defined as =6 months progression-free survival), toxicity, and the reason for stopping chemotherapy. Patients with progressive disease (PD) or death within 30 days after starting CT were censored from analysis. A total of 54 patients with a median age of 77.6 years (range 75-90) were treated with palliative chemotherapy for MBC. Of them, 20 patients (37%) were aged = 80 years. There was clinical benefit in 28 patients (52%). Median progression-free survival and median overall survival were 6.0 and 14.0 months, respectively. One year after the diagnosis of MBC, 27 patients (50%) were still alive and 15 patients (28%) lived longer than 2 years. Reasons for stopping CT were progressive disease (n = 32) or toxicity (n = 13). Most patients (n = 48) died of MBC while two patients died of toxicity. In selected patients with MBC aged 75 years or older, single-agent palliative chemotherapy is feasible and may have clinical benefit.
Importance: Palliative care is a patient-centered approach associated with improvements in quality of life; however, results regarding its association with a survival benefit have been mixed, which may be a factor in its underuse.
Objective: To assess whether early palliative care is associated with a survival benefit among patients with advanced lung cancer.
Design, Setting, and Participants This retrospective population-based cohort study was conducted among patients with lung cancer who were diagnosed with cancer between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2013, with follow-up until January 23, 2017. Participants comprised 23 154 patients with advanced lung cancer (stage IIIB and stage IV) who received care in the Veterans Affairs health care system. Data were analyzed from February 15, 2019, to April 28, 2019.
Exposure: Palliative care defined as a specialist-delivered palliative care encounter received after lung cancer diagnosis.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was survival. The association between palliative care and place of death was also examined. Propensity score and time-varying covariate methods were used to calculate Cox proportional hazards and to perform regression modeling.
Results: Of the 23 154 patients enrolled in the study, 57% received palliative care. The mean (SD) age of participants was 68 (9.5) years, and 98% of participants were men. An examination of the timing of palliative care receipt relative to cancer diagnosis found that palliative care received 0 to 30 days after diagnosis was associated with decreases in survival (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.13; 95% CI, 1.97-2.30), palliative care received 31 to 365 days after diagnosis was associated with increases in survival (aHR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.45-0.49), and palliative care received more than 365 days after diagnosis was associated with no difference in survival (aHR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.94-1.07) compared with nonreceipt of palliative care. Receipt of palliative care was also associated with a reduced risk of death in an acute care setting (adjusted odds ratio, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.52-0.64) compared with nonreceipt of palliative care.
Conclusions and Relevance: The results suggest that palliative care was associated with a survival benefit among patients with advanced lung cancer. Palliative care should be considered a complementary approach to disease-modifying therapy in patients with advanced lung cancer.
OBJECTIVE: Patients admitted to hospice are more vulnerable to age-related physiologic changes, polypharmacy, and inappropriate medication use and monitoring. The objective of this study was to characterize the utilization of nonprescription medications in a hospice population.
METHODS: This was a retrospective study designed to characterize nonprescription or over-the-counter medication use in hospice patients. Data for this study were provided by Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, a national hospice organization with licenses to operate in 19 states and collected from January 1 to December 31, 2016. The most frequently utilized nonprescription medications, therapeutic classes, and the frequency of patients with at least 1 claim within a therapeutic class were summarized.
RESULTS: The final study population included 62 639 orders representing 15 164 patients. The average age was 79.31 years with a standard deviation of 13.31 years. The average length of stay was 26.80 days with a standard deviation of 44.14 days. The top 5 most common medications were as follows: acetaminophen (25.15%), bisacodyl (21.69%), senna (8.35%), omeprazole (4.51%), and docusate (4.46%). Approximately 13 714 (29.67%) of patients were exposed to analgesics, 13 469 (29.14%) to laxatives, and 3535 (7.65%) to antacids or antigas medications.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights numerous opportunities for improvement in the use of nonprescription medications among hospice patients. Reducing the use of nonprescription medications that are ineffective or produce unwanted side effects can contribute to improving the quality of care that patients receive.
BACKGROUND: Older adults prefer comfort over life-sustaining care. Decreased intensity of care is associated with improved quality of life at the end-of-life (EOL).
OBJECTIVES: This study explored the association between advance directives (ADs) and intensity of care in the acute care setting at the EOL for older adults.
METHODS: A retrospective, correlational study of older adult decedents (N = 496) was conducted at an academic medical center. Regression analyses explored the association between ADs and intensity of care.
RESULTS: Advance directives were not independently predictive of aggressive care but were independently associated with referrals to palliative care and hospice; however, effect sizes were small, and the timing of referrals was late.
CONCLUSION: The ineffectiveness of ADs to reduce aggressive care or promote timely referrals to palliative and hospice services, emphasizes persistent inadequacies related to EOL care. Research is needed to understand if this failure is provider-driven or a flaw in the documents themselves.
BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial treatment is common at end of life. A treatment escalation/limitation plan (TELP) offers the opportunity to avoid non-beneficial treatment in critically ill patients. Our aim was to evaluate antimicrobial prescribing in terminally ill patients, and assess whether it was modified using a TELP.
METHODS: Appropriateness of antimicrobial treatment was audited using a priori criteria in 94 consecutive hospital deaths. Prescribing in patients whose death was expected/unexpected, and who had a TELP with/without a 'ceiling' for antimicrobials, were compared.
RESULTS: Twenty three of 94 patients (24.5%) were receiving antimicrobials at time of death. This was not influenced by evidence of infection or whether death was expected. The use of a TELP (n = 81) with an antimicrobial 'ceiling' (28 with, 53 without) was associated with a significant reduction in antimicrobials administered (28.6% vs 81.1%; p < 0.0005).
CONCLUSIONS: Many complex factors contribute to antimicrobial misuse at end of life. An appropriately constructed TELP reduces inappropriate prescribing.
Background: Home hospice is designed to provide comfort to patients at the end of their life and hospital readmission is incongruent with this goal.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of and characteristics associated with hospital readmissions from home hospice over a two-year period.
Design/Subjects: This was a retrospective cohort study of 705 inpatients discharged from a quaternary academic medical center to home hospice from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017.
Measures: The primary outcome was incidence of hospital readmission after discharge to home hospice. Multivariate regression with stepwise forward selection was used to identify characteristics associated with readmission.
esults: The incidence of readmission was found to be 10.50% (n = 74), and the median days from discharge to readmission were 32.50 days (interquartile range = 14.00, 75.00). Reasons for readmission were: unanticipated new medical issue (n = 33, 44.59%), uncontrolled symptoms (n = 25, 33.78%), misunderstanding of hospice status (n = 12, 16.22%), and caregiver distress (n = 4, 5.41%). The following characteristics were associated with readmission: female versus male (odds ratio [OR] = 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16–3.32), non-white versus white (OR = 2.40; 95% CI: 1.36–4.24), and hospice diagnosis of cardiac disease versus all other diagnoses (OR = 4.40; 95% CI: 2.06–9.37).
Conclusions: Compared with prior studies, our findings showed a lower incidence of readmission, 10.50%, from home hospice. In addition, those who are female, non-white, or have a hospice diagnosis of cardiac disease are more likely to be readmitted.
CONTEXT: Although the number of studies on the economic impact of palliative care (PC) is growing, the great majority report costs from North America.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of PC hospital cost components from the perspective of a European mixed funded health care system by identifying cost drivers of PC and quantifying their effect on hospital costs compared to usual care (UC).
METHODS: We performed a retrospective, observational analysis examining cost data from the last hospitalization of patients who died at a large academic hospital in Switzerland comparing patients receiving PC versus UC.
RESULTS: Total hospital costs were similar in PC and UC with a mean difference of CHF -2'777 [95% confidence interval (CI) -12'713 to 8'506, p=0.60]. Average costs per day decreased by CHF -3'224 [95% CI -3'811 to -2'631, p<0.001] for PC patients with significant reduction of costs for diagnostic intervention and medication. Higher cost components for PC patients were catering, room, nursing, social counselling and non-medical therapists. In sensitivity analyses, when we restricted PC exposure to 3 days from admission, total costs and average costs per day were significantly lower for PC.
CONCLUSION: Studies measuring the impact of PC on hospital costs should analyze various cost components beyond total costs in order to understand wanted and potentially unwanted cost-reducing effects. An international definition of a set of cost components, specific for cost-impact PC studies, may help avoid superficial and potentially dangerous cost discussions.
OBJECTIVE: To examine factors associated with perceived quality of communication with physicians by relatives of dying residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs).
DESIGN: A cross-sectional retrospective study in a representative sample of LTCFs conducted in 2015. In each LTCF, deaths of residents during the 3 months before the researcher's visit were reported. Structured questionnaires were sent to the identified relatives of deceased residents.
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 736 relatives of deceased residents in 210 LTCFs (in Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland).
METHODS: The Family Perception of Physician-Family Communication scale (FPPFC) was used to assess the quality of end-of-life (EOL) communication with physicians as perceived by relatives. We applied multilevel linear regression models to find factors associated with the FPPFC score.
RESULTS: The quality of EOL communication with physicians was perceived by relatives as higher when the relative spent more than 14 hours with the resident in the last week of the resident's life (b = 0.205; P = .044), and when the treating physician visited the resident at least 3 times in the last week of the resident's life (b = 0.286; P = .002) or provided the resident with palliative care (b = 0.223; P = .003). Relatives with higher emotional burden perceived the quality of EOL communication with physicians as lower (b = -0.060; P < .001). These results had been adjusted to countries and LTCF types with physicians employed on-site or off-site of the facility.
CONCLUSION: The quality of EOL communication with physicians, as perceived by relatives of dying LTCF residents, is associated with the number of physician visits and amount of time spent by the relative with the resident in the last week of the resident's life, and relatives' emotional burden.
IMPLICATIONS: LTCF managers should organize care for dying residents in a way that enables frequent interactions between physicians and relatives, and emotional support to relatives to improve their satisfaction with EOL communication.
BACKGROUND: ALS is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder, with the recommendation that symptom management and palliative care start immediately or soon after diagnosis. However, little is known about healthcare utilization at the end of life in this patient group.
AIM: To describe healthcare utilization at the end of life in patients who died from ALS.
DESIGN: We performed a retrospective cohort study using population-level administrative databases. The description of healthcare utilization was based on (1) validated quality indicators for end-of-life care, and (2) the European Federation of Neurological Societies guidelines on the clinical management of ALS.
SETTING: We included all people who died from ALS in Belgium between 2010 and 2015 (using ICD-10 code G12.2).
RESULTS: 1636 people died from ALS in Belgium between 2010 and 2015. The mean age at death was 71 years (SD11.3), and 56% were men. Specialized palliative care was used by 44% at some point in the last two years of life. In the last month of life, 13% received tube feeding, 48% received diagnostic testing, 41% were admitted to a hospital, and 25% were admitted to an emergency department. Medications were used mainly to treat pain (43%), insomnia and fatigue (33%) and thrombosis (32%); 39% used riluzole. Non-invasive ventilation was used by 18%. 39% died at home.
CONCLUSION: Administrative data provide a valuable source to describe healthcare utilization in small populations such as ALS, but more clinical evidence is needed on the advantages and disadvantages initiating or terminating treatments at the end of life.
Purpose: In Korea, hospice palliative care (HPC) provision for cancer patients has increased recently. However, whether end of life (EoL) care practices have improved along with the development of HPC is unclear. We intended to investigate the changes in EoL care practices and their association with HPC referral.
Materials and Methods: Retrospective medical record review of adult cancer patients who died at National Cancer Center Korea from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2014 was performed. Changes of EoL practices including chemotherapy within 2 weeks from death, death in intensive care unit (ICU), documentation of "do not resuscitate (DNR)" within 7 days from death and referral to HPC from 2009 to 2014 were analyzed as well as the association between referral to HPC and other practices.
Results: A total of 2,377 cases were included in the analysis. Between 2009 and 2014, referral to HPC increased and DNR documentation within 7 days from death decreased significantly. Cases for chemotherapy within 2 weeks from death and death in ICU didn't change over the study period. Patients referred to HPC were less likely to receive chemotherapy within 2 weeks from death, die in ICU and document DNR within 7 days from death.
Conclusion: During the study period, EoL practices among cancer patients partly changed toward less aggressive in our institution. HPC referral was associated with less aggressive cancer care at the EoL. Policies to promote EoL discussion are necessary to improve the EoL practices of cancer patients.
BACKGROUND: The holistic and multidisciplinary approach of in-home palliative care (IHPC) is known to offer high-quality and cost-effective care for patients at the end of life. However, the financial benefits of upstream IHPC programs to hospitals, patients, and payers have not been fully characterized for patients with comorbid chronic conditions.
AIM: To characterize the financial benefits that upstream IHPC offers to patients with multiple chronic conditions.
METHODS: A structured retrospective patient record review was conducted on the number of emergency department (ED) visits, number of inpatient hospitalizations, hospital length of stay (LOS), and payments made to the hospital for all patients (N = 71) enrolled in an IHPC program between January 1, 2016, and June 30, 2016. Discharge history from each patient's medical record was also assessed. Comparisons were drawn between patients' LOS on IHPC and an equivalent time period prior to enrollment in IHPC.
RESULTS: After patients enrolled in IHPC, average ED and inpatient utilization declined significantly by 41% (P = .01) and 71% (P < .001), respectively. The payers for health-care services realized a significant decline of US$2,201 (P < .001) in hospital payments per patient per month. Inpatient LOS was also significantly lower than expected once patients enrolled in the program (P = .01).
CONCLUSIONS: As the need for chronic disease management continues to grow, managers of health systems, managed care organizations, and home health agencies should be cognizant of the financial value that IHPC has to offer.
OBJECTIVES: As ICUs are increasingly a site of end-of-life care, many have adopted end-of-life care resources. We sought to determine the association of such resources with outcomes of ICU patients.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: Pennsylvania ICUs.
PATIENTS: Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries.
INTERVENTIONS: Availability of any of one hospital-based resource ( palliative care consultants) or four ICU-based resources ( protocol for withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy, triggers for automated palliative care consultation, protocol for family meetings, and palliative care clinicians embedded in ICU rounds).
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: In mixed-effects regression analyses, admission to a hospital with end-of-life resources was not associated with mortality, length of stay, or treatment intensity (mechanical ventilation, hemodialysis, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, artificial nutrition, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation); however, it was associated with a higher likelihood of discharge to hospice (odds ratio, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.11-2.24), an effect that was driven by ICU-based resources (odds ratio, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.04-1.81) rather than hospital-based resources (odds ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.83-1.71). Instrumental variable analysis using differential distance (defined as the additional travel distance beyond the hospital closest to a patient's home needed to reach a hospital with end-of-life resources) demonstrated that among those for whom differential distance would influence receipt of end-of-life resources, admission to a hospital with such resources was not associated with any outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: ICU-based end-of-life care resources do not appear to change mortality but are associated with increased hospice utilization. Given that this finding was not confirmed by the instrumental variable analysis, future studies should attempt to verify this finding, and identify specific resources or processes of care that impact the care of ICU patients at the end of life.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Little is known about the quality of end-of-life care for patients with advanced CKD. We describe the relationship between patterns of end-of-life care and dialysis treatment with family-reported quality of end-of-life care in this population.
DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: We designed a retrospective observational study among a national cohort of 9993 veterans with advanced CKD who died in Department of Veterans Affairs facilities between 2009 and 2015. We used logistic regression to evaluate associations between patterns of end-of-life care and receipt of dialysis (no dialysis, acute dialysis, maintenance dialysis) with family-reported quality of end-of-life care.
RESULTS: Overall, 52% of cohort members spent = 2 weeks in the hospital in the last 90 days of life, 34% received an intensive procedure, and 47% were admitted to the intensive care unit, in the last 30 days, 31% died in the intensive care unit, 38% received a palliative care consultation in the last 90 days, and 36% were receiving hospice services at the time of death. Most (55%) did not receive dialysis, 12% received acute dialysis, and 34% received maintenance dialysis. Patients treated with acute or maintenance dialysis had more intensive patterns of end-of-life care than those not treated with dialysis. After adjustment for patient and facility characteristics, receipt of maintenance (but not acute) dialysis and more intensive patterns of end-of-life care were associated with lower overall family ratings of end-of-life care, whereas receipt of palliative care and hospice services were associated with higher overall ratings. The association between maintenance dialysis and overall quality of care was attenuated after additional adjustment for end-of-life treatment patterns.
CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with advanced CKD, care focused on life extension rather than comfort was associated with lower family ratings of end-of-life care regardless of whether patients had received dialysis.
In this retrospective study, determinants of unbearable suffering in hospice patients who died due to euthanasia were analyzed. The four dimensions of suffering (physical, psychological, social, and existential) were used as a framework. 28 patients (5% of all admitted patients in nine years) were included. Most patients indicated 3–5 determinants, predominantly a combination of physical (96% of patients) and existential determinants (89%). Fatigue, anorexia, and dry mouth were the most prevalent and severe symptoms. Psychological (21%) and social determinants (4%) were much less often described. The results of this study may be used to assess determinants playing a role in euthanasia requests.