Delivering comprehensive end-of-life care to dying patients must involve addressing physical symptoms and psychosocial concerns. Care pathways have been introduced to support health care teams in delivering this care. This retrospective chart review explores the contributions of the Spiritual Care Team in the care of dying patients. They offer a range of interventions which include supportive care, religious and spiritual support. This study was one step towards appreciating the contributions of the Spiritual Care Team.
BACKGROUND: Despite the increasing use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) in patients receiving dialysis, few studies have examined the benefits of ESA for patients with chronic kidney disease receiving palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: We designed a retrospective observational study to evaluate the effect of ESA in treating anemia of renal disease among adult patients receiving palliative care instead of dialysis. The primary objective was to assess whether ESA can reduce the transfusion burden and hospitalization.
RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients receiving ESA were matched with a control group of 39 patients without ESA. Their mean age and glomerular filtration rates were 76.7 (10.2) years and 11.6 (5.7) mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively. Baseline hemoglobin levels were comparable in the ESA and control groups; their corresponding values were 10.2 (1.5) and 10.1 (1.4) g/dL. During 1-year observation period, 34 units of red cell transfusion occurred in patients receiving ESA, whereas 128 units of red cell were transfused to patients in control group. Patients in the control group had higher transfusion rate (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 3.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.49-5.31; P < .00001) and higher admission rates (IRR: 2.34; 95% CI: 1.80-3.03; P < .000001) than the ESA group even after adjustment for comorbidities.
CONCLUSIONS: High disease burden of palliative care among patients with stage 4 to 5 chronic kidney disease was reflected by transfusion requirement and hospitalization rates, both of which were shown to be significantly ameliorated by ESA treatment.
BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic disparities in the provision of end-of-life care are well described in the adult oncology literature. However, the impact of racial and ethnic disparities at end of life in the context of pediatric oncology remains poorly understood.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate associations between end-of-life experiences and race/ethnicity for pediatric patients with cancer.
METHODS:: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on 321 children with cancer enrolled on a palliative care service at an urban pediatric cancer who died between 2011 and 2015.
RESULTS: Compared to white patients, black patients were more likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR; odds ratio [OR]: 4.109, confidence interval [CI]: 1.432-11.790, P = .009) and underwent 3.136 (CI: 1.433-6.869, P = .004) CPR events for every 1 white patient CPR event. The remainder of variables related to treatment and end-of-life care were not significantly correlated with race. Hispanic patients were less likely to receive cancer-directed therapy within 28 days prior to death (OR: 0.493, CI: 0.247-0.982, P = .044) as compared to non-Hispanic patients, yet they were more likely to report a goal of cure over comfort as compared to non-Hispanic patients (OR: 3.094, CI: 1.043-9.174, P = .042). The remainder of variables were not found to be significantly correlated with ethnicity.
CONCLUSIONS: Race and ethnicity influenced select end-of-life variables for pediatric palliative oncology patients treated at a large urban pediatric cancer center. Further multicenter investigation is needed to ascertain the impact of racial/ethnic disparities on end-of-life experiences of children with cancer.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is commonly found in most conditions among patients with progressive noncancer disease.
OBJECTIVE: To clarify the effectiveness and safety of opioid administration for the treatment of dyspnea immediately before death in patients with noncancer disease.
METHODS: A retrospective case-series study involving 13 consecutive terminally ill patients who were near death and diagnosed with noncancer disease, and had refractory dyspnea and received opioid therapy, was performed. The authors investigated the route of administration, period, dosage of opioids, intensity of dyspnea-scored according to the Japanese version of the Support Team Assessment Schedule-and clinical course from a review of medical records.
RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 86.5 ± 7.6years (range: 72-98years). The primary causes of dyspnea that led to opioid administration were heart failure (n = 10) and respiratory failure (n = 3). Oxycodone was used in one patient who experienced a complication of chronic renal failure; morphine was used in the other 12 patients. The route of opioid administration was continuous infusions in 11 patients, suppository in one, and oral administration in one. The final dose of oral morphine equivalents was 20.1 ± 8.1 mg/d (range: 5-36 mg [median: 18 mg]). All patients improved in symptom score after opioid administration. The score was significantly decreased from 3.2 ± 0.7 at the beginning of opioid administration to 1.2 ± 0.6 at final estimation ( P < .001). No severe adverse events occurred.
CONCLUSIONS:: Low-dose opioid administration in patients with terminally ill noncancer improved dyspnea and occurred no severe adverse events.
For patients receiving palliative care, expressing a preferred place of death (PPD) reduces anxiety and depression and increases the likelihood of achieving their preference. However, during the course of a life-limiting illness, patients commonly change their PPD at least once prior to death. The aim of this study was to identify the pattern and timing of how patients (and families) receiving specialist palliative care change their PPD over time. A retrospective chart audit was conducted of patients who died over a 7-month period whilst in the care of a metropolitan-based Community Specialist Palliative Care Service where PPD is routinely recorded every time a discussion on the topic occurs. These discussions are triggered by various factors which highlight the need to re-assess or confirm PPD. Results showed that 80% of patients achieved their PPD. There was no change to PPD in 64% of patients after the initial assessment, while 36% changed preferences once (27%), twice (8%) or three times (1%). Symptom management (10%) and family requests (30%) were cited as reasons for changing PPD. This study highlights that providers should revisit end-of-life discussions with patients along the disease trajectory and facilitate the consideration of all possible places for a good and safe death and the different scenarios that may influence patient decisions.
Après 15 ans de recueil et d’enregistrement de données administratives et médicales, la Fédération Wallonne de soins palliatifs dispose de données chiffrées qui lui permettent de poser un regard rétrospectif sur l’activité des unités de soins palliatifs, à travers quelques items-clés, sur 4 années prises comme références. Dans cet article, la discussion portera sur le nombre de patients hospitalisés au sein de ces unités, les pourcentages de pathologies cancéreuses, la durée d’hospitalisation, l’origine des admissions, les pourcentages de réadmissions et les fins de séjour en unités. L’article se clôturera ensuite par quelques conclusions et perspectives pour l’avenir.
Introduction: Du fait de la toxicité veineuse périphérique des produits utilisés, la pose d’une chambre implantable s’intègre dans la prise en charge globale d’un patient devant bénéficier d’une chimiothérapie anticancéreuse curative ou palliative. Si ce geste peut apparaître anodin car réalisé quotidiennement, il reste souvent un élément marquant dans l’histoire du patient du fait de son retentissement tant physique que psychologique. Le but de cette étude était d’évaluer le niveau d’anxiété préopératoire et la satisfaction des patients ayant bénéficié de cette intervention.
Méthodes: Nous avons mené une étude monocentrique rétrospective basée sur un questionnaire comportant 28 questions à choix multiples et une question libre. Le questionnaire a été envoyé par voie postale à l’ensemble des patients ayant bénéficié de la pose d’une chambre implantable entre le 01/01/2016 et le 31/12/2016. Les questions exploraient les phases préopératoire (anxiété et information), peropératoire (douleur et prise en charge) et postopératoire (douleur, prise en charge et satisfaction).
Résultats: Quarante-huit questionnaires ont été reçus et analysés ce qui représente un taux de participation de 40 %. Trente-quatre patients (70 %) étaient des femmes. L’âge moyen était de 60±19 ans. Pour 35 patients (73 %), il s’agissait de leur première intervention de ce type. Avant l’opération, le niveau médian d’anxiété était estimé à 5/10 [extrêmes : 2–8]. Quarante-deux patients (88 %) avaient reçu une information préalable à la réalisation du geste avec un niveau médian de satisfaction par rapport à cette information de 9/10 [extrêmes : 8–10]. La qualité médiane de l’accueil en salle d’opération était estimée à 9/10 [extrêmes : 8–10], la qualité du séjour peropératoire à 10/10 [extrêmes : 8–10] et le niveau médian d’anxiété au décours du geste à 1/10 [extrêmes : 0–5]. Douze patients (25 %) ont ressenti des douleurs d’une intensité moyenne cotée à 1±2/10 sur l’échelle numérique. Après l’intervention, 19 patients (40 %) ont ressenti des douleurs d’une intensité médiane cotée à 2/10 [extrêmes : 0–5] sur l’échelle numérique et traitées par des antalgiques de niveau 1 dans 100 % des cas. La satisfaction médiane vis-à-vis de l’accompagnement au cours du séjour hospitalier pour la mise en place de la chambre implantable a été évaluée à 9/10 [extrêmes : 8–10], à 10/10 [extrêmes : 8–10] pour la prise en charge anesthésique et à 9/10 [extrêmes : 7–10] pour la prise en charge globale au cours du séjour hospitalier.
Discussion: La mise en place d’une chambre implantable pour une chimiothérapie anticancéreuse reste un événement marquant dans l’histoire d’un patient, source d’anxiété préopératoire marquée. La satisfaction globale des patients quant à leur parcours de soin est bonne mais pourrait encore être améliorée. Une bonne relation "soignant–soigné" à toutes les étapes de la prise en charge et une fluidification du parcours de soins du patient sont probablement les éléments devant permettre d’améliorer plus encore la satisfaction des patients.
En évoluant depuis les années 1980, la réanimation néonatale moderne a réduit de façon importante la morbi-mortalité des nouveau-nés prématurés. Cela a fait naître un ensemble de situations questionnantes en sauvant des vies au prix de séquelles parfois lourdes. Les pratiques des néonatologistes ont évolué allant de "l’arrêt de vie" à l’accompagnement du patient et de sa famille dans le cadre des soins palliatifs. Cette évolution a été ponctuée de plusieurs avis du Comité consultatif national d’éthique pour les sciences de la vie et de la santé (CCNE ; avis nos 63, 65 et 121) parlant d’abord "d’exception d’euthanasie" puis de grave transgression. Les études Épipage 1 et 2 ont influencé le CCNE en montrant par un suivi longitudinal une nette amélioration de la morbi-mortalité tous termes confondus sur les dernières décennies. Dans le même temps, les lois de 2002 et de 2005 relatives aux droits des malades et à la fin de vie étaient votées. Il persiste des situations difficiles, surtout dans les cas d’arrêt de nutrition et d’hydratation artificielles, le corps de l’enfant mourant de dénutrition semblant une vision insoutenable. Certains auteurs légitiment une "sédation terminale" systématique, concomitante de l’arrêt de la nutrition et de l’hydratation pour « limiter les souffrances ». D’autres parlent de "réparer une erreur de réanimation" pour les enfants vivants grâce à la réanimation. Ils pensent pouvoir "défaire" les choses et différencient ainsi une vie "naturelle" d’une vie "artificielle". Cela légitime la conduite d’une étude pour comprendre sur quels arguments sont prises les décisions de fin de vie en réanimation néonatale.
This study investigated the association between patient characteristics and the occurrence of pressure injuries for patients at the end of life. A retrospective study was conducted using data collected from 2062 patients at the end of life between January 2007 and October 2015. In addition to demographic data and pressure injury risk assessment scale scores, injury history, disease type, and length of hospitalization were revealed as the major independent variables for predicting the occurrence of pressure injuries.
Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate palliative care needs and to describe the cohort of children with life-limiting illnesses (LLI) dying in hospitals.
Design: This study was a retrospective cohort study. The national hospital admissions database was reviewed and children who had died who had life-limiting illnesses were identified.
Setting: This study was conducted at Ministry of Health hospitals, Malaysia.
Patients: Children aged 18 years and below who had died between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014.
Main Outcome Measures: Life-limiting diagnoses based on Hain et al.'s directory of LLI or the ACT/RCPCH categories of life-limiting disease trajectories.
Results: There were 8907 deaths and 3958 (44.4%) were that of children with LLI. The majority, 2531 (63.9%) of children with LLI were neonates, and the most common diagnosis was extreme prematurity <28 weeks with 676 children (26.7%). For the nonneonatal age group, the median age at admission was 42 months (1-216 months). A majority, 456 (32.0%) had diagnoses from the ICD-10 chapter "Neoplasms" followed by 360 (25.3%) who had a diagnoses from "Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities" and 139 (9.7%) with diagnoses from "Disease of the nervous system." While a majority of the terminal admissions were to the general ward, there were children from the nonneonatal age group, 202 (14.2%) who died in nonpediatric wards.
Conclusion: Understanding the characteristics of children with LLI who die in hospitals could contribute toward a more efficient pediatric palliative care (PPC) service development. PPC service should include perinatal and neonatal palliative care. Palliative care education needs to extend to nonpediatric healthcare providers who also have to manage children with LLI.
Background: Palliative care (pc) consultation has been associated with less aggressive care at end of life in a number of malignancies, but the effect of the consultation timing has not yet been fully characterized. For patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer (upcc), aggressive and resource-intensive treatment at the end of life can be costly, but not necessarily of better quality. In the present study, we investigated the association, if any, between the timing of specialist pc consultation and indicators of aggressive care at end of life in patients with upcc.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study examined the potential effect of the timing of specialist pc consultation on key indicators of aggressive care at end of life in all patients diagnosed with upcc in Nova Scotia between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2015. Statistical analysis included univariable and multivariable logistic regression.
Results: In the 365 patients identified for inclusion in the study, specialist pc consultation was found to be associated with decreased odds of experiencing an indicator of aggressive care at end of life; however, the timing of the consultation was not significant. Residency in an urban area was associated with decreased odds of experiencing an indicator of aggressive care at end of life. We observed no association between experiencing an indicator of aggressive care at end of life and consultation with medical oncology or radiation oncology.
Conclusions: Regardless of timing, specialist pc consultation was associated with decreased odds of experiencing an indicator of aggressive care at end of life. That finding provides further evidence to support the integral role of pc in managing patients with a life-limiting malignancy.
PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and the potential effects of the Haematological Home Care (HHC) programme for acute leukaemia (AL) patients, either in active chemotherapy or in the terminal phase of disease.
METHODS: We retrospectively assessed a group of AL patients assisted at home in terms of number of hospitalisations, accesses to emergency department and place of death. We also used historical data to evaluate potential effects of HHC.
RESULTS: The study group consisted of 44 patients, 36 of whom (82%) required palliative treatment, and eight (18%) had ongoing active chemotherapy. The mean number of hospitalisations was 0.64 (range 0-7) per patient, and the number of emergency department (ED) visits was 0.82 (range 0-4) per patient. Place of death was at home for 51.4% of patients and in hospital for 40.5%. Considering a historical group of 17 patients assisted at home the rate of hospitalisations and ED visits were 2.53 (range 0-9) and one (range 0-3), respectively. Place of death was home and hospital in 6% and 65%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Haematological Home Care for AL patients is feasible and has potential positive effects in terms rate of hospitalisations and place of death.
PURPOSE: Quality end-of-life care (EoLC) is a key aspect of oncology. Days at home in the last 6 months of life represents a novel, patient-driven quality indicator of EoLC. We measured days at home in a large population of patients with cancer in Ontario, Canada. Trends over time and predictors of more or less time at home were also determined.
METHODS: We conducted a population-based retrospective study using health administrative data linked by unique, encoded identifiers and analyzed at the ICES. Quantile regression was used to determine significant predictors of more or less time at home.
RESULTS: Of 72,987 patients who died of cancer in Ontario, Canada and met our inclusion criteria, the median number of days spent at home in the last 6 months of life was 164 (interquartile range [IQR], 144 to 175 days) of a possible 180 days. Patients with hematologic cancers spent significantly fewer days at home (156; IQR, 134 to 170 days). The strongest predictors of more time at home were male sex (+2.87 days relative to female sex; CI, 2.43 to 3.31 days) and receipt of palliative care before the last 6 months of life (+2.38 days; CI, 1.95 to 2.08 days). Additional predictors included income, age, cancer type, comorbidity burden, and health region. The majority of patients (69.7%) did not die at home.
CONCLUSION: Days at home in the last 6 months of life, obtained from administrative data, can be used as a measure of quality EoLC. Predictors of days at home may prove valuable targets for future policy intervention.
CONTEXT: Chemotherapy use in the last month of life is an indicator of poor quality of end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVES: We assessed the frequency of chemotherapy use at the end of life at our comprehensive cancer center in Jordan and identified the factors associated with chemotherapy use.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review to examine the use of chemotherapy in the last 30 days and 14 days of life in consecutive adult patients with cancer seen at King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) who died between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2012. We collected data on patient and disease characteristics, palliative care referral, and end-of-life care outcome indicators.
RESULTS: Among the 1714 decedents, 310 (18.1%) had chemotherapy use in the last 30 days and 142 (8.3%) in the last 14 days of life. Over half (910; 53.1%) had a palliative care referral. Chemotherapy use in the last 30 and 14 days of life were associated with younger age (odds ratio [OR] 0.99/yr, P = 0.01, and OR 0.99/yr, P = 0.01, respectively) and hematological malignances (OR 1.98, P < 0.001, and OR 2.85, P < 0.001, respectively). Palliative care referral was significantly associated with decreased use of chemotherapy in the last 30 (OR 0.30, P < 0.001) and 14 (OR 0.15, P < 0.001) days of life.
CONCLUSIONS: A sizable minority of patients with cancer at KHCC received chemotherapy at the end of life. Younger patients and those with hematological malignancies were more likely to receive chemotherapy, whereas those referred to palliative care were significantly less likely to receive chemotherapy at the end of life.
Objective This study aimed to define the end-of-life (EOL) healthcare utilisation and its cost and determinants for cancer patients and to proactively inform related strategies in mainland China.
Design A population-based retrospective study.
Setting and participants Data from 894 cancer patients were collected in urban Yichang, China from 01 July 2015 to 30 June 2017.
Outcome measures Emergency department (ED) visits, outpatient and inpatient hospitalisation services, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and total costs were used as the main outcomes.
Results In this study, 66.8% of the 894 patients were male, and the average age was 60.4 years. Among these patients, 37.6% died at home, and patients had an average of 4.86 outpatient services, 2.23 inpatient hospitalisation services and 1.44 ED visits. Additionally, 5.9% of these patients visited the ICU at least once. During the EOL periods, the costs in the last 6 months, 3 months, 1 month and 1 week were US$18 234, US$13 043, US$6349 and US$2085, respectively. The cost increased dramatically as death approached. The estimation results of generalised linear regression models showed that aggressive care substantially affected expenditure. Patients with Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance spent more than those with Urban Resident-based Basic Medical Insurance or the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme. The place of death and the survival time are also risk factors for increased EOL cost.
Conclusion The findings suggested that the EOL cost for cancer patients is associated with aggressive care, insurance type and survival time. Timing palliative care is urgently needed to address ineffective and irrational healthcare utilisation and to reduce costs.
Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (IORG No.: IORG0003571). All the data used in this study were de-identified.
AIMS: Estimating survival is challenging in the terminal phase of advanced heart failure. Patients, families, and health-care organizations would benefit from more reliable prognostic tools. The Palliative Performance Scale Version 2 (PPSv2) is a reliable and validated tool used to measure functional performance; higher scores indicate higher functionality. It has been widely used to estimate survival in patients with cancer but rarely used in patients with heart failure. The aim of this study was to identify prognostic cut-points of the PPSv2 for predicting survival among patients with heart failure receiving home hospice care.
METHODS AND RESULTS: This retrospective cohort study included 1114 adult patients with a primary diagnosis of heart failure from a not-for-profit hospice agency between January 2013 and May 2017. The primary outcome was survival time. A Cox proportional-hazards model and sensitivity analyses were used to examine the association between PPSv2 scores and survival time, controlling for demographic and clinical variables. Receiver operating characteristic curves were plotted to quantify the diagnostic performance of PPSv2 scores by survival time. Lower PPSv2 scores on admission to hospice were associated with decreased median (interquartile range, IQR) survival time [PPSv2 10 = 2 IQR: 1-5 days; PPSv2 20 = 3 IQR: 2-8 days] IQR: 55-207. The discrimination of the PPSv2 at baseline for predicting death was highest at 7 days [area under the curve (AUC) = 0.802], followed by an AUC of 0.774 at 14 days, an AUC of 0.736 at 30 days, and an AUC of 0.705 at 90 days.
CONCLUSIONS: The PPSv2 tool can be used by health-care providers for prognostication of hospice-enrolled patients with heart failure who are at high risk of near-term death. It has the greatest utility in patients who have the most functional impairment.
Background: Physicians play a substantial role in facilitating communication regarding life-supporting treatment decision-making including do-not-resuscitate (DNR) in the intensive care units (ICU). Physician-related factors including gender, personal preferences to life-supporting treatment, and specialty have been found to affect the timing and selection of life-supporting treatment decision-making. This study aimed to examine the influence of physician workload on signing a DNR order in the ICUs.
Methods: This is retrospective observational study. The medical records of patients, admitted to the surgical ICUs for the first time between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2013, were reviewed. We used a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model to examine the influence of the physician’s workload on his/her writing a DNR order by adjusting for multiple factors. We then used Kaplan–Meier survival curves with log-rank test to compare the time from ICU admission to DNR orders written for patients for two groups of physicians based on the average number of patients each physician cared for per day during data collection period.
Results: The hazard of writing a DNR order by the attending physicians who cared for more than one patient per day significantly decreased by 41% as compared to the hazard of writing a DNR order by those caring for fewer than one patient (hazard ratio = 0.59, 95% CI 0.39—0.89, P = .01). In addition, the factors associated with writing a DNR order as determined by the Cox model were non-operative, cardiac failure/insufficiency diagnosis (hazard ratio = 1.71, 95% CI 1.00—2.91, P = .05) and the Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System score (hazard ratio = 1.02, 95% CI 1.00—1.03, P = .03). Physicians who cared for more than one patient per day were less likely to write a DNR order for their patients than those who cared for in average fewer than one patient per day (log-rank chi-square = 5.72, P = .02).
Conclusions: Our findings highlight the need to take multidisciplinary actions for physicians with heavy workloads. Changes in the work environmental factors along with stress management programs to improve physicians’ psychological well-being as well as the quality.
BACKGROUND: Earlier palliative care consultation is associated with less intensive medical care and improved quality outcomes for patients with cancer. However, there are limited data about how the timing of palliative care affects utilization among noncancer patients exposed to palliative care consultation.
OBJECTIVE: Comparison of health care utilization for hospice decedents who received early versus late palliative care.
DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study utilizing hospital and hospice administrative databases.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Patients with cancer and noncancer diagnoses who received specialty palliative care consultation before dying at a local hospice.
MEASUREMENTS: Comparing early (>90 days before death) versus late (<90 days before death) palliative care, outcome measures included intensive care unit (ICU) utilization and hospice length of stay (LOS).
RESULTS: Of 233 hospice decedents in 2014 who had palliative care referrals, 36 (15.4%) had early and 197 (84.5%) had late referrals. Nearly half of the patients had a noncancer hospice diagnosis. Only 6% of the early group used the ICU in the last month of life, whereas 56% of the late group did. Patients receiving early palliative care had a longer median hospice LOS than those with late palliative care (138 days vs. 8 days).
CONCLUSIONS: Early palliative care appears to reduce intensive medical care and increase hospice LOS for patients with a variety of end-stage diseases.
Background: The impact of specialty pediatric palliative care (PPC) on intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay for children is unclear.
Objective: To estimate the impact of PPC consultation by analyzing ICU stay as a dynamic outcome over the course of hospitalization.
Patients and Methods: Retrospective cohort study of children hospitalized with diagnoses suggested as referral triggers for PPC at a large academic children's hospital. We assessed ICU stay according to PPC consultation and, using a patient-day analysis, applied multivariable mixed effects logistic regression to predict the odds of being in the ICU on a given day.
Results: The analytic sample included 777 admissions (11,954 hospital days), of which 100 admissions (13%) included PPC consultation. Principal patient demographics were age 8 ± 6 years, 55% male sex, 71% white race, and 52% commercial insurance. Cardiac diagnoses were most frequent (29%) followed by gastrointestinal (22%) and malignant (20%) conditions. Although total ICU stay was longer for admissions, including PPC consultation (compared to admissions where PPC was not consulted), the odds of being in the ICU on a given day were reduced by 79% after PPC consultation (odds ratio [OR] = 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.13–0.34; p < 0.001) for children with cancer and 85% (OR = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.08–0.26; p < 0.001) for children with nononcologic conditions.
Conclusions: Among children hospitalized with a diagnosis deemed eligible for specialty PPC, the likelihood of being in the ICU on a given day was strongly reduced after PPC consultation, supporting the value of PPC.
OBJECTIVE: To examine a rural-serving HBPC program's 12-year experience and historical trends to inform future program direction and expansion.
BACKGROUND: There is limited information about longitudinal trends in mature hospital-based palliative care (HBPC) programs serving racially diverse rural populations.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study of operational and patient-reported outcomes from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Center for Palliative and Supportive Care (CPSC) inpatient (n=11,786) and outpatient (n=315) databases from October 2004 to March 2016.
RESULTS: Inpatients were a mean age of 63.7 years, male (50.1%), white (62.3%), general medicine referred (19.5%), primarily for goals of care (84.4%); 47.1% had "do not resuscitate/do not intubate" status and 46.9% were transferred to the Palliative Care and Comfort Unit (PCCU) after consultation. Median time from admission to consultation was three days, median PCCU length of stay (LOS) was four days, and median hospital LOS was nine days. Increased emergency department and cardiology referrals were notable in later years. Outpatients' mean age was 53.02 years, 63.5% were female, 76.8% were white, and 75.6% had a cancer diagnosis. Fatigue, pain, and disturbed sleep were the most common symptoms at the time of the visit; 34.6% reported mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. Of patients reporting pain (64.8%), one-third had 50% or less relief from pain treatment.
DISCUSSION: The CPSC, which serves a racially diverse rural population, has demonstrated robust growth. We are poised to scale and spread our lessons learned to underserved communities.