The surprise question (SQ), “Would you be surprised if your patient died within a year?”, has been studied in the cancer population as a prognostic prompt. Studies have almost exclusively directed the SQ to physicians, whereas perspectives of nurses remain underevaluated. We asked the SQ for patients admitted to an inpatient medical oncology service to medical oncology, palliative care, and hospital medicine teams and bedside nurses. We performed a 1-year retrospective chart review to identify how concordant various provider types were in their prognostic estimations and identified the missed opportunity rate (MOR) defined as the number of patients who died within a particular time frame but who the providers had predicted would be alive and may not have had a palliative approach. Oncologists had higher MORs for the 6-month and 1-year SQ when compared with hospital medicine providers. Bedside nurses were least concordant in their estimations of prognosis and had higher MORs for all time frames of the SQ. Missed opportunities might have significant implications for the end-of-life care for cancer patients, and continued research is needed to understand what influences provider prognostication and how this impacts palliative care utilization for patients with life-limiting disease.
OBJECTIVE: To examine how relatives evaluate the quality of communication with the treating physician of a dying resident in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) and to assess its differences between countries.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional retrospective study in a representative sample of LTCFs conducted in 2015. Relatives of residents who died during the previous 3 months were sent a questionnaire.
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: 761 relatives of deceased residents in 241 LTCFs in Belgium, England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland.
METHODS: The Family Perception of Physician-Family Communication (FPPFC) scale (ratings from 0 to 3, where 3 means the highest quality) was used to retrospectively assess how the quality of end-of-life communication with treating physicians was perceived by relatives. We applied multilevel linear and logistic regression models to assess differences between countries and LTCF types.
RESULTS: The FPPFC score was the lowest in Finland (1.4 ± 0.8) and the highest in Italy (2.2 ± 0.7). In LTCFs served by general practitioners, the FPPFC score differed between countries, but did not in LTCFs with on-site physicians. Most relatives reported that they were well informed about a resident's general condition (from 50.8% in Finland to 90.6% in Italy) and felt listened to (from 53.1% in Finland to 84.9% in Italy) and understood by the physician (from 56.7% in Finland to 85.8% in Italy). In most countries, relatives assessed the worst communication as being about the resident's wishes for medical treatment at the end of life, with the lowest rate of satisfied relatives in Finland (37.6%).
CONCLUSION: The relatives' perception of the quality of end-of-life communication with physicians differs between countries. However, in all countries, physicians' communication needs to be improved, especially regarding resident's wishes for medical care at the end of life.
IMPLICATIONS: Training in end-of-life communication to physicians providing care for LTCF residents is recommended.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms are intended to help prevent the provision of unwanted medical interventions among patients with advanced illness or frailty who are approaching the end of life. We seek to evaluate how POLST form completion, treatment limitations, or both influence intensity of treatment among patients who present to the emergency department (ED).
METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of adults who presented to the ED at an academic medical center in Oregon between April 2015 and October 2016. POLST form completion and treatment limitations were the main exposures. Primary outcome was hospital admission; secondary outcomes included ICU admission and a composite measure of aggressive treatment.
RESULTS: A total of 26,128 patients were included; 1,769 (6.8%) had completed POLST forms. Among patients with POLST, 52.1% had full treatment orders, and 6.4% had their forms accessed before admission. POLST form completion was not associated with hospital admission (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.84 to 1.12), ICU admission (aOR=0.82; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.22), or aggressive treatment (aOR=1.06; 95% CI 0.75 to 1.51). Compared with POLST forms with full treatment orders, those with treatment limitations were not associated with hospital admission (aOR=1.12; 95% CI 0.92 to 1.37) or aggressive treatment (aOR=0.87; 95% CI 0.5 to 1.52), but were associated with lower odds of ICU admission (aOR=0.31; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.61).
CONCLUSION: Among patients presenting to the ED with POLST, the majority of POLST forms had orders for full treatment and were not accessed by emergency providers. These findings may partially explain why we found no association of POLST with treatment intensity. However, treatment limitations on POLST forms were associated with reduced odds of ICU admission. Implementation and accessibility of POLST forms are crucial when considering their effect on the provision of treatment consistent with patients' preferences.
BACKGROUND: In June 2016, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-14 decriminalizing medically assisted death. Increasing numbers of Canadians are accessing medical assistance in dying (MAiD) each year, but there is limited information about this population.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the characteristic outcomes of MAiD requests in a cohort of patients at an academic tertiary care center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review of patients making a formal request for a MAiD eligibility assessment from July 16 to September 18. Data extracted included demographics, diagnosis, psychosocial characteristics, information relating to the MAiD request, and clinical outcome.
RESULTS: We received 107 formal requests for MAiD assessment. Ninety-seven patients were found eligible, of whom 80 received MAiD. Cancer was the primary diagnosis for 78% and median age was 74 years. The majority of patients (64%) cited "functional decline or inability to participate in meaningful activities" as the main factor motivating their request for MAiD. Half of patients who received MAiD (46%) described their request as consistent with a long-standing, philosophical view predating their illness. The 10-day reflection period was reduced for 39% of provisions due to impending loss of capacity. Our cohort was very similar demographically to those described both nationally and internationally.
CONCLUSION: Patients seeking MAiD at our institution were similar to those described in other jurisdictions where assisted dying is legal and represent a group for whom autonomy and independence is critical. We noted a very high rate of risk of loss of capacity, suggesting a need for both earlier assessments and regular monitoring.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a significant symptom burden despite maximal medical therapy, yet few are referred for concomitant palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utilization and impact of palliative care on the location of death and to identify clinical variables associated with palliative care contact.
DESIGN: Retrospective chart review from 2010 to 2016 at the VA Western New York Healthcare System using ICD-9/10 diagnosis of COPD. Palliative care contact was identified by Z51.5 or stop code 353.
RESULTS: Only 0.5% to 2% of living patients received palliative care, increasing abruptly at death (6%). Lower diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) (greater emphysema) was associated with palliative care contact, independent of comorbid disease burden or age. Initial outpatient contact was associated with a longer duration of palliative care (P = .003) and death in a home-like setting. Outpatient palliative care was associated with more severe airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second, percent predicted [FEV1%]), whereas greater disease exacerbation frequency was associated with inpatient contact. COPD patients not referred to palliative care had a greater comorbid disease burden, similar FEV1%, fewer disease exacerbations, and a greater DLCO.
CONCLUSION: Few patients with COPD received palliative care, similar to national trends. Initial outpatient palliative contact had the longest duration of care and death in the preferred home environment. The extent of emphysema (DLCO reduction) and more frequent disease exacerbations identified in patients were more likely to receive palliative care. Our study begins to define the benefits of palliative care in advanced COPD and confirms underutilization in the years before death, where a prolonged impact on the quality of life may be realized.
BACKGROUND: While the need for palliative care in long-term care facilities is growing, it is unknown whether palliative care in this setting is sufficiently developed.
AIM: To describe and compare in six European countries palliative care provision in long-term care facilities and to assess associations between patient, facility and advance care planning factors and receipt and timing of palliative care.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional after-death survey regarding care provided to long-term care residents in Belgium, England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. Generalized estimating equations were used for analyses.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Nurses or care assistants who are most involved in care for the resident.
RESULTS: We included 1298 residents in 300 facilities, of whom a majority received palliative care in most countries (England: 72.6%-Belgium: 77.9%), except in Poland (14.0%) and Italy (32.1%). Palliative care typically started within 2 weeks before death and was often provided by the treating physician (England: 75%-the Netherlands: 98.8%). A palliative care specialist was frequently involved in Belgium and Poland (57.1% and 86.7%). Residents with cancer, dementia or a contact person in their record more often received palliative care, and it started earlier for residents with whom the nurse had spoken about treatments or the preferred course of care at the end of life.
CONCLUSION: The late initiation of palliative care (especially when advance care planning is lacking) and palliative care for residents without cancer, dementia or closely involved relatives deserve attention in all countries. Diversity in palliative care organization might be related to different levels of its development.
BACKGROUND: At the end of life, cancer survivors often experience exacerbations of complex comorbidities requiring acute hospital care. Few studies consider comorbidity patterns in cancer survivors receiving palliative care.
AIM: To identify patterns of comorbidities in cancer patients receiving palliative care and factors associated with in-hospital mortality risk.
DESIGN, SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: New South Wales Admitted Patient Data Collection data were used for this retrospective cohort study with 47,265 cancer patients receiving palliative care during the period financial year 2001-2013. A latent class analysis was used to identify complex comorbidity patterns. A regression mixture model was used to identify risk factors in relation to in-hospital mortality in different latent classes.
RESULTS: Five comorbidity patterns were identified: 'multiple comorbidities and symptoms' (comprising 9.1% of the study population), 'more symptoms' (27.1%), 'few comorbidities' (39.4%), 'genitourinary and infection' (8.7%), and 'circulatory and endocrine' (15.6%). In-hospital mortality was the highest for 'few comorbidities' group and the lowest for 'more symptoms' group. Severe comorbidities were associated with elevated mortality in patients from 'multiple comorbidities and symptoms', 'more symptoms', and 'genitourinary and infection' groups. Intensive care was associated with a 37% increased risk of in-hospital deaths in those presenting with more 'multiple comorbidities and symptoms', but with a 22% risk reduction in those presenting with 'more symptoms'.
CONCLUSION: Identification of comorbidity patterns and risk factors for in-hospital deaths in cancer patients provides an avenue to further develop appropriate palliative care strategies aimed at improving outcomes in cancer survivors.
INTRODUCTION: Metastatic lung cancer is an incurable disease which results in a high burden of symptoms, a poor quality of life and an expected prognosis of less than 1 year after diagnosis. Treatment shortly before death may result in potential burdensome and inappropriate hospital admissions and hospital deaths. Dying at home is, at a population level, considered a quality for good end-of-life care.
AIM: We examined what percentage of patients with metastatic lung cancer died inside the hospital and if hospital death, or other characteristics of the patient, oncologist or healthcare, were associated with treatment in the last month of life.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study evaluated the medical records of 1322 patients with metastatic lung cancer who received care at one of 10 hospitals across the Netherlands and died between 1-6-2013 and 31-7-2015. Demographic and clinical characteristics were obtained from the medical records.
RESULTS: In total, 18% of the patients died during a hospital admission. This percentage was higher for patients who received chemotherapy (42%) or targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (25%) in the last month of life. Patients younger than 60 years of age, patients who received chemotherapy in the last month of life and patients in whom TKIs were started in the last month of life were more likely to die inside the hospital.
DISCUSSION: In the Netherlands, fewer than one in five patients with metastatic lung cancer died in the hospital and in-hospital death was associated with the relatively late use of chemotherapy or targeted therapy. Careful selection of patients for disease-modifying therapy might enhance the opportunity for patients to die at their preferred place.
BACKGROUND: The objective of the study was to assess perinatal grief experienced after continuing pregnancy and comfort care in women diagnosed with lethal fetal condition compared with termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly (TOPFA).
METHODS: This was a retrospective observational study which included women who chose to continue their pregnancy after the diagnosis of lethal fetal condition with comfort care support at birth at the Prenatal Diagnosis Center of Rennes Hospital from January 2007 to January 2017. Women were matched with controls who underwent TOPFA for the same type of fetal anomaly, gestational age at diagnosis and year. Women were evaluated by a questionnaire including the Perinatal Grief Scale.
RESULTS: There were 28 patients in the continuing pregnancy group matched with 56 patients in the TOPFA group. Interval between fetal loss and completion of questionnaire was 6±3 years. Perinatal grief score was similar at 61±22 vs 58±18 (p = 0.729) in the continuing pregnancy and TOPFA groups, respectively. Women in the TOPFA group expressed more guilt. The cesarean-section rate in the continuing pregnancy group was 25% .
CONCLUSION: Perinatal grief experienced by women opting for continuing pregnancy and comfort care after diagnosis of a potentially lethal fetal anomaly is not more severe than for those choosing TOPFA.
Background: Hospice is an effective end-of-life care approach for patients with incurable illnesses such as multiple myeloma; however, it has been historically underutilized. In addition to improving quality of life, hospice enrollment reduces healthcare spending in many incurable illnesses but this has been unstudied in the myeloma population to date.
Material and Methods: Retrospective analysis of myeloma cases diagnosed from 2007 to 2013 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked dataset. Included patients were: diagnosed at age 65 or older, received myeloma-directed therapy, had an overall survival >3 months, and were enrolled in Medicare the month preceding death. Costs included those paid by Medicare and patient copays during the 30 days preceding death.
Results: 2075 patients were included in the analysis. 56% were enrolled in hospice at end of life. Increasing age and female gender were associated with greater odds of hospice enrollment. Non-white race, Medicaid enrollment, and increasing comorbidities were associated with decreased odds. Hospice enrollment was associated with a $13,574 (p < .0001) decrease in costs; however, the maximal savings were observed by those enrolled >14 days prior to death.
Conclusion: While improving quality of life should be the ultimate reason for increasing hospice utilization among patients with myeloma, there seems to be considerable cost implications as well.
Background: Inpatient palliative care consultation services have been shown to have a dramatic impact on the time cancer patients spend in the hospital, which directly affects overall health care charges and expenditures.
Objective: Our study looks at early palliative care consults in patients with a variety of chronic medical conditions as well as cancer.
Design: This is a retrospective case-control study of patients referred to the palliative care department from April 2014 to June 2016.
Setting/Subjects: This study took place at a university-affiliated community-based urban tertiary care hospital. Cases were patients with a referral placed for a palliative care consult <24 hours after registration into the hospital. Controls were chosen on a one-to-one basis from all other patients referred 24 or more hours after registration. Participants were matched on underlying disease, Charlson comorbidity index, and date of referral.
Measurements: Primary outcomes were hospital length of stay and total hospital charges.
Results: The median (interquartile range) length of stay was 4.2 days (2.0–7.2) for cases and 9.7 days (6.0–18.3) for the control group; p < 0.001. Total hospital charges in U.S. dollars for cases and controls was $38,600 ($22,700–$66,900) and $95,300 ($55,200–$192,700), respectively; p < 0.001. Similar differences were seen for cancer and chronic disease cases and controls.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates a significant association between reduced length of stay and hospital charges when consults for palliative care were initiated within 24 hours of hospital admission regardless of underlying disease.
Background: Discharging patients from inpatient palliative care units to the community is aligned with patients' desires to be cared for and die at home. However, there is little research examining patient outcomes after discharge.
Objective: To describe the outcomes of patients discharged from an inpatient palliative care unit.
Design: A single-institution retrospective cohort study using medical record data linked to regional acute care hospital and home care data.
Setting/Participants: Patients (n = 75) discharged to the community over a one-year period from a 31-bed inpatient palliative care unit in an academic continuing care facility.
Measurements: Survival, postdischarge hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and place of death.
Results: Patients discharged to the community had poor prognosis. Over one-third had a discharge Palliative Performance Score <50. The median survival after discharge was 96 days, and 36% of decedent patients died in an acute care hospital. Thirteen percent of patients were hospitalized, and 23% visited an emergency department within 30 days of discharge, often for reasons that could have been managed in the community. Certain groups of patients were at greater risk of acute care use and in-hospital deaths, including younger patients, patients with nonmalignant diseases, and patients discharged home or retirement home, compared to long-term care settings.
Conclusions: Patients discharged from an inpatient palliative care setting are at risk of postdischarge hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and in-hospital deaths, despite having community supports in place. Variations in outcomes can point to groups of patients who may require greater intensity of supports postdischarge.
Background This study sought to evaluate the 15-year national utilization, trends, predictors, disparities, and outcomes of palliative care services (PCS) use in cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction. Methods and Results: A retrospective cohort from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2014 was analyzed using the National Inpatient Sample database. Administrative codes for acute myocardial infarction-cardiogenic shock and PCS were used to identify eligible admissions. The primary outcomes were the frequency, utilization trends, and predictors of PCS. Secondary outcomes included in-hospital mortality and resources utilization. Multivariable regression and propensity-matching analyses were used to control for confounding. In this 15-year period, there were 444 253 acute myocardial infarction-cardiogenic shock admissions, of which 4.5% received PCS. The cohort receiving PCS was older, of white race, female sex, and with higher comorbidity and acute organ failure. The PCS cohort received fewer cardiac procedures, but more noncardiac organ support therapies. Older age, female sex, white race, higher comorbidity, higher socioeconomic status, admission to a larger hospital, and admission after 2008 were independent predictors of PCS use. Use of PCS was independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality (odds ratio 6.59 [95% CI 6.37-6.83]; P<0.001). The cohort with PCS use had >2-fold higher in-hospital mortality, 12-fold higher use of do-not-resuscitate status, lesser in-hospital resource utilization, and fewer discharges to home. Similar findings were observed in the propensity-matched cohort. Conclusions PCS use in patients with acute myocardial infarction-cardiogenic shock is low, though there is a trend towards increased adoption. There are significant patient and hospital-specific disparities in the utilization of PCS.
OBJECTIVES: Concerns have repeatedly been raised about end-of-life decision making when a patient with diminished capacity is represented by a professional guardian, a paid official appointed by a judge. Such guardians are said to choose high-intensity treatment even when it is unlikely to be beneficial or to leave pivotal decisions to the court. End-of-life decision making by professional guardians has not been examined systematically, however.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: Inpatient and outpatient facilities in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Connecticut Healthcare System.
PARTICIPANTS: Decedent patients represented by professional guardians who received care at Connecticut VA facilities from 2003 to 2013 and whose care in the last month of life was documented in the VA record.
MEASUREMENTS: Through chart reviews, we collected data about the guardianship appointment, the patient's preferences, the guardian's decision-making process, and treatment outcomes.
RESULTS: There were 33 patients with professional guardians who died and had documentation of their end-of-life care. The guardian sought judicial review for 33%, and there were delays in decision making for 42%. In the last month of life, 29% of patients were admitted to the intensive care unit, intubated, or underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation; 45% received hospice care. Judicial review and high-intensity treatment were less common when information about the patient's preferences was available.
CONCLUSION: Rates of high-intensity treatment and hospice care were similar to older adults overall. Because high-intensity treatment was less likely when the guardian had information about a patient's preferences, future work should focus on advance care planning for individuals without an appropriate surrogate.
BACKGROUND: Constipation is a common symptom for patients receiving palliative care. Whilst international clinical guidelines are available on the clinical management of constipation for people with advanced cancer receiving specialist palliative care (SPC), the extent to which the guidelines are implemented in practice is unclear. This study aimed to examine clinical practices for the assessment and management of constipation for patients with advanced cancer within inpatient SPC settings.
METHODS: A multi-site retrospective case-note review was conducted, consisting of 150 patient case-notes from three inpatient SPC units across the United Kingdom between August 2016 and May 2017. The variables selected for review were determined by the recommendations within the clinical guidelines. Descriptive statistics, cross tabulation, chi square, and bivariate correlations were used to examine clinical practices compared to policy guidelines for the assessment and management of constipation. Reporting was structured by the STROBE checklist for observational research (Additional File 2).
RESULTS: A comprehensive assessment, including a full history and performing a physical exam, was recorded for 109 patients (73%), however, no standardised documentation was utilised. Assessment was nurse led, with variable involvement across sites of other members of the multidisciplinary team (MDT). Education on prevention was documented in 30 (20%) case-notes, and 53% recorded evidence of non-pharmacological intervention. Age, gender, and reason for admission did not impact on the likelihood of receiving a comprehensive assessment, education, or non-pharmacological intervention, however, significant differences were evident between sites. Pharmacological management was well developed and aligned to the guidelines however, 33% of patient case-notes recorded no information on the titration of laxatives. Twelve percent of patients experienced partial or complete bowel obstruction, and management strategies were variable.
CONCLUSIONS: Constipation management is driven by a pharmacological approach, with little evidence of the implementation of preventative and non-pharmacological strategies. The nurse plays a key coordinating role in assessment; however, involvement and roles of the wider MDT varies. Accurate recording of care is essential when examining clinical practice and identifying areas for improvement. Further education is needed to equip HCPs with the knowledge and skills to ensure consistency in assessment and implementation of appropriate non-pharmacological/ preventative strategies.
Background: We evaluated symptom trajectories and predictors of reporting severe symptoms in the last 6 months of life among non-resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PAC) decedents.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of non-resected PAC decedents receiving care at regional cancer centres between January 2007 and December 2015. Symptoms were measured using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS). We described the proportion of patients reporting severe (score =7) symptoms by 2-week intervals during the six months prior to death. Multivariable modified Poisson regression models identified predictors of reporting severe symptom scores in the last 6 months of life.
Results: 2538 non-resected PAC decedents treated at regional cancer centres had =1 symptom ESAS record in the last six months of life, totaling 10,893 unique symptom assessments. Tiredness was the most commonly reported symptom (59% reporting =1 severe score), followed by lack of appetite (57%), impaired-wellbeing (49%) and drowsiness (42%). All symptoms increased closer to death. Older age, female sex, higher comorbidity status, survival less than 6 months, and urban residence were associated with a significantly higher risk of reporting severe symptoms.
Conclusion: Non-resected PAC patients experience significant symptom burden nearing death. Patient subsets may benefit from personalized supportive care interventions.
Importance: Early palliative care interventions drive high-value care but currently are underused. Health care professionals face challenges in identifying patients who may benefit from palliative care.
Objective: To develop a deep learning algorithm using longitudinal electronic health records to predict mortality risk as a proxy indicator for identifying patients with dementia who may benefit from palliative care.
Design, Setting, and Participants: In this retrospective cohort study, 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year mortality prediction models with recurrent neural networks used patient demographic information and topics generated from clinical notes within Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system in Boston, Massachusetts. This study included 26 921 adult patients with dementia who visited the health care system from January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2017. The models were trained using a data set of 24 229 patients and validated using another data set of 2692 patients. Data were analyzed from September 18, 2018, to May 15, 2019.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for 6-month and 1- and 2-year mortality prediction models and the factors contributing to the predictions.
Results: The study cohort included 26 921 patients (16 263 women [60.4%]; mean [SD] age, 74.6 [13.5] years). For the 24 229 patients in the training data set, mean (SD) age was 74.8 (13.2) years and 14 632 (60.4%) were women. For the 2692 patients in the validation data set, mean (SD) age was 75.0 (12.6) years and 1631 (60.6%) were women. The 6-month model reached an AUC of 0.978 (95% CI, 0.977-0.978); the 1-year model, 0.956 (95% CI, 0.955-0.956); and the 2-year model, 0.943 (95% CI, 0.942-0.944). The top-ranked latent topics associated with 6-month and 1- and 2-year mortality in patients with dementia include palliative and end-of-life care, cognitive function, delirium, testing of cholesterol levels, cancer, pain, use of health care services, arthritis, nutritional status, skin care, family meeting, shock, respiratory failure, and swallowing function.
Conclusions and Relevance: A deep learning algorithm based on patient demographic information and longitudinal clinical notes appeared to show promising results in predicting mortality among patients with dementia in different time frames. Further research is necessary to determine the feasibility of applying this algorithm in clinical settings for identifying unmet palliative care needs earlier.
OBJECTIVE: To determine factors influence place of death (POD) for end-stage cancer patients and investigate how the healthcare utilization mediates on the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) on POD.
DESIGN: A population-based, retrospective study from July 2015 to June 2017.
SETTING: Yichang, China.
PARTICIPANTS: 894 end-stage cancer patients.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: POD.
RESULTS: Patients of hospital death experience more inpatient hospitalization services (IHS) and emergency department visits. Patients enrolled in the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (OR = 7.60, P < 0.001) and Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (OR = 28.0, P < 0.001) have higher rates of hospital death than those in the Urban Resident-based Basic Medical Insurance. Living with spouse (OR = 1.72, P = 0.019) and receiving higher education (OR = 1.92, P = 0.004), increase the likelihood of hospital death by 72% and 92%, respectively. The probability of hospital death will increase by 14% and decrease by 4% per IHS and outpatient services occur, respectively. Outpatient services (Z = -2.28, P < 0.001), and IHS (Z = 2.17, P < 0.001) mediate 1.81% and 1.89%, respectively, of the effect of health insurance on POD. The overall effect of the mediators is non-statistically significant (Z = 0.09, P = 0.825).
CONCLUSION: POD is mainly driven by SES. The relationship between health insurance and POD is partly mediated by outpatient services and IHS, respectively. The results corroborated that hospital and home services should be coherently bridged. Furthermore, benefit packages for end-stage cancer patients could be redesigned.
Context: Although access to subspecialty pediatric palliative care (PPC) is increasing, little is known about the role of PPC for children with advanced heart disease (AHD).
Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine features of subspecialty PPC involvement for children with AHD.
Methods: This is a retrospective single-institution medical record review of patients with a primary diagnosis of AHD for whom the PPC team was initially consulted between 2011 and 2016.
Results: Among 201 patients, 87% had congenital/structural heart disease, the remainder having acquired/nonstructural heart disease. Median age at initial PPC consultation was 7.7 months (range 1 day-28.8 years). Of the 92 patients who were alive at data collection, 73% had received initial consultation over one year before. Most common indications for consultation were goals of care (80%) and psychosocial support (54%). At initial consultation, most families (67%) expressed that their primary goal was for their child to live as long and as comfortably as possible. Among deceased patients (n = 109), median time from initial consultation to death was 33 days (range 1 day-3.6 years), and children whose families expressed that their primary goal was for their child to live as comfortably as possible were less likely to die in the intensive care unit (P = 0.03) and more likely to die in the setting of comfort care or withdrawal of life-sustaining interventions (P = 0.008).
Conclusion: PPC involvement for children with AHD focuses on goals of care and psychosocial support. Findings suggest that PPC involvement at end of life supports goal-concordant care. Further research is needed to clarify the impact of PPC on patient outcomes.
Background: The REGATTA trial showed that gastrectomy followed by chemotherapy for advanced gastric cancer with a single non-curable factor did not improve survival outcomes in comparison with chemotherapy alone. Chemotherapy is therefore the mainstay treatment for incurable gastric cancer. However, for patients who are unfit for chemotherapy, the role of palliative gastrectomy remains controversial.
Methods: We retrospectively identified 207 patients with in curable gastric cancer who underwent palliative gastrectomy or bypass surgery because of urgent symptoms who were treated from 2002 to 2014. Fifty-nine of these patients who did not receive chemotherapy following surgery were enrolled in the present study. The patients were divided into the palliative gastrectomy group (n = 40) and the bypass surgery group (n = 19). The survival outcomes of the two groups were compared. Independent prognostic factors were identified using multivariate analysis.
Results: The rate of patients who underwent gastrectomy was significantly higher among patients whose tumors were located in the upper third (n = 19/20, 95%) than in patients whose tumors were located in the lower or middle third (n = 21/39, 54%, p = 0.001). The median survival time (MST) in the gastrectomy group (145 days) was significantly longer than that in the bypass group (86 days) (p = 0.008). Bypass surgery was identified as an independent prognostic factor in the multivariate analysis (HR = 2.3; 95%CI = 1.3-4.2 p = 0.007).
Conclusions: Palliative gastrectomy may improve survival in patients with incurable gastric cancer who show emergent symptoms and who are unfit for chemotherapy.