A 11 ans, Halla perd sa soeur jumelle. Les cendres de la défunte sont ensevelies par ses parents qui annoncent à Halla qu’ils veulent planter un arbre à cet endroit. Mais la fillette, qui perd ainsi son alter ego et son miroir, est dévastée. Sa mère devient distante et froide et son père ne la comprend pas. Elle apprend seule à vivre avec cette absence.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Hospice care confers well-documented benefits to patients and their families, but it is underutilized. One potential reason is inadequate family support to make end-of-life decisions and care for older adults on hospice at home. We assessed the association between amount of family support and hospice use among a population of decedents and among specific illness types.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study using the National Health and Aging Trends Study waves 2011 to 2017, linked to Medicare claims data.
SETTING: Contiguous United States.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1,868 NHATS decedents.
MEASUREMENTS: Outcome variable was 1 day or longer of hospice. Family caregiving intensity was measured by self-reported hours of care per week and number of caregivers. Covariates included probable dementia status and other demographic, clinical, and functional characteristics.
RESULTS: At the end of life, hours of family caregiving and numbers of helpers vary widely with individuals with dementia receiving the most hours of unpaid care (mean = 64.5 hours per week) and having 2.4 unpaid caregivers on average. In an adjusted analysis, older adults with cancer receiving 40 hours and more of unpaid care/week as compared with fewer than 6 hours per week were twice as likely to receive hospice care at the end of life (odds ratio = 2.0; 95% confidence interval = 1.0-4.1). This association was not seen among those with dementia or among decedents in general. No significant association was found between number of caregivers and hospice use at the end of life.
CONCLUSION: Older adults at the end of life receive a high number of hours of help at the end of life, many from more than one caregiver, which may shape hospice access. Better understanding of disparities in hospice use can facilitate timely access to care for older adults with a serious illness.
BACKGROUND: Critical care nurses routinely care for dying patients. Research on obstacles in providing end-of-life care has been conducted for more than 20 years, but change in such obstacles over time has not been examined.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the magnitude scores of obstacles and helpful behaviors regarding end-of-life care have changed over time.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional survey study, questionnaires were sent to 2000 randomly selected members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Obstacle and helpful behavior items were analyzed using mean magnitude scores. Current data were compared with data gathered in 1999.
RESULTS: Of the 2000 questionnaires mailed, 509 usable responses were received. Six obstacle magnitude scores increased significantly over time, of which 4 were related to family issues (not accepting the poor prognosis, intrafamily fighting, overriding the patient's end-of-life wishes, and not understanding the meaning of the term lifesaving measures). Two were related to nurse issues. Seven obstacles decreased in magnitude, including poor design of units, overly restrictive visiting hours, and physicians avoiding conversations with families. Four helpful behavior magnitude scores increased significantly over time, including physician agreement on patient care and family access to the patient. Three helpful behavior items decreased in magnitude, including intensive care unit design.
CONCLUSIONS: The same end-of-life care obstacles that were reported in 1999 are still present. Obstacles related to family behaviors increased significantly, whereas obstacles related to intensive care unit environment or physician behaviors decreased significantly. These results indicate a need for better end-of-life education for families and health care providers.
Background: Being next-of-kin to someone with cancer requiring palliative care involves a complex life situation. Changes in roles and relationships might occur and the next-of-kin thereby try to adapt by being involved in the ill person’s experiences and care even though they can feel unprepared for the care they are expected to provide. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop a classic grounded theory of next-of-kin in palliative cancer care.
Method: Forty-two next-of-kin to persons with cancer in palliative phase or persons who had died from cancer were interviewed. Theoretical sampling was used during data collection. The data was analysed using classic Grounded Theory methodology to conceptualize patterns of human behaviour.
Results: Constructing stability emerged as the pattern of behaviour through which next-of-kin deal with their main concern; struggling with helplessness. This helplessness includes an involuntary waiting for the inevitable. The waiting causes sadness and frustration, which in turn increases the helplessness. The theory involves; Shielding, Acknowledging the reality, Going all in, Putting up boundaries, Asking for help, and Planning for the inescapable. These strategies can be used separately or simultaneously and they can also overlap each other. There are several conditions that may impact the theory Constructing stability, which strategies are used, and what the outcomes might be. Some conditions that emerged in this theory are time, personal finances, attitudes from extended family and friends and availability of healthcare resources.
Conclusions: The theory shows the complexities of being next-of-kin to someone receiving palliative care, while striving to construct stability. This theory can increase healthcare professionals’ awareness of how next-of-kin struggle with helplessness and thus generates insight into how to support them in this struggle.
Family meetings are fundamental to the practice of palliative medicine and serve as a cornerstone of intervention on the inpatient palliative care consultation service. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the structure and process of in-patient family meetings, due to necessary but restrictive visitor policies that did not allow families to be present in the hospital. We describe implementation of telemedicine to facilitate electronic family (e-family) meetings to facilitate in-patient palliative care. Of 67 scheduled meetings and performed by the palliative care service, only 2 meetings were aborted for a 97% success rate of scheduled meetings occurring. On a five-point Likert-type scale, the average clinician rating of the e-family meeting overall quality was 3.18 (SD, 0.96). Of the 10 unique family participants that agreed to be interviewed, their overall ratings of the e-family meetings were high. Over 80% of respondent families participants reported that they agreed or strongly agreed that they were able to ask all of their questions, felt comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings with the clinical team, felt like they understood the care their loved one received, and that the virtual family meeting helped them trust the clinical team. Of patients who were able to communicate 50% of family respondents reported that the e-family meeting helped them understand their loved one’s thoughts and wishes.
In palliative care, we strive to provide care to the whole patient. When we think about the whole patient, we include the people who are important in our patients' lives. Our New York City-based palliative care team has found that caring for patients' loved ones has proven to be an even more important aspect of the care we have provided during the COVID epidemic. In this article, we describe the multicomponenet interdisciplinary interventions we have implemented to enhance our ability to create a therapeutic alliance with family members and facilitate the provision of goal concordant care to patients with COVID during this extremely difficult time.
When someone is terminally ill, it is often a very stressful time for the dying person and their family. It would not be unusual for intra-family conflict, involving one or more family members and even the dying person, to occur. However, this type of conflict has not been identified as an end-of-life issue needing to be noticed and addressed or prevented when possible. This lack of attention could be because it is not known how common or how impactful this type of conflict is. A scoping research literature review was conducted for available 2004–2019 evidence on the incidence or prevalence of intra-family conflict, factors contributing to it or causing it, and the outcomes or impact of it. A search for published peer-review articles identified 18 research reports for a scoping review. The 18 studies, all conducted in developed countries, revealed intra-family conflict is often present; and with a range of harmful effects for the dying person, the family as a whole or individual family members, and other persons and organizations. The identified factors contributing to or predisposing intra-family conflict were grouped into three categories: (a) family disagreements over curative treatment and/or end-of-life care and decisions, (b) previous family conflict and other family dynamic matters, and (c) the dying process itself. The evidence identified through this scoping review, although relatively minimal, should be useful for planning future research and for raising awareness of end-of-life intra-family conflict to improve social services and palliative programs or services.
Controlled donation after circulatory death (cDCD) occurs after a decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatment (WLST) and subsequent family approach and approval for donation. We currently lack data on factors that impact the decision-making process on WLST and whether time from admission to family approach, influences family consent rates. Such insights could be important in improving the clinical practice of potential cDCD donors. In a prospective multicenter observational study, we evaluated the impact of timing and of the clinical factors during the end-of-life decision-making process in potential cDCD donors. Characteristics and medication use, of 409 potential cDCD donors admitted to the intensive care units (ICU), were assessed. End-of-life decision-making was made after a mean time of 97 h after ICU admission and mostly during the day. Intracranial hemorrhage or ischemic stroke and a high APACHE IV score were associated with a short decision-making process. Preserved brainstem reflexes, high Glasgow Coma Scale scores or cerebral infections were associated with longer time to decision-making. Our data also suggest that the organ donation request could be made shortly after the decision to stop active treatment and consent rates were not influenced by day- or nighttime or by the duration of the ICU stay.
This study aimed to examine family members’ attitudes and perceptions regarding their choice of care in the event of terminal illness, based on their experience in a caregiver’s role, while a loved one was terminally ill. All participants (N = 10) had cared for an immediate family member with terminal cancer. Snowball sampling was used. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Five themes were identified from the data. These included two themes relating to participants’ experience of care, two themes in relation to participants’ attitudes toward the type of care they experienced and a final theme related to the role of religion and spirituality in dealing with loss. The findings of this study support the integration of multidisciplinary healthcare teams and the introduction of holistic care as early as possible within hospitals for individuals with terminal cancer, using the biopsychosocial–spiritual model.
Background: Fetal malformations are diagnosed prenatally in nearly 3% of pregnancies, and [about] 1.2% are major malformations. After prenatal diagnosis, it is imperative to consider families' values and to support their decision-making process. Prenatal palliative care is a growing field mainly based on family conferences. The prenatal care setting is unique and differs from postnatal and adult care. There are no descriptions of family conferences in prenatal palliative care. The descriptions of themes that emerge from the prenatal care conference charts may guide professionals in this delicate task, and help determine the causes of suffering and identify family values before the birth of the infant.
Aim: To perform a content analysis of medical records of family conferences and to describe the main themes observed during prenatal palliative care follow-up after the diagnosis of a life-limiting fetal condition.
Design: This is a retrospective study of medical records of family conferences from a perinatal palliative care group, the GAI group, between May 2015 and September 2016.
Setting/Participants: Families with estimated perinatal mortality >50% and eligibility for follow-up at our tertiary fetal medicine center were enrolled. We included women who participated in at least one family conference with the GAI group and who had given birth at the clinic or delivered at another center and returned for the postnatal family conference.
Results: Fifty women met the inclusion criteria. Five main themes and 18 categories emerged from the charts and are described in detail. A model of follow-up in prenatal palliative care is proposed based on the themes and categories identified.
onclusions: This analysis may guide health professionals who seek to better identify family needs and values and organize follow-up during prenatal palliative care.
Topic: A substantial number of patients die in the intensive care unit, so high-quality end-of-life care is an important part of intensive care unit work. However, end-of-life care varies because of lack of knowledge of best practices.
Clinical Relevance: Research shows that high-quality end-of-life care is possible in an intensive care unit. This article encourages nurses to be imaginative and take an individual approach to provide the best possible end-of-life care for patients and their family members.
Purpose of Paper: To provide recommendations for high-quality end-of-life care for patients and family members.
Content Covered: This article touches on the following domains: end-of-life decision-making, place to die, patient comfort, family presence in the intensive care unit, visiting children, family needs, preparing the family, staff presence, when the patient dies, after-death care of the family, and caring for staff.
A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order is an important end-of-life decision. In Taiwan, family caregivers are also involved in this decision-making process. This study aimed to explore the concerns and experiences regarding DNR decisions among caregivers in Taiwan. Qualitative study was conducted. Convenience sampling was used, and 26 caregivers were recruited whose patients had a DNR order and had received hospice care or hospice home care. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection, including the previous experiences of DNR discussions with the patients and medical staff and their concerns and difficulties in decision-making. The data analysis was based on the principle of thematic analysis. Four themes were identified: (1) Patients: The caregivers respected the patients’ willingness and did not want to make them feel like “giving up.” (2) Caregivers’ self: They did not want to intensify the patients’ suffering but sometimes found it emotionally difficult to accept death. (3) Other family members: They were concerned about the other family members’ opinions on DNR orders, their blame, and their views on filial impiety. (4) Medical staff: The information and suggestions from the medical staff were foundational to their decision-making. The caregivers needed the health care professionals’ supports to deal with the concerns from patients and other family members as well as their emotional reactions.
Background: Lung cancer has a high impact on both patients and relatives due to the high disease burden and short life expectancy. Previous studies looked into treatment goals patients have before starting a systemic treatment. However, studies on relatives’ perceptions of treatment at the end of life are scarce. Therefore, we studied the perspectives of relatives in hindsight on the achievement of treatment goals and the choice to start treatment for metastatic lung cancer of their loved one.
Methods: we conducted a structured telephone interview study in six hospitals across the Netherlands, one academic and five non-academic hospitals, between February 2017 and November 2019. We included 118 relatives of deceased patients diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer who started a systemic treatment as part of usual care (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and who completed a questionnaire on their treatment goals before the start of treatment and when treatment was finished. We asked the relatives about the achievement of patients’ treatment goals and relatives’ satisfaction with the choice to start treatment. This study is part of a larger study in which 266 patients with metastatic lung cancer participated who started a systemic treatment and reported their treatment goals before start of the treatment and the achievement of these goals after the treatment.
Results: Relatives reported the goals ‘quality of life’, ‘decrease tumour size’ and ‘life prolongation’ as achieved in 21, 37 and 41% respectively. The majority of the relatives (78%) were satisfied with the choice to start a treatment and even when none of the goals were achieved, 70% of the relatives were satisfied. About 50% of relatives who were satisfied with the patients’ choice mentioned negative aspects of the treatment choice, such as the treatment did not work, there were side effects or it would not have been the relatives’ choice. Whereas, 80% of relatives who were not satisfied mentioned negative aspects of the treatment choice. The most mentioned positive aspects were that they tried everything and that it was the patient’s choice.
Conclusion: The majority of relatives reported patients’ treatment goals as not achieved. However, relatives were predominantly satisfied about the treatment choice. Satisfaction does not provide a full picture of the experience with the treatment decision considering that the majority of relatives mentioned (also) negative aspects of this decision. At the time of making the treatment decision it is important to manage expectations about the chance of success and the possible side effects of the treatment.
In this personal reflection, as a Family Medicine resident at an Academic Center in Northeast Florida, as well as being a chronic illness patient myself, I explore the notion of dying alone and away from family. Although COVID-19 has changed the practice of medicine in many ways, prior to that, and before the instillation of hospital no-visitor policies and stay at home orders, I experienced a case of a patient dying alone in the hospital. These chronicles that case and the impact it had on me afterward in regard to my own family and how I hope the future of medicine can address this.
Hospital visitation restrictions have been widely implemented during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic as a means of decreasing the transmission of coronavirus. While decreasing transmission is an important goal, it is not the only goal that quality healthcare must aim to achieve. Severely restricted visitation policies undermine our ability to provide humane, family-centered care, particularly during critical illness and at the end of life. The enforcement of these policies consequently increases the risk of moral distress and injury for providers. Using our experience in a PICU, we survey the shortcomings of current visitation restrictions. We argue that hospital visitation restrictions can be implemented in ways that are nonmaleficent, but this requires unwavering acknowledgment of the value of social and familial support during illness and death. We advocate that visitation restriction policies be implemented by independent, medically knowledgeable decision-making bodies, with the informed participation of patients and their families.
Objectives: Little is known about the experience of family caregivers of patients who require prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV). We examined the perspectives of caregivers of patients who died after PMV to explore the role of palliative care and the quality of dying and death (QODD) in patients and understand the psychological symptoms of these caregivers.
Methods: A longitudinal study was performed in five hospitals in Taipei, Taiwan. Routine palliative care family conferences and optional consultation with a palliative care specialist were provided, and family caregivers were asked to complete surveys.
Results: In total, 136 family caregivers of 136 patients receiving PMV were recruited and underwent face-to-face baseline interviews in 2016–2017. By 2018, 61 (45%) of 136 patients had died. We successfully interviewed 30 caregivers of patients’ death to collect information on the QODD of patients and administer the Impact of Event Scale (IES), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale to caregivers. We observed that more frequent palliative care family conferences were associated with poorer QODD in patients (coefficients: -44.04% and 95% CIs -75.65 to -12.44), and more psychological symptoms among caregivers (coefficient: 9.77% and 95% CI 1.63 to 17.90 on CES-D and coefficient: 7.67% and 95% CI 0.78 to 14.55 on HADS). A higher caregiver burden at baseline correlated with lower psychological symptoms (coefficient: -0.35% and 95% CI -0.58 to -0.11 on IES and coefficient: -0.22% and 95% CI -0.40 to -0.05 on CES-D) among caregivers following the patients’ death. Caregivers’ who accepted the concept of palliative care had fewer psychological symptoms after patients’ death (coefficient: -3.29% and 95% CI -6.32 to -0.25 on IES and coefficient: -3.22% and 95% CI -5.24 to -1.20 on CES-D).
Conclusions: Palliative care conferences were more common among family members with increased distress. Higher caregiver burden and caregiver acceptance of palliative care at baseline both predicted lower levels of caregiver distress after death.
Background: although patient-centred care has become increasingly important across all medical specialties, when it comes to end of life care, research has shown that treatments ordered are not often concordant with people’s expressed preferences. Patient and family engagement in Advance Care Planning (ACP) in the primary care setting could improve the concordance between patients’ wishes and the healthcare received when patients cannot speak for themselves. The aim of this study was to better understand the barriers faced by older patients regarding talking to their family members and family physicians about ACP.
Methods: In this multi-site cross-sectional study, three free text questions regarding reasons patients found it difficult to discuss ACP with their families or their family physicians were part of a self-administered questionnaire about patients’ knowledge of and engagement in ACP. The questionnaire, which included closed ended questions followed by three probing open ended questions, was distributed in 20 family practices across 3 provinces in Canada. The free text responses were analyzed using thematic analysis and form the basis of this paper.
Results: One hundred two participants provided an analyzable response to the survey when asked why they haven’t talked to someone about ACP. Two hundred fifty-four answered the question about talking to their physician and 340 answered the question about talking to family members. Eight distinct themes emerged from the free text response analysis: 1. They were too young for ACP; 2. The topic is too emotional; 3. The Medical Doctor (MD) should be responsible for bringing up ACP 4. A fear of negatively impacting the patient-physician relationship; 5. Not enough time in appointments; 6. Concern about family dynamics; 7. It’s not a priority; and 8. A lack of knowledge about ACP.
Conclusions: Patients in our sample described many barriers to ACP discussions, including concerns about the effect these discussions may have on relationships with both family members and family physicians, and issues relating to patients’ knowledge and interpretation of the importance, responsibility for, or relevance of ACP itself. Family physicians may be uniquely placed to leverage the longitudinal, person- centred relationship they have with patients to mitigate some of these barriers.
A growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS are participating in HIV cure-related research at the end of life (EOL). Due to the novelty of EOL HIV cure-related research, there is a need to understand how their next-of-kin (NOK) perceive such research. We conducted in-depth interviews with NOK of the Last Gift study participants at the University of California, San Diego. The Last Gift study occurs in the context of the EOL and involves a full body donation. NOK completed two interviews: (1) shortly after the participants' enrollment in the study and (2) following death. We applied thematic analysis to analyze qualitative data. NOK included seven individuals (five males and two females), including two spouses, one ex-partner, one sister, a grandmother/grandfather, and a close friend. Thematic analysis revealed five key themes: (1) NOK viewed the Last Gift program in a positive light and had an accurate overall understanding of the study; (2) NOK identified factors that motivated participants to donate their body to science; (3) NOK identified benefits of the Last Gift program for both the donors and themselves; (4) NOK did not perceive any physical risks or decisional regrets of study but wanted to minimize psychosocial impacts and ensure the dignity of participants at all times; and (5) NOK noted elements that remained essential to the successful implementation of EOL HIV cure-related research, such as early involvement and clear communication. Our study uniquely contributes to increased understanding and knowledge of what is important from the point of view of supportive NOK to ensure successful implementation of EOL HIV cure-related research. More research will be needed to understand perspectives of less supportive NOK.
Au coeur de l'accompagnement en soins palliatifs la question du temps et de la temporalité de chacun prend toute son importance. Il y a de nombreuses manières d'exprimer le passage du temps d'une personne et d'un moment à l'autre. "Au jour le jour", disent souvent les patients. "A toute à l'heure", promettent les soignants. Quant aux familles, elles éprouvent souvent le temps qui reste à vivre dans l'angoisse et l'ambivalence. Pour le psychologue il s'agit de concilier toutes les perceptions et d'en révéler la cohérence.
Context: Keepsakes are a relatively unexplored form of bereavement support that is frequently provided as part of the 3 Wishes Project (3WP). The 3WP is a palliative care intervention in which individualized wishes are implemented in the adult intensive care unit for dying patients and their families.
Objectives: We aimed to characterize and enumerate the keepsakes that were created as part of the 3WP, and to understand their value from the perspective of bereaved family members.
Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of family interviews during a multi-center study on the 3WP and characterized all wishes that involved keepsakes. Sixty interviews with family members regarding the 3WP were re-analyzed using qualitative analysis to identify substantive themes related to keepsakes.
Results: Of 730 patients, 345 (47%) received keepsakes as part of their participation in 3WP. The majority of keepsakes were either tangible items that served as reminders of the patient’s presence (thumbprints, locks of hair) or technology-assisted items (photographs, word clouds). The median cost per keepsake wish was $8.50 (IQR $2.00-$25.00). Qualitative analysis revealed two major themes: 1) Keepsakes are tangible items that are highly valued by family members, and 2) The creation of the keepsake with clinical staff is valued and viewed as a gesture of compassion.
Conclusion: Keepsakes are common wishes that clinicians in the ICU are able to provide and sometimes co-create with families when patients are dying. Both the offering to create the keepsake and receipt of the final product are perceived by family members as helpful.