BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process in which professionals, patients and their relatives discuss wishes and options for future care. ACP in the palliative phase reduces the chance that decisions have to be taken suddenly and can therefore improve the quality of life and death. The primary aim of this study is to explore how ACP takes place in cases of people with intellectual disabilities (ID).
METHOD: Medical files were analysed, and interviews were held in six care organisations for people with mild to severe ID. The data concerned people with ID (n = 30), 15 in the palliative phase, identified using the 'surprise question', and 15 who had died after an identifiable period of illness. Additional pre-structured telephone interviews were conducted with their relatives (n = 30) and professionals (n = 33).
RESULTS: For half of the people with ID who had died, the first report in their file about palliative care (needs) was less than 1 month before their death. Professionals stated that ACP was started in response to the person's deteriorating health situation. A do-not-attempt-resuscitation order was recorded for nearly all people with ID (93%). A smaller group also had other agreements between professionals and relatives documented in their files, mainly about potentially life-sustaining treatments (43%) and/or hospitalisation admissions (47%). Relatives and professionals are satisfied with the mutual cooperation in ACP in the palliative phase. Cognitive and communication disabilities were most frequently mentioned by relatives and professionals as reasons for not involving people with ID in ACP.
CONCLUSIONS: Advance care planning in the palliative phase of people with ID focuses mainly on medical issues at the end of life. Specific challenges concern a proactive identification of changing needs, fear to initiate ACP discussions, documentation of ACP in medical files and the involvement of people with ID in ACP. It is recommended that relatives and professionals should be informed about the content of ACP and professionals should be trained in communicating in advance about wishes for future care.
Cet ouvrage synthétise les principaux thèmes de la psychologie gérontologique dans leur dimension sociale, institutionnelle et individuelle. L'auteur dresse un état des lieux de la gérontologie en France et analyse la représentation de la vieillesse dans l'art. Il se fonde sur de très nombreux exemples cliniques pour traiter de la question de la dépression ou de l'accompagnement en fin de vie.
Huit membres du personnel soignant belge échangent leurs point de vue sur la fin de vie, les soins palliatifs et la pratique de l'euthanasie. Ils évoquent leur expérience quotidienne et rendent compte de la complexité de certaines situations.
For patients at the end of life, the oncologist's care continues beyond the cessation of disease-directed therapy. When cure or even prolongation of life is no longer possible, oncologists have one last task remaining: to provide expert care to patients at the end of life and support for their families. Physical comfort, clear communication, emotional support, helping patients maintain a sense of purpose, clarifying wishes about attempts at resuscitation, working on legacies, addressing patient distress, and helping families as they struggle with their loss are all the work of a team of clinicians, led by the oncologist, who the patient and family continue to look to as their guide, even when no further antineoplastic therapies or immunotherapies can be offered. The team often includes the rest of the oncology team of clinicians, as well as social workers, chaplains, a palliative care clinician, and, when appropriate, a hospice team. Families with young children need specialized counseling and support. Ongoing losses (in identity or function or of roles in the family, community, or workplace) contribute to spiritual and existential distress. The palliative care and hospice teams can help with life reviews and reconnection with sources of spiritual support, including religious rituals, to help reaffirm identity and roles. The oncologist's final responsibility is ongoing communication with the survivors after the patient's death. Survivors appreciate ongoing communication, cards, and phone calls to answer any remaining questions and quell any lingering doubts. These communications also bring closure to the oncologist and oncology team, allowing them to reflect on and grieve their loss and to remember the work they did with the patient and his or her family.
Cancer family history is not systematically assessed during the cancer care trajectory. Palliative care may emerge as the last opportunity for health professionals to collect, from dying cancer patients, family history and biological samples that could inform relatives’ cancer risk assessment and management. At-risk relatives can then be offered genetic counseling and testing and preventive strategies if needed. Discussions on cancer heritability between patients, family members, and providers may become more frequent in palliative care due to increasing public awareness about advances in genomics and risks associated with a cancer family history.
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Objective: To describe how breaking bad news (BBN) is currently taught in Canadian general paediatric residency programs and the confidence level of fourth year paediatric residents (Ped-PGY4) in BBN and managing end-of-life-care (EOLC).
Methods: A prospective, cross-sectional survey of General Paediatric Residency Program Directors (PDs) and Ped-PGY4s was conducted.
Results: When learning to BBN, residents state faculty observation (22/23) and interactive workshops (14/23) are the most helpful, while PDs state interactive workshops (9/16) and deliberate practice (5/16) are ideal. Residents identified a knowledge gap and discomfort with providing anticipatory guidance, and symptom management, including prescribing opioids.
Conclusions: In the era of competency-based medical education, there is an opportunity to create a standardized national curriculum addressing universal competencies related to BBN and EOLC.
BACKGROUND: Intervention trials confirm that patients with advanced cancer receiving early palliative care experience a better quality of life and show improved knowledge about and use of palliative care services. To involve patients in future health-care decisions, health professionals should understand patients' perspectives. However, little is known about how patients' experience such interventions.
AIM: To explore advanced cancer patients' experiences with a structured early palliative care intervention, its acceptability and impact on the patients' life including influencing factors.
DESIGN: Qualitative content analysis of in-depth, semi-structured interviews.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Patients with various advanced cancer diagnoses were enrolled in a multicenter randomized controlled trial (NCT01983956), which investigated the impact of "Symptoms, End-of-life decisions, Network, Support," a structured early palliative care intervention, on distress. Of these, 20 patients who underwent the intervention participated in this study.
RESULTS: Participants received the intervention well and gained a better understanding of their personal situation. Patients reported that the intervention can feel "confronting" but with the right timing it can be confirming and facilitate family conversations. Patients' personal background and the intervention timing within their personal disease trajectory influenced their emotional and cognitive experiences; it also impacted their understanding of palliative care and triggered actions toward future care planning.
CONCLUSION: Early palliative care interventions like "Symptoms, End-of-life decisions, Network, Support" may provoke emotions and feel "confrontational" often because this is the first time when issues about one's end of life are openly discussed; yet, advanced cancer patients found it beneficial and felt it should be incorporated into routine care.
BACKGROUND: Health care providers should be able to provide good quality end-of-life care. A tool to evaluate the positive and negative consequences of caring for dying patients is warranted.
AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Persian version of the End-of-Life Caregiving Experience Appraisal Scale (EOLCAS).
METHODS: This research was conducted in two phases. Phase I: The World Health Organization Protocol of forward-backward translation and an expert panel in order to determine face and content validity. Phase II: Survey development with 310 nurses who worked in critical care units, construct validity (construct, convergent and divergent validity), internal consistency (average inter-item correlation, Cronbach's alpha and McDonald's omega) and construct reliability were evaluated.
RESULTS: The exploratory factor analysis showed that the present scale (Persian version) has four factors: Negative physical-emotional and social consequences, transcendental communication, information deficits and future rumination, which explained 83·92% of the overall extracted variance. Convergent and divergent validity were confirmed for all factors. The internal consistency and construct reliability were acceptable.
CONCLUSION: The scale has a multidimensional concept that is sufficiently reliable and the use of the scale would be helpful in measuring consequences of caring for dying patients.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This scale makes a significant contribution in that it helps in the recognition of positive and negative consequences of critical care nurses' caring for dying patients.
In the past, palliative care has been primarily cancer focused, and more recently the scope of care has broadened to include other life-limiting illnesses. With increasing incidence of multiple comorbidities amongst palliative care patient populations, it is less certain whether access to, and treatment within, palliative care settings are adequate for those who have pre-existing serious and persistent mental illnesses. This paper explores the key concepts of palliative care for people with serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI), the challenges present in nursing practice, and the making of end-of-life decisions, in order to consider how comprehensive, person-centred care might be given. Although some improvements have been reported over the past 14 years, this population appears to remain underserved in palliative care. The need for more specialized education for nurses in both palliative care and mental health care, and better communication and collaboration between the two specialities is needed. Greater collaboration between disciplines may ensure that these patients receive the same standard of care experienced by the general population.
BACKGROUND: Hospitals are important sites of end-of-life care, particularly for older people. A need has been identified to understand best practice in hospital end-of-life care from the service-user perspective.
AIM: The aim of this study was to identify examples of good care received in the hospital setting during the last 3 months of life for people dying in advanced age from the perspective of bereaved family members.
DESIGN: A social constructionist framework underpinned a qualitative research design. Data were analysed thematically drawing on an appreciative enquiry framework.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Interviews were conducted with 58 bereaved family carers nominated by 52 people aged >80 years participating in a longitudinal study of ageing. Data were analysed for the 21 of 34 cases where family members were 'extremely' or 'very' satisfied with a public hospital admission their older relative experienced in their last 3 months of life.
RESULTS: Participants' accounts of good care aligned with Dewar and Nolan's relation-centred compassionate care model: (1) a relationship based on empathy; (2) effective interactions between patients/families and staff; (3) contextualised knowledge of the patient/family; and (4) patients/families being active participants in care. We extended the model to the bicultural context of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
CONCLUSION: We identify concrete actions that clinicians working in acute hospitals can integrate into their practice to deliver end-of-life care with which families are highly satisfied. Further research is required to support the implementation of the relation-centred compassionate care model within hospitals, with suitable adaptations for local context, and explore the subsequent impact on patients, families and staff.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life (EOL) decisions are a serious ethical dilemma and are frequently carried out in intensive care units (ICUs). The aim of this systematic review was to investigated the different approaches used in ICUs and reported in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to address EOL decisions and compare the impact of these different strategies regarding potential bias and mortality estimates.
METHODS: We identified relevant RCTs published in the past 15 years via PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL. In addition, we searched The Cochrane Library and checked registries, including ClinicalTrials.gov to assess concordance between declared and published outcomes. Among the journals we screened were the 3 ICU specialty journals and the four general medicine journals with the highest impact factor. Only RCTs were selected in which in-ICU mortality was the primary or secondary outcome. The primary outcome was information regarding EOL decisions, and the secondary outcome was how EOL decisions were treated in the study analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 178 relevant trials were identified. The details regarding the methodological aspects resulting from EOL decisions were reported in only 62 articles (35%). The manner in which EOL decisions were considered in the study analysis was very heterogeneous, often leading to a high risk of bias.
CONCLUSION: There is a heterogeneity regarding the management of data on EOL decisions in randomized control trials with mortality endpoints. Recommendations or rules are required regarding the inclusion of patients with potential EOL decisions in RCT analyses and how to manage such decisions from a methodological point of view.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO website (CRD42013005724).
Noninvasive respiratory support at the end of life is controversial, although it is becoming increasingly common. Supplemental oxygen is widely prescribed for palliative care and may help with hypoxemic respiratory failure. Noninvasive ventilation has a well-established evidence-based role in the management of respiratory failure due to exacerbations of COPD and cardiogenic pulmonary edema. However, its role during palliative care is unclear, and evidence of support is limited. High-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy is a new strategy for which there is evidence to support its use for hypoxemic respiratory failure. However, any benefit of the use of high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy in the palliative setting is unknown at this time. This review examined evidence relating to the use of noninvasive respiratory support at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: The European Association for Palliative Care White Paper defined optimal palliative care in dementia based on evidence and expert consensus. Yet, we know little on how to achieve this for people with dementia living and dying at home.
AIMS: To examine evidence on home palliative care interventions in dementia, in terms of their effectiveness on end-of-life care outcomes, factors influencing implementation, the extent to which they address the European Association for Palliative Care palliative care domains and evidence gaps.
DESIGN: A systematic review of home palliative care interventions in dementia.
DATA SOURCES: The review adhered to the PRISMA guidelines and the protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018093607). We searched four electronic databases up to April 2018 (PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane library and CINAHL) and conducted lateral searches.
RESULTS: We retrieved eight relevant studies, none of which was of high quality. The evidence, albeit of generally weak quality, showed the potential benefits of the interventions in improving end-of-life care outcomes, for example, behavioural disturbances. The interventions most commonly focused on optimal symptom management, continuity of care and psychosocial support. Other European Association for Palliative Care domains identified as important in palliative care for people with dementia, for example, prognostication of dying or avoidance of burdensome interventions were under-reported. No direct evidence on facilitators and barriers to implementation was found.
CONCLUSIONS: The review highlights the paucity of high-quality dementia-specific research in this area and recommends key areas for future work, for example, the need for process evaluation to identify facilitators and barriers to implementing interventions.
PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine the impact of advanced care planning (ACP) on potentially avoidable hospital admissions at the end of life (EOL) among a sample of hospice-referred patients with cancer, in order to present actionable considerations for the practicing clinician.
METHODS: This study was designed as a retrospective cohort using electronic health record data that assessed likelihood of hospital admissions in the last 30 days of life for 1185 patients with a primary diagnosis of cancer, referred to hospice between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2015, at a large academic medical center. Inverse probability treatment weighting based on calculated propensity scores balanced measured covariates between those with and without ACP at baseline. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated from estimated potential outcome means for the impact of ACP on admissions in the last 30 days of life.
RESULTS: A verified do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order prior to the last 30 days of life was associated with reduced odds of admission compared to those without a DNR (OR = 0.30; P < .001). An ACP note in the problem list prior to the last 30 days of life was associated with reduced odds of admission compared to those without an ACP note (OR = 0.71, P = .042), and further reduced odds if done 6 months prior to death (OR = 0.35, P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that dedicated ACP documentation is associated with fewer admissions in the last 30 days of life for patients with advanced cancer referred to hospice. Improving ACP processes prior to hospice referral holds promise for reducing EOL admissions.
OBJECTIVE: To identify common themes and topics that patients nearing the end of life want to discuss when sharing their life stories.
METHODS: Twenty audio-recorded transcripts of open-ended interviews of patients cared for by a palliative care team when approaching the end of life were analyzed using a qualitative analysis.
RESULTS: Qualitative analysis revealed that the primary contextual factors that patients drew upon to generate his or her life story are life events (including upbringing, job, education, travel, trauma, hardships, special events, military history, and hobbies), family and support system, and values and beliefs. Participants used their current medical condition, which included mortality, morbidity, and prognosis, to frame their life story.
CONCLUSION: Patients facing serious illness incorporate four major themes when reflecting upon their lives to create their personal life story: life events, family and support system, values and beliefs, and current medical condition.
BACKGROUND: Aggressive end-of-life (EOL) care is associated with lower quality of life and greater regret about treatment decisions. Higher EOL costs are also associated with lower quality EOL care. Advance care planning and goals-of-care conversations ("EOL discussions") may influence EOL health-care utilization and costs among persons with cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To describe associations among EOL discussions, health-care utilization and place of death, and costs in persons with advanced cancer and explore variation in study measures.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL. Twenty quantitative studies published between January 2012 and January 2019 were included.
RESULTS: End-of-life discussions are associated with lower health-care costs in the last 30 days of life (median US$1048 vs US$23482; P < .001); lower likelihood of acute care at EOL (odds ratio [(OR] ranging 0.43-0.69); lower likelihood of intensive care at EOL (ORs ranging 0.26-0.68); lower odds of chemotherapy near death (ORs 0.41, 0.57); lower odds of emergency department use and shorter length of hospital stay; greater use of hospice (ORs ranging 1.79 to 6.88); and greater likelihood of death outside the hospital. Earlier EOL discussions (30+ days before death) are more strongly associated with less aggressive care outcomes than conversations occurring near death.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life discussions are associated with less aggressive, less costly EOL care. Clinicians should initiate these discussions with patients having cancer earlier to better align care with preferences.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life (EOL) care for Latinos with chronic illness is a critically important problem. Latinos with chronic illness suffer worse health outcomes and poorer quality of care due to various issues occurring in care delivery systems. Latinos are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to prepare an advance directive (AD) for health-care decision-making that impacts treatment decisions for when EOL is near. Advance care planning (ACP) interventions tailored specifically for Latinos have rarely been implemented.
OBJECTIVE: The primary aim examines whether a motivational interviewing (MI) intervention increased rates of AD documentation among older Latinos. The secondary aim was to examine whether MI improved communication with providers and family members.
METHODS: We pilot tested a randomized controlled trial with older Latinos >50 years with one or more chronic illnesses, including cancer. Participants were randomly assigned to usual care (UC) receiving ACP education alone versus treatment (TX), which received ACP education, plus MI counseling including interactive decisional support, emotional support, and barrier navigation.
RESULTS: Results of logistic regression indicate TX group participants were significantly more likely to document an AD than UC, however were less ready to talk with health-care providers or family members. Those reporting navigational barriers for talking about dying is difficult showed a significant negative relationship for AD completion even with significant intervention effects.
CONCLUSION: When using MI to motivate individuals toward ACP EOL conversations other factors are important to consider. Further research is needed, especially among Latinos to understand best practices for ACP education and counseling for EOL care.
IMPORTANCE: The Engagement of Patients with Advanced Cancer (EPAC), comprised of a lay health worker (LHW) who assists patients with advance care planning, is an effective intervention for improving patient experiences and reducing acute care use and total health-care costs. The objective of this study was to assess patients' and caregivers' experiences with the intervention.
METHODS: We invited all patients enrolled in EPAC and their caregivers to complete an 8-item survey at the end of the intervention and a random 35% sample to participate in a qualitative interview to assess their experiences. At 15-month follow-up, we invited all caregivers of patients who died during the study to participate in a qualitative interview. We analyzed survey responses using bivariate methods and recorded, transcribed, and analyzed interviews using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine patients were alive at completion of the intervention and all 30 identified caregivers completed the survey. All viewed the intervention as a critical part of cancer care and recommended the intervention for other patients. In qualitative interviews, among 30 patients, all reported improved comfort in discussing their end-of-life care preferences. In qualitative interviews with 24 bereaved caregivers, all viewed the intervention as critical in ensuring that their loved ones' wishes were adhered to at the end of life.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Incorporating an LHW into end-of-life cancer care is an approach supported and viewed as highly effective in improving care by patients and caregivers. The LHW-led EPAC intervention is one solution that can significantly impact patient and caregiver experiences.
BACKGROUND: Advanced cancer patients' end-of-life care preferences in oncology units, medical-surgical units, nursing homes and palliative care services have been established. However, less is known about end-of-life care preferences of patients with advanced cancer in intensive care units and their families.
AIM: To explore end-of-life care preferences of patients with advanced cancer and their families in intensive care units and if these align with essential elements for end-of-life care.
DESIGN: Electronic databases were searched up to February 2018. Reference lists of retrieved articles were screened for potential studies.
RESULTS: A total of 112 full text articles were retrieved. Of these, 12 articles reporting outcomes from 10 studies were eligible for inclusion. The majority were retrospective chart reviews (n = 7) and conducted in developed countries (n = 9). Care preferences change over time with deteriorating physical condition. Ongoing patient-centred communication and shared decision-making are critical as is teamwork and involvement of a palliative care team. Marital status, gender and ethnicity appear to influence care preferences. Of those studies examining patient preferences and/or the receiving of their preferences, these could be aligned with approximately half of the Australian essential elements for end-of-life care.
CONCLUSIONS: Providing end-of-life care for patients with advanced cancer in intensive care units is challenging. No studies have investigated prospectively the end-of-life care preferences of patients and their families in this acute setting. Further research is required to determine the elements of care preferences for patients with advanced cancer and their families in intensive care units in developing countries.