PURPOSE: Family caregivers of a loved one with a life-limiting or terminal illness are often overwhelmed by, and underprepared for, their responsibilities. They often need help from family members and friends to provide comprehensive care. When death occurs, funerals and other death-related rituals bring family and communities together to honor the life and mourn the death of a loved one and provide needed support to family and caregivers. These collective rituals are often deeply rooted in culturally-bound values and can facilitate grief and help make sense about loss. Rituals act as bridge-building activities that allow people to organize and appraise emotions, information, and actions after a loss. With the emergence of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the recommended restrictions to reduce infection and transmission, family members and caregivers are often faced with weighing options for honored rituals to help them grieve. Grieving during the pandemic has become disorganized. The purpose of this article is to provide case managers and other clinical staff with recommendations on guiding caregivers/families through safety precautions when a loved one dies either because of a life-limiting illness or from COVID-19 during the pandemic using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors also present information about complicated grief and ways to support coping with death and suggest safe alternatives to traditional death-related rituals and funerals in a COVID-19 era.
PRIMARY PRACTICE SETTING(S): Primary practice settings include home health care, hospice, hospital discharge planning, case management, and primary care.
FINDINGS/CONCLUSIONS: Precautions necessary in a COVID-19 era may add anxiety and stress to an already difficult situation of caring for loved ones at end-of-life and grieving with their loss. Utilization of CDC guidelines lessens the risk of infection while honoring loved ones' wishes and cultural traditions surrounding death and burial. Recognition of social and spiritual connections that comfort mourners must also be considered.
IMPLICATIONS FOR CASE MANAGEMENT PRACTICE: .
Many international studies have shown that the process of palliative sedation in an end-of-life context can be an adverse, even emotionally distressing experience for nurses. However, to the best of our knowledge, the experience of nurses working in palliative care in Switzerland has never been explored. The purpose of our study was, therefore, to understand and describe nurses' experience with the process of palliative sedation in line with the Swiss guidelines developed in 2005. We opted for an exploratory qualitative monocentric study using comprehensive individual interviews to achieve this objective. A total of 10 nurses were approached, and nine agreed to take part. After the interviews were transcribed, eight were ultimately included in the analysis. This analysis shows that nurses' attitudes toward the process of palliative sedation tended to be hesitant, resistant, or confident and that this was linked to the length of time they had worked in palliative care. These findings suggest that the 2005 Swiss guidelines do not protect nurses against the uncertainty related to process of palliative sedation. A national comprehensive multicentric study therefore needs to be developed to consolidate these results.
With an increasingly ageing population there will be a rising demand for palliative care, including from older migrants and ethnic minorities. While many (future) physicians are unfamiliar with specific needs of older migrants and ethnic minorities regarding care and communication in palliative care, this may be challenging for them to deal with. Moreover, even many medical teachers also feel unprepared to teach palliative care and culturally sensitive communication to students. In order to support medical teachers, we suggest twelve tips to teach culturally sensitive palliative care to guide the development and implementation of teaching this topic to medical students. Drawn from literature and our own experiences as teachers, these twelve tips provide practical guidance to both teachers and curriculum designers when designing and implementing education about culturally sensitive palliative care.
BACKGROUND: Although rehabilitation is recommended for terminal cancer patients, the specific components and methods of such programs are poorly documented. No studies to date have examined the effectiveness of rehabilitation for terminal cancer patients. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of a new intervention for rehabilitation therapists, using the Op-reha Guide (Guide to Optimal and Patient-Centred Rehabilitation Practice for Patients in Palliative Care Units [PCUs]) in rehabilitation practice. This guide consists of recommended actions and attitudes for rehabilitation therapists and aims to optimise therapists' actions according to the patient's needs and condition. It shares goals with terminal cancer patients to maintain their activities of daily living (ADL).
METHODS: This study uses a multicentre, prospective, randomised controlled trial (RCT) design with two parallel groups in PCUs where specialised rehabilitation will be routinely performed for terminal cancer patients by rehabilitation therapists. Participants will be randomised (1:1) to intervention (the Op-reha Guide) and control groups (usual rehabilitation). We will then conduct an observational study in PCUs that do not perform specialised rehabilitation for terminal cancer patients; this will be considered the usual care group, and the efficacy of usual rehabilitation will be quantitatively evaluated. Inclusion criteria are hospitalisation in PCU, European Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status of 2 or 3, and clinical estimation of life expectancy of 3 }weeks or more. Patients with severe symptom burden will be excluded. We hypothesise that the Op-reha Guide will be more effective in maintaining the ADL of terminal cancer patients hospitalised in PCUs than usual rehabilitation. The primary endpoint is defined as the change in (total) modified Barthel Index from baseline to Day 22. Quality of life will be a secondary endpoint. In total, 135 patients will be recruited from 16 Japanese sites between July 2019 and December 2021.
DISCUSSION: This will be the first trial to evaluate the efficacy of specialised rehabilitation for terminal cancer patients hospitalised in PCUs, and will contribute to the evidence on the efficacy of implementing rehabilitation for terminal cancer patients.
OBJECTIVES: To develop a generalizable advance care planning ACP intervention for children and children, adolescents, and young adults with serious illness using a multi-stage stakeholder driven approach.
STUDY DESIGN: We first convened an expert panel of multidisciplinary HCPs, researchers, and parents to delineate key ACP intervention elements. We then adapted an existing adult guide for use in pediatrics and conducted focus groups and interviews with HCPs, parents and seriously ill AYAs to contextualize perspectives on ACP communication and our pediatric serious illness communication program (PediSICP). Using thematic analysis, we identified guide adaptations, preferred content and barriers for PediSICP implementation. Expert panelists then reviewed, amended and finalized the guide.
RESULTS: Stakeholders (34 HCPs, 9 parents, and 7 seriously ill AYAs) participated in focus groups and interviews. Stakeholders validated and refined the guide and PediSICP intervention and identified barriers to PediSICP implementation including need for HCP training, competing demands, uncertainty regarding timing and documentation of ACP discussions.
CONCLUSION: The finalized PediSICP intervention includes a structured HCP and family ACP conversation occasion supported by a three-part communication tool and bolstered by focused HCP training. We also identified strategies to ameliorate implementation barriers. Future research will determine feasibility of the PediSICP and whether it improves care alignment with patient and family goals.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) affects more than 70,000 individuals and their families worldwide. Although outcomes for individuals with CF continue to improve, it remains a life-limiting condition with no cure. Individuals with CF manage extensive symptom and treatment burdens and face complex medical decisions throughout the illness course. Although palliative care has been shown to reduce suffering by alleviating illness-related burdens for people with serious illness and their families, little is known regarding the components and structure of various delivery models of palliative care needed to improve outcomes for people affected by CF. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) assembled an expert panel of clinicians, researchers, individuals with CF, and family caregivers, to develop consensus recommendations for models of best practices for palliative care in CF. Eleven statements were developed based on a systematic literature review and expert opinion, and address primary palliative care, specialty palliative care, and screening for palliative needs. These recommendations are intended to comprehensively address palliative care needs and improve quality of life for individuals with CF at all stages of illness and development, and their caregivers.
BACKGROUND: Nurses are the largest regulated group of healthcare professionals involved in palliative care. In 2004, a taskforce of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) launched the 'Guide for development of palliative nurse education in Europe' (hereinafter, the EAPC 2004 Guide). No systematic evaluation of its impact in the development of palliative care education was undertaken.
AIMS: To describe current undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education across Europe; to identify the roles that nurses with different palliative care educational levels have in palliative care; and to assess the uptake of the EAPC 2004 Guide in the development of palliative care nursing in Europe.
DESIGN: Descriptive research involving an online survey among nursing experts, and the consultation of national representatives.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 135 nurses (52% response rate) from 25 countries completed the online survey; representatives from 16 countries were consulted.
RESULTS: In 14 (56%) countries, palliative care was not identified as a mandatory subject within undergraduate nursing education. The EAPC 2004 Guide is widely known and was/is being used in many countries to promote palliative care nursing education. Large variations were found across and within country responses.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care nursing education varies largely in Europe. The wide awareness and use of the EAPC 2004 Guide show how policy measures can influence the development of palliative care education. Recommendations are built and focus on both fostering the use of this guide and implementing policy measures to ensure that palliative care nursing is recognised and certified as a specialty in all European countries.
BACKGROUND: Donation after circulatory determination of death (DCD) is responsible for the largest increase in deceased donation over the past decade. When the Canadian DCD guideline was published in 2006, it included recommendations to create standard policies and procedures for withdrawal of life-sustaining measures (WLSM) as well as quality assurance frameworks for this practice. In 2016, the Canadian Critical Care Society produced a guideline for WLSM that requires modifications to facilitate implementation when DCD is part of the end-of-life care plan.
METHODS: A pan-Canadian multidisciplinary collaborative was convened to examine the existing guideline framework and to create tools to put the existing guideline into practice in centres that practice DCD.
RESULTS: A set of guiding principles for implementation of the guideline in DCD practice were produced using an iterative, consensus-based approach followed by development of four implementation tools and three quality assurance and audit tools.
CONCLUSIONS: The tools developed will aid DCD centres in fulsomely adapting the Canadian Critical Care Society Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Measures guideline.
PURPOSE: Guidelines recommend earlier advance care planning discussions focused on goals and values (serious illness communication) among oncology patients. We conducted a prospective, cross-sectional quality improvement evaluation of patients who had a serious illness conversation (SIC) with an oncology clinician using the Serious Illness Conversation Guide to understand patient perceptions of conversations using a structured guide.
METHODS: We contacted 66 oncology patients with an SIC documented in the electronic health record. Thirty-two patients (48%) responded to survey and/or structured interview questions by telephone. We used summary statistics and thematic analysis to analyze results.
RESULTS: Twenty-eight respondents (90%) reported that the SIC was worthwhile. Seventeen respondents (55%) reported that the conversation increased their understanding of their future health, and 18 (58%) reported that the conversation increased their sense of closeness with their clinician. Although the majority of respondents (28 [90%]) reported that the conversation increased (13 [42%]) or had no effect (15 [48%]) on their hopefulness, a small minority (3 [10%]) reported a decrease in hopefulness. Qualitative analysis revealed 6 themes: clinician-patient relationship, impact on well-being, memorable characteristics of the conversation, improved prognostic understanding, practical planning, and family communication.
CONCLUSION: SICs are generally acceptable to oncology patients (nonharmful to the vast majority, positive for many). Our qualitative analysis suggests a positive impact on prognostic understanding and end-of-life planning, but opportunities for improvement in the delivery of prognosis and preparing patients for SICs. Our data also identify a small cohort who responded negatively, highlighting an important area for future study.
Covid-19 has reached almost all the nations in the world. More and more people are dying from it and in some countries, even the army has been called upon to help dispose of the dead as there is a shortage of coffins, and undertakers are overwhelmed. Therefore, it is essential to have measures in place to contain the spread of infection while handling dead bodies. In view of this, different guidelines and protocols have been proposed bearing in mind the limited information we have about the virus. This review article sets them out for better reference.
Bereavement care is best conceptualized as a preventive model of care. It is an integral component of palliative care where support for the family begins at the time of diagnosis and continues beyond the death of the patient. Even though grief is a normal response to loss, the death of a loved one is believed to be the most powerful stressor in everyday life with the potential to cause great distress in all those closely associated with the deceased. In neuro-oncology, where patients often face limited prognoses, knowledge about approaches to bereavement support is particularly important. Despite this, research into the experience of bereaved caregivers is limited. As such, an opportunity exists to identify ways to help family caregivers not only cope with the death of their loved one but also to help families prepare for the death ahead of time. In this article, we offer guidelines about how best to support family caregivers before and after the death of the patient, drawing on the palliative care and bereavement literature.
Background: Serious illness conversations are part of advance care planning (ACP) and focus on prognosis, values, and goals in patients who are seriously ill. To be maximally effective, such conversations must be documented accurately and be easily accessible.
Objectives: The two coprimary objectives of the study were to assess concordance between written documentation and recorded audiotaped conversations, and to evaluate adherence to the Serious Illness Conversation Guide questions.
Methods: Data were obtained as part of a trial in patients with advanced cancer. Clinicians were trained to use a guide to conduct and document serious illness conversations. Conversations were audiotaped. Two researchers independently compared audiorecordings with the corresponding documentation in an electronic health record (EHR) template and free-text progress notes, and rated the degree of concordance and adherence.
Results: We reviewed a total of 25 audiorecordings. Clinicians addressed 87% of the conversation guide elements. Prognosis was discussed least frequently, only in 55% of the patients who wanted that information. Documentation was fully concordant with the conversation 43% of the time. Concordance was best when documenting family matters and goals, and least frequently concordant when documenting prognostic communication. Most conversations (64%) were documented in the template, a minority (28%) only in progress notes and two conversations (8%) were not documented. Concordance was better when the template was used (62% vs. 28%).
Conclusion: Clinicians adhered well to the conversation guide. However, key information elicited was documented and fully concordant less than half the time. Greater concordance was observed when clinicians used a prespecified template. The combined use of a guide and EHR template holds promise for ACP conversations.
Jean-Pierre Gaume nous propose des clés pour transformer la relation malade - médecin en une véritable communication permettant ainsi au patient de se relier à sa maladie et de la vivre comme un langage porteur de sens. Pour parvenir à ce résultat, l'auteur a proposé dans son livre un guide de bonnes pratiques pour favoriser une écoute active et participative. Ce livre qui s'adresse à tous les soignants soucieux d'améliorer leur relation avec les malades, séduit par la richesse de son contenu et de sa documentation qui s'appuie sur plus de 190 références bibliographiques tirées de la littérature médicale, philosophique, historique, psychanalytique et éthique.
Jean-Pierre Gaume, à travers ses 40 années de médecine générale et ses 20 années d'enseignement de la discipline à la faculté de médecine, nous montre comment nous méfier des seules méthodes diagnostiques dépendantes de la biologie moléculaire, des isotopes ou de l'imagerie moderne pour accéder à la vérité du malade.
OBJECTIVES: The use of drugs beyond their marketing authorisation, that is, off-label use, is common practice in palliative care with over 70% of off-label use having little or no scientific support. The lack of evidence makes recommendations for off-label use essential, in order to increase the safety of drug therapy and thus patient safety. The aim of this study was to develop a guide for preparing and consenting drug-specific recommendations for off-label use in palliative care.
METHODS: Group Delphi Study with three rounds and a prior online survey to identify topics of dissent. Participants represented professional groups working in palliative care involved in direct patient care and/or drug management and various care settings. Furthermore, representatives of relevant professional associations, experts with academic, non-clinical background and experts with international expertise were invited.
RESULTS: 18/20 invited professionals participated in the prior online-survey. 15 experts participated in the Group Delphi process. Six domains, including identification of drugs, drug uses, assessment of evidence, formulation, consensus and updating of recommendations were generated and respective statements were included in the Group Delphi process. The consensus process resulted in 28 statements forming the guide for recommendations.
CONCLUSIONS: The resultant systematic approach for preparing and consenting drug-specific recommendations for off-label use will allow the development of recommendations with transparent and reproducible monographs. This will help to increase treatment quality and patient safety as well as security of decision-making in palliative care. The developed guide is part of a larger project aiming to provide therapy recommendations for areas that have little or no scientific evidence.
The purpose of this article is to describe palliative care incorporation within the care of heart transplant patients. Palliative care is a holistic approach to care that includes symptom management and goal setting to improve patients’ quality of life. Palliative care is designed to be used with patients who have chronic illness that impacts quality of life and should be incorporated early in the disease. All providers have a responsibility to be knowledgeable in palliative care approaches and to know when to refer a patient for specialty palliative care services. This article will describe palliative care, research study findings, and current professional guideline recommendations for patients. The article also describes challenges and barriers to the use of palliative care in heart transplant patients and strategies to address these challenges and barriers.
Objectifs : Une approche clinique globale et analytique, prenant en compte des causes multifactorielles, s’avère nécessaire pour comprendre et traiter les douleurs complexes et réfractaires liées au cancer. Un guide a été élaboré afin d’aider le praticien dans son raisonnement clinique. Il associe quatre approches : sémiologique, physiopathologique, anatomique et fonctionnelle. Ainsi, l’objectif principal de cette étude était d’évaluer la faisabilité d’utilisation de ce guide par des médecins d’unités de soins palliatifs. Les objectifs secondaires étaient de connaître les résultats de ces approches combinées et d’observer les modifications des coanalgésies médicamenteuses et si possible les approches multimodales.
Méthode : Cette étude de faisabilité était interventionnelle, non thérapeutique, et multicentrique sur les cinq unités de soins palliatifs d’Aquitaine. Dans un travail préliminaire, le guide de raisonnement clinique a été élaboré par six médecins puis soumis à la lecture critique de huit autres médecins par entretien et enfin par questionnaire. L’étude s’est déroulée auprès de sept médecins de quatre unités de soins palliatifs, tous expérimentés et diplômés en soins palliatifs. Un questionnaire remis aux médecins portait sur l’évaluation critique de l’utilisation du recueil : son utilité, ses avantages, ses limites, ses conditions d’utilisation.
Résultats : Sept médecins ont participé à l’étude. Parmi eux, quatre ont dit utiliser un raisonnement clinique auparavant. Six ont jugé le guide utile pour étudier les éléments manquants à l’évaluation et mieux soulager. Cinq ont estimé qu’il pourrait être généralisé dans les unités de soins palliatifs, deux qu’il pourrait être intégré au dossier dès l’admission du patient. Pour deux, le manque de temps pouvaitt être un frein à sa faisabilité. Soixante-huit patients ont été inclus, représentant 84 cas de douleur (59 % nociceptives, 35 % mixtes et 6 % neuropathiques). Parmi les douleurs évaluées, 19 comprenaient une composante neuropathique (DN4 positif). La coanalgésie a été modifiée pour tous les patients dans les 24h suivant l’admission.
Discussion : Pour la plupart des médecins interrogés, le guide est utile et faisable. Le manque de disponibilité, les besoins d’intégration des approches biomédicale et psychorelationnelle, d’appropriation du guide par un apprentissage et un compagnonnage ont été relevés par certains répondants.
Conclusion : L’évaluation de ce guide doit être poursuivie, notamment en médecine générale et en gériatrie. Son impact sur la prise en charge des douleurs liées au cancer est également à étudier.
BACKGROUND: Since people with advanced dementia are usually not able to make complex decisions, it is usually the family caregivers, as proxies, who have to decide on treatments and their termination. However, these decisions are difficult for the caregivers to make, as they are often inadequately informed and cannot properly assess the consequences; moreover, they are concerned about harming the sick person. We aimed to first develop an informative booklet about palliative care issues for caregivers of people with advanced dementia. Secondly, we aimed to investigate a change in family caregivers' knowledge regarding palliative care issues and caregivers' involvement in medical and care decisions before and after studying this booklet.
METHODS: A first version of the booklet was drafted by an experienced psychiatrist and palliative care specialist based on existing booklets and guidelines; necessary cultural adaptions were taken into consideration. A nominal group process was conducted to develop the informative guide. In order to investigate the acceptance of the booklet and the possibility to implement it, 38 patient-caregiver dyads were recruited, and caregivers were interviewed both before receiving the booklet and after 3 months of receiving the booklet.
RESULTS: Experts from various disciplines collaborated on a German booklet for family caregivers of people with advanced dementia as an information aid regarding issues of palliative care. The subsequent test showed that all caregivers had experienced a personal benefit from the booklet. Caregivers had a significant gain of knowledge after provision of the booklet. A large proportion of caregivers who had not previously considered and/or discussed medical topics reported that they had done so within 3 months after obtaining the booklet, or planned to do so in the near future.
CONCLUSIONS: The caregivers valued the comprehensible, concise and well-structured information guide on palliative care issues in advanced dementia. They agreed it increases knowledge and prompts decision making and therefore should be developed in many languages and disseminated among family caregivers of people with dementia.
BACKGROUND: Family caregivers of patients with severe illness and in need for a palliative care approach, face numerous challenges and report having insufficient preparedness for the caregiver role as well as a need for information and psychosocial support. Preparing to care for a severely ill family members also means becoming aware of death. Feelings of being prepared are associated with positive aspects and regarded protective against negative health consequences.
METHODS: The study adheres to the SPIRIT-guidelines (Supplementary 1), uses a pre-post design and include a web-based intervention. Inclusion criteria are; being a family caregiver of a patient with severe illness and in need of a palliative care approach. The intervention which aims to increase preparedness for caregiving and death is grounded in theory, research and clinical experience. The topics cover: medical issues, symptoms and symptom relief; communication within the couple, how to spend the time before death, being a caregiver, planning for the moment of death and; considerations of the future. The intervention is presented through videos and informative texts. The website also holds an online peer-support discussion forum. Study aims are to: evaluate feasibility in terms of framework, content, usage and partners' experiences; explore how the use of the website, influences family caregivers' preparedness for caregiving and death; explore how the use of the website influences family caregivers' knowledge about medical issues, their communication with the patient and their considerations of the future; and to investigate how the family caregivers' preparedness for caregiving and death influences their physical and psychological health and quality of life 1 year after the patient's death. Data will be collected through qualitative interviews and a study-specific questionnaire at four time-points.
DISCUSSION: This project will provide information about whether support via a website has the potential to increase preparedness for caregiving and death and thereby decrease negative health consequences for family caregivers of patients affected by severe illness. It will provide new knowledge about intervention development, delivery, and evaluation in a palliative care context. Identification of factors before death and their association with family caregivers' preparedness and long-term health may change future clinical work.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03676283.
Although robust evidence demonstrates that specialty palliative care integrated into oncology care improves patient and health system outcomes, few clinicians are familiar with the standards, guidelines, and quality measures related to integration. These types of guidance outline principles of best practice and provide a framework for assessing the fidelity of their implementation. Significant advances in the understanding of effective methods and procedures to guide integration of specialty palliative care into oncology have led to a proliferation of guidance documents around the world, with several areas of commonality but also some key differences. Commonalities originate from a shared vision for integration; differences arise from diverse roles of palliative care specialists within cancer care globally. In this review we discuss three of the most cited standards/guidelines, as well as quality measures related to integrated palliative and oncology care. We also recommend changes to the quality measurement framework for palliative care and a new way to match palliative care services to patients with advanced cancer on the basis of care complexity and patient needs, irrespective of prognosis.