Context: Patients with decompensated cirrhosis have high rates of healthcare utilization at end-of-life (EOL). However, the impact of transplant candidacy on intensity of EOL care is currently unknown.
Objectives: to assess the relationship between transplant candidacy and intensity of EOL care in the last year of life in an ambulatory cohort of patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 230 patients with decompensated cirrhosis who were evaluated for liver transplantation in a large healthcare system between 1/1/2010 and 12/31/2017 and died by 6/20/2018. We compared healthcare utilization in the last year of life and EOL care outcomes between transplant-listed (n=133) and non-listed (n=97) patients. We examined predictors of palliative and hospice care utilization using multivariate logistic regression.
Results: During the last year of life, patients had a median of 3 [IQR 2-5] hospitalizations and spent a median of 31 days [IQR 16-49] in the hospital. In all, 80% of patients died in the hospital, with 70% dying in the intensive care unit. The majority (70.0%) received a life-sustaining procedure (mechanical ventilation, renal replacement therapy, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation) during their terminal hospitalization, which did not differ between transplant-listed and non-listed patients (74.4% vs. 63.9%, p=0.09). Transplant-listed patients had lower odds of receiving specialty palliative care (OR 0.43, p=0.005). Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma had higher odds of receiving hospice care (OR 2.03, p=0.049).
Conclusion: Patients with decompensated cirrhosis had intensive healthcare utilization during their last year of life regardless of transplant candidacy. Further work is needed to optimize their EOL care, particularly for patients who are ineligible for transplantation.
BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer often require acute hospitalizations, many of which are unplanned. These hospitalizations have been shown to increase in frequency near the end of life. The American College of Physicians recommends that goals-of-care (GOC) discussions be initiated early for metastatic cancers. We hypothesized that discussing GOC during hospitalization could help reduce readmissions. Our aim was to examine the association between the timing of GOC discussion, length of hospital stay, and the time to readmission.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of medical records of patients with stage IV cancers hospitalized between August 2017 and July 2018. We recorded timing of GOC discussion, use of palliative care services, and hospital readmissions within 90 days. 2 tests were used to identify independent associations with GOC discussion, and logistic regression was used to examine association with readmission within 90 days.
RESULTS: Of all study patients (N = 241), 40.6% were female, 46% (n = 112) had a GOC discussion, and 34% (n = 82) had a palliative care consultation. Having a palliative care consult and being admitted to critical care were independently associated with having a GOC discussion. Early timing of GOC discussion was inversely associated with admission to critical care units (P < .05). Thirty-eight percent (n = 92) had unplanned hospital readmission within 90 days. Having a GOC discussion was independently associated with a reduction in the odds of an unplanned hospital readmission within 90 days by 79% (odds ratio = 0.21, 95% confidence interval: 0.12-0.37).
CONCLUSION: Among hospitalized patients with stage IV cancer, performing an early GOC discussion has an important association with lower hospital readmission rates and increased rates of goal-congruent patient care.
Objective: Patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) have substantial physical and psychological symptoms. This study aimed to investigate the utilization of palliative care (PC) in patients undergoing HSCT during hospitalization.
Methods: The 2008-2014 National Inpatient Sample was queried for eligible participants. Demographics, hospital characteristics, comorbidities, posttransplantation complications, and inpatient procedures were compared between patients with and without PC. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify predictors associated with PC use.
Results: Among 21 458 patients undergoing HSCT during hospitalization, 278 (1.30%) received PC. The rate of PC use has significantly increased from 0.64% in 2008 to 1.95% in 2014. Patients receiving PC had more co-comorbidities, posttransplantation complications, inpatient procedures, and were more likely to carry a diagnosis of leukemia. In allogeneic HSCT, large bed size (odds ratio [OR] =2.80; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.17-6.70), stem cell source from cord blood (OR = 1.93; 95% CI: 1.15-3.24), and graft-versus-host disease (OR = 2.04; 95% CI: 1.36-3.06) were predictors of PC use. In a subset analysis of 783 patients who died during hospitalization, 166 (21.20%) received PC. Among the decedents, Hispanic race had lower odds of PC use (OR = 0.20; 95% CI: 0.05-0.82) in allogeneic HSCT and women had higher odds of PC (OR = 2.70; 95% CI: 1.35-5.41) in autologous HSCT.
Conclusions: The rate of PC use has significantly increased among patients undergoing HSCT during hospitalization from 2008 to 2014 but still remains very low. Further investigation is warranted to verify and better understand the barriers toward PC use for HSCT patients.
BACKGROUND: The end-of-life period is a crucial time in lung cancer care. To have a better understanding of the racial-ethnic disparities in health care expenditures, access, and quality, we evaluated these disparities specifically in the end-of-life period for patients with lung cancer in the U.S.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database to analyze characteristics of lung cancer care among those diagnosed between the years 2000 and 2011. Linear and logistic regression models were constructed to measure racial-ethnic disparities in end-of-life care cost and utilization among non-Hispanic (NH) Asian, NH black, Hispanic, and NH white patients while controlling for other risk factors such as age, sex, and SEER geographic region.
RESULTS: Total costs and hospital utilization were, on average, greater among racial-ethnic minorities compared with NH white patients in the last month of life. Among patients with NSCLC, the relative total costs were 1.27 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21-1.33) for NH black patients, 1.36 (95% CI, 1.25-1.49) for NH Asian patients, and 1.21 (95% CI, 1.07-1.38) for Hispanic patients. Additionally, the odds of being admitted to a hospital for NH black, NH Asian, and Hispanic patients were 1.22 (95% CI, 1.15-1.30), 1.47 (95% CI, 1.32-1.63), and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.01-1.38) times that of NH white patients, respectively. Similar results were found for patients with SCLC.
CONCLUSION: Minority patients with lung cancer have significantly higher end-of-life medical expenditures than NH white patients, which may be explained by a greater intensity of care in the end-of-life period.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study investigated racial-ethnic disparities in the cost and utilization of medical care among lung cancer patients during the end-of-life period. Compared with non-Hispanic white patients, racial-ethnic minority patients were more likely to receive intensive care in their final month of life and had statistically significantly higher end-of-life care costs. The findings of this study may lead to a better understanding of the racial-ethnic disparities in end-of-life care, which can better inform future end-of-life interventions and help health care providers develop less intensive and more equitable care, such as culturally competent advanced care planning programs, for all patients.
BACKGROUND: Half of nursing home residents (NHR) suffer from dementia. End-of-life hospitalizations are often burdensome in residents with dementia. A systematic review was conducted to study the occurrence of hospitalizations at the end of life in NHR with dementia and to compare these figures to NHR without dementia.
METHODS: A systematic literature search in MEDLINE, CINAHL and Scopus was conducted in May 2018. Studies were included if they reported proportions of in-hospital deaths or hospitalizations of NHR with dementia in the last month of life. Two authors independently selected studies, extracted data, and assessed quality of studies.
RESULTS: Nine hundred forty-five citations were retrieved; 13 studies were included. Overall, 7 studies reported data on in-hospital death with proportions ranging between 0% in Canada and 53.3% in the UK. Studies reporting on the last 30 days of life (n = 8) varied between 8.0% in the Netherlands and 51.3% in Germany. Two studies each assessed the influence of age and sex. There seem to be fewer end-of-life hospitalizations in older age groups. The influence of sex is inconclusive. All but one study found that at the end of life residents with dementia were hospitalized less often than those without (n = 6).
CONCLUSIONS: We found large variations in end-of-life hospitalizations of NHR with dementia, probably being explained by differences between countries. The influence of sex and age might differ when compared to residents without dementia. More studies should compare NHR with dementia to those without and assess the influence of sex and age.
Background: Home hospice is designed to provide comfort to patients at the end of their life and hospital readmission is incongruent with this goal.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of and characteristics associated with hospital readmissions from home hospice over a two-year period.
Design/Subjects: This was a retrospective cohort study of 705 inpatients discharged from a quaternary academic medical center to home hospice from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017.
Measures: The primary outcome was incidence of hospital readmission after discharge to home hospice. Multivariate regression with stepwise forward selection was used to identify characteristics associated with readmission.
esults: The incidence of readmission was found to be 10.50% (n = 74), and the median days from discharge to readmission were 32.50 days (interquartile range = 14.00, 75.00). Reasons for readmission were: unanticipated new medical issue (n = 33, 44.59%), uncontrolled symptoms (n = 25, 33.78%), misunderstanding of hospice status (n = 12, 16.22%), and caregiver distress (n = 4, 5.41%). The following characteristics were associated with readmission: female versus male (odds ratio [OR] = 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.16–3.32), non-white versus white (OR = 2.40; 95% CI: 1.36–4.24), and hospice diagnosis of cardiac disease versus all other diagnoses (OR = 4.40; 95% CI: 2.06–9.37).
Conclusions: Compared with prior studies, our findings showed a lower incidence of readmission, 10.50%, from home hospice. In addition, those who are female, non-white, or have a hospice diagnosis of cardiac disease are more likely to be readmitted.
CONTEXT: Although the number of studies on the economic impact of palliative care (PC) is growing, the great majority report costs from North America.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of PC hospital cost components from the perspective of a European mixed funded health care system by identifying cost drivers of PC and quantifying their effect on hospital costs compared to usual care (UC).
METHODS: We performed a retrospective, observational analysis examining cost data from the last hospitalization of patients who died at a large academic hospital in Switzerland comparing patients receiving PC versus UC.
RESULTS: Total hospital costs were similar in PC and UC with a mean difference of CHF -2'777 [95% confidence interval (CI) -12'713 to 8'506, p=0.60]. Average costs per day decreased by CHF -3'224 [95% CI -3'811 to -2'631, p<0.001] for PC patients with significant reduction of costs for diagnostic intervention and medication. Higher cost components for PC patients were catering, room, nursing, social counselling and non-medical therapists. In sensitivity analyses, when we restricted PC exposure to 3 days from admission, total costs and average costs per day were significantly lower for PC.
CONCLUSION: Studies measuring the impact of PC on hospital costs should analyze various cost components beyond total costs in order to understand wanted and potentially unwanted cost-reducing effects. An international definition of a set of cost components, specific for cost-impact PC studies, may help avoid superficial and potentially dangerous cost discussions.
BACKGROUND: The holistic and multidisciplinary approach of in-home palliative care (IHPC) is known to offer high-quality and cost-effective care for patients at the end of life. However, the financial benefits of upstream IHPC programs to hospitals, patients, and payers have not been fully characterized for patients with comorbid chronic conditions.
AIM: To characterize the financial benefits that upstream IHPC offers to patients with multiple chronic conditions.
METHODS: A structured retrospective patient record review was conducted on the number of emergency department (ED) visits, number of inpatient hospitalizations, hospital length of stay (LOS), and payments made to the hospital for all patients (N = 71) enrolled in an IHPC program between January 1, 2016, and June 30, 2016. Discharge history from each patient's medical record was also assessed. Comparisons were drawn between patients' LOS on IHPC and an equivalent time period prior to enrollment in IHPC.
RESULTS: After patients enrolled in IHPC, average ED and inpatient utilization declined significantly by 41% (P = .01) and 71% (P < .001), respectively. The payers for health-care services realized a significant decline of US$2,201 (P < .001) in hospital payments per patient per month. Inpatient LOS was also significantly lower than expected once patients enrolled in the program (P = .01).
CONCLUSIONS: As the need for chronic disease management continues to grow, managers of health systems, managed care organizations, and home health agencies should be cognizant of the financial value that IHPC has to offer.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life hospitalizations in nursing home residents are common, although they are often burdensome and potentially avoidable.
AIM: We aimed to summarize the existing evidence on end-of-life hospitalizations in nursing home residents.
DESIGN: Systematic review (PROSPERO registration number CRD42017072276).
DATA SOURCES: A systematic literature search was carried out in PubMed, CINAHL, and Scopus (date of search 9 April 2019). Studies were included if they reported proportions of in-hospital deaths or hospitalizations of nursing home residents in the last month of life. Two authors independently selected studies, extracted data, and assessed the quality of studies. Median with interquartile range was used to summarize proportions.
RESULTS: A total of 35 studies were identified, more than half of which were from the United States (n = 18). While 29 studies reported in-hospital deaths, 12 studies examined hospitalizations during the last month of life. The proportion of in-hospital deaths varied markedly between 5.9% and 77.1%, with an overall median of 22.6% (interquartile range: 16.3%–29.5%). The proportion of residents being hospitalized during the last month of life ranged from 25.5% to 69.7%, and the median was 33.2% (interquartile range: 30.8%–38.4%). Most studies investigating the influence of age found that younger age was associated with a higher likelihood of end-of-life hospitalization. Four studies assessed trends over time, showing heterogeneous findings.
CONCLUSION: There is a wide variation in end-of-life hospitalizations, even between studies from the same country. Overall, such hospitalizations are common among nursing home residents, which indicates that interventions tailored to each specific health care system are needed to improve end-of-life care.
Objectif: Au Québec, comme ailleurs dans le monde, bien que le soutien aux familles concernées par les soins palliatifs soit jugé prioritaire, peu de recherches ont été publiées sur le maintien de la relation familiale dans un contexte d’hospitalisation, pourtant essentielle au bien-être des patients et de leurs proches. La présente étude vise donc à décrire les perceptions de proches, plus précisément d’enfants d’âge adulte, sur les changements vécus dans la relation avec un parent hospitalisé en soins palliatifs.
Méthode: Six enfants adultes de patients hospitalisés en soins palliatifs ont participé à une entrevue semi-structurée. L’analyse des transcriptions d’entrevues s’inspire de l’analyse phénoménologique interprétative.
Résultats: Les résultats révèlent des changements de communications verbales et non verbales, notamment l’apparition de gestes d’affection et de connexions symboliques. L’adoption de rôles relationnels spécifiques au contexte, des enjeux relatifs aux perceptions d’implication, et l’intensité et l’éloignement de l’expérience affective sont aussi constatés. En outre, certaines croyances sur la mort et les moyens d’obtenir une conclusion à la relation pourraient avoir une influence sur l’expérience relationnelle des proches. Le personnel hospitalier semble aussi pouvoir agir indirectement sur la relation familiale selon les participants.
Conclusion: Cette étude postule l’existence de trajectoires distinctes d’évolution de la relation familiale en contexte d’hospitalisation en soins palliatifs. Elle permet par ailleurs de constater le rôle de la création de sens dans l’expérience des enfants adultes. Elle informe finalement les intervenants sur les aspects à considérer pour soutenir ces enfants adultes.
Objective: To evaluate a new intervention intended to increase referral rates from the emergency department (ED) to the palliative medicine service (PMS) in acute hospitals.
Methods: We conducted a quasi-experimental evaluation in an urban teaching hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Data were collected over two eight-week periods in November/December 2013 and May/June 2015, with the PALliative Medicine in the Emergency Department (PAL.M.ED.™) intervention implemented in the intervening period. All adults who were admitted to the hospital via the ED during the two time periods and who received a palliative care consultation during their hospital stay were included in the study. Our primary analysis evaluated the impact of PAL.M.ED.™ on PMS referral in the ED. Our secondary analysis evaluated the impact of PMS referral in the ED on length of stay (LOS) and utilization, compared to PMS referral later in the admission. We controlled for observed confounding between groups using propensity scores.
Results: PAL.M.ED.™ was associated with an increase in PMS referral in the ED (p < 0.005; odds ratio: 10.5 (95%CI: 3.8 to 28.7)). PMS referral in the ED was associated with shorter hospital LOS (p < 0.005; -10.9 days (95%CI: -17.7 to -4.1)).
Conclusions: Low PMS referral rates in the ED, and the poor outcomes for patients and hospitals that arise from admissions of those with serious illness, may be mitigated by a proactive intervention to identify appropriate patients at admission.
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.
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.
Background: Palliative care (PC) is an essential component of comprehensive care of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). In the present study, we sought to characterize the variability of PC use after ICH among US hospitals.
Methods: ICH admissions from hospitals with at least 12 annual ICH cases were identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between 2008 and 2011. We used multilevel logistic regression modeling to estimate between-hospital variance in PC use. We calculated the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), proportional variance change, and median OR after accounting for individual-level and hospital-level covariates.
Results: Among 26,791 ICH admissions, 12.5% received PC (95% CI 11.5-13.5). Among the 629 included hospitals, the median rate of PC use was 9.1 (interquartile range 1.5-19.3) per 100 ICH admissions, and 150 (23.9%) hospitals had no recorded PC use. The ICC of the random intercept (null) model was 0.274, suggesting that 27.4% of the overall variability in PC use was due to between-hospital variability. Adding hospital-level covariates to the model accounted for 25.8% of the between-hospital variance observed in the null model, with 74.2% of between-hospital variance remaining unexplained. The median OR of the fully adjusted model was 2.62 (95% CI 2.41-2.89), indicating that a patient moving from 1 hospital to another with a higher intrinsic propensity of PC use had a 2.63-fold median increase in the odds of receiving PC, independent of patient and hospital factors.
Conclusions: Substantial variation in PC use after ICH exists among US hospitals. A substantial proportion of this between-hospital variability remains unexplained even after accounting for patient and hospital characteristics.
Palliative care offers patients with a serious illness and their families access to services that can improve quality of life, mood, and symptoms. However, the term palliative care is often confused with end of life or hospice services limiting its application to persons with chronic illnesses who might benefit. Non-hospice palliative care is a term that is emerging to more accurately reflect the broader care model that palliative care represents. The aim of this review was to identify the characteristics of published nonhospice palliative care interventions. We derived our sample predominantly from a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis and selected studies published since the review. Inclusion criteria were: self-described palliative care intervention studies using randomized designs for participants with lifelimiting illnesses aged 18 years or older. These 38 studies fell into 3 broad categories: primary, specialty, and hybrid models. Common challenges among these models include limited education of generalists, limited reimbursement, and limited access in certain areas. However, increasing palliative care usage has also been associated with increased hospice use and appropriate timing of referrals.
Background: Enabling death at home remains an important priority in end-of-life care policy. However, hospital continues to be a more prevalent place of death than home in the UK, with admissions at the end-of-life often negatively labelled. Admissions are frequently attributed to an unsuitable home environment, associated with inadequate family care provision and insufficient professional care delivery.
Aim: To understand problems in professional and lay care provision that discourage death at home and lead to hospital admissions at the end of life.
Design and setting: A qualitative study of admission to a large English hospital of patients close to the end of their life.
Method: Retrospective in-depth semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals (n = 30) and next-of-kin (n = 3) involved in an admission. Interviews addressed why older patients (>65 years) close to the end of life are admitted to hospital. Interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically.
Results: Home-based end-of-life care appeared precarious. Hospital admission was considered by healthcare staff when there was insufficient nursing provision, or where family support, which was often extensive but under supported, was challenged. In these circumstances, home was not recognised to be a suitable place of care or death, justifying seeking care provision elsewhere.
Conclusion: Challenges in home care provision led to hospital admissions. Home end-of-life care depended on substantial input from family and professional carers, both of which were under-resourced. Where either care was insufficient to meet the needs of patients, home was no longer deemed to be desirable by healthcare staff and hospital care was sought.
Background: Antibiotic use may increase hospital length of stay (LOS) among older patients with advanced cancer who are transitioned to comfort measures.
Methods: We studied a cohort of patients with advanced cancer aged =65 years who were transitioned to comfort measures during admission from July 1, 2014, through November 30, 2016. We evaluated the association between antibiotic exposure and LOS using a Poisson regression model adjusted for age, gender, cancer type, comorbidities, infection, and intensive care unit admission.
Results: Among 461 patients with advanced cancer, median age was 74 years (range: 65-99), 49.0% (n = 226) were female, and 20.6% (n = 95) had liquid tumors. Overall, 82.9% (n = 382) received =1 antibiotic and 64.6% (n = 298) had =1 infection diagnosis during hospitalization. Infection diagnoses commonly included sepsis (35%, n = 161/461), pneumonia (25%, n = 117/461), and urinary tract infection (14%, n = 66/461). Among those receiving antibiotics, the most common choices included vancomycin (79%, n = 300/382), cephalosporins (63%, n = 241/382), and penicillins (45%, n = 172/382). In a multivariable Poisson regression model, LOS was 34% longer (count ratio = 1.34, [95% confidence interval: 1.20-1.51]) among those exposed versus unexposed to antibiotics.
Conclusions: Antibiotic use among patients with advanced cancer who are transitioned to comfort measures is associated with longer LOS. These data illustrate the importance of tradeoffs associated with antibiotic use, such as unintended increased LOS, when striving for goal-concordant care near the end of life.
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to analyze the determinants of patients' choice between palliative chemotherapy and best supportive care (BSC) and to investigate how this choice affects overall survival (OS) and length of hospitalization according to Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS).
METHODS: An oncologist explained the palliative chemotherapy and BSC options to 129 patients with incurable cancer during their first consultation. Data on the ECOG PS, treatment decision, OS, and the length of hospitalization were retrospectively collected over 4 years.
RESULTS: Patients with an ECOG PS of 0-2 chose palliative chemotherapy more often than those with an ECOG PS of 3-4 (P<0.01). Patients with 70 years chose palliative chemotherapy more often than those with >70 (P<0.05). And patients with gastric cancer and colon cancer chose palliative chemotherapy more often than those with CUP (carcinoma of unknown primary) (P<0.05, P<0.05 respectively). Factors associated with a significantly poorer OS in an adjusted analysis included the ECOG PS and treatment decision (hazard ratios: 0.18 and 0.43; P<0.001, P<0.01 respectively). In patients with an ECOG PS of 0-2, palliative chemotherapy was not associated with a longer OS compared with BSC (median OS: 14.5 vs. 6.8 months, respectively; P=0.144). In patients with an ECOG PS of 3-4, palliative chemotherapy resulted in a significant survival gain compared to with BSC (median OS: 3.8 vs. 1.4 months, respectively; P<0.05). Strong positive correlations between OS and the length of hospitalization were observed in patients with an ECOG PS of 3-4 who underwent palliative chemotherapy (r2=-0.683) and the length of hospitalization was approximately one-third of their OS.
CONCLUSIONS: The determinants for treatment choice were age, ECOG PS and type of cancer, not sex difference. Oncologists should explain to patients that OS and the length of hospitalization vary according to the ECOG PS when selecting between palliative chemotherapy and BSC.
OBJECTIVE: Patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) may be insufficiently treated pharmacologically. Recently, we presented a person-centred integrated Palliative advanced homecaRE and heart FailurE caRe (PREFER) strategy and compared it with usual care (control). Patients managed according to PREFER had improved health-related quality of life and markedly reduced hospitalisations compared with the control group. We hypothesised that these improvements may have been partly due to better drug treatments within the PREFER strategy. Thus, our aim in this study was to explore the management of drug treatments in the PREFER group compared with the control group.
METHODS: Doses and numbers of drugs and the number of patients receiving the target doses based on current guidelines were measured and compared between the groups at the start and finish of the study.
RESULTS: The percentages of ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (MRAs) increased, while loop diuretics decreased in the PREFER arm during the study, although the differences were not significant. Beta-receptor blockers (BBs) decreased somewhat in both groups. The number of patients treated with MRAs differed the most between groups, and increased from 10 (28%) to 15 (48%) in the PREFER arm compared with 13 (35%) vs 13 (39%) in the control group. The change in patients receiving full target doses (+8 vs. +1) of the ACEIs/angiotensin receptor blockers, BBs and MRAs were significantly higher (p=0009) in the PREFER arm than in the control arm.
CONCLUSIONS: Person-centred integrated care of patients with severe CHF was associated with increased evidence-based drug treatments, especially MRAs.
CLINICAL TRIAL NUMBER: NCT01304381.