This dissertation provided population-based insights in the use and timing of palliative home care for end-stage COPD in Belgium and tested the applicability of a model of early-integrated palliative home care for end-stage COPD in the Flemish health care setting.
[Extrait résumé éditeur]
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a significant symptom burden despite maximal medical therapy, yet few are referred for concomitant palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the utilization and impact of palliative care on the location of death and to identify clinical variables associated with palliative care contact.
DESIGN: Retrospective chart review from 2010 to 2016 at the VA Western New York Healthcare System using ICD-9/10 diagnosis of COPD. Palliative care contact was identified by Z51.5 or stop code 353.
RESULTS: Only 0.5% to 2% of living patients received palliative care, increasing abruptly at death (6%). Lower diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) (greater emphysema) was associated with palliative care contact, independent of comorbid disease burden or age. Initial outpatient contact was associated with a longer duration of palliative care (P = .003) and death in a home-like setting. Outpatient palliative care was associated with more severe airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second, percent predicted [FEV1%]), whereas greater disease exacerbation frequency was associated with inpatient contact. COPD patients not referred to palliative care had a greater comorbid disease burden, similar FEV1%, fewer disease exacerbations, and a greater DLCO.
CONCLUSION: Few patients with COPD received palliative care, similar to national trends. Initial outpatient palliative contact had the longest duration of care and death in the preferred home environment. The extent of emphysema (DLCO reduction) and more frequent disease exacerbations identified in patients were more likely to receive palliative care. Our study begins to define the benefits of palliative care in advanced COPD and confirms underutilization in the years before death, where a prolonged impact on the quality of life may be realized.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To uncover what is known about nurse-led models or interventions that have integrated palliative care into the care of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
BACKGROUND: COPD is a highly symptomatic, incurable disease characterised by chronic symptoms that without appropriate palliation, can lead to unnecessary suffering for patients and their caregivers. While palliative care practices can relieve suffering and improve quality of life, most palliative models of care remain cancer-focused. New models, including nurse-led care that integrate palliative care for patients with COPD could address patient suffering and therefore need to be explored.
METHOD: A mixed-studies integrative review was undertaken. Seven databases were searched for articles published between 2008 and 2018. The PRISMA framework was applied to the search and six studies met the review eligibility criteria. Content analysis of the articles was undertaken and data were compared, looking for different nurse-led models and outcomes related to palliative care in COPD.
RESULTS: Nurse-led, integrated palliative care models for patients with COPD are rare and just four of the six articles found in this review had published results. Advance Care Planning was found to be the most common focus for nurse-led interventions in COPD and in all cases, results demonstrated an improvement in end of life discussions and completion of advance care directives. Of the reviewed articles, none used a qualitative framework to explore nurse-led models that integrated palliative care in COPD.
CONCLUSION: While nurse-led Advance Care Planning was one type of palliative care practice associated with positive patient outcomes, there is a need for deeper exploration of nurse-led models that holistically address the bio-psycho-social-spiritual needs of patients with COPD, and their caregivers.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Integrating nurse led supportive care clinics into COPD services could be a way forward to address the unmet bio-psycho-social-spiritual needs of patients with COPD, and their caregivers.
Purpose: Baseline use of corticosteroids is associated with poor outcomes in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with programmed cell death-1 axis inhibition. To approach the question of causation versus correlation for this association, we examined outcomes in patients treated with immunotherapy depending on whether corticosteroids were administered for cancer-related palliative reasons or cancer-unrelated indications.
Patients and methods: Clinical outcomes in patients with NSCLC treated with immunotherapy who received >= 10 mg prednisone were compared with outcomes in patients who received 0 to < 10 mg of prednisone.
RESULTS: Of 650 patients, the 93 patients (14.3%) who received >= 10 mg of prednisone at the time of immunotherapy initiation had shorter median progression-free survival (mPFS) and median overall survival (mOS) times than patients who received 0 to < 10 mg of prednisone (mPFS, 2.0 v 3.4 months, respectively; P = .01; mOS, 4.9 v 11.2 months, respectively; P < .001). When analyzed by reason for corticosteroid administration, mPFS and mOS were significantly shorter only among patients who received >= 10 mg prednisone for palliative indications compared with patients who received >= 10 mg prednisone for cancer-unrelated reasons and with patients receiving 0 to < 10 mg of prednisone (mPFS, 1.4 v 4.6 v 3.4 months, respectively; log-rank P < .001 across the three groups; mOS, 2.2 v 10.7 v 11.2 months, respectively; log-rank P < .001 across the three groups). There was no significant difference in mPFS or mOS in patients receiving >= 10 mg of prednisone for cancer-unrelated indications compared with patients receiving 0 to < 10 mg of prednisone.
CONCLUSION: Although patients with NSCLC treated with >= 10 mg of prednisone at the time of immunotherapy initiation have worse outcomes than patients who received 0 to < 10 mg of prednisone, this difference seems to be driven by a poor-prognosis subgroup of patients who receive corticosteroids for palliative indications.
BACKGROUND: People living with chronic heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and interstitial lung disease (ILD) suffer impaired quality of life due to burdensome symptoms and depression. The Advancing Symptom Alleviation with Palliative Treatment (ADAPT) trial aims to determine the effect of a multidisciplinary, team-based intervention on quality of life in people with these common diseases.
METHODS/DESIGN: The ADAPT trial is a two-site, patient-level randomized clinical trial that examines the effectiveness of the ADAPT intervention compared to usual care on patient-reported quality of life at 6 months in veterans with CHF, COPD or ILD with poor quality of life and increased risk for hospitalization or death. The ADAPT intervention involves a multidisciplinary team-a registered nurse, social worker, palliative care specialist, and primary care provider (with access to a pulmonologist and cardiologist)-who meet weekly to make recommendations and write orders for consideration by participants' individual primary care providers. The nurse and social worker interact with participants over six visits to identify and manage a primary bothersome symptom and complete a structured psychosocial intervention and advance care planning. The primary outcome is change in patient-reported quality of life at 6 months as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-General questionnaire. Secondary outcomes at 6 months include change in symptom distress, depression, anxiety, disease-specific quality of life hospitalizations, and advance care planning communication and documentation. Intervention implementation will be assessed using a mixed-methods approach including a qualitative assessment of participants' and intervention personnel experiences and a quantitative assessment of care delivery, resources, and cost.
DISCUSSION: The ADAPT trial studies an innovative intervention designed to improve quality of life for veterans with common, burdensome illnesses by targeting key underlying factors-symptoms and depression-that impair quality of life but persist despite disease-specific therapies. Leveraging the skills of affiliate health providers with physician supervision will extend the reach of palliative care and improve quality of life for those with advanced disease within routine outpatient care. The hybrid effectiveness/implementation design of the ADAPT trial will shorten the time to broader dissemination if effective and create avenues for future research.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02713347 . Registered March 19, 2016.
RATIONALE: Little direction exists on how to integrate early palliative care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
OBJECTIVES: To identify patient and family caregiver early palliative care needs across stages of COPD severity.
METHODS: As part of the Medical Research Council Framework developmental phase for intervention development, we conducted a formative evaluation study of patients with moderate to very severe COPD (FEV1/FVC < 70% and FEV1 < 80%-predicted) and their family caregivers. Validated surveys on quality of life (QOL), anxiety and depressive symptoms, and social isolation quantified symptom severity. Semi-structured interviews were analyzed for major themes on early palliative care and needs in patients and family caregivers and across COPD severity stages.
RESULTS: Patients (n=10) were a mean (±SD) age of 60.4±7.5 years, 50% African American, and 70% male, with 30% having moderate COPD, 30% severe COPD, and 40% very severe COPD. Family caregivers (n=10) were a mean age of 58.3±8.7 years, 40% African American, and 10% male. Overall, 30% (n=6) of participants had poor QOL, 45% (n=9) had moderate-severe anxiety symptoms, 25% (n=5) had moderate-severe depressive symptoms, and 40% (n=8) reported social isolation. Only 30% had heard of palliative care, and most participants had misconceptions that palliative care was end-of-life care. All participants responded positively to a standardized description of early palliative care and were receptive to its integration as early as moderate stage. Five broad themes of early palliative care needs emerged: 1) coping with COPD; 2) emotional symptoms; 3) respiratory symptoms; 4) illness understanding; and 5) prognostic awareness. Coping with COPD and emotional symptoms were commonly shared early palliative care needs. Patients with very severe COPD and their family caregivers prioritized illness understanding and prognostic awareness compared to those with moderate-severe COPD.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with moderate to very severe COPD and their family caregivers found early palliative care acceptable and felt it should be integrated before end-stage disease. Of the five broad themes of early palliative care needs, coping with COPD and emotional symptoms were the highest priority, followed by respiratory symptoms, illness understanding, and prognostic awareness.
Background: Observations indicate that struggling with a burden of an incurable disease such as advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may result in the weakening of an individual sense of dignity, and be a source of spiritual suffering. Clinicians providing respiratory care to patients should be open to their spiritual needs, in the belief it may improve coping with the end-of-life COPD.
Objectives: The study aimed to assess overall feasibility and potential benefits of Dignity Therapy (DT) in patients with advanced COPD. Methods: Patients with severe COPD, in whom a DT intervention was implemented according to the protocol established by Chochinov et al were included into the study. An self-designed questionnaire was applied to assess the patients' satisfaction after intervention. Subsequently, the patients' statements were allocated to specific problem categories, corresponding to the spiritual suffering concerns, as structured by Groves and Klauser.
Results: DT was completed in 10 patients, with no unexpected side effects. Satisfaction Questionnaire showed a positive effect of DT on the patient' well-being (3.9 on a 5-point Likert scale). The analyses of the patients' original statements enabled an effective identification of the spiritual suffering and spiritual resources and faced by COPD patients.
Conclusion: DT is an intervention well received by COPD patients, which may help them in recognising and fulfilling their spiritual needs in the last phase of their life. Information acquired on the patients' resources and spiritual challenges may help clinicians improve their care, especially with regard to supporting their patients at the end-of-life stage.
Introduction: Early integration of palliative interventions in patients with central airway obstruction (CAO) has shown to reduce patients' distress due to breathlessness and achieve better outcomes at lower cost. This retrospective review was performed to determine whether rigid bronchoscopic interventions alleviated the symptom burden and the requirement for continued mechanical ventilation in patients with CAO in a tertiary care hospital.
Materials and Methods: Detailed records of 105 patients with CAO were retrospectively studied. The Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) score for cough and dyspnea before and after the intervention was noted. A need for an escalation or reduction in level of care was also noted.
Results: The mean NRS score for dyspnea (n = 84) reduced from 7.5 (4-9) (before procedure) to 2.5 (2-6) after intervention (P < 0.01). The mean NRS score for cough (n = 68) also reduced from 6.5 (4-8) (before procedure) to 4 (3-7) after intervention (P < 0.01). Of these patients, bronchoscopic intervention allowed transfer out of the ICU in 14 patients (42%) and immediate withdrawal of mechanical ventilation in 8 patients (42%).
Conclusion: There is an instantaneous valuable palliation of symptoms and improved health-care utilization with airway tumor debulking and stenting. Multidisciplinary interventions with emphasis delivery of palliative care provide better care of patients with CAO.
BACKGROUND: Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a life-limiting disease with a significant symptom burden, the patients are more often referred to nursing homes (NH), than to specialist palliative care (SPC) at the end of life (EOL). This study aimed to compare patients with COPD in SPC with those in NH and to compare the care provided.
METHODS: A national register study was carried out where the Swedish National Airway Register and the Swedish Register of Palliative Care were merged. COPD patients who died in NHs or short-term facilities were included in the NH group (n = 415) and those who died in SPC were included in the SPC group (n = 355). Demographic and clinical variables were included from the Swedish National Airway Register and variables concerning EOL care from the Swedish Register of Palliative Care.
RESULTS: Symptom prevalence was similar in NHs and SPC, but symptom assessment (32% vs 20%), symptom relief medication (93-98% in SPC vs 74-90% in NH), EOL discussions (88% vs 66%), and bereavement support (94% vs 67%) were more likely in SPC (in all comparisons p < 0.001). Younger age and co-habiting increased the probability of dying in SPC (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Despite similar symptom prevalence, older persons are more likely to be referred to NHs. If applying a palliative care philosophy in NHs, routine symptom assessment and prescription of rescue medication for frequent symptoms, would be more likely. Promoting advance care planning and EOL discussions at an earlier stage would result in more prepared patients and families.
Advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is characterized by high morbidity and mortality. Patients with COPD and their families experience a range of stresses and suffering from a variety of sources throughout the disease's progression. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. It exists as a significant contributor to global morbidity and mortality, and it results in substantial economic and social burden. This review provides some key facts regarding disease burden and encourages clinician to familiarize themselves and use both conventional and palliative approach early in the disease progression for a better quality of life.
OBJECTIVES: Mechanical ventilation (MV) has been shown to improve survival and quality of life in motor neuron disease (MND). However, during the progression of MND, there may come a point when MV is no longer felt appropriate. Association of Palliative Medicine Guidelines have been recently published to help clinicians withdraw MV at the request of patients with MND in a safe and compassionate manner to ensure that symptoms of distress and dyspnoea are minimised.
METHODS: In this report, we discuss the palliative and ventilatory management of six ventilator-dependent patients with MND who had requested the withdrawal of MV as part of their end-of-life care.
RESULTS: We have withdrawn MV from six patients with MND at their request and our practice has been influenced by the Association of Palliative Medicine Guidelines.
CONCLUSION: Withdrawal of MV in MND at a patient's request is challenging but is also a fundamental responsibility of healthcare teams. We discuss the lessons we have learnt which will influence our practice and help other teams in the future.
OBJECTIVES: Advance care planning (ACP) can be a way to meet patients' end-of-life preferences and enhance awareness of end-of-life care. Thereby it may affect actual place of death (APOD) and decrease the rate of hospitalisations. The aim was to investigate if ACP among terminally ill patients with lung, heart and cancer diseases effects fulfilment of preferred place of death (PPOD), amount of time spent in hospital and APOD.
METHODS: The study was designed as a randomised controlled trial. Patients were assessed using general and disease-specific criteria and randomised into groups: one received usual care and one received usual care plus ACP. The intervention consisted of a discussion between a healthcare professional, the patient and their relatives about preferences for end-of-life care. The discussion was documented in the hospital file.
RESULTS: In total, 205 patients were randomised, of which 111 died during follow-up. No significant differences in fulfilment of PPOD (35% vs 52%, p=0.221) or in amount of time spent in hospital among deceased patients (49% vs 23%, p=0.074) were found between groups. A significant difference in APOD was found favouring home death in the intervention group (17% vs 40%, p=0.013).
CONCLUSION: Concerning the primary outcome, fulfilment of PPOD, and the secondary outcome, time spent in hospital, no differences were found. A significant difference concerning APOD was found, as more patients in the intervention group died at home, compared with the usual care group.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) has been suggested to improve the quality of life (QoL) and mental wellbeing in severely ill patients and their relatives.
AIM: To investigate the effects of ACP among patients with lung, heart and cancer diseases with an estimated life-span of up to 12 months.
METHODS: Patients and relatives were randomised into two groups: one receiving usual care and one receiving ACP and usual care. Themes from the ACP discussion were documented in patients' electronic medical file. Participants completed self-reported questionnaires four to five weeks after randomisation.
FINDINGS: In total, 141 patients and 127 relatives participated. No significant differences were found according to outcomes. However, patients with non-malignant diseases had the highest level of anxiety and depression; these patients seemed to benefit the most from ACP, though not showing statistically significant results.
CONCLUSION: No significant effects of ACP among patients with lung, heart, and cancer diseases and their relatives regarding HRQoL, anxiety, depression, and satisfaction with healthcare were found.
BACKGROUND: Little is known of how to organize non-malign palliative care, and existing knowledge show that patients with COPD live with unmet palliative needs and low quality of life. With the intent to improve palliative care for patients with COPD, we changed the structure of our outpatient clinic from routine visits by a pulmonary specialist to a structure where each patient was assigned a nurse, offered annual advance care planning dialogues, and ad hoc pulmonary specialist visits. The aim of this study was to explore COPD patients' experiences with a new and altered palliative organization.
METHODS: The design was interpretive description as described by Thorne. We conducted ten semi-structured interviews with patients with severe COPD from January 2017 to December 2017.
RESULTS: Patients described how the professional relationship and the availability of their nurse was considered as the most important and positive change. It made the patients feel safe, in control, and subsequently influenced their ability to self-manage their life and prevent being hospitalized. The patients did not emphasize the advanced care planning dialogues as something special or troublesome.
CONCLUSION: We showed that it is relevant and meaningful to establish a structure that supports professional relationships between patient, nurse and physician based on patients needs. The new way of structuring the outpatient care was highly appreciated by COPD patients and made them feel safe which brought confidence in self-management abilities.
Severe chronic breathlessness in advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is undertreated and few patients access specialist palliative care in the years before death. This study aimed to determine if symptom palliation or a palliative approach were delivered during the final hospital admission in which death occurred. Retrospective medical record audits were completed at two Australian hospitals, with all patients who died from COPD over 12 years between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2015 included. Of 343 patients included, 217 (63%) were male with median age 79 years (IQR 71.4–85.0). Median respiratory function: FEV1 0.80L (42% predicted), FVC 2.02L (73% predicted) and DLco 9 (42% predicted). 164 (48%) used domiciliary oxygen. Sixty (18%) patients accessed specialist palliative care and 17 (5%) wrote an advance directive prior to the final admission. In the final admission, 252 (74%) patients had their goal of care changed to aim for comfort (palliation) and 99 (29%) were referred to specialist palliative care. Two hundred and eighty-six (83%) patients received opioids and 226 (66%) received benzodiazepines, within 1 or 2 days respectively after admission to palliate symptoms. Median starting and final opioid doses were 10 mg (IQR = 5–20) and 20 mg (IQR = 7–45) oral morphine equivalent/24 h. Hospital site and year of admission were significantly associated with palliative care provision. Respiratory and general physicians provided a palliative approach to the majority of COPD patients during their terminal admission, however, few patients were referred to specialist palliative care. Similarly, there were missed opportunities to offer symptom palliation and a palliative approach in the years before death.
BACKGROUND: Chronic lung diseases, such as COPD, are a growing health concern within the veteran population. Palliative care programs have mainly focused on the needs of people with malignant disease in the past, however the majority of those worldwide needing palliative care have a non-malignant diagnosis. Additionally, palliative care provision can often be fragmented and varied dependent upon a patient's geographical location. This study aimed to explore palliative care provision for veterans with non-malignant respiratory disease, and their family carers, living in a rural area of America.
METHODS: Qualitative study involving a convenience sample of 16 healthcare professionals from a large veteran hospital in Boise, Idaho. Data collection consisted of 5 focus groups which were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Healthcare professionals perceived that a lack of education regarding disease progression enhanced feelings of anxiety amongst veterans with NMRD, and their family carers. Additionally, the uncertain disease trajectory impeded referral to palliative and hospice services due to healthcare professionals own ambiguity regarding the veteran's prognosis. A particular barrier also related to this particular patient population, was a perceived lack of ability to afford relevant services and a lack of local palliative service provision. Healthcare professionals expressed that a compounding factor to palliative care uptake was the perceptions held by the veteran population. Healthcare professionals expressed that alongside aligning palliative care with dying, veterans also viewed accepting palliative care as 'surrendering' to their disease. Findings indicated that telemedicine may be a beneficial platform to which palliative care can be provided to veterans with NMRD, and their family carers, in rural areas using a digital platform.
CONCLUSION: Non-malignant respiratory disease is a life limiting condition commonly experienced within the veteran population. A new model of palliative care utilising a dynamic digital platform for this particular veteran population may provide an optimal way of providing efficient holistic care to areas with limited palliative services.
Background: Patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are amenable to integrated palliative care (PC); however, despite the recommendation by various healthcare organizations, these patients have limited access to integrated PC services. In this study, we present the protocol of a feasibility prospective study that aims to explore if an "early integrated PC" intervention can be performed in an acute setting (cardiology and pulmonology wards) and whether it will have an effect on (i) the satisfaction of care and (ii) the quality of life and the level of symptom control of CHF/COPD patients and their informal caregivers.
Methods: A before-after intervention study with three phases, (i) baseline phase where the control group receives standard care, (ii) training phase where the personnel is trained on the application of the intervention, and (iii) intervention phase where the intervention is applied, will be carried out in cardiology and pulmonology wards in the University Hospital Leuven for patients with advanced CHF/COPD and their informal caregivers. Eligible patients (both control and intervention group) and their informal caregivers will be asked to complete the Palliative Outcome Scale, the CANHELP Lite, and the Advance Care Planning Questionnaire at the inclusion moment and 3 months after hospital discharge.
Discussion: The present study will assess the feasibility of carrying out PC-focused studies in acute wards for CHF/COPD patients and draw lessons for the further integration of PC alongside standard treatment. Further, it will measure the quality of life and quality of care of patients and thus shed light on the care needs of this population. Finally, it will evaluate the potential efficacy of the "early integrated palliative care" by comparing against existing practices..
INTRODUCTION: There is evidence that people with non-malignant disease receive poorer end-of-life (EOL) care compared to people with cancer. OBJECTIVES To assess the selected aspects of symptomatic treatment and communication between physicians and patients diagnosed with either advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer.
METHODS: A questionnaire survey was conducted on-line among members of Polish Respiratory Society (PRS).
RESULTS: Correctly filled-in questionnaires were returned by 174 respondents (27.2% of those proved to be contacted by e-mail). In COPD, 32% of respondents always/often used opioids in chronic breathlessness and 18.3% always/often referred patients to palliative care (PC) specialist. Nearly 80% of respondents regarded bedside talks with people with COPD on EOL issues as essential, although only 20% would always/often initiate them. In people with lung cancer, opioids were routinely used for relief of chronic breathlessness by 80.0% of physicians; 81.7% referred patients to PC. More than half of the respondents always/often discussed EOL issues with only the patient's caregivers/relatives. Younger physicians, those caring for higher numbers of people with lung cancer and those who were better acquainted with PRS recommendations for PC in chronic lung diseases seemed to provide better EOL care for COPD patients.
CONCLUSIONS: People with COPD were seldom treated with opioids to relieve chronic breathlessness, or referred to PC consultation compared to people with lung cancer. Discussing the EOL issues with a patient was generally found challenging by physicians, and most often pursued with caregivers instead. COPD recommendations on PC may help to provide better EOL care by pulmonologists.
Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is recognized as being a life-limiting condition with palliative care needs, palliative care provision is seldom implemented. The disease unpredictability, the misconceptions about palliative care being only for people with cancer, and only relevant in the last days of life, prevent a timely integrated care plan. This systematic review aimed to explore how palliative care is provided in advanced COPD and to identify elements defining integrated palliative care. Eight databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL, were searched using a comprehensive search strategy to identify studies on palliative care provision in advanced COPD, published from January 1, 1960 to November 30, 2017. Citation tracking and evaluation of trial registers were also performed. Study quality was assessed with a critical appraisal tool for both qualitative and quantitative data. Of the 458 titles, 24 were eligible for inclusion. Experiences about advanced COPD, palliative care timing, service delivery and palliative care integration emerged as main themes, defining a developing taxonomy for palliative care provision in advanced COPD. This taxonomy involves different levels of care provision and integrated care is the last step of this dynamic process. Furthermore, palliative care involvement, holistic needs' assessment and management and advance care planning have been identified as elements of integrated care. This literature review identified elements that could be used to develop a taxonomy of palliative care delivery in advanced COPD. Further research is needed to improve our understanding on palliative care provision in advanced COPD.
CONTEXT: At the end of life, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer (LC) patients exhibit similar symptoms; however, a large-scale study comparing end-of-life health care utilization between these two groups has not been conducted in East Asia.
OBJECTIVES: To explore and compare end-of-life resource use during the last 6 months before death between COPD and LC patients.
METHODS: Using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, we conducted a nationwide retrospective cohort study in COPD (n = 8,640) and LC (n = 3,377) patients who died between 1997 and 2013.
RESULTS: The COPD decedents were more likely to be admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) (57.59% vs 29.82%), to have longer ICU stays (17.59 vs 9.93 days), and to undergo intensive procedures than the LC decedents during their last 6 months; they were less likely to receive inpatient (3.32% vs 18.24%) or home-based palliative care (0.84% vs 8.17%) and supportive procedures than the LC decedents during their last 6 months. The average total medical cost during the last 6 months was approximately 18.42% higher for the COPD decedents than for the LC decedents.
CONCLUSION: Higher intensive health care resource use, including intensive procedure use, at the end of life suggests a focus on prolonging life in COPD patients; it also indicates an unmet demand for palliative care in these patients. Avoiding potentially inappropriate care and improving end-of-life care quality by providing palliative care to COPD patients are necessary.