BACKGROUND: Accessible indicators of aggressiveness of care at the end-of-life are useful to monitor implementation of early integrated palliative care practice. To determine the intensity of end-of-life care from exhaustive data combining administrative databases and hospital clinical records, to evaluate its variability across hospital facilities and associations with timely introduction of palliative care (PC).
METHODS: For this study designed as a decedent series nested in multicentre cohort of advanced cancer patients, we selected 997 decedents from a cohort of patients hospitalised in 2009-2010, with a diagnosis of metastatic cancer in 3 academic medical centres and 2 comprehensive cancer centres in the Paris area. Hospital data was combined with nationwide mortality databases. Complete data were collected and checked from clinical records, including first referral to PC, chemotherapy within 14 days of death, >=1 intensive care unit (ICU) admission, >=2 emergency department visits (ED), and >= 2 hospitalizations, all within 30 days of death.
RESULTS: Overall (min-max) indicator values as reported by facility providing care rather than the place of death, were: 16% (8-25%) patients received chemotherapy within 14 days of death, 16% (6-32%) had >=2 admissions to acute care, 6% (0-15%) had >=2 emergency visits and 18% (4-35%) had >=1 intensive care unit admission(s). Only 53% of these patients met the PC team, and the median (min-max) time between the first intervention of the PC team and death was 41 (17-112) days. The introduction of PC > 30 days before death was independently associated with lower intensity of care.
CONCLUSIONS: Aggressiveness of end-of-life cancer care is highly variable across centres. This validates the use of indicators to monitor integrated PC in oncology. Disseminating a quality audit-feedback cycle should contribute to a shared view of appropriate end-of-life care objectives, and foster action for improvement among care providers.
Context: Although palliative care is rapidly being disseminated throughout Japan as a result of government policy, a systematic syllabus of palliative medicine for physicians has not been developed.
Aims: This study aimed to develop a Japanese national consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for physicians.
Design: We used a modified Delphi method to develop the consensus syllabus.
Methods and Setting: We created a Delphi panel by selecting 20 expert eligible panelists consisting of Diplomate or Faculty of the Specialty Board of Palliative Medicine and certified by the Japanese Society for Palliative Medicine. We inducted external reviewers from 11 palliative care-related organizations.
Results: Among 20 experts surveyed, 20 (100%) responded over all rounds. Ten (50%) participated in a panel meeting. In the first round, 179 of 179 (100%) learning objectives were judged to be appropriate and 5 of 179 (3%) learning objectives were judged to be too difficult. In the panel meeting, 25 learning objectives were excluded, three new learning objectives were added, and 15 learning objectives were reworded. In the second round, 18 of 18 (100%) learning objectives were judged to be appropriate. The final version of the syllabus developed consists of 157 specific behavioural objectives and 22 general instructional objectives across 22 courses.
Conclusions: We have developed the first national consensus syllabus of palliative medicine for physicians in Japan. Based on this syllabus, a training program on palliative medicine will be established by training facilities in Japan, and physicians will be able to practice specific palliative care.
OBJECTIVE: Many patients with advanced serious illness or at the end of life experience delirium, a potentially reversible form of acute brain dysfunction, which may impair ability to participate in medical decision-making and to engage with their loved ones. Screening for delirium provides an opportunity to address modifiable causes. Unfortunately, delirium remains underrecognized. The main objective of this pilot was to validate the brief Confusion Assessment Method (bCAM), a two-minute delirium-screening tool, in a veteran palliative care sample.
METHOD: This was a pilot prospective, observational study that included hospitalized patients evaluated by the palliative care service at a single Veterans' Administration Medical Center. The bCAM was compared against the reference standard, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition. Both assessments were blinded and conducted within 30 minutes of each other. Result We enrolled 36 patients who were a median of 67 years (interquartile range 63-73). The primary reasons for admission to the hospital were sepsis or severe infection (33%), severe cardiac disease (including heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and myocardial infarction) (17%), or gastrointestinal/liver disease (17%). The bCAM performed well against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, for detecting delirium, with a sensitivity (95% confidence interval) of 0.80 (0.4, 0.96) and specificity of 0.87 (0.67, 0.96).Significance of Results Delirium was present in 27% of patients enrolled and never recognized by the palliative care service in routine clinical care. The bCAM provided good sensitivity and specificity in a pilot of palliative care patients, providing a method for nonpsychiatrically trained personnel to detect delirium.
Objective: Healthcare professionals who work in palliative care units face stressful life events on a daily basis, most notably death. For this reason, these professionals must be equipped with the necessary protective resources to help them cope with professional and personal burnout. Despite the well-recognized importance of the construct "meaning of work," the role of this construct and its relationship with other variables is not well-understood. Our objective is to develop and evaluate a model that examines the mediating role of the meaning of work in a multidisciplinary group of palliative care professionals. Using this model, we sought to assess the relationships between meaning of work, perceived stress, personal protective factors (optimism, self-esteem, life satisfaction, personal growth, subjective vitality), and sociodemographic variables.
Method: Professionals (n = 189) from a wide range of disciplines (physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, and chaplains) working in palliative care units at hospitals in Madrid and the Balearic Islands were recruited. Sociodemographic variables were collected and recorded. The following questionnaires were administered: Meaning of Work Questionnaire, Perceived Stress Questionnaire, Life Orientation Test-Revised, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Subjective Vitality Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Personal Growth Scale.
Result: The explanatory value of the model was high, explaining 49.5% of the variance of life satisfaction, 43% of subjective vitality, and 36% of personal growth. The main findings of this study were as follow: (1) meaning of work and perceived stress were negatively correlated; (2) optimism and self-esteem mediated the effect of stress on the meaning attached to work among palliative care professionals; (3) the meaning of work mediated the effect of stress on subjective vitality, personal growth, and life satisfaction; and (4) vitality and personal growth directly influenced life satisfaction.
Significance of results: The proposed model showed a high explanatory value for the meaning professionals give to their work and also for perceived stress, personal protective factors, and sociodemographic variables. Our findings could have highly relevant practical implications for designing programs to promote the psychological well-being of healthcare professionals.
"The Pause" was first practiced by a nurse at a Level 1 trauma center to honor the death of a deceased patient. This practice has spread internationally and is used in emergency departments, intensive care, transplant, and oncology units, in addition to pre-hospital settings. There is a paucity of research published on the effects of The Pause for health care workers. We used a three-staged Delphi methodology to understand the barriers, benefits, and language used in The Pause. Analyses of email communication and interview transcripts suggest that The Pause poses minimal risk and has considerable benefits. Benefits include increased perceived team cohesion, a moment for reflection, and a method by which to honor a deceased patient. The Pause allows nurses to feel more present to meet the needs of the next patient they care for during a shift. Further research is merited.
Background: There is no established method to objectively predict short-term prognosis. Recently, we proposed objective, short-term, prognostic predictive methods that are combinations of laboratory test items: WPCBAL score, derived from six values (white blood cell, platelet, C-reactive protein, blood urea nitrogen, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase). However, that study was conducted in an acute-phase hospital to identify the test items useful for prognostic prediction; thus, whether WPCBAL score could be applied to terminal cancer patients in a palliative care unit was unverified.
Objective: To verify the usefulness of WPCBAL score for terminal cancer patients.
Design: A retrospective study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients admitted to the palliative care unit of Ashiya Municipal Hospital (N = 128) in Japan in 2016.
Measurements: The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, accuracy, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) were compared between WPCBAL score and the Glasgow prognostic score (GPS).
Results: For predicting three-week prognosis, WPCBAL score showed higher AUROC compared with GPS (0.7540 and 0.6573, respectively). WPCBAL score predicting two-week prognosis showed greater AUROC than GPS predicting three-week prognosis (0.7491 and 0.6573, respectively).
Conclusion: WPCBAL score was verified to objectively predict the two- or three-week prognosis for terminal cancer patients in a palliative care unit. WPCBAL score may be a new option for prognostic prediction for terminal cancer patients.
This study proposes a method for calculating the annual incidence rate of sibling bereavement among US youth using national epidemiological data. The proposed model combines data on family household size with national death statistics to calculate the number of siblings affected by the death of a child annually. From 2012 to 2015, an average of 61,389 children per year experienced the death of a sibling, resulting in an estimate of 0.0832% of children bereaved by the death of a sibling annually. Data indicate a need for greater awareness and dialog concerning the frequency with which children experience the death of a sibling.
To provide an appropriate method to systematically analyze the hospital discharge of terminally ill patients especially the cooperation between hospital and community nurses and the quality of the discharge handovers. To evaluate the hospital discharge process of terminally ill patients in an academic hospital in the Netherlands using the proposed method. Data were collected from a prospective cohort of all terminally ill patients discharged from the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands, between June and November 2014. The hospital discharges were assessed using 2 questionnaires: an inventory questionnaire, to determine the required care, and an evaluation questionnaire, to evaluate the care actually organized and the discharge handovers. The inventory questionnaire was completed prior to discharge and the evaluation questionnaire between 3 to 7 days after discharge. Around 130 consecutive patients were included. The discharge took place on the desired date in 86% of cases and the average overall discharge grade on a 10-point scale was 7.4 (range: 3-9.5). In 23% of cases discrepancies between required and provided care were identified and medication queries existed in 29%.This study provides a methodology to analyze the hospital discharge procedure of terminally ill patients that can be utlized in any hospital. Structured analysis of the discharge process is valuable and identifies where improvements can be made. Within the study cohort the home care could be arranged at short notice and was considered sufficient. However, in a significant proportion of patients a discrepancy between required and arranged care and queries about medication were identified.
BACKGROUND:: Despite the increasing number of people requiring palliative care at home, there is limited evidence on how home-based palliative care is best practised.
AIM:: The aim of this participatory qualitative study is to determine the characteristics that contribute to brilliant home-based palliative care.
DESIGN:: This study was inspired by the brilliance project - an initiative to explore how positive organisational scholarship in healthcare can be used to study brilliant health service management from the viewpoint of patients, families, and clinicians. The methodology of positive organisational scholarship in healthcare was combined with video-reflexive ethnography.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS:: Home-based specialist palliative care services across two Australian states participated in the study. Clinicians were able to take part in the study at different levels. Pending their preference, this could involve video-recording of palliative care, facilitating and/or participating in reflexive sessions to analyse and critique the recordings, identifying the characteristics that contribute to brilliant home-based palliative care, and/or sharing the findings with others.
RESULTS:: Brilliance in home-based palliative care is contingent on context and is conceptualised as a variety of actions, people, and processes. Care is more likely to be framed as brilliant when it is epitomised: anticipatory aptitude and action; a weave of commitment; flexible adaptability; and/or team capacity-building.
CONCLUSION:: This study is important because it verifies the characteristics of brilliant home-based palliative care. Furthermore, these characteristics can be adapted for use within other services.
BACKGROUND: Systematic measurement of conversational features in the natural clinical setting is essential to better understand, disseminate, and incentivize high quality serious illness communication. Advances in machine-learning (ML) classification of human speech offer exceptional opportunity to complement human coding (HC) methods for measurement in large scale studies.
OBJECTIVES: To test the reliability, efficiency, and sensitivity of a tandem ML-HC method for identifying one feature of clinical importance in serious illness conversations: Connectional Silence.
DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional analysis of 354 audio-recorded inpatient palliative care consultations from the Palliative Care Communication Research Initiative multisite cohort study.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Hospitalized people with advanced cancer.
MEASUREMENTS: We created 1000 brief audio "clips" of randomly selected moments predicted by a screening ML algorithm to be two-second or longer pauses in conversation. Each clip included 10 seconds of speaking before and 5 seconds after each pause. Two HCs independently evaluated each clip for Connectional Silence as operationalized from conceptual taxonomies of silence in serious illness conversations. HCs also evaluated 100 minutes from 10 additional conversations having unique speakers to identify how frequently the ML screening algorithm missed episodes of Connectional Silence.
RESULTS: Connectional Silences were rare (5.5%) among all two-second or longer pauses in palliative care conversations. Tandem ML-HC demonstrated strong reliability (kappa 0.62; 95% confidence interval: 0.47-0.76). HC alone required 61% more time than the Tandem ML-HC method. No Connectional Silences were missed by the ML screening algorithm.
CONCLUSIONS: Tandem ML-HC methods are reliable, efficient, and sensitive for identifying Connectional Silence in serious illness conversations.
Global policy places emphasis on the implementation and usage of advance care planning (ACP) to inform decision making at the end of life. For people with dementia, where its use is encouraged at the point of diagnosis, utilisation of ACP is relatively poor, particularly in parts of Europe. Using a constructivist grounded theory methodology, this study explores the ways in which co-residing couples considered ACP. Specifically, it seeks to understand the ways in which people with dementia and their long-term co-residing partners consider and plan, or do not plan, for future medical and social care. Sixteen participants were interviewed. They identified the importance of relationships in the process of planning alongside an absence of formal service support and as a result few engaged in ACP. The study recognises the fundamental challenges for couples in being obliged to consider end-of-life issues whilst making efforts to ‘live well’. Importantly, the paper identifies features of the ACP experience of a relational and biographical nature. The paper challenges the relevance of current global policy and practice, concluding that what is evident is a process of ‘emergent planning’ through which couples build upon their knowledge of dementia, their networks and relationships, and a number of ‘tipping points’ leading them to ACP. The relational and collective nature of future planning is also emphasised.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning involves considering, discussing and documenting future wishes in case a person is unable to make or communicate decisions. Given people with dementia are at high risk of future decisional incapacity, it is critical that advance care planning occurs early in the illness trajectory.
AIM: To determine (1) the number of intervention studies published between 1997 and July 2017 that aimed to increase advance care planning for persons with dementia, (2) the methodological quality of studies and (3) the effectiveness of interventions in increasing advance care planning for persons with dementia.
DESIGN: Systematic review.
DATA SOURCES: Medline, Cochrane, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINAHL were searched for articles published from 1997 to July 2017. Studies were included if they utilised a methodologically robust study design and reported on an intervention designed to increase participation in advance care planning for persons with dementia that was targeted at the person with dementia and/or a carer/family member. Methodological quality was assessed independently by two authors.
RESULTS: Four studies met the criteria for inclusion. Methodological quality was variable. Two studies did not report analyses comparing advance care planning outcomes for intervention and control participants. A third study found no effect for a nurse-facilitator intervention. The fourth study found that a structured conversation about end-of-life care with a family member increased the likelihood of advance care orders being listed in residents' records.
CONCLUSION: There is little evidence about effective strategies to improve participation in advance care planning for persons with dementia. Methodologically rigorous intervention trials are needed to test interventions that encourage timely participation.
Well-designed, randomized trials demonstrate that outpatient palliative care improves symptom burden and quality of life (QOL) while it reduces unnecessary health care use in patients with cancer. Despite the strong evidence of benefit and ASCO recommendations, implementation of outpatient palliative care, especially in community oncology settings, faces considerable hurdles. This article, which is based on published literature and expert opinion, presents practical strategies to help oncologists make a strong clinical and fiscal case for outpatient palliative care. This article outlines key considerations for how to build an outpatient palliative care program in an institution by (1) defining the scope and benefits; (2) identifying strategies to overcome common barriers to integration of outpatient palliative care into cancer care; (3) outlining a business case; (4) describing successful models of outpatient palliative care; and (5) examining important factors in design and operation of a palliative care clinic. The advantages and disadvantages of different delivery models (e.g., embedded vs. independent) and different methods of referral (triggered vs. physician discretion) are reviewed. Strategies to make the case for outpatient palliative care that align with institutional values and/or are supported by local institutional data on cost savings are included.
BACKGROUND: Complicated and persistent grief reactions afflict approximately 10% of bereaved individuals and are associated with severe disruptions of functioning. These maladaptive patterns were defined in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD), but its criteria remain debated. The condition has been studied using network analysis, showing potential for an improved understanding of PCBD. However, previous studies were limited to self-report and primarily originated from a single archival dataset. To overcome these limitations, we collected structured clinical interview data from a community sample of newly conjugally bereaved individuals (N = 305).
METHODS: Gaussian graphical models (GGM) were estimated from PCBD symptoms diagnosed at 3, 14, and 25 months after the loss. A directed acyclic graph (DAG) was generated from initial PCBD symptoms, and comorbidity networks with DSM-5 symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were analyzed 1 year post-loss.
RESULTS: In the GGM, symptoms from the social/identity PCBD symptoms cluster (i.e. role confusion, meaninglessness, and loneliness) tended to be central in the network at all assessments. In the DAG, yearning activated a cascade of PCBD symptoms, suggesting how symptoms lead into psychopathological configurations. In the comorbidity networks, PCBD and depressive symptoms formed separate communities, while PTSD symptoms divided in heterogeneous clusters.
CONCLUSIONS: The network approach offered insights regarding the core symptoms of PCBD and the role of persistent yearnings. Findings are discussed regarding both clinical and theoretical implications that will serve as a step toward a more integrated understanding of PCBD.
Studies indicate research ethics committee (REC) approval and clinician gatekeeping are two key barriers in recruiting children and young people (CYP) with life-limiting conditions (LLCs) and life-threatening illnesses (LTIs) and their families to research.
OBJECTIVES: To explore the reported experiences, difficulties and proposed solutions of chief investigators (CIs) recruiting CYP with LLCs/LTIs and families in the UK.
METHODS: 61 CIs conducting studies with CYP with LLCs/LTIs and their families, identified from the UK National Institute of Health Research portfolio, completed an anonymous, web-based questionnaire, including both closed and open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics and inductive and deductive coding were used to analyse responses.
RESULTS: UK CIs cited limitations on funding, governance procedures including Research and Development, Site-Specific and REC approval processes, and clinician gatekeeping as challenges to research. CIs offered some solutions to overcome identified barriers such as working with CYP and their families to ensure their needs are adequately considered in study design and communicated to ethics committees; and designing studies with broad inclusion criteria and developing effective relationships with clinicians in order to overcome clinician gatekeeping.
CONCLUSIONS: Many of the challenges and solutions reported by UK CIs have applicability beyond the UK setting. The involvement of clinicians, patients and their families at the inception of and throughout paediatric palliative care research studies is essential. Other important strategies include having clinician research champions and increasing the visibility of research. Further research on the perspectives of all stakeholders, leading to mutually agreed guidance, is required if care and treatment are to improve.
BACKGROUND: There is a pressing need to improve end-of-life care in acute settings. This requires meeting the learning needs of all acute care healthcare professionals to develop broader clinical expertise and bring about positive change. The UK experience with the Liverpool Care of the Dying Pathway (LCP), also demonstrates a greater focus on implementation processes and daily working practices is necessary.
METHOD : This qualitative study, informed by Normalisation Process Theory (NPT), investigates how a tool for end-of-life care was embedded in a large Australian teaching hospital. The study identified contextual barriers and facilitators captured in real time, as the ‘Clinical Guidelines for Dying Patients’ (CgDp) were implemented. A purposive sample of 28 acute ward (allied health 7 [including occupational therapist, pharmacists, physiotherapist, psychologist, speech pathologist], nursing 10, medical 8) and palliative care (medical 2, nursing 1) staff participated. Interviews (n = 18) and focus groups (n = 2), were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using an a priori framework of NPT constructs; coherence, cognitive participation, collective action and reflexive monitoring.
RESULTS: The CgDp afforded staff support, but the reality of the clinical process was invariably perceived as more complex than the guidelines suggested. The CgDp 'made sense' to nursing and medical staff, but, because allied health staff were not ward-based, they were not as engaged (coherence). Implementation was challenged by competing concerns in the acute setting where most patients required a different care approach (cognitive participation). The CgDp is designed to start when a patient is dying, yet staff found it difficult to diagnose dying. Staff were concerned that they lacked ready access to experts (collective action) to support this. Participants believed using CgDp improved patient care, but there was an absence of participation in real time monitoring or quality improvement activity.
CONCLUSIONS: We propose a model, which addresses the risks and barriers identified, to guide implementation of end-of-life care tools in acute settings. The model promotes interprofessional and interdisciplinary working and learning strategies to develop capabilities for embedding end of life (EOL) care excellence whilst guided by experienced palliative care teams. Further research is needed to determine if this model can be prospectively applied to positively influence EOL practices.
CONTEXT: Hospital-based palliative care consultation teams (PCCTs) are rapidly being disseminated throughout Japan. The roles of PCCTs have changed over the past decade, particularly with the introduction of a modified national cancer care act to promote early palliative care and integrated oncology and palliative care.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to develop a consultation team standard for hospital-based palliative care in Japan.
METHODS/DESIGN: We developed a provisional standard based on literature review, and used a modified questionnaire-based Delphi method. Our Delphi panel comprised 20 experts selected from all relevant disciplines.
RESULTS: All experts selected responded to the surveys over all rounds, and 14 of the 20 participated in the panel meeting. In the first-round, 79 of 109 statements were judged to be appropriate, and 30 of 109 led to disagreements. 16 of those 30 statements underwent minor revision, 1 was divided into two statements, and 13 remained unchanged. We then added 6 statements based on a discussion among participants and authors. Additionally, based on comments from an external reviewer, we revised the standard, resulting in 4 statements being combined into 2 for a new total of 114 statements. In the second-round, 108 of 114 statements were judged to be appropriate, and in the third-round, none of the 6 controversial statements were judged to be appropriate. The final version comprised 108 statements.
CONCLUSION: We developed a standard for PCCTs in Japanese cancer hospitals. This standard provides a useful guide for clinical activities and a tool to evaluate quality of palliative care.
Il est intéressant de mettre à la discussion une idée communément admise, à savoir que la crémation serait une pratique contestant des modèles établis, étant entendu que ses promoteurs, les crématistes, s'inscrivaient dans cette mouvance. Or, il n'est pas sûr que le recours à la crémation s'inscrive aujourd'hui dans ce cadre. Afin de poser les éléments du débat, il faut discuter la manière dont les sociologues se saisissent de cette question en identifiant les postures méthodologiques et les enjeux contemporains liés à l'étude de la crémation. Il se trouve que cette mise à l'épreuve peut nous amener à reconsidérer cette idée d'une césure entre crémation et inhumation.
When a child dies in the intensive care unit, many bereaved parents want relationships with their child's health care staff to continue in the form of follow-up care. However, the nature of these relationships and how they change across the parents' bereavement journey is currently unknown. This article explores early and ongoing relationships between parents and health care staff when a child dies in intensive care. Constructivist grounded theory methods were used to recruit 26 bereaved parents from four Australian pediatric intensive care units into the study. Data were collected via audio-recorded, semistructured interviews and analyzed using the constant comparative methods and theoretical memoing. Findings show that these relationships focus on Gradually disengaging, commonly moving through three phases after the child dies: Saying goodbye, Going home, and Seeking supports. These findings provide guidance to health care staff on what families need as they leave the intensive care unit and move through bereavement.
BACKGROUND: Many patients with advanced cancer receive chemotherapy close to death and are referred too late to palliative or hospice care, and therefore die under therapy or in intensive care units. Oncologists still have difficulties in involving patients appropriately in decisions about limiting tumor-specific or life-prolonging treatment.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this Ethics Policy for Advanced Care Planning and Limiting Treatment Study is to develop an ethical guideline for end-of-life decisions and to evaluate the impact of this guideline on clinical practice regarding the following target goals: reduction of decisional conflicts, improvement of documentation transparency and traceability, reduction of distress of the caregiver team, and better knowledge and consideration of patients' preferences.
METHODS: This is a protocol for a pre-post interventional study that analyzes the clinical practice on treatment limitation before and after the guideline implementation. An embedded researcher design with a mixed-method approach encompassing both qualitative and quantitative methods is used. The study consists of three stages: (1) the preinterventional phase, (2) the intervention (development and implementation of the guideline), and 3) the postinterventional phase (evaluation of the guideline's impact on clinical practice). We evaluate the process of decision-making related to limiting treatment from different perspectives of oncologists, nurses, and patients; comparing them to each other will allow us to develop the guideline based on the interests of all parties.
RESULTS: The first preintervention data of the project have already been published, which detailed a qualitative study with oncologists and oncology nurses (n=29), where different approaches to initiation of end-of-life discussions were ethically weighted. A framework for oncologists was elaborated, and the study favored an anticipatory approach of preparing patients for forgoing therapy throughout the course of disease. Another preimplementational study of current decision-making practice (n=567 patients documented) demonstrated that decisions to limit treatment preceded the death of many cancer patients (62/76, 82% of deceased patients). However, such decisions were usually made in the last week of life, which was relatively late.
CONCLUSIONS: The intervention will be evaluated with respect to the following endpoints: better knowledge and consideration of patients' treatment wishes; reduction of decisional conflicts; improvement of documentation transparency and traceability; and reduction of the psychological and moral distress of a caregiver team.
REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER: RR1-10.2196/9698.