Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the psychosocial distress and associated factors in advanced cancer patients consulting at the outpatient Palliative Care Unit at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico City.
Design: A retrospective study was conducted using electronic records (June 2015 to December 2016).
Sample: A total of 646 patients with advanced cancer during their first visit to the outpatient palliative care unit at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico were evaluated using the Distress Thermometer (DT) and ECOG performance status scores.
Findings: Overall, 62% were women, with a median age of 57 years, and married (54.8%). The most frequent diagnosis was gastrointestinal cancer (28.6%), and 38.9% had a functional performance status of ECOG 2. The median DT score was 4.0 (IQR = 2–6), with 56% reporting DT scores =4. The three most frequent problems =4 were sadness (82.6%), feeling weak (81.2%), worry (79.6%), and <4 were feeling weak (57.7%), fatigue (55.6%), and financial security (52.1%). The variables associated with distress according to the multiple logistic regression analysis were problems with housing (OR = 2.661, 95% CI = 1.538–4.602), sadness (OR = 2.533, 95% CI = 1.615–3.973), transportation (OR = 1.732, 95% CI = 1.157–2.591), eating (OR = 1.626, 95% CI = 1.093–2.417), nervousness (OR = 1.547, 95% CI = 1.014–2.360), and sleep (OR = 1.469, 95% CI = 1.980–2.203).
Conclusion: The principal factors were related to distress levels, housing problems, transportation issues, and emotional problems such as sadness, nervousness, lower functionality, and younger age. Therefore, psychosocial support is of considerable relevance in palliative care. These findings will help clinicians understand the distress of patients with advanced cancer in palliative care in Latin American countries.
OBJECTIVE: To report the clinical and demographic characteristics of advanced cervical cancer patients referred to the palliative care service (PC) at a major cancer center in Mexico.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study of patients with advanced CC referred to the PC of INCan, between January 2011 to December 2015. Demographic and clinical characteristics at the time of admission to the INCan, time to referral to palliative care, initial ESAS evaluation and follow-up.
RESULTS: 359 patients were included, median age 51 years, poor, low education. Most patients (90%), received tumor specific treatment, presence of nephrostomies and other tumor related complication was frequent. Median time to referral was 335 days, more than 50% had 5 or more symptoms, pain and fatigue were the most prevalent.
CONCLUSIONS: Advanced CC patients have a high burden of symptoms; PC is only considered at the end of life. Efforts for an early referral to PC should be made.
COVID-19 has overwhelmed the capacity of health care systems, limiting access to supportive and palliative care for patients with advanced cancer. Telemedicine has emerged as a tool to provide care continuity to patients while limiting the risk of contagion. However, implementing telemedicine in resource-limited settings is challenging. We report the results of a multidisciplinary patient-navigator-led telemedicine supportive care program in Mexico City. One-hundred sixty-three telemedicine interventions were provided to 45 patients (median age 68, 57% female). A quarter of the patients had less than or equal to elementary school education, and 15% lived in a rural area. The most common interventions were psychological care (33%), pain and symptom control (25%), and nutritional counseling (13%). Half of the interventions were provided by video conferencing. The most common patient-reported barrier was limited experience using communication technology (). Our results demonstrate the feasibility of providing supportive and palliative care interventions using telemedicine in resource-limited settings.
OBJECTIVE: This study sought to compare the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Subscale (HADS-D) and Brief Edinburgh Depression Scale (BEDS) as case-finding tools of major depressive disorder in patients with advanced cancer in a palliative care service.
METHODS: An observational study was performed which included patients with advanced cancer who attended the palliative care service at the National Institute of Cancer in Mexico. Patients were asked to fill out the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and BEDS and were then assessed by a psychiatrist to evaluate major depressive disorder (MDD) as per the DSM-5 criteria. The case-finding capability of each scale was determined using receiver operating characteristic curves, assessing the area under the curve (AUC) in comparison to the clinical diagnosis.
RESULTS: Eighty-nine patients were included; median age was 57 years, and 71% were female. Among these, 19 patients were diagnosed with MDD during the interview. When comparing the self-reported scales, BEDS had a better performance compared with HADS-D (AUC 0.8541 vs. 0.7665). Limitations include a heterogeneous population and a limited sample size.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The BEDS outperformed the HADS-D tool in discriminating patients with and without depression. A BEDS cutoff value of =5 is suggested as a case-finding score for depression in this population.
Ce livre se présente sous la forme d'une invitation à découvrir la diversité des traditions funéraires dans le monde, des cercueils en cage d’Ecosse aux inhumations célestes du Tibet, en passant par les têtes momifiées de Nouvelle-Zélande et la fête des morts mexicaine.
OBJECTIVES: Hospice care (HC) is seen as a comprehensive approach, that enhances quality of end-of-life (EOL) care, for terminally ill patients. Despite its positive aspects, HC enrolment is disproportionate for rural patients, who are less likely to use HC in comparison to their urban counterparts. The purpose of this study was to explore decision-making experiences, related to utilisation of HC programmes from a retrospective perspective, with family caregivers (FCGs) in a rural US-Mexico border region.
DESIGN: This qualitative study was conducted from May 2017 to January 2018 using semistructured face to face interviews with FCGs. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
SETTING: The HC programme was situated at a local home health agency, located in rural Southern California, USA.
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-eight informal FCGs of patients who were actively enrolled in the HC programme agreed to participate in the study.
RESULTS: Conversation about HC as an option was initiated by home healthcare staff (39.3%), followed by physicians (32.1%). Emerging themes related to challenges in utilisation of HC and decision-making included: (1) communication barriers; (2) lack of knowledge/misperception about HC; (3) emotional difficulties, including fear of losing their patient, doubt and uncertainty about the decision, denial and (4) patients are not ready for HC. Facilitators included: (1) patient's known EOL wishes; (2) FCG-physician EOL communication; (3) the patient's deteriorating health and (4) home as the place for death.
CONCLUSIONS: HC patients' FCGs in this rural region reported a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of HC. It is recommended that healthcare providers need to actively engage family members in patient's EOL care planning. Optimal transition to an HC programme can be facilitated when FCGs are informed and have a clear understanding about patients' medical status along with information about HC.
End-of-life decision-making in patients with dementia is a complex topic. Belgium and the Netherlands have been at the forefront of legislative advancement and progressive societal changes concerning the perspectives toward physician-assisted death (PAD). Careful consideration of clinical and social aspects is essential during the end-of-life decision-making process in patients with dementia. Geriatric assent provides the physician, the patient and his family the opportunity to end life with dignity. Unbearable suffering, decisional competence, and awareness of memory deficits are among the clinical considerations that physicians should incorporate during the end-of-life decision-making process. However, as other societies introduce legislature granting the right of PAD, new social determinants should be considered; Mexico City is an example. Current perspectives regarding advance euthanasia directives (AED) and PAD in patients with dementia are evolving. A new perspective that hinges on the role of the family and geriatric assent should help culturally heterogeneous societies in the transition of their public health care policies regarding end-of-life choices.
Background: Little attention has been paid to the ways in which nurses personally experience, understand and assign meaning to providing palliative care.
Aim: A qualitative study of four nurses working with patients in the terminal phase in a hospital in Mexico was conducted to understand their lived professional experiences and relationships with death.
Methods: Four interviews were analysed using the Greimasian actantial-semiotic model. Actants were categorised by narrative role and their actions were analysed. The grammatical features of the narration were also examined.
Findings: Nurses sought a good death for the patient, which they typically achieved, and spiritual peace for themselves, which they often did not. Nurses placed a high value on personal, social and professional recognition for their work. The philosophical themes affecting nursing as a vocation that emerged included life and death, truth and honesty and the role of God and the family. These professional values were often contradictory, and these dilemmas should be addressed in professional training and support.
Alejandro rentrant chez lui après un bon repas, rencontre au coin d'une rue une femme pour le moins... squelettique. Jeune illustrateur voyageur, Mickaël Soutif nous raconte une histoire toute en rimes légères, habile prétexte à évoquer la mort d'un point de vue parfaitement original, celui des morts, avec pour décor la fête des morts au Mexique.
BACKGROUND: Admission to the emergency department (ED) of patients with advanced or end-of-life (EoL) cancer saturates the services that provide active medical attention to the complications of anticancer therapy, and the lack of specific protocol limits proper handling.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of patients with advanced cancer admitted to the ED at the EoL in a comprehensive cancer center in Mexico.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients admitted to ED of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico City, with 3 or less days before they died, between January 2011 and December 2018. The data collected included clinical and demographic characteristics, reason for admission to the ED, number of admissions to ED in the last month of life, and cancer treatment received.
RESULTS: A total of 426 patients were included; 60.8% were female with a median age of 60 years; 71.6% patients were receiving some kind of disease-modifying treatment, although the oncologist had considered they could die within 6 months, and 16 of them were receiving concomitant PC. 8.9% of these patients had been admitted 3 or more times to the ED in the last month. The principal reasons for admission to ED were dyspnea, uncontrolled pain, 12 patients were admitted in active death and 94 died within hours of admission to ED.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care approach in oncological patients admitted to ED is important to avoid unnecesary suffering at the EoL.
This study explores how medical students feel about caring for terminally ill patients as well as how their medical courses prepare them for addressing end-of-life (EOL) issues with patients. Four hundred and five Mexican medical students were surveyed through the Student Views on Death questionnaire. The vast majority of students (94%) felt that physicians should inform patients of their impending death. Most students said they felt comfortable talking with (61%) or examining (76%) terminally ill patients. However, only half the students actually talked with patients about death. Participants in our study were interested in learning about EOL medical attention, yet most considered themselves poorly prepared to offer this type of care to terminally ill patients. The study provides objective data on a topic that has scarcely been explored in Mexico, data that will be useful in designing educational activities to improve EOL medical training.
À la Toussaint, les populations amérindiennes du Mexique déposent des aliments et des boissons sur les tombes et les autels dressés dans les maisons, afin d’apporter un réconfort aux morts réputés être engagés dans un épuisant cheminement post-mortem. Quel sens attribuer à cette « vitalité » post-mortem ? Comment expliquer que des êtres, que l’on ne peut percevoir, puissent se mouvoir et consommer des aliments ? En s’appuyant sur les résultats d’une enquête ethnographique réalisée chez les Mixe de l’État de Oaxaca, cet article apporte des éléments de réponses à cette interrogation. En même temps que la mise au jour des conceptions relatives aux mécanismes physiologiques à l’œuvre chez les morts, l’enjeu est de déterminer quelles relations sociales les vivants établissent par l’intermédiaire de la nourriture et des boissons avec ces êtres au statut ambivalent à qui les familles doivent rendre hommage tout en maintenant une certaine distance.
Background: The ethical principle of justice demands that resources be distributed equally and based on evidence. Guidelines regarding forgoing of CPR are unavailable and there is large variance in the reported rates of attempted CPR in in-hospital cardiac arrest. The main objective of this work was to study whether local culture and physician preferences may affect spur-of-the-moment decisions in unexpected in-hospital cardiac arrest.
Methods: Cross sectional questionnaire survey conducted among a convenience sample of physicians that likely comprise code team members in their country (Indonesia, Israel and Mexico). The questionnaire included details regarding respondent demographics and training, personal value judgments and preferences as well as professional experience regarding CPR and forgoing of resuscitation.
Results: Of the 675 questionnaires distributed, 617 (91.4%) were completed and returned. Country of practice and level of knowledge about resuscitation were strongly associated with avoiding CPR performance. Mexican physicians were almost twicemore likely to forgo CPR than their Israeli and Indonesian/Malaysian counterparts [OR1.84 (95% CI 1.03, 3.26), p = 0.038]. Mexican responders also placed greater emphasison personal and patient quality of life (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, degree of religiosity was most strongly associated with willingness to forgo CPR; orthodox respondents were more than twice more likely to report having forgone CPR for apatient they do not know than secular and observant respondents, regardless of the country of practice [OR 2.12 (95%CI 1.30, 3.46), p = 0.003].
Conclusions: In unexpected in-hospital cardiac arrest the decision to perform or withhold CPR may be affected by physician knowledge and local culture as well as personal preferences. Physician CPR training should include information regarding predictors of patient outcome at as well as emphasis on differentiating between patient and personal preferences in an emergency.
BACKGROUND: Physicians play a fundamental role in the care of patients at the end of life that includes knowing how to accompany patients, alleviate their suffering and inform them about their situation. However, in reality, doctors are part of this society that is reticent to face death and lack the proper education to manage it in their clinical practice. The objective of this study was to explore the residents' concepts of death and related aspects, their reactions and actions in situations pertaining to death in their practice, and their perceptions about existing and necessary training conditions.
METHODS: A qualitative approach was used to examine these points in depth based on interviews conducted with seven oncology residents.
RESULTS: Participants do not have a clear concept of death and, although it is seen as a common phenomenon, they consider it an enemy to beat. The situations to which respondents react more frequently with frustration and sadness after the death of patients were when they felt emotionally involved, if they identify with the patient, in cases of pediatric patients and with patients who refuse treatment. To deal with death, participants raise barriers and attempt to become insensitive. Although residents in this study recognize the importance of training to learn how to better deal with death, it seems they are not fully invested in reaching more of it.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants face death in a daily basis without the necessary training, which appears to impact them more than they are willing to accept. They do not achieve their goals managing situations regarding death as well as they assume they do. Despite recognizing the need of more training and support for better coping with death, they prefer to continue to learn from their experience.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Not applicable.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care (PC) for patients with malignant hematological diseases is scarcely documented, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to document PC provided to patients with hematologic malignancies.
METHODS: Bidirectional study conducted from July 2016 to June 2019 at the hematology and palliative care departments at a reference center in Northeast Mexico for low-income open population uninsured patients. Clinical records and electronic files of patients with malignant hematological diseases of both sexes and all ages attending an academic hematology center were reviewed. Statistical analysis was performed with the SPSS version 22 program. Acute and chronic leukemias, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and others were included.
RESULTS: Five-hundred ten patients were studied, of which 148 (29%) died. Eighty-one (15.88%) patients including 31 (20.9%) who died received PC. Median age at palliative diagnosis was 42 (2-91) years. The most common symptom was pain (69.7%). The most frequent reason for palliative referral was treatment-refractory disease (39%). During the last week of life, 19 (95%) of 20 patients had blood sampling; 17 (85%) received antibiotics; 16 (80%) had a urinalysis performed; 16 (80%) received analgesia, including paracetamol (11, 35.5%) and buprenorphine (7, 22.6%); 10 (50%) received blood products; 9 (45%) were intubated; and central venous catheters were inserted in 5 (25%) patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Palliative care was provided to a minority of patients with hematologic malignancies and considerable improvement is required in its timely use and extension.
INTRODUCTION: Family caregiver-provider communication is essential to making an effective hospice care transition for patients. Despite the importance of this topic, there is little information about how caregivers in rural US-Mexico border regions navigate hospice care transition and their needs. This study explores the family caregivers' experience relating to their end-of-life (EOL) communication and needs for hospice care transition.
METHODS: In-depth interviews using qualitative methods were conducted with 28 informal caregivers of patients who are enrolled in home hospice care in a rural US-Mexico border region. Thematic analysis was applied to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Qualitative themes that emerged include (1) lack of/insufficient EOL communication and (2) informational needs, including (a) signs of symptom changes, (b) EOL treatment options and goals of care, and (c) hospice care and its benefits. Limited caregiver-provider EOL communication was observed, in which the majority of the caregivers (n = 22, 78.6%) were informed of the patient's terminal condition, but only half (n = 15, 53.6%) had a discussion with the providers about hospice care.
CONCLUSION: Timely EOL communication between caregivers and the providers is key to the patient's optimal transition to hospice care. Providers need to be aware of the caregivers' informational needs relating to patient symptoms and health condition as well as hospice care. It is important to be aware of the impact of cultural values on hospice care placement. A clear explanation about the purpose and functions of hospice care and its benefit can better guide the family caregivers in making hospice care decisions.
Background: Cancer is a major burden of disease and a public health problem, as it is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. It is estimated that 25% of cancer patients die without receiving proper pain management.
Objective: To acknowledge the epidemiological profile of first-time patients at the palliative care service of a referral center, along with the pharmaceutical treatment and social and familiar implications of the treatment costs in first-time patients.
Methods: A survey including 28 questions was conducted including 490 first-time patients at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico City.
Results: Median age was 53 years; 63.3% (n = 310) were females; 72% were married or single (50.5% and 21.2%, respectively). The most frequent diagnoses were gastrointestinal tumors, followed by urological, and skin/soft tissue carcinomas (19.8%, 12.5%, and 12%, respectively). Pain prevalence was 50.4% among the cohort. From the subgroup of participants with pain, 26.7% presented an intensity =7.
Conclusions: As most patients in our study presented pain, there is a need of strengthening public policy about opioid treatments.
Research on marital status-gender differences in later-life trajectories of cognitive functioning is scarce. Drawing on seven waves of data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly, this research uses growth curve models to examine later-life dynamics of cognitive functioning among married and widowed older men and women of Mexican descent (aged 65+; N = 3329). The findings demonstrate that the widowed, regardless of gender, had lower initial levels of cognition but a less steep cognitive decline across waves, compared to married men. Age and socioeconomic resources accounted for these marital status differences in levels and rates of change in cognitive functioning completely among widowed men and partially among widowed women. Moreover, net of all the factors, married women had a slower cognitive decline than married men. This study also shows that health and social integration might shape cognitive functioning among older adults of Mexican descent.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the patterns of end-of-life (EOL) health care for older Mexican-Americans with or without a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD). Our objective was to investigate the frequency of acute hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) use, and ventilator use during the last 30-days of life for deceased older Mexican-American Medicare Beneficiaries with and without an ADRD diagnosis.
METHODS: We used Medicare claims data linked with survey information from 1,090 participants (mean age of death 85.1 years) of the Hispanic EPESE. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds for hospitalization, ICU use, and ventilator use in the last 30-days of life for decedents with ADRD compared to those without ADRD. Generalized linear models were used to estimate risk ratio for length of hospital stay (LOS).
RESULTS: Within the last 30-days of life, 64.5% of decedents had an acute hospitalization (59.1% ADRD, 68.3% no ADRD), 33.9% had an ICU stay (31.3% ADRD, 35.8% no ADRD), and 17.2% used a ventilator (14.9% ADRD, 18.8% no ADRD). ADRD was associated with significantly lower hospitalizations (OR=0.67, 95% CI=0.50-0.89) and shorter LOS (RR=0.77, 95% CI=0.65-0.90).
CONCLUSION: Hospitalization, ICU stay, and ventilator use are common at the end of life for older Mexican-Americans. The lower hospitalization and shorter LOS of decedents with ADRD indicate a modest reduction in acute care use. Future research should investigate the impact of EOL planning on acute-care use and quality of life in terminally ill Mexican-American older adults.