BACKGROUND: The ERANet-LAC CODE (Care Of the Dying Evaluation) international survey assessed quality of care for dying cancer patients in seven countries, by use of the i-CODE questionnaire completed by bereaved relatives. The aim of this sub study was to explore which factors improve or reduce quality of end-of-life (EOL) care from Norwegian relatives' point of view, as expressed in free text comments.
METHODS: 194 relatives of cancer patients dying in seven Norwegian hospitals completed the i-CODE questionnaire 6-8 weeks after bereavement; recruitment period 14 months; response rate 58%. Responders were similar to non-responders in terms of demographic details.104 participants (58% spouse/partner) added free text comments, which were analyzed by systematic text condensation.
RESULTS: Of the 104 comments, 45% contained negative descriptions, 27% positive and 23% mixed. 78% described previous experiences, whereas 22% alluded to the last 2 days of life. 64% of the comments represented medical/surgical/oncological wards and 36% palliative care units. Four main categories were developed from the free text comments: 1) Participants described how attentive care towards the practical needs of patients and relatives promoted dignity at the end of life, which could easily be lost when this awareness was missing. 2) They experienced that lack of staff, care continuity, professional competence or healthcare service coordination caused uncertainty and poor symptom alleviation. 3) Inadequate information to patient and family members generated unpredictable and distressing final illness trajectories. 4) Availability and professional support from healthcare providers created safety and enhanced coping in a difficult situation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that hospitals caring for cancer patients at the end of life and their relatives, should systematically identify and attend to practical needs, as well as address important organizational issues. Education of staff members ought to emphasize how professional conduct and communication fundamentally affect patient care and relatives' coping.
BACKGROUND: The anaesthetic propofol is often mentioned as a drug that can be used in palliative sedation. The existing literature of how to use propofol in palliative sedation is scarce, with lack of information about how propofol could be initiated for palliative sedation, doses and treatment outcomes.
AIM: To describe the patient population, previous and concomitant medication and clinical outcome when propofol was used for palliative sedation.
METHODS: A retrospective study with quantitative and qualitative data. All patients who during a four-and-a-half-year period received propofol for palliative sedation at the Department of palliative medicine, Akershus University Hospital, Norway were included.
RESULTS: Fourteen patients were included. In six patients the main indication for palliative sedation was pain, in seven dyspnoea and in one delirium. In eight of these cases propofol was chosen because of the pharmacokinetic properties (rapid effect), and in the remaining cases because midazolam in spite of dose titration failed to provide sufficient symptom relief. In all patients sedation and adequate symptom control was achieved during manual dose titration. During the maintenance phase three of fourteen patients had spontaneous awakenings. At death propofol doses ranged from 60 to 340 mg/hour.
CONCLUSIONS: Severe suffering at the end of life can be successfully treated with propofol for palliative sedation. This can be performed in palliative medicine wards, but skilled observation and dose titration throughout the period of palliative sedation is necessary. Successful initial sedation does not guarantee uninterrupted sedation until death.
Purpose: Patients' views on quality are important to improve person-centered palliative care. There is a lack of short, validated instruments incorporating patients' perspectives of the multidisciplinary palliative care services. The aim of this study was to develop a short form of the instrument Quality from the Patient's Perspective for Palliative Care (QPP-PC) and to describe and compare patients' perceptions of the subjective importance (SI) of care aspects and their perceptions of care received (PR).
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Norway including 128 patients (67% response rate) in four palliative care contexts. The QPP-PC, based on a person-centered theoretical framework, incorporating the multidisciplinary palliative care, comprises 4 dimensions; medical-technical competence, physical-technical conditions, identity-oriented approach and sociocultural atmosphere, 12 factors (49 items) and 3 single items. The instrument measures SI and PR. Development of the short form of the QPP-PC was inspired by previously published methodological guidelines. Descriptive statistics, paired t-tests, confirmatory factor analysis and Cronbach's a were used.
Results: The short form of QPP-PC consists of 4 dimensions, 20 items and 4 single items. Psychometric evaluation showed a root-mean-square error of approximation (RMSEA) value of 0.109 (SI). Cronbach's a values ranged between 0.64 and 0.85 for most dimensions on SI scales. Scores on SI and PR scales were mostly high. Significantly higher scores for SI than PR were present for the identity-oriented approach dimension, especially on items about information.
Conclusion: RMSEA value was slightly above the recommended level. Cronbach's a was acceptable for most dimensions. The short form of QPP-PC shows promising results and may be used with caution as an indicator of person-centered patient-reported experience measures evaluating the multidisciplinary palliative care for patients in a late palliative phase. However, the short version of QPP-PC needs to be further validated using new samples of patients.
Background: Anticancer treatment exposes patients to negative consequences such as increased toxicity and decreased quality of life, and there are clear guidelines recommending limiting use of aggressive anticancer treatments for patients near end of life. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life and adverse events contributing to death and elucidate how adverse events can be used as a measure of quality and safety in end-of-life cancer care.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 247 deceased hospitalised cancer patients at three hospitals in Norway in 2012 and 2013. The Global Trigger Tool method were used to identify adverse events. We used Poisson regression and binary logistic regression to compare adverse events and association with use of anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life.
Results: 30% of deceased hospitalised cancer patients received some kind of anticancer treatment during the last 30 days of life, mainly systemic anticancer treatment. These patients had 62% more adverse events compared to patients not being treated last 30 days, 39 vs. 24 adverse events per 1000 patient days (p < 0.001, OR 1.62 (1.23–2.15). They also had twice the odds of an adverse event contributing to death compared to patients without such treatment, 33 vs. 18% (p = 0.045, OR 1.85 (1.01–3.36)). Receiving follow up by specialist palliative care reduced the rate of AEs per 1000 patient days in both groups by 29% (p = 0.02, IRR 0.71, CI 95% 0.53–0.96).
Conclusions: Anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life is associated with a significantly increased rate of adverse events and related mortality. Patients receiving specialist palliative care had significantly fewer adverse events, supporting recommendations of early integration of palliative care in a patient safety perspective.
Background: Many deaths in Norway occur in medical wards organized to provide curative treatment. Still, medical departments are obliged to meet the needs of patients at the end of life. Here, we analyse the electronic patient record regarding documentation of the transition from curative to palliative care (i.e. the ‘turning point’). Considering the consequences of these decisions for patients, they have received surprisingly little attention from researchers. This study aims to investigate how the patient record denotes reasons for the shift from curative treatment to palliation and how texts involve voices of the patient and their families.
Methods: The study comprised excerpts from electronic patient records retrieved from medical wards in three urban hospitals in Norway. We executed a retrospective analysis of anonymized extracts from 16 electronic patient records, searching for documentation on the transition from curative to palliative care.
Results: In the development of the turning point, the texts usually shift from statements about the patient’s clinical status and technical findings to displaying uncertainty and openness to negotiation with different textual voices. This shift may represent a need to align or harmonize the attitudes of colleagues, family, and patient towards the turning-point decision. The patient’s voice is mostly absent or reported only briefly when, in their notes, nurses gave an account of the patient’s opinion. None of the physicians’ notes provided a detailed account of patient attitudes, wishes, and experiences.
Conclusion: In this article, we have analysed textual representations of patient transitions from curative to end-of-life care. The ‘reality’ behind the text has not been our concern. As the only documentation left, the patient record is an adequate basis for considering how patients are estimated and cared for in their last days of life.
Background : Despite significant developments in palliative care in recent decades, we still find important differences in access to and delivery of care in rural Norway.
Objective : The aim of this study was to explore what healthcare professionals consider necessary to provide equality in care for palliative patients in rural areas.
Methods : A qualitative approach with focus group discussions and individual interviews with 52 health professionals was used, starting with 5 uniprofessional focus groups of general practitioners and nurses/cancer nurses, followed by 5 interprofessional groups and 6 individual interviews. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically.
Results : We found local variations in organization, competence and access to palliative care, and challenging geographical conditions. It was essential to be proactive, flexible and willing to go the extra mile, but this may conceal the need for a stronger focus on competence and organization of palliative care. Access to written guidelines and practical tools was important, as was forming palliative teams for particular situations.
Conclusions : palliative care needs strengthening in rural areas, and increased competence for all healthcare professionals is vital to increase equality in care. Geographical conditions require locally adapted solutions. Access to guidelines and interprofessional collaboration are essential.
Implications for Practice : Rural palliative care needs in Norway are improving, as exemplified by at least 1 cancer nurse assigned to each local authority, and access to guidelines and palliative tools and interprofessional collaboration.
Background: Several publications have addressed the need for a systematic integration of oncological care focused on the tumor and palliative care (PC) focused on the patient with cancer. The exponential increase in anticancer treatments and the high number of patients living longer with advanced disease have accentuated this. Internationally, there is now a persuasive argument that introducing PC early during anticancer treatment in patients with advanced disease has beneficial effects on symptoms, psychological distress, and survival.
Methods: This is a national cluster-randomized trial (C-RCT) in 12 Norwegian hospitals. The trial investigates effects of early, systematic integration of oncology and specialized PC in patients with advanced cancer in six intervention hospitals compared with conventional care in six. Hospitals are stratified on the size of local catchment areas before randomization. In the intervention hospitals, a three-part complex intervention will be implemented. The backbone of the intervention is the development and implementation of patient-centered care pathways that contain early, compulsory referral to PC and regular and systematic registrations of symptoms. An educational program must be completed before patient inclusion. A total of 680 patients with advanced cancer and one caregiver per patient are included when patients come for start of last line of chemotherapy, defined according to national treatment guidelines. Data registration, clinical variables, and patient- and caregiver-reported outcomes take place every 2 months for 1 year or until death. The primary outcome is use of chemotherapy in the last 3 months of life by comparing the proportion of patients who receive this in the intervention and control groups. Primary outcome is use of chemotherapy in the last 3 months before death, i.e. number of patients. Secondary outcomes are initiation, discontinuation and number of cycles, last 3 months of life, administration of other medical interventions in the last month of life, symptom burden, quality of life (QoL), satisfaction with information and follow-up, and caregiver health, QoL, and satisfaction with care.
Discussion: Results from this C-RCT will be used to raise the awareness about the positive outcomes of early provision of specialized palliative care using pathways for patients with advanced cancer receiving medical anticancer treatment. The long-term clinical objective is to integrate these patient-centered pathways in Norwegian cancer care. The specific focus on the patient and family and the organization of a predictable care trajectory is consistent with current Norwegian strategies for cancer care.
Introduction: Early access to cancer palliative care is recommended. Descriptions of structures and processes of outpatient palliative care clinics operated within smaller hospitals are scarce. This paper presents the development and operation of a fully integrated cancer and palliative care outpatient clinic at a local hospital in a rural region of Mid-Norway offering palliative care concurrent with cancer treatment. A standardized care pathway was applied.
Methods: Palliative care is in Norway part of the public healthcare system. Official recommendations recent years point out action points to improve delivery of palliative care. An integrated cancer and palliative care outpatient clinic at a local hospital and an innovative care delivery model was developed and operated in this setting. Patients were recruited for a descriptive study of the patient population. Clinical data were collected by clinical staff and 13 symptom intensities were reported by the patients.
Results: Cancer and palliative care were provided by one team of healthcare professionals trained in both fields. There was a close collaboration with the other departments at the hospital, with its affiliated tertiary hospital, and with community health and care services to provide timely referral, enhanced continuity, and improved coordination of care. Eighty-eight patients were included. Mean age was 65.6 years, the most common cancer diagnoses were digestive organs (22.7%), male genital organs (20.5%) or breast (25.0%), 75.0% had metastatic or locally advanced cancer, 59.1% were treated with non-curative intention and 93.1% had Karnofsky Performance Status = 80%. Median scores of individual symptoms ranged from 0 to 3 (numerical rating scale, 0–10) and 61.0% reported at least one clinically significant symptom rating (= 4).
Conclusion: This delivery model of integrated outpatient cancer and palliative care is particularly relevant in rural regions allowing cancer patients access to palliative care earlier in the disease trajectory and closer to home
Community health-care services for older, home-dwelling persons with dementia tend to be underutilised. Family care-givers provide substantial care, and they often arrange for and co-ordinate health-care services on behalf of persons with dementia. The aim of this study was to examine family care-givers’ knowledge of unused services and their self-reported reasons for non-use of such services. We gathered cross-sectional survey data from 430 family care-givers of older persons with dementia in Northern Norway. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of family care-givers’ knowledge of unused services. An open-ended question regarding reasons for non-use of services was analysed by thematic text analysis. Characteristics of family care-givers (e.g. education level) and factors related to the care-giving circumstances (e.g. negative impact of care-giving) predicted family care-givers’ knowledge of unused services. Reasons for non-use of services were multifaceted and complex, and were related to attributes of the person with dementia and/or the family care-giver (e.g. reluctance to use services) and/or the health-care services (e.g. low quality). Although services were unused, several family care-givers indicated substantial needs for the services. Strategies aimed at addressing the non-use of services should emphasise individuals’ and families’ needs and the adaptation of information about available services and their benefits for both care recipients and family care-givers. A relationship-centred care approach is thus recommended in dementia care.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Advance care planning (ACP) is communication about wishes and preferences for end-of-life care. ACP is not routinely used in any Norwegian hospitals. We performed a pilot study (2014-2017) introducing ACP on a thoracic medicine ward in Norway. The aims of this study were to explore which topics patients discussed during ACP conversations and to assess how patients, relatives and clinicians experienced the acceptability and feasibility of performing ACP.
METHODS: Conversations were led by a study nurse or physician using a semistructured guide, encouraging patients to talk freely. Each conversation was summarised in a report in the patient's medical record. At the end of the pilot period, clinicians discussed their experiences in focus group interviews. Reports and transcribed interviews were analysed using systematic text condensation.
RESULTS: Fifty-one patients participated in ACP conversations (41-86 years; 9 COPD, 41 lung cancer, 1 lung fibrosis; 11 women); 18 were accompanied by a relative. Four themes emerged: (1) disturbing symptoms, (2) existential topics, (3) care planning and (4) important relationships. All participants appreciated the conversations. Clinicians (1 physician and 7 nurses) participated in two focus group interviews. Reports from ACP conversations revealed patient values previously unknown to clinicians; important information was passed on to primary care. Fearing they would deprive patients of hope, clinicians acted as gatekeepers for recruitment. Although they reported barriers during recruitment, many clinicians saw ACP as pertinent and called for time and skills to integrate it into their daily clinical practice.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients, relatives and clinicians showed a positive attitude towards ACP. Focusing on present and future symptom control may be an acceptable way to introduce ACP. Important aspects for implementing ACP in this patient group are management support, education, training, feasible routines and allocated time to perform the conversations.
Background: Economic analyses of end-of-life care often focus on single aspects of care in selected cohorts leading to limited knowledge on the total level of care required to patients at their end-of-life. We aim at describing the living situation and full range of health care provided to patients at their end-of-life, including how informal care affects formal health care provision, using the case of colorectal cancer.
Methods: All colorectal cancer decedents between 2009 and 2013 in Norway (n = 7695) were linked to six national registers. The registers included information on decedents’ living situation (days at home, in short- or long-term institution or in the hospital), their total health care utilization and costs in the secondary, primary and home- and community-based care setting. The effect of informal care was assessed through marital status (never married, currently married, or previously married) using regression analyses (negative binominal, two-part models and generalized linear models), controlling for age, gender, comorbidities, education, income, time since diagnosis and year of death.
Results: The average patient spent four months at home, while he or she spent 27 days in long-term institutions, 16 days in short-term institutions, and 21 days in the hospital. Of the total costs (~NOK 400,000), 58, 3 and 39% were from secondary carers (hospitals), primary carers (general practitioners and emergency rooms) and home- and community-based carers (home care and nursing homes), respectively. Compared to the never married, married patients spent 30 more days at home and utilized less home- and community-based care, but more health care services at the secondary and primary health care level. Their total healthcare costs were significantly lower (-NOK 65,621) than the never married. We found similar, but weaker, patterns for those who had been married previously.
Conclusion: End-of-life care is primarily provided in the secondary and home-and community-based care level, and informal caregivers have a substantial influence on formal end-of-life care provision. Excluding aspects of care such as home and community-based care or informal care in economic analyses of end-of-life care provides a biased picture of the total resources required, and might lead to inefficient resource allocations.
BACKGROUND: As palliative care increasingly takes place in patients' homes, perceptions of security among patients in the late palliative phase and their relatives are important.
AIM: To describe and compare patient-relative dyads regarding their perceptions of security in palliative homecare, including the perceived security of the actual care given to the patients, as well as the subjective importance of that care.
METHODS: A cross sectional questionnaire study including 32 patient-relative dyads was conducted in an urban municipality in Norway. Patients were in a late palliative phase and received palliative homecare. Each patient proposed one relative. Data were collected using a modified version of the Quality from the Patients' Perspective instrument (QPP), which focuses on security and comprises three dimensions: medical-technical competence, identity-orientation approach and physical-technical conditions. Context-specific scales containing four aspects (competence, continuity, coordination/cooperation, availability) were added. The instrument contains two response scales; perceived reality (PR) and subjective importance (SI). Data were analysed by descriptive statistics, Chi-squared test, T-test and Wilcoxon's signed rank test.
RESULTS: Patients had high mean scores on the PR-scale for the sense of security in palliative homecare in the dimensions of medical-technical competence and physical-technical conditions. There were three low mean scores on the PR-scale: the aspect of continuity from patients and the aspects of continuity and coordination/cooperation from relatives. The patients scored the SI scale statistically significantly higher than the PR scale in the identity-orientation approach dimension and in the aspect of continuity, while relatives did so in all dimensions and aspects. The intra-dyadic patient-relative comparisons show statistically significant lower scores from relatives on the PR-scale in the dimensions of medical-technical competence, physical-technical conditions, identity-orientation approach and the aspect coordination/cooperation.
CONCLUSIONS: There are several statistically significant differences between patients and relatives' perceptions of security in the palliative homecare received (PR) compared with the subjective importance of the care (SI) and statistically significant differences in the patient-relative dyads in PR. A relatively mutual sense of security in palliative homecare is important for patient-relative dyads, as relatives often provide care and act as patients' spokespersons. What they assess as important can guide the development of palliative homecare.
Aim and objectives: The aim of this study was to explore family caregivers’ experiences with palliative care for a close family member with severe dementia in long-term care facilities.
Background: Dementia not only affects individuals but also affects and changes the lives of close family members. An increasing number of dementia-related deaths occur in long-term care facilities; therefore, it is critical to understand how healthcare professionals support and care for residents with dementia and their families at the end of life.
Design: A qualitative design with a phenomenological approach was adopted.
Methods: In-depth interviews were performed with 10 family caregivers of residents in 3 Norwegian long-term care facilities.
Results: The family caregivers’ experiences with palliative care for a close family member with severe dementia in long-term care facilities were characterized by responsibility and guilt. Admission to a long-term care facility became a painful relief for the family caregivers due to their experiences with the poor quality of palliative care provided. The lack of meaningful activities and unsatisfactory pain relief enhanced the feelings of responsibility and guilt among the family caregivers. Despite the feelings of insecurity regarding the treatment and care given during the early phase of the stay, the family caregivers observed that their close family member received high-quality palliative care during the terminal phase. The family caregivers wanted to be involved in the care and treatment, but some felt that it became a heavy responsibility to participate in ethical decision-making concerning life-prolonging treatment.
Conclusions: The family caregivers experienced ongoing responsibility for their close family members due to painful experiences with the poor quality of the palliative care provided. When their expectations regarding the quality of care were not met, the palliative care that was offered increased their feeling of guilt in an already high-pressure situation characterized by mistrust.
Although positive growth is possible following the loss of a loved one, meaning construction and redefinition of reality may represent a very difficult transition. Professionals must be careful in how they convey optimism and the prospects of growth to families that have recently suffered trauma and loss. At the same time, it is certainly true that they are able to steer people towards recognition of strengths and the possibility of growth and learning. In this article, various approaches that could be used in establishing such outcomes are communicated, in order to assist in providing a way in which people can make life bearable after tragedy has struck.
BACKGROUND: 52% of all deaths in Norway occur in nursing homes. Still advance care planning (ACP) is scarce and heterogeneous. To improve the implementation and practice of ACP in nursing homes, knowledge about health care professionals' views on ACP is vital. The objective of this study is to explore nurses and physicians' aims and experiences with carrying out ACP in nursing homes.
METHODS: Semi-structured group interviews were conducted with 20 health care professionals, recruited from nursing homes where ACP was performed regularly. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data.
RESULTS: The primary aim of the nursing home professionals when doing ACP in nursing homes were to build alliances with next of kin to avoid misunderstandings and future conflicts. Two main experiences with ACP were described: i) due to the sensitivity of ACP issues, it was important to balance directness with being sensitive, and ii) when the physicians raised questions concerning future medical treatment, the answers from residents as well as next of kin were often hesitant and unclear.
CONCLUSION: Our study add insights into how ACP is practiced in nursing homes and the professionals' agenda. A focus on medical issues and achieving consensus with next of kin may result in lack of involvement of the residents and limited awareness of the residents' needs. Interdisciplinary approaches, ACP-training and tailored guidelines may improve the implementation and practice of ACP.
BACKGROUND: Assisted dying is illegal in Norway, but a majority of the population is in favour of legalisation. Doctors’ attitudes to assisted dying were last investigated in 1993. Have their attitudes changed?
MATERIAL AND METHOD: two surveys undertaken among representative panel of practising doctors of the Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession in 2014 and 2016, respectively, included questions about assisted dying. The responses were analysed with the aid of descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
RESULTS: The response rates were 75.0 % (2014) and 73.1 % (2016). The majority was opposed to legalisation of assisted dying. In the 2016 survey, 9.1 % of the respondents reported to ‘strongly agree’ or ‘partially agree’ that physician-assisted suicide should be made legal for persons who suffer from ‘a fatal disease with short remaining life expectancy’. Younger and non-religious respondents took a positive view of legalisation more frequently than others. In the 2014 survey, 8.6 % of the respondents reported that they would be willing to provide physician-assisted suicide should it be made legal.
INTERPRETATION: As in 1993, a majority of Norwegian doctors were opposed to assisted dying, but now there seem to be more doctors than previously in favour of legalisation in certain cases. Only very few would be willing to provide assisted dying themselves in the event that it should it become permissible.
Aim: To explore how family caregivers experience involvement in palliative care.
Design: A qualitative design with a narrative approach was used.
Methods: Purposive sampling and narrative interviews were conducted. Eleven bereaved family caregivers for patients with cancer receiving palliative care were interviewed in Mid-Norway between November 2016-May 2017.
Results: We identified four themes related to family caregivers' experiences of involvement in the early, middle, terminal and bereavement phases of palliative care: (a) limited involvement in the early phase; (b) emphasis on patient-centred care in the middle phase; (c) lack of preparation for the dying phase; and (d) lack of systematic follow-up after death. Family caregivers experienced low level of involvement throughout the palliative pathway.
Conclusion: The involvement of family caregivers in palliative care may not be proportional to their responsibilities. The needs of family caregivers should be addressed in nursing education to give nurses competence to support family caregivers in providing home-based care.
Background: Few studies have estimated planned home deaths compared to actual place of death in a general population or the longitudinal course of home nursing services and associations with place of death. We aimed to investigate trajectories of nursing services, potentially planned home deaths regardless of place of death; and associations of place of death with potentially planned home deaths and nursing service trajectories, by analyzing data from the last 90 days of life.
Methods: A retrospective longitudinal study with data from the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry and National registry for statistics on municipal healthcare services included all community-dwelling people who died in Norway 2012–2013 (n = 53,396). We used a group-based trajectory model to identify joint trajectories of home nursing (hours per week) and probability of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay, each of the 13 weeks leading up to death. An algorithm estimated potentially planned home deaths. We used a multinomial logistic regression model to estimate associations of place of death with potentially planned home deaths, trajectories of home nursing and short-term SNF.
Results: We identified four home nursing service trajectories: no (46.5%), accelerating (7.6%), decreasing (22.1%), and high (23.5%) home nursing; and four trajectories of the probability of a SNF stay: low (69.0%), intermediate (6.7%), escalating (15.9%), and increasing (8.4%) SNF. An estimated 24.0% of all deaths were potentially planned home deaths, of which a third occurred at home. Only high home nursing was associated with increased likelihood of a home death (adjusted relative risk ratio (aRRR) 1.29; CI 1.21–1.38). Following any trajectory with elevated probability of a SNF stay reduced the likelihood of a home death.
Conclusions: We estimated few potentially planned home deaths. Trajectories of home nursing hours and probability of SNF stays indicated possible effective palliative home nursing for some, but also missed opportunities of staying at home longer at the end-of-life. Continuity of care seems to be an important factor in palliative home care and home death.
BACKGROUND: Controversies arise over abortion, assisted dying and conscientious objection (CO) in healthcare. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between attitudes towards these bioethical dilemmas, and secularity and religiosity.
METHOD: Data were drawn from a 2017 web-based survey of a representative sample of 1615 Norwegian adults. Latent moderated structural equations modelling was used to develop a model of the relationship between attitudes.
RESULTS: The resulting model indicates that support for abortion rights is associated with pro-secular attitudes and is a main "driver" for support for assisted dying and opposition to conscientious objection.
CONCLUSIONS: This finding should be regarded as a hypothesis which ought to be tested in other populations. If the relationship is robust and reproduced elsewhere, there are important consequences for CO advocates who would then have an interest in disentangling the debate about CO from abortion; and for health systems who ought to consider carefully how a sound policy on CO can safeguard both patient trust in the services and the moral integrity of professionals. It is suggested that if religiosity wanes and pro-secular and pro-abortion attitudes become more widespread, support for CO might decline, putting into question whether present policies of toleration of conscientious refusals will remain acceptable to the majority.
BACKGROUND: Multilevel uncertainty exists in the treatment of devastating brain injury and variation in end-of-life decision-making is a concern. Cognitive and emotional doubt linked to making challenging decisions have not received much attention. The aim of this study was to explore physicians´ doubt related to decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment within the first 72h after devastating brain injury and to identify the strategies used to address doubt.
METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 neurocritical care physicians in a Norwegian trauma centre (neurosurgeons, intensivists and rehabilitation specialists) followed by a qualitative thematic analysis.
RESULT: All physicians described feelings of doubt. The degree of doubt and how they dealt with it varied. Institutional culture, ethics climate and individual physicians´ values, experiences and emotions seemed to impact judgements and decisions. Common strategies applied by physicians across specialities when dealing with uncertainty and doubt were: 1. Provision of treatment trials 2. Using time as a coping strategy 3. Collegial counselling and interdisciplinary consensus seeking 4. Framing decisions as purely medical.
CONCLUSION: Decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment after devastating brain injury are crafted in a stepwise manner. Feelings of doubt are frequent and seem to be linked to the recognition of fallibility. Doubt can be seen as positive and can foster open-mindedness towards the view of others, which is one of the prerequisites for a good ethical climate. Doubt in this context tends to be mitigated by open interdisciplinary discussions acknowledging doubt as rational and a normal feature of complex decision-making.