The COMFORT Model has recently been revised based on feedback from bedside nurses working in palliative care and oncology and includes the following components: Connect, Options, Making Meaning, Family Caregiver, Openings, Relating, and Team. Based on clinical and nonclinical research in hospital, hospice, palliative care, and interdisciplinary education settings, the authors present the updated COMFORT Model. Originally introduced in 2012 to support the work of the nurse, the model is not a linear guide, an algorithm, a protocol, or a rubric for sequential implementation by nurses, but rather a set of communication principles that are practiced concurrently and reflectively during patient/family care. In its restructuring, we focus on the role of health literacy throughout the COMFORT components in relationship to the health literacy attributes of a health care organization. A brief summary of COMFORT components is provided and includes strategies and competencies contributing to a health-literate care organization. Both health literacy and COMFORT are explored using specific communication challenges that underscore the role of the nurse in accomplishing person-centered and culturally responsive care, especially in chronic and terminal illness. The integration of the COMFORT Model into nursing education is proposed.
OBJECTIVES: to establish the accuracy of community nurses' predictions of mortality among older people with multiple long-term conditions, to compare these with a mortality rating index and to assess the incremental value of nurses' predictions to the prognostic tool.
DESIGN: a prospective cohort study using questionnaires to gather clinical information about patients case managed by community nurses. Nurses estimated likelihood of mortality for each patient on a 5-point rating scale. The dataset was randomly split into derivation and validation cohorts. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate risk equations for the Revised Minimum Dataset Mortality Risk Index (MMRI-R) and nurses' predictions of mortality individually and combined. Measures of discrimination and calibration were calculated and compared within the validation cohort.
SETTING: two NHS Trusts in England providing case-management services by nurses for frail older people with multiple long-term conditions.
PARTICIPANTS: 867 patients on the caseload of 35 case-management nurses. 433 and 434 patients were assigned to the derivation and validation cohorts, respectively. Patients were followed up for 12 months.
RESULTS: 249 patients died (28.72%). In the validation cohort, MMRI-R demonstrated good discrimination (Harrell's c-index 0.71) and nurses' predictions similar discrimination (Harrell's c-index 0.70). There was no evidence of superiority in performance of either method individually (P = 0.83) but the MMRI-R and nurses' predictions together were superior to nurses' predictions alone (P = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: patient mortality is associated with higher MMRI-R scores and nurses' predictions of 12-month mortality. The MMRI-R enhanced nurses' predictions and may improve nurses' confidence in initiating anticipatory care interventions.
The complexities surrounding the dying process may distort rational decision-making and impact care at the end of life. Advance care planning, which focuses on identifying the individual's definition of quality of life, holds great potential to provide clarity at the end of life. Currently, young adults are not the intended audience for advance care planning. A quality improvement project engaged 36 college-age adults in structured group advance care planning discussions and evaluated the perceived value of a self-recorded advance directive. Findings from a pre- and postintervention survey suggested that young adults welcomed a conversation about end-of-life care; they wished for more information and expressed that a video-recorded advance directive stimulated thoughts about their own definition of quality of life. Participants' improved self-perception of comfort, confidence, certainty, and knowledge regarding the advance care planning process and end-of-life care indicated young adults may be a willing and eager population for the expansion of advance care planning. In addition to directing advance care planning to a younger audience, a personal video-recorded advance directive may complement the current advance care planning process and aid individuals in defining their quality of life.
Importance: Less than 25% of African American individuals have completed advance directives and are thus vulnerable to poor end-of-life care. Low-cost interventions are needed to increase engagement in advance care planning (ACP).
Objectives: To investigate whether an end-of-life conversation game motivates African American attendees to engage in ACP and to assess whether the game is well received and endorsed.
Exposures: Attendance at an end-of-life conversation game (Hello) played in groups of 4 to 6 participants for 60 minutes.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Prospective, mixed-methods cohort study conducted from 2018 to 2019 with a 3- to 11-month follow-up interview. Game events were held in 53 community venues across the US; 15 were purposively sampled for onsite research procedures. Of 428 attendees at purposively sampled sites, 386 (90%) consented to research procedures (6 attendees were removed from analysis for protocol deviation). Of 367 attendees who provided accurate contact information, 232 (63%) were contacted, and 220 were included in follow-up analyses.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was advance directive completion rates after the intervention. Secondary outcomes included rates of other ACP behaviors, ACP engagement, conversation satisfaction and realism, and participants’ Net Promoter Score (a measure of endorsement). Follow-up telephone interviews explored the game experience and relevant ACP behaviors of attendees.
Results: Of 380 individuals who participated (mean [SD] age, 62.2 [13.8] years; 304 were female [80%], and 348 were [92%] African American), none withdrew because of an adverse event. After the intervention, 91 of 220 attendees (41%) completed a new advance directive; 176 of 220 attendees (80%) discussed end-of-life wishes with loved ones, and 214 of 219 attendees (98%) completed at least 1 ACP behavior. There was a moderate increase in the self-efficacy domain on the ACP Engagement Survey (mean [SD] change from before to after the game, 0.54 [0.98]; P < .001). The mean (SD) conversation satisfaction score was 6.21 (0.93) (range, 1-7, with 7 being highest satisfaction), and the overall Net Promoter Score was 57.89 (range, -100 to 100, with 100 being highest endorsement). Interviews revealed 5 themes about the game: (1) it was a useful forum for ACP; (2) it provided new information and perspective; (3) it was emotionally beneficial; (4) it increased appreciation for ACP; and (5) it empowered and motivated participants to perform ACP. Mixed-methods integration showed convergence across data sets.
Conclusions and Relevance: Among a nationwide sample of African American individuals, the end-of-life conversation game appeared to be well received and was associated with high rates of ACP behavior. This low-cost and scalable tool may help reduce health disparities associated with end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: There is evidence that psychosocial and spiritual interventions of short duration, such as reminiscence therapy, provide positive impacts on quality of life and emotional and existential well-being in adults receiving palliative care.
AIM: To determine (1) the feasibility of integrating 'LIFEView', a video-based software with >1600 videos of world destinations, in palliative care settings, and (2) positive, neutral or harmful effects of using 'LIFEView' videos.
DESIGN: A mixed-methods pre-post intervention pilot study was conducted to collect feasibility and preliminary data on physical and psychological symptoms, physiological indicators, spiritual well-being and aspects of quality of life.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Adult patients on an inpatient palliative care unit or receiving care from a community palliative care consultation team who were capable of providing consent and completing the outcome measures were eligible participants.
RESULTS: Overall, 27/41 (66%) participants took part in the study. Feasibility criteria, including participant acceptability, low participant burden, tool completion rate and retention rate, were fulfilled, though challenges were experienced with recruitment. Modest improvements, though non-significant, were shown on preliminary data collected on physical and psychological symptoms using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-revised, spiritual well-being assessed by the 12-item Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Spiritual Well-Being scale and physiological measurements. Qualitative analysis revealed five themes: motivations for using 'LIFEView', perceptions of the technology, reminiscence, 'LIFEView' as an adaptable technology and ongoing or future use.
CONCLUSION: A future adequately powered study to investigate the impacts of 'LIFEView' on patient well-being and quality of life appears to be feasible.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care can improve outcomes for patients with advanced chronic heart failure and their families, but timely recognition of palliative care needs remains challenging.
AIM: The aim of this study was to identify characteristics of a tool to assess palliative care needs in chronic heart failure that are needed for successful implementation, according to patients, their family and healthcare professionals in The Netherlands.
METHODS: Explorative qualitative study, part of the project 'Identification of patients with HeARt failure with PC needs' (I-HARP), focus groups and individual interviews were held with healthcare professionals, patients with chronic heart failure, and family members. Data were analysed using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research.
RESULTS: A total of 13 patients, 10 family members and 26 healthcare professionals participated. Direct-content analysis revealed desired tool characteristics for successful implementation in four constructs: relative advantage, adaptability, complexity, and design quality and packaging. Healthcare professionals indicated that a tool should increase awareness, understanding and knowledge concerning palliative care needs. A tool needs to: be adaptable to different disease stages, facilitate early identification of palliative care needs and ease open conversations about palliative care. The complexity of chronic heart failure should be considered in a personalized approach.
CONCLUSIONS: The current study revealed the characteristics of a tool for timely identification of palliative care needs in chronic heart failure needed for successful implementation. The next steps will be to define the content of the tool, followed by development of a preliminary version and iterative testing of this version by the different stakeholders.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is recommended as a preferred practice for advance care planning with seriously ill patients. Decision aids can assist patients in advance care planning, but there are limited studies on their use for POLST decisions. We hypothesized that after viewing a POLST video, decision aid participants would demonstrate increased knowledge and satisfaction and decreased decisional conflict.
DESIGN: Pre-and postintervention with no control group.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Fifty community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older asked to complete a POLST based on a hypothetical condition.
INTERVENTIONS: Video decision aid for Sections A and B of the POLST form.
MEASUREMENTS: Pre- and postintervention participant knowledge, decisional satisfaction, decisional conflict, and acceptability of video decision aid.
RESULTS: Use of the video decision aid increased knowledge scores from 11.24 ± 2.77 to 14.32 ± 2.89, P < .001, improved decisional satisfaction 10.14 ± 3.73 to 8.70 ± 3.00, P = .001, and decreased decisional conflict 12 ± 9.42 to 8.15 ± 9.13, P < .001. All participants reported that they were comfortable using the video decision aid, that they would recommend it to others, and that it clarified POLST decisions.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants endorsed the use of a POLST video decision aid, which increased their knowledge of POLST form options and satisfaction with their decisions, and decreased their decisional conflict in POLST completion. This pilot study provides preliminary support for the use of video decision aids for POLST decision-making. Future research should evaluate a decision aid for the entire POLST form and identify patient preferences for implementing POLST decision aids into clinical practice.
Background: Patients with advanced cancer for whom standard systemic treatment is no longer available may be offered participation in early phase clinical trials. In the decision making process, both medical-technical information and patient values and preferences are important. Since patients report decisional conflict after deciding on participation in these trials, improving the decision making process is essential. We aim to develop and evaluate an Online Value Clarification Tool (OnVaCT) to assist patients in clarifying their values around this end-of-life decision. This improved sharing of values is hypothesized to support medical oncologists in tailoring their information to individual patients’ needs and, consequently, to support patients in taking decisions in line with their values and reduce decisional conflict.
Methods: In the first part, patients’ values and preferences and medical oncologists’ views hereupon will be explored in interviews and focus groups to build a first prototype OnVaCT using digital communication (serious gaming). Next, we will test feasibility during think aloud sessions, to deliver a ready-to-implement OnVaCT. In the second part, the OnVaCT, with accompanied training module, will be evaluated in a pre-test (12–18 months before implementation) post-test (12–18 months after implementation) study in three major Dutch cancer centres. We will include 276 patients (> 18 years) with advanced cancer for whom standard systemic therapy is no longer available, and who are referred for participation in early phase clinical trials. The first consultation will be recorded to analyse patient-physician communication regarding the discussion of patients’ values and the decision making process. Three weeks afterwards, decisional conflict will be measured.
Discussion: This project aims to support the discussion of patient values when considering participation in early phase clinical trials. By including patients before their first appointment with the medical oncologist and recording that consultation, we are able to link decisional conflict to the decision making process, e.g. the communication during consultation. The study faces challenges such as timely including patients within the short period between referral and first consultation. Furthermore, with new treatments being developed rapidly, molecular stratification may affect the patient populations included in the pre-test and post-test periods.
BACKGROUND: Identifying critically ill patients who have unmet needs for palliative care is the first step in integrating the palliative approach for patients and their families into intensive care units.
OBJECTIVE: To explore how palliative care is addressed in an intensive care unit and to develop and test a screening tool for unmet needs that may be met through the palliative approach.
METHODS: A mixed-methods study was conducted in the intensive care unit of a tertiary care hospital to explore the palliative approach. Focus groups and a survey were used to identify items for the screening tool. After pilot testing of the tool, interviews were conducted to refine the content.
RESULTS: The first focus group (14 participants) revealed participants' frustration with unclear communication and a desire for better collaboration among health care team members regarding patients with serious life-limiting illnesses and their families. The survey (response rate: 20%; 30 of 150) showed clinicians' preference for items that identify specific needs rather than diagnoses. The second focus group (8 participants) yielded strategies to operationalize the tool for all patients in the intensive care unit. After 2 separate pilot testing cycles, bedside nurses noted that use of the screening tool prompted earlier discussions and broader assessments of what is meaningful to patients and their families.
CONCLUSION: Development of a screening tool for unmet palliative care needs among intensive care unit patients is feasible and acceptable and may help to systematically integrate the palliative approach into routine care for critically ill patients.
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have shown substantial deficiencies in the quality or quantity (or both) of communication and decision-making during serious illness. We evaluated the efficacy of a novel decision support intervention, the Plan Well Guide, in increasing completion of a standard medical order form for advance medical care planning and improving decisional outcomes in nonacademic primary care settings.
METHODS: We conducted a randomized trial in 3 primary care practices in Lethbridge, Alberta in 2017-2018. We recruited "patients at high risk" referred by the primary care doctor who required establishment or review of their Goals of Care Designation (GCD). Enrolled patients were randomly allocated to receive the Plan Well Guide, delivered by a trained facilitator, or usual care. Eight to 12 weeks after the intervention, a research assistant blinded to intervention assignment contacted the patients in both groups by telephone to do a final outcome assessment. The primary outcome was completion of GCD forms; secondary outcomes included decisional conflict scores and ratings of satisfaction.
RESULTS: A total of 123 patients (59 women [48.0%]; mean age 73.9 yr) were enrolled, 66 in the intervention arm and 57 in the usualcare arm; 119 patients completed the trial. After the intervention, GCD completion rates in the intervention and usual-care groups were 95.3% and 90.9%, respectively (risk difference [RD] 4%, 95% confidence interval [CI] -14% to 22%), and the rate of concordance between medical orders and expressed preferences on follow-up was 78% and 66%, respectively (RD 12%, 95% CI -7% to 30%). Significantly fewer patients in the intervention group than in the usual-care group had written medical orders for intensive care unit care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (22 [34%] v. 33 [60%], RD -26%, 95% CI -42% to -8%). Patients in the intervention group had lower decisional conflict scores than those in the usual-care group (mean 30.9 v. 43.1, adjusted mean difference -12.0, 95% CI -23.2 to -0.8). Physicians considered patients in the intervention group to have lower decisional conflict than those in the usual-care group, although not significantly so (mean score 10.4 v. 14.9, adjusted mean difference -4.7, 95% CI -9.9 to 0.4) and spent less time with the former (mean 9.7 v. 13.2 min, adjusted mean difference -3.5, 95% CI -5.5 to -1.5 min).
INTERPRETATION: The decision-support intervention did not increase GCD completion rates but did seem to improve some aspects of decisional quality while reducing the physician's time to accomplish GCD decisions.
Radiotherapy (RT) can be used to palliate cancer-related symptoms and improve quality of life (QoL). Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) could be a reliable, minimally invasive method to monitor patients after palliative radiotherapy. This review was performed to provide an overview of the way PROMs are currently used in follow-up after palliative RT, regarding the goal of the PROM, the type of PROMs, PROM selection, PROM completion as well as the follow-up schemes and patient adherence and attrition. Pubmed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were systematically searched for articles published between 2008 and 2020. Titles and abstracts were reviewed to find relevant studies, which were advanced to full-text review. The reference lists of review articles were screened for correctness of the search and additional studies. No meta-analysis was performed. This search strategy identified 5733 studies, with 94 ultimately selected for inclusion in this topical review. We discovered a great variety of studies that used PROMs after palliative RT. We found no articles describing PROMs in routine clinical care. PROMs were exclusively used as a benchmarking tool and never to improve symptom control or QoL for individual patients. The selection process for the questionnaires, completion method and/or follow-up scheme was seldom described. We did not find any studies referencing patients' experience on PROMs. Although clear guidelines on the use of PROMs in palliative RT may be difficult to establish, more attention should be paid to the PROM aspect when writing study protocols. Furthermore, efforts should be made to introduce PROMs in routine clinical care in the context of palliative RT.
Family support is more, not less, important during crisis. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining public safety necessitates restricting the physical presence of families for hospitalized patients. In response, health systems must rapidly adapt family-centric procedures and tools to circumvent restrictions on physical presence. Strategies for maintaining family integrity must acknowledge clinicians’ limited time and attention to devote to learning new skills. Internet-based solutions can facilitate the routine, predictable, and structured communication which is central to family-centered care. But the reliance on technology may compromise patient privacy and exacerbate racial, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities for populations that lack access to reliable internet access, devices or technological literacy. We provide a toolbox of strategies for supporting family-centered inpatient care during physical distancing responsive to the current clinical climate. Innovations in the implementation of family involvement during hospitalizations may lead to long-term progress in the delivery of family-centered care.
Background: The McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire - Expanded (MQOL-E) and the Quality of Life in Life-Threatening Illness-Family Carer/Caregiver version (QOLLTI-F) are developed for use with patients facing the end of life and their family carers, respectively. They are also developed for possible use as companion instruments. Contemporary measurement validity theory places emphasis on response processes, i.e. what people feel and think when responding to items. Response processes may be affected when measurement instruments are translated and adapted for use in different cultures. The aim of this study was to translate and examine content validity and response processes during completion of MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F version 2 (v2) among Swedish patients with life-threatening illness and their family carers.
Methods: The study was conducted in two stages (I) translation and adaptation (II) examination of content validity and response processes using cognitive interviews with 15 patients and 9 family carers. Participants were recruited from the hemodialysis unit, heart clinic, lung clinic and specialized palliative care of a Swedish county hospital. Patients had life-threatening illness such as advanced heart failure, advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, end-stage kidney disease or advanced cancer. Patients were outpatients, inpatients or receiving home care.
Results: Patients and family carers respectively believed that the items of the MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F v2 reflect relevant and important areas of their quality of life. Although some items needed more time for reflection, both instruments were considered easy to understand. Some changes were made to resolve issues of translation. Participants expressed that reflecting on their situation while answering questions was valuable and meaningful to them, and that responding was an opportunity to express feelings.
Conclusions: The results of response processes pertaining to the Swedish translations of both MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F v2 contribute evidence regarding content validity, linguistic equivalence and cultural appropriateness of the translated instruments. In addition, results show that the instruments may support conversations on matters of importance for quality of life between patients and/or family carers and health care professionals. Further research is needed to study the psychometric properties of Swedish translations.
Introduction: Although shortcomings in clinician–family communication and decision making for incapacitated, critically ill patients are common, there are few rigorously tested interventions to improve outcomes. In this manuscript, we present our methodology for the Pairing Re-engineered Intensive Care Unit Teams with Nurse-Driven Emotional support and Relationship Building (PARTNER 2) trial, and discuss design challenges and their resolution.
Methods and analysis: This is a pragmatic, stepped-wedge, cluster randomised controlled trial comparing the PARTNER 2 intervention to usual care among 690 incapacitated, critically ill patients and their surrogates in five ICUs in Pennsylvania. Eligible subjects will include critically ill patients at high risk of death and/or severe long-term functional impairment, their main surrogate decision-maker and their clinicians. The PARTNER intervention is delivered by the interprofessional ICU team and overseen by 4–6 nurses from each ICU. It involves: (1) advanced communication skills training for nurses to deliver support to surrogates throughout the ICU stay; (2) deploying a structured family support pathway; (3) enacting strategies to foster collaboration between ICU and palliative care services and (4) providing intensive implementation support to each ICU to incorporate the family support pathway into clinicians’ workflow. The primary outcome is surrogates’ ratings of the quality of communication during the ICU stay as assessed by telephone at 6-month follow-up. Prespecified secondary outcomes include surrogates’ scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Impact of Event Scale, the modified Patient Perception of Patient Centredness scale, the Decision Regret Scale, nurses’ scores on the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and length of stay during and costs of the index hospitalisation.
We also discuss key methodological challenges, including determining the optimal level of randomisation, using existing staff to deploy the intervention and maximising long-term follow-up of participants.
Ethics and dissemination: We obtained ethics approval through the University of Pittsburgh, Human Research Protection Office. The findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
Patients with cancer have an increased risk of developing severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019, and patients with advanced cancer who are followed at home represent a particularly frail population. Although with substantial differences, the challenges that cancer care professionals have to face during a pandemic are quite similar to those posed by natural disasters. We have already managed the oncological home care service in L’Aquila (middle Italy) after the 2009 earthquake. With this letter, we want to share the procedures and tools that we have started using at the home care service of the Tuscany Tumor Association during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Introduction: Electronic palliative care coordination systems (EPaCCS) aim to support people approaching the end of life (EOL) to receive consistent care, according to their wishes, that is coordinated effectively across multiple care sectors. They are in use across the UK although empirical evidence into their effectiveness is poor. This paper presents a protocol of a mixed-methods study, to understand how, and by whom, EPaCCS are being used and whether EPaCCS are enabling Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) to coordinate patients’ EOL care.
Methods and analysis: This is a mixed-methods study, carried out within a realist paradigm, to evaluate the impact of an EPaCCS on EOL care as provided by a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in England. This study has two aims: (1) Describe the socio-demographic characteristics of patients who die with an EPaCCS record, their underlying cause of death and place of death and compare these with patients who die without an EPaCCS record. (2) Explore the impact of an EPaCCS on the experience of receiving EOL care for patients and their carers, and understand HCPs’ views and experiences of utilising an EPaCCS to coordinate care for their patients. The study will be conducted in five phases: (1) development of the initial programme theory; (2) focus group with CCG stakeholder board; (3) individual interviews with HCPs, patients, current and bereaved carers; (4) retrospective cohort study of routinely collected data on EPaCCS usage and (5) data analysis and synthesis of study findings.
Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by National Health Service South West–Frenchay Research Ethics Committee (REC reference number: 18/SW/0198). Findings will be published in a wide range of outputs targeted at key audiences.
We developed a predictive score system for 30-day mortality after palliative radiotherapy by using predictors from routine electronic medical record. Patients with metastatic cancer receiving first course palliative radiotherapy from 1 July, 2007 to 31 December, 2017 were identified. 30-day mortality odds ratios and probabilities of the death predictive score were obtained using multivariable logistic regression model. Overall, 5,795 patients participated. Median follow-up was 39.6 months (range, 24.5–69.3) for all surviving patients. 5,290 patients died over a median 110 days, of whom 995 (17.2%) died within 30 days of radiotherapy commencement. The most important mortality predictors were primary lung cancer (odds ratio: 1.73, 95% confidence interval: 1.47–2.04) and log peripheral blood neutrophil lymphocyte ratio (odds ratio: 1.71, 95% confidence interval: 1.52–1.92). The developed predictive scoring system had 10 predictor variables and 20 points. The cross-validated area under curve was 0.81 (95% confidence interval: 0.79–0.82). The calibration suggested a reasonably good fit for the model (likelihood-ratio statistic: 2.81, P = 0.094), providing an accurate prediction for almost all 30-day mortality probabilities. The predictive scoring system accurately predicted 30-day mortality among patients with stage IV cancer. Oncologists may use this to tailor palliative therapy for patients.
Background: Multisource feedback provides ratings of a trainee doctor’s performance from a range of assessors and enables 360 degree feedback on communication skills and team working behaviours. It is a tool used throughout palliative medicine training in the UK. There are limited data on the value of multisource feedback from a palliative medicine trainee perspective.
Aim: To study the views of palliative medicine trainees regarding multisource feedback as an educational tool to develop communication skills.
Design: A multimodal study encompassing a focus group and questionnaire mailed to all deanery palliative doctors.
Setting/participants: All palliative medicine trainees within a UK training deanery.
Results: Over half of responding trainees thought multisource feedback had little or no impact on their clinical practice. Improvements in delivery of multisource feedback to maximise learning were identified, including skilled feedback and facilitation by educational supervisors.
Conclusions: Despite multisource feedback currently having limited benefits, a number of recommendations are suggested to improve this.
Objective: To develop a proposal for a 2-year mortality prognostic approach for patients with advanced chronic conditions based on the palliative care need (PCN) items of the
NECesidades PALiativas (NECPAL) CCOMS-ICO V.3.1 2017 tool.
Methods: A phase 1 study using three components based on the NECPAL items: (1) a rapid review of systematic reviews (SRs) on prognostic factors of mortality in patients with advanced chronic diseases and PCNs; (2) a clinician and statistician experts' consensus based on the Delphi technique on the selection of mortality prognostic factors; and (3) a panel meeting to discuss the findings of components (1) and (2).
Results: Twenty SRs were included in a rapid review, and 50% were considered of moderate quality. Despite methodological issues, nutritional and functional decline, severe and refractory dyspnoea, multimorbidity, use of resources and specific disease indicators were found to be potentially prognostic variables for mortality across four clinical groups and end-of-life (EoL) trajectories: cancer, dementia and neurologic diseases, chronic organ failure and frailty. Experts’ consensus added ‘needs’ identified by health professionals. However, clinicians were less able to discriminate which NECPAL items were more reliable for a ‘general’ model. A retrospective cohort study was designed to evaluate this proposal in phase 2.
Conclusions: We identified several parameters with prognostic value and linked them to the tool’s utility to timely identify PCNs of patients with advanced chronic conditions in all settings of care. Initial results show this is a clinical and feasible tool, that will help with clinical pragmatic decision-making and to define services.
Context: The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading across the world. Many patients will not be suitable for mechanical ventilation owing to the underlying health conditions, and they will require a conservative approach including palliative care management for their important symptom burden.
Objectives: To develop a management plan for patients who are not suitable for mechanical ventilation that is tailored to the stage their COVID-19 disease.
Methods: Patients were identified as being stable, unstable, or at the end of life using the early warning parameters for COVID-19. Furthermore, a COVID-19–specific assessment tool was developed locally, focusing on key symptoms observed in this population which assess dyspnoea, distress, and discomfort. This tool helped to guide the palliative care management as per patients' disease stage.
Results: A management plan for all patients' (stable, unstable, end of life) was created and implemented in acute hospitals. Medication guidelines were based on the limitations in resources and availability of drugs. Staff members who were unfamiliar with palliative care required simple, clear instructions to follow including medications for key symptoms such as dyspnoea, distress, fever, and discomfort. Nursing interventions and family involvement were adapted as per patients' disease stage and infection control requirements.
Conclusion: Palliative care during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to adapt to an emergency style of palliative care as patients can deteriorate rapidly and require quick decisions and clear treatment plans. These need to be easily followed up by generalist staff members caring for these patients. Furthermore, palliative care should be at the forefront to help make the best decisions, give care to families, and offer spiritual support.