BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to examine whether a longitudinal advance care planning (ACP) intervention facilitates concordance between the preferred and received life-sustaining treatments (LSTs) of terminally ill patients with cancer and improves quality of life (QoL), anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms during the dying process.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Of 795 terminally ill patients with cancer from a medical center in Taiwan, 460 were recruited and randomly assigned 1:1 to the experimental and control arms. The experimental arm received an interactive ACP intervention tailored to participants' readiness to engage in this process. The control arm received symptom management education. Group allocation was concealed, data collectors were blinded, and treatment fidelity was monitored. Outcome measures included 6 preferred and received LSTs, QoL, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms. Intervention effectiveness was evaluated by intention-to-treat analysis.
RESULTS: Participants providing data had died through December 2017. The 2 study arms did not differ significantly in concordance between the 6 preferred and received LSTs examined (odds ratios, 0.966 [95% CI, 0.653-1.428] and 1.107 [95% CI, 0.690-1.775]). Participants who received the ACP intervention had significantly fewer anxiety symptoms (β, -0.583; 95% CI, -0.977 to -0.189; P= .004) and depressive symptoms (ß, -0.533; 95% CI, -1.036 to -0.030; P= .038) compared with those in the control arm, but QoL did not differ.
CONCLUSIONS: Our ACP intervention facilitated participants' psychological adjustment to the end-of-life (EoL) care decision-making process, but neither improved QoL nor facilitated EoL care honoring their wishes. The inability of our intervention to improve concordance may have been due to the family power to override patients' wishes in deeply Confucian doctrine-influenced societies such as Taiwan. Nevertheless, our findings reassure healthcare professionals that such an ACP intervention does not harm but improves the psychological well-being of terminally ill patients with cancer, thereby encouraging physicians to discuss EoL care preferences with patients and involve family caregivers in EoL care decision-making to eventually lead to patient value-concordant EoL cancer care.
BACKGROUND: Nursing homes are becoming a common site where delivering end-of-life care for older adults. They often represent the junction between the curative and the palliative phase.
AIM: To identify the elements that nursing home residents' family carers perceive as good end-of-life care and develop a conceptual model of good end-of-life care according to the family perspective.
DESIGN: Systematic review (PROSPERO no. 95581) with meta-aggregation method.
DATA SOURCES: Five electronic databases were searched from inception between April and May 2018. Published qualitative studies (and mixed-method designs) of end-of-life care experience of nursing home family carers whose relative was dead or at the end-of-life were included. No language or temporal limits were applied.
RESULTS: In all, 18 studies met inclusion criteria. A 'life crisis' often resulted in a changed need of care, and the transition towards palliative care was sustained by a 'patient-centered environment'. Family carers described good end-of-life care as providing resident basic care and spiritual support; recognizing and treating symptoms; assuring continuity in care; respecting resident's end-of-life wishes; offering environmental, emotional and psychosocial support; keeping family informed; promoting family understanding; and establishing a partnership with family carers by involving and guiding them in a shared decision-making. These elements improved the quality of end-of-life of both residents and their family, thus suggesting a common ground between good end-of-life care and palliative care.
CONCLUSION: The findings provide a family-driven framework to guide a sensitive and compassionate transition towards palliative care in nursing home.
The practice whereby terminally ill patients choose to end their own lives painlessly by ingesting a drug prescribed by a physician has commonly been referred to as physician-assisted suicide. There is, however, a strong trend forming that seeks to deny that this act should properly be termed suicide. The purpose of this paper is to examine and reject the view that the term suicide should be abandoned in reference to what has been called physician-assisted suicide. I argue that there are no good conceptual or philosophical reasons to avoid the suicide label. I contend that intending one's death is essential to the nature of suicide, and this intention is normally required on the part of the terminally ill patient when she knowingly takes a life-ending drug. Additionally, the analysis shows that any plausible strategy that avoids the term suicide is counteracted by the way in which advocates of the practice want to make it legal.
BACKGROUND: Patients with terminal conditions are often admitted to the emergency department (ED) for acute medical services, but studies have suggested that multiple ED admissions may negatively impact end-of-life (EOL) care. Research have shown that incorporating palliative care (PC) is integral to optimal EOL care, but it is an aspect of medical practice that is often neglected. The current study sought to provide an overview of health outcomes and hospital costs of patients with cancer admitted to The Ottawa Hospital and/or received acute medical services during their final 2 weeks of life. Cost comparisons and estimates were made between hospital and hospice expenditures.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of palliative patients who died at The Ottawa Hospital in 2012. A total of 130 patients who visited the ED within 2 weeks of death were included in the analyses.
RESULTS: In this cohort of patients, 71% of admitted patients did not have advanced care directives and 85% experienced a metastasis, but only 18% had a PC medical doctor. Patients were hospitalized, on average, for 7 days and hospitalization costs exceeded the estimated hospice cost by approximately 2.5 times (Can$1 041 170.00 at Can$8009.00/patient vs Can$401 570.00 at Can$3089.00/patient, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Our study highlighted the importance of PC integration in high-risk patients, such as those in oncology. Patients in our sample had minimal PC involvement, low advanced care directives, and accrued high costs. Based on our analyses, we concluded that these patients would have likely benefited more from hospice care rather than hospitalization.
OBJECTIVES: As the US population ages and healthcare reimbursement shifts, identifying new patient-centred, cost-effective models to address acute medical needs will become increasingly important. This study examined whether community paramedics can evaluate and treat, under the direction of a credentialed physician, high acuity medical conditions in the home within an advanced illness management (AIM) practice.
METHODS: A prospective observational study of an urban/suburban community paramedicine (CP) programme, with responses initiated based on AIM-practice protocols and triaged prior to dispatch using the Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS). Primary outcome was association between AMPDS acuity levels and emergency department (ED) transport rates. Secondary outcomes were ED presentations at 24 and 48 hours post-visit, and patient/caregiver survey results.
RESULTS: 1159 individuals received 2378 CP responses over 4 years. Average age was 86 years; dementia, heart failure and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were prevalent. Using AMPDS, most common reasons for dispatch included 'breathing problems' (28.2%), 'sick person' (26.5%) and 'falls' (13.1%). High acuity responses were most prevalent. 17.9% of all responses and 21.0% of high acuity responses resulted in ED transport. Within 48 hours of the visit, only 5.7% of the high acuity responses not initially transported were transported to the ED. Patient/caregiver satisfaction rates were high.
CONCLUSION: Community paramedics, operating within an AIM programme, can evaluate and treat a range of conditions, including high acuity conditions, in the home that would typically result in ED transport in a conventional 911 system. This model may provide an effective means for avoiding hospital-based care, allowing older adults to age in place.
BACKGROUND: Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative life-limiting disease. The international literature indicates that patients with advanced dementia can benefit from palliative care (PC) provided during the end-of-life phase. However, evidence indicates that currently many fail to access such provision despite the increased recognition of their palliative needs.
AIM: To investigate the factors influencing provision of PC services for people with advanced dementia.
METHODS: A systematic review of mixed method studies written in English was undertaken. 11 electronic databases including Embase, Medline, PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus from 2008 to 2018 were searched. Narrative synthesis and content analysis were used to analyse and synthesise the data.
KEY FINDINGS: In total, 34 studies were included. 25 studies providing qualitative data, 6 providing quantitative data and 3 mixed methods studies. The findings identified organisational, healthcare professionals and patients-related barriers and facilitators in provision of PC for people with advanced dementia from perspective of stakeholders across different care settings. The most commonly reported barriers are lack of skills and training opportunities of the staff specific to PC in dementia, lack of awareness that dementia is a terminal illness and a palliative condition, pain and symptoms assessment/management difficulties, discontinuity of care for patients with dementia and lack of coordination across care settings, difficulty communicating with the patient and the lack of advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Even though the provision of PC was empirically recognised as a care step in the management of dementia, there are barriers that hinder access of patients with dementia to appropriate facilities. With dementia prevalence rising and no cure on the horizon, it is crucial that health and social care regulatory bodies integrate a palliative approach into their care using the identified facilitators to achieve optimal and effective PC in this population.
BACKGROUND: Home-based palliative care is care of the patient in their home, while doctors and other healthcare providers (HCPs) make visits as required. Family involvement naturally cultivates a relationship between HCPs and the family. Once the patient dies and home-based palliative care ends, this relationship is abruptly terminated, which may be challenging to both the family and the HCPs. The objective of this study was to understand the thoughts and opinions of HCPs and families on their encountered loss of relationship at the end of home-based palliative care.
METHODS: Perceptions of 63 participants (32 HCPs and 31 family members) were explored using semi-structured interviews and the qualitative research methodologies of grounded theory. HCPs were interviewed at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care (TLCPC), a home-based palliative care group of physicians, and 2 hospitals in Toronto, while family members were recruited from TLCPC's records of deceased patients.
RESULTS: Six overarching themes, relating to HCP-family relationship dynamics, the experience of loss of relationship, and potential solutions, were derived from the data: (I) home palliative care is intimate; (II) dissatisfaction is experienced with abrupt relationship ending; (III) families benefit from open communication, especially after patient death; (IV) HCPs recognize the insufficiency in bereavement resources; (V) benefits are recognized for a system to ease loss of relationship, and lastly; (VI) challenges with introducing such a system concern HCP.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, families and HCPs do not like the loss of relationship post-patient death, and recognize the potential benefits of an approach that would allow for communication going forward.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe preferences for a good death among Chinese patients with advanced cancer and then to explore factors contributing to their preferences including patient demographics and disease variables.
METHODS: A convenience sample of 275 patients with advanced cancer was recruited from a tertiary cancer hospital in Beijing, China, between February and December 2017. A Chinese version of the Good Death Inventory (GDI) was used to measure patients' preferences for dying and death. Besides, data were collected using a multi-itemed questionnaire focusing on demographic and disease characteristics of patients.
RESULTS: Of the 275 questionnaires returned, 248 responses were analysed (effective response rate 90.2%). According to the total scores for each of the 20 domains, the five most important domains of a good death were: good relationship with family (19.80±2.39), independence (19.66±2.56), maintaining hope and pleasure (19.56±2.55), good relationship with medical staff (18.92±3.73), not being a burden to others (18.89±3.30). Patients' characteristics including age, educational status, religious belief, medical payment types, family economic status, past experiences of the death of others, the period since cancer diagnosis, past experiences of hospitalisation and subjective physical condition influenced their preferences for a good death (all p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: We had an in-depth knowledge and understanding of their preferences for good death among Chinese patients with advanced cancer. Meanwhile, we found some patients' factors contributed to different preferences for a good death. These findings have the potential to guide hospice care services aimed at achieving a good death for patients with advanced cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a simple prognostic tool for early prediction of survival of patients with advanced cancer in a tertiary care setting.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with 2 years' follow-up.
SETTING: Single tertiary teaching hospital in Singapore.
PARTICIPANTS: The study includes consecutive patients diagnosed with advanced cancer who were referred to a palliative care unit between 2013 and 2015 (N=840). Data were randomly split into training (n=560) and validation (n=280) sets.
RESULTS: 743 (88.5%) patients died with a mean follow-up of 97.0 days (SD 174.0). Cox regression modelling was used to build a prognostic model, cross-validating with six randomly split dataset pairs. Predictor variables for the model included functional status (Palliative Performance Scale, PPS V.2), symptoms (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System, ESASr), clinical assessment (eg, the number of organ systems with metastasis, serum albumin and total white cell count level) and patient demographics. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve using the final averaged prognostic model was between 0.69 and 0.75. Our model classified patients into three prognostic groups, with a median survival of 79.0 days (IQR 175.0) for the low-risk group (0-1.5 points), 42.0 days (IQR 75.0) for the medium-risk group (2.0-5.5 points), and 15.0 days (IQR 28.0) for the high-risk group (6.0-10.5 points).
CONCLUSIONS: PROgnostic Model for Advanced Cancer (PRO-MAC) takes into account patient and disease-related factors and identify high-risk patients with 90-day mortality. PPS V.2 and ESASr are important predictors. PRO-MAC will help physicians identify patients earlier for supportive care, facilitating multidisciplinary, shared decision-making.
OBJECTIVE: To examine perceptions and experiences regarding providing spiritual care at the end of life of elderly care physicians practising in nursing homes in the Netherlands, and factors associated with spiritual care provision.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was sent to a representative sample of 642 elderly care physicians requesting information about their last patient who died and the spiritual care they provided. We compared their general perception of spiritual care with spiritual and other items abstracted from the literature and variables associated with the physicians' provision of spiritual care. Self-reported reasons for providing spiritual care were analysed with qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: The response rate was 47.2%. Almost half (48.4%) provided spiritual end-of-life care to the last resident they cared for. Half (51.8%) identified all 15 spiritual items, but 95.4% also included psychosocial items in their perception of spirituality and 49.1% included other items. Physicians who included more non-spiritual items reported more often that they provided spiritual care, as did more religious physicians and those with additional training in palliative care. Reasons for providing spiritual care included a request by the resident or the relatives, resident's religiousness, fear of dying and involvement of a healthcare chaplain.
CONCLUSION: Most physicians perceived spirituality as a broad concept and this increased self-reported spiritual caregiving. Religious physicians and those trained in palliative care may experience fewer barriers to providing spiritual care. Additional training in reflecting upon the physician's own perception of spirituality and training in multidisciplinary spiritual caregiving may contribute to the quality of end-of-life care for nursing home residents.
Purpose: Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is a legal document for terminally ill patients to make medical decisions with physicians near the end-of-life. A multicenter prospective study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of POLST administration in actual oncological practice.
Materials and Methods: Patients with terminal cancer, age ≥20, and capable of communicating were eligible. The primary endpoint was the completion rate of POLST. Data about physicians' or patients' barriers were also collected.
Results: From June to December 2017, 336 patients from seven hospitals were eligible. Median patient age was 66 years (range, 20 to 94 years); 52.7% were male; and 60.4% had poor performance status. Primay cancer sites were hepato-pancreato-biliary (26.2%), lung (23.2%), and gastrointestinal (19.9%). Expected survival duration was 10.6±7.3 weeks, with 41.2% receiving hospice care, 37.9% showing progression after cancer treatment, and the remaining patients were under active treatment (15.8%) or initially diagnosed with terminal cancer (5.1%). POLST forms were introduced to 60.1% of patients, and 31.3% signed the form. Physicians' barriers were reluctance of family (49.7%), lack of rapport (44.8%), patients' denial of prognosis (34.3%), lack of time (22.7%), guilty feelings (21.5%), and uncertainty about either prognosis (21.0%) or the right time to discuss POLST (16.6%). The patients' barriers were the lack of knowledge/understanding of POLST (65.1%), emotional discomfort (63.5%), difficulty in decision-making (66.7%), or denial of prognosis (14.3%).
Conclusion: One-third of patients completed POLST forms, and various barriers were identified. To overcome such barriers, social engagement, education, and systematic support might be necessary.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: End-stage liver disease (ESLD) is associated with high symptom burden, poor quality of life, and significant healthcare costs. Palliative care, which is not synonymous with hospice or end-of-life care, is a multidisciplinary model of care that focuses on patient-centered goals with the intent of improving quality of life and reducing suffering. This review will summarize current literature supporting the benefits of early integration of palliative care in patients in this population.
RECENT FINDINGS: Advance care planning (ACP) and goals of care discussions have been associated with improved quality of life, decreased anxiety, and improved satisfaction with care for both the patient and the caregiver. These discussions are beneficial to all patients with ESLD, including those listed for liver transplantation.
SUMMARY: Despite the resounding benefits of palliative care for patients with other advanced diseases, palliative care remains underutilized in liver disease. There is an urgent need for education of hepatology/transplant providers as well as development of society guidelines to help dissemination and acceptability of palliative care for patients with ESLD.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess the clinical outcomes of palliative interventions for patients with incurable locally advanced or metastatic esophageal carcinoma.
METHODS: A total of 131 patients with thoracic esophageal carcinoma who underwent palliative interventions were enrolled. Insertion of a self-expandable metallic stent (SEMS), tube enterostomy for enteral nutrition (EN), and palliative esophagectomy (PE) were performed in 38, 65, and 28 patients, respectively. The clinicopathological characteristics and clinical outcomes of each group were retrospectively reviewed.
RESULTS: Patients in the EN group frequently received chemoradiotherapy (P < 0.01). SEMS insertion, but not PE or EN, improved the mean dysphagia score after the intervention (P < 0.01). For the SEMS, EN, and PE groups, the occurrence of intervention-related complications was 31.6, 10.8, and 96.4%, respectively, the median survival time was 88, 208, and 226 days (P < 0.01), and the mean ratio of duration of home care to survival time was 28.9, 38.5, and 39.6% (P = 0.95).
CONCLUSIONS: SEMS insertion effectively relieved obstructive symptoms, but had no survival benefit. Tube enterostomy showed a low complication rate and has the potential to improve survival in combination with additional treatment, with no palliation of obstructive symptoms.
Introduction: Lung cancer exerts a significant societal and health-care-related economic burden and chemotherapy drugs constitute a major factor of total direct cost. The aim of the present study was to assess the direct health-care cost of lung cancer in Greece by conducting a retrospective analysis on the last 6 months of life.
Methods: The present study was based on both the medical data and costs of treatment of deceased adult patients who suffered from terminal stage IIIB/IV lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer) during the last 6 months of their life. The study's protocol was approved by the Hospital's Research Ethics Committee. Costs included outpatient (outpatient services) and inpatient (inpatient services) costs. Descriptive statistics were mainly used for statistical analysis.
Results: The files of 144 patients were analyzed. The total cost of health-care services for the study population during the last 6 months of life was attributed by 57% to inpatient services, whereas chemotherapy costs (74%) comprised the largest proportion of the total inpatient cost. The highest expenditure for outpatient services was attributed to concomitant medication (59%), followed by the cost of tests (21%) and radiotherapy (20%).
Conclusions: The results of our study indicate that both inpatient and outpatient costs were substantial. The main inpatient and outpatient cost drivers were chemotherapy and concomitant medication, respectively. A more comprehensive nationwide study would be useful to validate our results and to include also indirect costs of cancer care in Greece.
BACKGROUND: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends palliative care for children at the diagnosis of serious illness. Yet few children who die receive specialty palliative care consultation, and when it is provided, palliative care consultation tends to occur after >75% of the time from diagnosis until death. Focusing on the timing of palliative consultation in relation to the date of diagnosis, we evaluated factors predicting earlier receipt of pediatric palliative care in a cohort of decedents.
METHODS: We retrospectively identified patients diagnosed with a life-limiting disease who died at our hospital in 2015-2017 after at least 1 inpatient palliative medicine consultation. Our primary outcome was time from palliative-qualifying diagnosis to earliest receipt of specialty palliative care. A survival analysis was used to describe factors associated with earlier receipt of palliative care.
RESULTS: The analysis included 180 patients (median age at diagnosis <1 month [interquartile range (IQR): 0-77]). The median time to first palliative consultation was 7 days after diagnosis (IQR: 2-63), compared with a median of 50 days between diagnosis and death (IQR: 7-210). On the multivariable analysis, palliative consultation occurred earlier for patients who had cardiovascular diagnoses, had private insurance, and were of African American race.
CONCLUSIONS: In a cohort of decedents at our institution, palliative consultation occurred much earlier than has been previously reported. We also identify factors associated with delayed receipt of palliative care among children who are dying that reveal further opportunities to improve access to specialty palliative care.
CONTEXT: The goal of advance care planning (ACP) is to help ensure that the care people receive during periods of serious illness is consistent with their preferences and values. There is a lack of clear understanding about how patients and their informal carers feel ACP discussions should be conducted.
OBJECTIVES: To synthesise literature reviews pertaining to patients' and informal carers' perspectives on ACP discussions.
METHODS: Systematic review of reviews RESULTS: We identified 55 literature reviews published between 2007 and 2018. ACP discussions were facilitated by a diverse range of formats and tools, all of which were acceptable to patients and carers. Patients and carers preferred health professionals to initiate discussions, with the relationships they had with the professionals being particularly important. There were mixed feelings about the best timing, with many people preferring to defer discussions until they perceived them to be clinically relevant. ACP was felt to bring benefits including a greater sense of peace and less worry, but it could also be disruptive and distressing. Patients and carers perceived many benefits from ACP discussions, but these may differ from the dominant narratives about ACP in health policy and may move away from the narratives of RCTs and standardisation in research and practice.
CONCLUSIONS: Researchers and clinicians may need to adjust their approaches as current practices are not aligned enough with patient and carer preferences. Future research may need to test implementation strategies of ACP interventions to elucidate how benefits from standardisation and flexibility might both be realised.
Research conducted using the Haley Transcultural Strengths Assessment Interview Guide used in several studies has identified 11 sources of strength routinely utilized by parents caring for their child with intensive needs and child in hospice/palliative care. Results of past studies demonstrated this Strengths Guide (SG) interview to be an intervention bringing a heightened realization of the importance and utilization of one's inner strengths. The purpose of this study was to assess the long-term impact of this SG with a population of parents who participated in a previous study using the SG. This descriptive study was conducted using a quantitative tool, the Personal Strength Rating Scale, comparing the post-SG interview results with those results obtained 3 years later. Participants in this study were parents caring for a child receiving palliative/hospice care at home in Kenya. Results revealed the long-term retention of strengths following the SG interview 3 years previously was, for most sources of strength, equal to or greater than those obtained immediately following the SG.
BACKGROUND: Cancer patients who have reached the terminal stage despite attempts at treatment are likely to experience various problems, particularly as they encounter increasing difficulty in doing what they were able to do easily, and their physical symptoms increase as the disease advances. The purpose of this study is to explore how terminal cancer patients who have not clearly expressed a depressed mood or intense grief manage their feelings associated with anxiety and depression.
METHODS: Eleven terminally ill patients with cancer who were receiving symptom-relieving treatment at home or in palliative care units were interviewed. Interviews were generally conducted weekly, two to five times for each participant. In total, 33 interviews were conducted, and the overall interview time was 2027 min. Data were analyzed via qualitative methods.
RESULTS: The following five themes were extracted regarding the experience of managing feelings associated with anxiety and depression when facing death: "I have to accept that I have developed cancer," "I have to accept the undeniable approach of my own death," "I have to accept my need for assistance," "I have to accept this unsatisfactory circumstance" and "I have to accept this as my destiny and an outcome of my life."
CONCLUSION: The present study revealed key themes related to how patients come to terms with their impending death. Nurses are required to comprehend the patients' complicated mental patterns that are expressed in their daily languages. Furthermore, the findings clarify the necessity for nurses to help patients understand the acceptance of a terminal disease state during a patient's final days.
BACKGROUND: Newer models of palliative and supportive cancer care view the person as an active agent in managing physical and psychosocial challenges. Therefore, personal efficacy is an integral part of this model. Due to the lack of instruments in Italian to assess coping self-efficacy, the present study included the translation and validation of the Italian version of the Cancer Behavior Inventory-Brief (CBI-B/I) and an initial analysis of the utility of self-efficacy for coping in an Italian sample of palliative care patients.
METHODS: 216 advanced cancer patients who attended palliative care clinics were enrolled. The CBI-B/I was administered along with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30), the Mini Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (Mini-MAC), the Cancer Concerns Checklist (CCL), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG-PS) ratings of functional capacity were completed by physicians.
RESULTS: Factor analysis confirmed that the structure of the CBI-B/I was consistent with the English version. Internal consistency reliability and significant correlations with the EORTC QLQ-C30, Mini-MAC, and HADS supported the concurrent validity of the CBI-B/I. Differences in CBI-B/I scores for high versus low levels of the CCL and ECOG-PS supported the clinical utility of the CBI-B/I.
CONCLUSIONS: The CBI-B/I has strong psychometric properties and represents an important addition to newer model of palliative and supportive care. In order to improve clinical practice, the CBI-B/I could be useful in identifying specific self-efficacy goals for coping in structured psychosocial interventions.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Clinical management for terminal patients should consider various aspects, particularly the patient's functional assessment, which correlates well with the short-term prognosis. The prognosis could improve if the presence of symptoms strongly associated with a poorer progression were included. The study's main objective was to assess whether the prognosis according to the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) improved with the presence/absence of pain-dyspnoea-delirium symptoms. The secondary objective was to determine caregiver satisfaction with the transfer to medium-stay palliative care units (MSPCUs), which are prepared for medium stays of approximately one month.
PATIENTS AND METHOD: We conducted a prospective, observational, multicentre (regional) study that analysed survival in MSPCUs according to the PPS dichotomized to > 20% and = 20%. We estimated the mean survival functions using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared them according to the Cox proportional hazards ratios (HR). Caregiver satisfaction was studied using an anonymous self-administered Likert questionnaire.
RESULTS: The study included 130 patients. The PPS = 20% and PPS > 20% subgroups had a median survival of 6 (3-13) days and 21 (11-42) days, respectively, with an unadjusted mortality HR 3.1-fold greater in the PPS = 20% subgroup. The HR did not change when adjusted for the symptoms. Eighty-three percent of the caregivers found the transfer beneficial, and 40% observed better patient care.
CONCLUSIONS: For patients transferred from general hospitals to MSPCUs, PPS scores = 20% were associated with survival shorter than one week, with a 3-fold higher mortality HR than patients with PPS scores > 20%, without the analysis adjusted for the presence of pain-dyspnoea-delirium providing greater prognostic accuracy. The caregivers found benefits mainly in the convenience of the facilities and distance.