CONTEXT: Certain treatments are potentially inappropriate when administered to nursing homes residents at the end of life and should be carefully considered. An international comparison of potentially inappropriate treatments allows insight into common issues and country-specific challenges of end-of-life care in nursing homes and helps direct health care policy in this area.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate treatments in the last week of life in nursing home residents, and analyze the differences in prevalence between countries.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study of deceased residents in nursing homes (2015) in six European countries: Belgium (Flanders), England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. Potentially inappropriate treatments included: enteral administration of nutrition, parental administration of nutrition, artificial fluids, resuscitation, artificial ventilation, blood transfusion, chemotherapy/radiotherapy, dialysis, surgery, antibiotics, statins, antidiabetics, new oral anticoagulants. Nurses were questioned about whether these treatments were administered in the last week of life.
RESULTS: We included 1,384 deceased residents from 322 nursing homes. In most countries, potentially inappropriate treatments were rarely used, with a maximum of 18.3% of residents receiving at least one treatment in Poland. Exceptions were antibiotics in all countries (between 11.3% in Belgium and 45% in Poland), artificial nutrition and hydration in Poland (54.3%) and Italy (41%) and antidiabetics in Poland (19.7%).
CONCLUSION: Although the prevalence of potentially inappropriate treatments in the last week of life was generally low, antibiotics were frequently prescribed in all countries. In Poland and Italy, the prevalence of artificial administration of food/fluids in the last week of life was high, possibly reflecting country differences in legislation, care organization and culture, and the palliative care competences of staff.
Background: The EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL is a shortened version of the widely used EORTC QLQ-C30. This questionnaire was developed to measure the symptoms and functional health of patients receiving palliative care.
Objective: To enhance clinical interpretability of the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL, our aim was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of thresholds for clinical importance developed previously for the QLQ-C30 when applied to the QLQ-C15-PAL scales.
Design: Cross-sectional observational study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients with cancer receiving any type of palliative treatment.
Measurement: Patients completed the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL and anchor items on limitations, worries, and need for help for each of the health domains covered by the questionnaire. The anchor items were summarized in a binary criterion for clinical importance to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of the thresholds for clinical importance.
Results: In total, 225 patients participated in the study (mean age 64.5 years). Patients were recruited from Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The thresholds for clinical importance for the QLQ-C15-PAL scales showed a median sensitivity of 0.88 (range: 0.82 for sleep disturbances to 1.00 for dyspnea) and a median specificity of 0.74 (range: 0.54 for dyspnea to 0.89 for constipation).
Conclusion: The thresholds for clinical importance showed high sensitivity and mostly high specificity in identifying clinically important symptoms and functional health impairments as assessed by the QLQ-C15-PAL. These thresholds will facilitate interpretation of EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL scores in daily clinical practice and clinical research.
Many cardiovascular diseases lead to heart failure, which is a progressive syndrome causing significant distress and limiting the quality of life, despite optimal cardiologic treatment. It is estimated that about 26 000 people in Poland suffer from advanced heart failure, and this number is growing. That is why palliative care (PC) dedicated to people living with end-stage cardiac diseases should be urgently implemented in Poland. Well-organized PC may not only relieve symptoms and improve quality of life in people living with cardiac diseases not responding to treatment but also support patients and their families during the dying process. Palliative care in patients with cardiac diseases should be continued during the end-of-life period. It should be implemented regardless of prognosis, and adjusted to patients’ needs. Two approaches to PC are presented in this expert opinion. The first one (generic) is provided by all medical professionals incorporating PC principles into the usual patient care. The second approach, namely, specialized PC, is ensured by a multiprofessional team or at least a PC specialist who received appropriate training in PC. The model of needs-based (not prognosis-based) implementation of PC is discussed in this paper. Symptom control, support in decision-making, and sensitive, open communication are considered integral elements of PC interventions. Medical professionals developing PC in Poland should think about groups of patients with special needs like those with valvular heart disease, grown-up congenital heart disease, and pulmonary arterial hypertension, as well as elderly people. This consensus document presents main recommendations for future PC organization in Poland. Among others, we suggest changing the Polish National Health Fund reimbursement rules regarding PC and improving cardiologist education on PC.
Background: Measuring functional status in palliative care may help clinicians to assess a patient’s prognosis, recommend adequate therapy, avoid futile or aggressive medical care, consider hospice referral, and evaluate provided rehabilitation outcomes. An optimized, widely used, and validated tool is preferable. The Palliative Performance Scale Version 2 (PPSv2) is currently one of the most commonly used performance scales in palliative settings. The aim of this study is the psychometric validation process of a Polish translation of this tool (PPSv2-Polish).
Methods: two hundred patients admitted to a free-standing hospice were evaluated twice, on the first and third day, for test-retest reliability. In the first evaluation, two different care providers independently evaluated the same patient to establish inter-rater reliability values. PPSv2-Polish was evaluated simultaneously with the Karnofsky Performance Score (KPS), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status (ECOG PS), and Barthel Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Index, to determine its construct validity.
Results: A high level of full agreement between test and retest was seen (63%), and a good intra-class correlation coefficient of 0.85 (P < 0.0001) was achieved. Excellent agreement between raters was observed when using PPSv2-Polish (Cohen’s kappa 0.91; P < 0.0001). Satisfactory correlations with the KPS and good correlations with ECOG PS and Barthel ADL were noticed. Persons who had shorter prognoses and were predominantly bedridden also had lower scores measured by the PPSv2-Polish, KPS and Barthel ADL. A strong correlation of 0.77 between PPSv2-Polish scores and survival time was noted (P < 0.0001). Moderate survival correlations were seen between KPS, ECOG PS, and Barthel ADL of 0.41; - 0.62; and 0.58, respectively (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: PPSv2-Polish is a valid and reliable tool measuring performance status in a hospice population and can be used in daily clinical practice in palliative care and research.
Background: With advances in medicine and technology, intensive care units (ICUs) have the capacity to treat patients who would have previously not been expected to survive and would therefore not have been managed in ICUs. When an individual is not expected to survive, doctors and nurses face the modern ethical dilemma of death associated with withdrawal of life-supporting strategies. The aim of this study was to identify difficulties perceived by ICU nurses providing end-of-life care (EOLC) in Poland.
Methods: The qualitative study was designed to investigate the difficulties, and the related barriers, to EOLC provided in ICUs in Poland. We conducted individual telephone interviews with ICU nurses from across Poland.
Results: The main issues raised during the interviews included (1) barriers attributable to the hospital, (2) barriers related to the patient’s family, and (3) barriers related to the ICU personnel providing direct EOLC. The interviewed nurses considered the lack of support from managers to be the main barrier. We found that ICU nurses in Poland dealt with end-of-life aspects that were emotionally and psychologically taxing. In addition, they lacked specialized training in this area, especially with regard to family care and care provision.
Conclusions: A pressing need exists to improve facilities and make equipment ensuring a desirable standard of care more available. Specialized palliative care training programs should be incorporated into compulsory nursing curricula for ICU nurses.
Background/objectives: Opioids relieve symptoms in terminal care. We studied opioid underuse in long-term care facilities, defined as residents without opioid prescription despite pain and/or dyspnoea, 3 days prior to death.
Design and setting: In a proportionally stratified randomly selected sample of long-term care facilities in six European Union countries, nurses and long-term care facility management completed structured after-death questionnaires within 3 months of residents’ death.
Measurements: Nurses assessed pain/dyspnoea with Comfort Assessment in Dying with Dementia scale and checked opioid prescription by chart review. We estimated opioid underuse per country and per symptom and calculated associations of opioid underuse by multilevel, multivariable analysis.
Results: nurses’ response rate was 81.6%, 95.7% for managers. Of 901 deceased residents with pain/dyspnoea reported in the last week, 10.6% had dyspnoea, 34.4% had pain and 55.0% had both symptoms. Opioid underuse per country was 19.2% (95% confidence interval: 12.9–27.2) in the Netherlands, 25.2% (18.3–33.6) in Belgium, 29.3% (16.9–45.8) in England, 33.7% (26.2–42.2) in Finland, 64.6% (52.0–75.4) in Italy and 79.1% (71.2–85.3) in Poland (p < 0.001). Opioid underuse was 57.2% (33.0–78.4) for dyspnoea, 41.2% (95% confidence interval: 21.9–63.8) for pain and 37.4% (19.4–59.6) for both symptoms (p = 0.013). Odds of opioid underuse were lower (odds ratio: 0.33; 95% confidence interval: 0.20–0.54) when pain was assessed.
Conclusion: Opioid underuse differs between countries. Pain and dyspnoea should be formally assessed at the end-of-life and taken into account in physicians orders.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the occurrence rates of clinical events and their associations with comfort in dying nursing home residents with and without dementia.
Methods: Epidemiological after-death survey was performed in nationwide representative samples of 322 nursing homes in Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and England. Nursing staff reported clinical events and assessed comfort. The nursing staff or physician assessed the presence of dementia; severity was determined using two highly discriminatory staff-reported instruments.
Results: The sample comprised 401 residents with advanced dementia, 377 with other stages of dementia, and 419 without dementia (N = 1197). Across the three groups, pneumonia occurred in 24 to 27% of residents. Febrile episodes (unrelated to pneumonia) occurred in 39% of residents with advanced dementia, 34% in residents with other stages of dementia and 28% in residents without dementia (P = .03). Intake problems occurred in 74% of residents with advanced dementia, 55% in residents with other stages of dementia, and 48% in residents without dementia (P < .001). Overall, these three clinical events were inversely associated with comfort. Less comfort was observed in all resident groups who had pneumonia (advanced dementia, P = .04; other stages of dementia, P = .04; without dementia, P < .001). Among residents with intake problems, less comfort was observed only in those with other stages of dementia (P < .001) and without dementia (P = .003), while the presence and severity of dementia moderated this association (P = .03). Developing “other clinical events” was not associated with comfort.
Conclusions: Discomfort was observed in dying residents who developed major clinical events, especially pneumonia, which was not specific to advanced dementia. It is crucial to identify and address the clinical events potentially associated with discomfort in dying residents with and without dementia.
Introduction: Old age is usually the natural time for people to prepare for death, which may evoke various emotions ranging from acceptance to hostility.
Aim of the work: The study aimed at specifying various degrees to which elderly people accept death.
Material and method: The study employed the diagnostic poll method and an Inventory of the Attitude towards Death (IAD) poll questionnaire. The investigation was administered in a cohort of 150 people over 65 years of age living in Poland.
Results: The highest results were noted both for males and females on the "Value" scale (M = 4.94 and M = 4.96) and on the "Necessity" scale (M = 4.79 and M = 4.95). These two scales also had the highest values in the cohorts of city dwellers and country dwellers. A statistically significant difference (Z = 2.339, p = 0.019) was found in the "Necessity" dimension between investigated people with higher education and others. Furthermore, statistically significant differences were found in the following dimensions: "Mysteriousness", "Value", "Dread", "Tragedy", and "Absurdity". Comparing death dimensions in people with chronic illnesses and in those without such illnesses, meaningful statistical differences were noted in the "Necessity" dimension (t = 1.983, p = 0.049). However, analysing death dimensions in people who suffered because of a severe illness in a family member and respondents whose families were healthy, statistically significant differences were noted in the "Absurdity" dimension (t = 2.057, p = 0.041).
Conclusions: Sex, the place of residence, and death of a close person did not affect elderly people's acceptance of death. On the other hand, those suffering from chronic diseases were more aware of the inevitability of death. People without higher education were also more aware of the inevitability of death. Suffering of a serious disease of a close one considerably affected acceptance of death in the elderly.
Background: The increasing population of very old intensive care patients (VIPs) is a major challenge currently faced by clinicians and policymakers. Reliable indicators of VIPs' prognosis and purposefulness of their admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) are urgently needed.
Methods: This is a report from the Polish sample of the VIP1 multicentre cohort study (NCT03134807). Patients = 80 years of age admitted to the ICU were included in the study. Information on the type and reason for admission, demographics, utilisation of ICU procedures, ICU length of stay, organ dysfunction and the decision to apply end-of-life care was collected. The primary objective was to investigate the impact of frailty syndrome on ICU and 30-day survival of VIPs. Frailty was assessed with the Clinical Frailty Scale (= 5 points on a scale of 1-9).
Results: We enrolled 272 participants with a median age of 84 (81-87) years. Frailty was diagnosed in 170 (62.5%) patients. The ICU and 30-day survival rates were equal to 54.6% and 47.3% respectively. Three variables were found to significantly increase the odds of death in the ICU in a multiple logistic regression model: SOFA score (OR = 1.16; 95%CI 1.16-1.24), acute mode of admission (OR = 5.1; 95%CI 1.67-15.57) and frailty (OR = 2.25; 95%CI 1.26-4.01).
Conclusion: Measuring frailty in critically ill older adults can facilitate making more informed clinical decisions and help avoid futile interventions.
BACKGROUND: The need to provide care for the dying patient and his/her family may occur in every medical setting. Newly graduated nurses and physicians should therefore be prepared to deliver it at a high-quality level.
OBJECTIVES: To explore (a) the primary difficulties participants anticipate they will encounter whilst working with dying patients, (b) their interest in developing competencies in caring for dying patients, and (c) their interest in working in palliative/hospice settings or with dying patients in the future.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study.
SETTINGS: A medical university in Poland.
PARTICIPANTS: Convenience sample of nursing (=112) and medical students (=101) at the end of their undergraduate education.
METHODS: Questionnaire distributed online and in hard-copy format.
RESULTS: Half of the participants anticipated experiencing various emotional and professional difficulties in caring for dying individuals, especially medical students. These difficulties pertained mostly the reaction of family members to the patient's death, addressing the psychological needs of the dying person, and coping with his/her own emotions when dealing with the patient's death. Students reported that working with dying patients could cause occupational stress - more so among medical students. The majority of them showed an interest in improving knowledge regarding palliative care and also in this case this was mostly true of medical rather than nursing students. However, more than half of the participants preferred avoiding work in palliative/hospice settings, with no differences between the two groups. Participants attributed this attitude to two factors: (a) the desire to avoid negative emotions and stress that could be triggered by dealing with death and dying; and (b) because they felt they lacked the required skills and personal abilities to handle such situations.
CONCLUSIONS: Undergraduate curricula that include strategies for coping with negative emotions associated with facing the process of death and dying should be developed. Interprofessional education should be encouraged, especially regarding the psychosocial aspects of end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVE: To examine factors associated with perceived quality of communication with physicians by relatives of dying residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs).
DESIGN: A cross-sectional retrospective study in a representative sample of LTCFs conducted in 2015. In each LTCF, deaths of residents during the 3 months before the researcher's visit were reported. Structured questionnaires were sent to the identified relatives of deceased residents.
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 736 relatives of deceased residents in 210 LTCFs (in Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland).
METHODS: The Family Perception of Physician-Family Communication scale (FPPFC) was used to assess the quality of end-of-life (EOL) communication with physicians as perceived by relatives. We applied multilevel linear regression models to find factors associated with the FPPFC score.
RESULTS: The quality of EOL communication with physicians was perceived by relatives as higher when the relative spent more than 14 hours with the resident in the last week of the resident's life (b = 0.205; P = .044), and when the treating physician visited the resident at least 3 times in the last week of the resident's life (b = 0.286; P = .002) or provided the resident with palliative care (b = 0.223; P = .003). Relatives with higher emotional burden perceived the quality of EOL communication with physicians as lower (b = -0.060; P < .001). These results had been adjusted to countries and LTCF types with physicians employed on-site or off-site of the facility.
CONCLUSION: The quality of EOL communication with physicians, as perceived by relatives of dying LTCF residents, is associated with the number of physician visits and amount of time spent by the relative with the resident in the last week of the resident's life, and relatives' emotional burden.
IMPLICATIONS: LTCF managers should organize care for dying residents in a way that enables frequent interactions between physicians and relatives, and emotional support to relatives to improve their satisfaction with EOL communication.
BACKGROUND: In long-term care facilities often many care providers are involved, which could make it difficult to reach consensus in care. This may harm the relation between care providers and can complicate care. This study aimed to describe and compare in six European countries the degree of consensus among everyone involved in care decisions, from the perspective of relatives and care staff. Another aim was to assess which factors are associated with reporting that full consensus was reached, from the perspective of care staff and relatives.
METHODS: In Belgium, England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland a random sample of representative long-term care facilities reported all deaths of residents in the previous three months (n = 1707). This study included residents about whom care staff (n = 1284) and relatives (n = 790) indicated in questionnaires the degree of consensus among all involved in the decision or care process. To account for clustering on facility level, Generalized Estimating Equations were conducted to analyse the degree of consensus across countries and factors associated with full consensus.
RESULTS: Relatives indicated full consensus in more than half of the residents in all countries (NL 57.9% - EN 68%), except in Finland (40.7%). Care staff reported full consensus in 59.5% of residents in Finland to 86.1% of residents in England. Relatives more likely reported full consensus when: the resident was more comfortable or talked about treatment preferences, a care provider explained what palliative care is, family-physician communication was well perceived, their relation to the resident was other than child (compared to spouse/partner) or if they lived in Poland or Belgium (compared to Finland). Care staff more often indicated full consensus when they rated a higher comfort level of the resident, or if they lived in Italy, the Netherland, Poland or England (compared to Finland).
CONCLUSIONS: In most countries the frequency of full consensus among all involved in care decisions was relatively high. Across countries care staff indicated full consensus more often and no consensus less often than relatives. Advance care planning, comfort and good communication between relatives and care professionals could play a role in achieving full consensus.
BACKGROUND: By 2030, 30% of the European population will be aged 60 or over and those aged 80 and above will be the fastest growing cohort. An increasing number of people will die at an advanced age with multiple chronic diseases. In Europe at present, between 12 and 38% of the oldest people die in a long-term care facility. The lack of nationally representative empirical data, either demographic or clinical, about people who die in long-term care facilities makes appropriate policy responses more difficult. Additionally, there is a lack of comparable cross-country data; the opportunity to compare and contrast data internationally would allow for a better understanding of both common issues and country-specific challenges and could help generate hypotheses about different options regarding policy, health care organization and provision. The objectives of this study are to describe the demographic, facility stay and clinical characteristics of residents dying in long-term care facilities and the differences between countries.
METHODS: Epidemiological study (2015) in a proportionally stratified random sample of 322 facilities in Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and England. The final sample included 1384 deceased residents. The sampled facilities received a letter introducing the project and asking for voluntary participation. Facility manager, nursing staff member and treating physician completed structured questionnaires for all deaths in the preceding 3 months.
RESULTS: Of 1384 residents the average age at death ranged from 81 (Poland) to 87 (Belgium, England) (p < 0.001) and length of stay from 6 months (Poland, Italy) to 2 years (Belgium) (p < 0.05); 47% (the Netherlands) to 74% (Italy) had more than two morbidities and 60% (England) to 83% (Finland) dementia, with a significant difference between countries (p < 0.001). Italy and Poland had the highest percentages with poor functional and cognitive status 1 month before death (BANS-S score of 21.8 and 21.9 respectively). Clinical complications occurred often during the final month (51.9% England, 66.4% Finland and Poland).
CONCLUSIONS: The population dying in long-term care facilities is complex, displaying multiple diseases with cognitive and functional impairment and high levels of dementia. We recommend future policy should include integration of high-quality palliative and dementia care.
Context: To provide high-quality palliative care to nursing home residents, staff need to understand the basic principles of palliative care.
Objectives: to evaluate the extent of agreement with the basic principles of palliative care of nurses and care assistants working in nursing homes in five European countries and to identify correlates.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study in 214 homes in Belgium, England, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland. Agreement with basic principles of palliative care was measured with the Rotterdam MOVE2PC. We calculated percentages and odds ratios of agreement and an overall score between 0 (no agreement) and 5 (total agreement).
Results: Most staff in all countries agreed that palliative care involves more than pain treatment (58% Poland to 82% Belgium) and includes spiritual care (62% Italy to 76% Belgium) and care for family or relatives (56% Italy to 92% Belgium). Between 51% (the Netherlands) and 64% (Belgium) correctly disagreed that palliative care should start in the last week of life and 24% (Belgium) to 53% (Poland) agreed that palliative care and intensive life-prolonging treatment can be combined. The overall agreement score ranged between 1.82 (Italy) and 3.36 (England). Older staff (0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.09–0.43, P = 0.003), nurses (0.59; 95% CI: 0.43–0.75, P < 0.001), and staff who had undertaken palliative care training scored higher (0.21; 95% CI: 0.08–0.34, P = 0.002).
Conclusions: The level of agreement of nursing home staff with basic principles of palliative care was only moderate and differed between countries. Efforts to improve the understanding of basic palliative care are needed.
OBJECTIVE: To examine how relatives evaluate the quality of communication with the treating physician of a dying resident in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) and to assess its differences between countries.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional retrospective study in a representative sample of LTCFs conducted in 2015. Relatives of residents who died during the previous 3 months were sent a questionnaire.
SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: 761 relatives of deceased residents in 241 LTCFs in Belgium, England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland.
METHODS: The Family Perception of Physician-Family Communication (FPPFC) scale (ratings from 0 to 3, where 3 means the highest quality) was used to retrospectively assess how the quality of end-of-life communication with treating physicians was perceived by relatives. We applied multilevel linear and logistic regression models to assess differences between countries and LTCF types.
RESULTS: The FPPFC score was the lowest in Finland (1.4 ± 0.8) and the highest in Italy (2.2 ± 0.7). In LTCFs served by general practitioners, the FPPFC score differed between countries, but did not in LTCFs with on-site physicians. Most relatives reported that they were well informed about a resident's general condition (from 50.8% in Finland to 90.6% in Italy) and felt listened to (from 53.1% in Finland to 84.9% in Italy) and understood by the physician (from 56.7% in Finland to 85.8% in Italy). In most countries, relatives assessed the worst communication as being about the resident's wishes for medical treatment at the end of life, with the lowest rate of satisfied relatives in Finland (37.6%).
CONCLUSION: The relatives' perception of the quality of end-of-life communication with physicians differs between countries. However, in all countries, physicians' communication needs to be improved, especially regarding resident's wishes for medical care at the end of life.
IMPLICATIONS: Training in end-of-life communication to physicians providing care for LTCF residents is recommended.
BACKGROUND: While the need for palliative care in long-term care facilities is growing, it is unknown whether palliative care in this setting is sufficiently developed.
AIM: To describe and compare in six European countries palliative care provision in long-term care facilities and to assess associations between patient, facility and advance care planning factors and receipt and timing of palliative care.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional after-death survey regarding care provided to long-term care residents in Belgium, England, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. Generalized estimating equations were used for analyses.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Nurses or care assistants who are most involved in care for the resident.
RESULTS: We included 1298 residents in 300 facilities, of whom a majority received palliative care in most countries (England: 72.6%-Belgium: 77.9%), except in Poland (14.0%) and Italy (32.1%). Palliative care typically started within 2 weeks before death and was often provided by the treating physician (England: 75%-the Netherlands: 98.8%). A palliative care specialist was frequently involved in Belgium and Poland (57.1% and 86.7%). Residents with cancer, dementia or a contact person in their record more often received palliative care, and it started earlier for residents with whom the nurse had spoken about treatments or the preferred course of care at the end of life.
CONCLUSION: The late initiation of palliative care (especially when advance care planning is lacking) and palliative care for residents without cancer, dementia or closely involved relatives deserve attention in all countries. Diversity in palliative care organization might be related to different levels of its development.
This paper focuses exclusively on inscriptions on roadside memorials. We conducted a review of studies of roadside memorial inscriptions and a field study of 29 inscriptions found on 156 roadside memorials in Poland to understand the similarities and differences between these inscriptions and those in other countries. The uniqueness of Polish inscriptions is their religious meaning. They reflect the inscription authors’ and/or the deceased’s relationship with Catholicism. We proposed a typology of inscriptions (limited and developed) that may be useful in further comparative studies on roadside memorialization.
The subject of the presented work was an attempt at optimization of the methods used for verification of the candidates for medical voluntary workers in a hospice and decreasing the danger of a negative influence of an incompetent volunteer on a person in a terminal stage of a disease and his or her relatives. The study was carried out in St. Lazarus Hospice in Krakow, Poland, and included 154 adult participants in four consecutive editions of "A course for volunteers - a guardian of the sick" organized by the hospice. In order to improve the recruitment of these workers, the hitherto methods of selection (an interview with the coordinator of volunteering and no less than 50% of attendance in classes of a preparatory course for volunteers") were expanded by additional instruments-the tests whose usefulness was examined in practice. Knowledge of candidates was tested with the use of a written examination which consisted of four open questions and an MCQ test comprising 31 questions. Practical abilities were checked by the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). A reference point for the results of these tests was a hidden standardized long-term observation carried out during the subsequent work of the volunteers in the stationary ward in the hospice using the Amsterdam Attitude and Communication Scale (AACS). Among the tests used, the greatest value (confirmed by a quantitative and qualitative analysis) in predicting how a given person would cope with practical tasks and in contact with the sick and their relatives had a practical test of the OSCE type.
The goal of the presented research was to investigate if wisdom plays a mediating role in the relationships between meaning in life and the attitude toward death in the period of middle and late adulthood. A study was carried out that included 567 persons aged 40 to 75 years. Three measures were used: Personal Meaning Profile, Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale, and Death Attitude Profile-Revised. The conducted analyses allowed the authors to confirm the mediating role of wisdom in the relationships between meaning in life and fear of death as well as death avoidance in persons during the period of middle and late adulthood.
INTRODUCTION: There is evidence that people with non-malignant disease receive poorer end-of-life (EOL) care compared to people with cancer. OBJECTIVES To assess the selected aspects of symptomatic treatment and communication between physicians and patients diagnosed with either advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung cancer.
METHODS: A questionnaire survey was conducted on-line among members of Polish Respiratory Society (PRS).
RESULTS: Correctly filled-in questionnaires were returned by 174 respondents (27.2% of those proved to be contacted by e-mail). In COPD, 32% of respondents always/often used opioids in chronic breathlessness and 18.3% always/often referred patients to palliative care (PC) specialist. Nearly 80% of respondents regarded bedside talks with people with COPD on EOL issues as essential, although only 20% would always/often initiate them. In people with lung cancer, opioids were routinely used for relief of chronic breathlessness by 80.0% of physicians; 81.7% referred patients to PC. More than half of the respondents always/often discussed EOL issues with only the patient's caregivers/relatives. Younger physicians, those caring for higher numbers of people with lung cancer and those who were better acquainted with PRS recommendations for PC in chronic lung diseases seemed to provide better EOL care for COPD patients.
CONCLUSIONS: People with COPD were seldom treated with opioids to relieve chronic breathlessness, or referred to PC consultation compared to people with lung cancer. Discussing the EOL issues with a patient was generally found challenging by physicians, and most often pursued with caregivers instead. COPD recommendations on PC may help to provide better EOL care by pulmonologists.