COVID-19 has truly affected most of the world over the past many months, perhaps more than any other event in recent history. In the wake of this pandemic are patients, family members, and various types of care providers, all of whom share different levels of moral distress. Moral conflict occurs in disputes when individuals or groups have differences over, or are unable to translate to each other, deeply held beliefs, knowledge, and values. Such conflicts can seriously affect healthcare providers and cause distress during disastrous situations such as pandemics when medical and human resources are stretched to the point of exhaustion. In the current pandemic, most hospitals and healthcare institutions in the United States have not allowed visitors to come to the hospitals to see their family or loved ones, even when the patient is dying. The moral conflict and moral distress (being constrained from doing what you think is right) among care providers when they see their patients dying alone can be unbearable and lead to ongoing grief and sadness. This paper will explore the concepts of moral distress and conflict among hospital staff and how a system-wide provider wellness programme can make a difference in healing and health.
Purpose: End-of-life (EOL) decision-making is stressful. We conducted a quality improvement initiative to EOL decision-making and reduce stress for clinicians and patients’ relatives.
Methods: A before–after study running from 2010–2014 at four interdisciplinary intensive care units (ICU) in a German university hospital was performed. Between periods, a multifaceted intervention was implemented to improve timeliness, clinician involvement, and organisational support. Consecutive patients with severe sepsis and therapy limitations were included. Relatives were interviewed by telephone after 90 days to assess their psychological symptoms. Clinician burnout was assessed by staff surveys in each period.
Results: Participation in the pre- and postintervention period was 84/145 and 90/159 among relatives, and 174/284 and 122/297 among ICU clinicians. Staff judged intervention elements as mostly helpful, but implementation of intervention elements was heterogeneous. From pre- to postintervention, relatives’ risk of posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety did not change (all p = 0.464). Clinicians’ risk of burnout increased (29% vs. 41%, p = 0.05). Relatives were highly satisfied in both periods (median of 9 vs. 9.2 on a 1–10 scale each). Attendings involved residents and nurses more often (both p = 0.018). Nurses more often had sufficient information to talk with relatives (41% vs. 62%, p = 0.002). Time to first EOL decision as well as barriers and facilitators of EOL decision-making did not change.
Conclusions: The intervention may have increased involvement in EOL decision-making, but was accompanied by an increased risk of clinician burnout maybe due to lack of improving communication skills and organisational support. More research is needed to understand which interventions can decrease clinician burnout.
BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been increasing attention for the prevalence and prevention of burnout among healthcare professionals. There is unclarity about prevalence of burnout in healthcare professionals providing palliative care and little is known about effective interventions in this area.
AIM: To investigate the prevalence of (symptoms of) burnout in healthcare professionals providing palliative care and what interventions may reduce symptoms of burnout in this population.
DESIGN: A systematic literature review based on criteria of the PRISMA statement was performed on prevalence of burnout in healthcare professionals providing palliative care and interventions aimed at preventing burnout.
DATA SOURCES: PubMed, PsycInfo and Cinahl were searched for studies published from 2008 to 2020. Quality of the studies was assessed using the method of Hawkers for systematically reviewing research.
RESULTS: In total 59 studies were included. Burnout among healthcare professionals providing palliative care ranged from 3% to 66%. No major differences in prevalence were found between nurses and physicians. Healthcare professionals providing palliative care in general settings experience more symptoms of burnout than those in specialised palliative care settings. Ten studies reported on the effects of interventions aimed at preventing burnout. Reduction of one or more symptoms of burnout after the intervention was reported in six studies which were aimed at learning meditation, improving communication skills, peer-coaching and art-therapy based supervision.
CONCLUSION: The range of burnout among healthcare professionals providing palliative care varies widely. Interventions based on meditation, communication training, peer-coaching and art-therapy based supervision have positive effects but long-term outcomes are not known yet.
Background: Delirium is highly problematic in palliative care (PC). Preliminary data indicate a potential role for melatonin to prevent delirium, but no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are reported in PC.
Methods: Patients aged =18 years, with advanced cancer, admitted to an inpatient Palliative Care Unit (PCU), having a Palliative Performance Scale rating = 30%, and for whom consent was obtained, were included in the study. Patients with delirium on admission were excluded. The main study objectives were to assess the feasibility issues of conducting a double-blind RCT of exogenous melatonin to prevent delirium in PC: recruitment, retention, procedural acceptability, appropriateness of outcome measures, and preliminary efficacy and safety data. Study participants were randomized in a double-blind, parallel designed study to receive daily melatonin 3 mg or placebo orally at 21:00 over 28 days or less if incident delirium, death, discharge or withdrawal occurred earlier. Delirium was diagnosed using the Confusion Assessment Method. Efficacy endpoints in the melatonin and placebo groups were compared using time-to-event analysis: days from study entry to onset of incident delirium.
Results: Over 16 months, 60/616 (9.7%; 95% CI: 7.5–12.4%) screened subjects were enrolled. The respective melatonin (n = 30) vs placebo (n = 30) outcomes were: incident delirium in 11/30 (36.7%; 95%CI: 19.9–56.1%) vs 10/30 (33%; 95% CI: 17.3–52.8%); early discharge (6 vs 5); withdrawal (6 vs 3); death (0 vs 1); and 7 (23%) vs 11 (37%) reached the 28-day end point. The 25th percentile time-to-event were 9 and 18 days (log rank, 2 = 0.62, p = 0.43) in melatonin and placebo groups, respectively. No serious trial medication-related adverse effects occurred and the core study procedures were acceptable. Compared to those who remained delirium-free during their study participation, those who developed delirium (n = 21) had poorer functional (p = 0.036) and cognitive performance (p = 0.013), and in particular, poorer attentional capacity (p = 0.003) at study entry.
Conclusions: A larger double-blind RCT is feasible, but both subject accrual and withdrawal rates signal a need for multisite collaboration. The apparent trend for shorter time to incident delirium in the melatonin group bodes for careful monitoring in a larger trial.
INTRODUCTION: End-of-life care (EOLC) is necessary for patients who are not expected to live long. Nurses have positive attitudes toward EOLC, but they encounter difficulties in practice. That situation creates conflict, which can affect burnout. It is essential to manage nurses' conflict about their ability to practice EOLC by enhancing their individual strengths. Focusing on the role of self-compassion may help to prevent burnout related to the conflict about ability to practice EOLC.
OBJECTIVE: The study aim was to assess the mediating effect of self-compassion on the association between conflict about ability to practice EOLC and burnout.
METHODS: A correlational study was conducted with emergency department nurses who practiced EOLC. Self-report measures of conflict about ability to practice EOLC, burnout, and self-compassion were obtained.
RESULTS: Negative aspects of self-compassion mediated the relationship among conflict, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization (burnout). Self-compassion did not mediate the association between conflict and reduced personal accomplishment (burnout).
CONCLUSIONS: Negative aspects of self-compassion mediated the relationship between conflict and burnout (excluding reduced personal accomplishment). To prevent burnout, it is necessary to screen for nurses with low self-compassion and to provide opportunities to change their cognitive recognition and disclose their conflicts.
Although burnout syndrome has been investigated in depth, studies specifically focused on palliative home care are still limited. Moreover, there is still a lack of evidence regarding the interplay between emotional flexibility and sensitivity to context in preventing burnout in home care settings. For these reasons, the aims of this study were to examine burnout symptoms among practitioners specializing in palliative home care and to investigate the role of regulatory flexibility and sensitivity to context in understanding burnout. An exploratory cross-sectional design was adopted. A convenience sample (n = 65) of Italian specialist palliative care practitioners participated in this study. Participants were recruited between February and April 2019 from two palliative home care services that predominantly cared for end-of-life cancer patients. The Italian version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the Flexible Regulation of Emotional Expression (FREE) scale (a measure of emotional flexibility), and the Context Sensitivity Index (CSI) (a measure of sensitivity to context) were administered. Analyses of variance were conducted using the three MBI factors as dependent variables and profession as an independent variable. Subsequently, three identical analyses of covariance were conducted with age, work experience, flexibility and sensitivity to context as covariates. The results showed a low burnout risk for all three of the MBI factors, and there were no gender differences. An ANOVA revealed a significant effect of profession type and age on the emotional exhaustion factor of the MBI, and an ANCOVA indicated that these effects persisted after covariates were accounted for. The results also showed a significant effect of the FREE score on emotional exhaustion. These findings can help explain the differential contributions of profession type and age to the burnout symptoms investigated. In addition, the emotional flexibility component, as an aspect of resilience, represents a significant and specific factor of emotional exhaustion. Interventions to prevent burnout must consider these relationships.
Burnout is common in physicians who care for patients with serious illness, with rates greater than 60% in some studies. Risk factors for burnout include working on small teams and/or in small organizations, working longer hours and weekends, being younger than 50 years, burdensome documentation requirements, and regulatory issues. Personal factors that can protect against burnout include mindfulness, exercise, healthy sleep patterns, avoiding substance abuse, and having adequate leisure time. Institutional and work factors that can buffer against burnout include working on adequately staffed teams, having a manageable workload, and minimally burdensome electronic health record documentation.
Complicated grief (CG) poses significant physical, psychological, and economic risks to bereaved family caregivers. An integrative review of the literature published 2009-2018 on CG associated with caregiving was performed using PubMed, PsychINFO, and Web of Science. The search returned 1428 articles, of which 32 were included in the review. Sixteen studies described risk and protective factors and 16 described interventions for CG. Caregiver-related risk factors included fewer years of education, depression, anxiety, poor physical health, and maladaptive dependency and attachment traits. Additional risk factors included lower perceived social support, family conflict at end-of-life, and family having difficulty accepting death. Care recipient-related risk factors are younger age, fear of death, and place of death. Protective factors included hospice utilization in reducing fear of death, high pre-bereavement spiritualty, and satisfaction with palliative care. Complicated grief treatment was the most widely-studied intervention. Social Workers and other clinicians can use this information to identify family caregivers at increased risk for CG and refer or implement an early intervention to lessen its impact.
Ces recommandations de la Haute Autorité de Santé ont pour objectifs de mieux définir les modalités d'utilisation des traitements médicamenteux, en particulier hors AMM, en situation palliative et phase terminale chez l'adulte :
- pour l'antalgie des douleurs rebelles ou la prévention des douleurs rebelles provoquées ;
- pour la sédation, qu'elle soit proportionnée ou profonde et continue maintenue jusqu'au décès ;
- y compris, le cas échéant, les modalités spécifiques au domicile.
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Cette manifestation consacrée aux enfants, adolescents et jeunes adultes orphelins est une opportunité de mettre la lumière sur leur situation sociale et leur vécu. Placé sous le signe de l’action, cet événement est l’occasion de prendre connaissance des résultats inédits des sept projets de recherche soutenus par la Fondation OCIRP, du partenariat initié avec l'Institut national d'études démographiques (INED) et de l'enquête « École et orphelins », programme interne du pôle Études et recherche de la fondation. Cet événement est enfin l’occasion d’ouvrir un espace de débat entre chercheurs-es et acteurs mobilisés et concernés : praticiens, professionnels de l’action sociale et de la santé, enseignants et personnels de l’éducation, chercheurs, acteurs associatifs, responsables politiques, journalistes, représentants d’institutions publiques et d’organismes privés, et en particulier parents, enfants, adolescents et jeunes adultes orphelins et leurs proches.
BACKGROUND: An increasing number of the ageing population worldwide is at risk of becoming frail and incapacitated. This has the potential to impact not only on the well-being of individuals but also on the sustainability of healthcare systems.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the views and experiences of frailty from the perspective of primary care professionals, including nurses, who work directly with older people within the community.
METHODS: A qualitative approach with a descriptive phenomenological methodology was used, which focused on exploration of primary care professionals' current experiences of early detection and prevention of the onset of frailty. Four multi-professional focus groups were held with a total of thirty-three primary care professionals who worked with older people as part of their daily role. Participants included district nurses, general practitioners, home care workers, physiotherapists and social workers.
RESULTS: Professional views encompassed typical patterns of ageing, loneliness, presence of comorbidity, disability and end of life, with social conditions prevalent in most frailty they encountered. Three main themes emerged: the psychosocial nature of frailty, late detection of frailty and barriers to the feasibility of prevention. Physical frailty was considered a constituent part of ageing, which recognised the presence of a skills gap related to the detection of the early signs of frailty. Present health and social care systems are not designed to prevent frailty, and the competencies required by health and social care professionals are not usually included as part of their training curricula. This may hinder opportunities to intervene to prevent associated decline in ability of older adults.
CONCLUSIONS: To enhance the early assessment of frailty and the planning of preventive multi-factorial interventions in primary care and community settings, training and effective detection strategies should be incorporated into the role and daily care activities of primary care professionals.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Using a multidimensional assessment instrument can help primary care professionals to identify older people who are frail or may become frail. In order to be able to carry out this properly strong inter-professional collaboration is needed. In addition, interventions aimed at preventing frailty or adverse outcomes of frailty should be tailor-made and thus should meet the needs and wishes of an older person.
Trois caractéristiques des soins palliatifs pédiatriques sont susceptibles de fragiliser les soignants. Il s’agit du processus complexe d’identification à l’enfant, de la confrontation avec la mort d’un enfant et enfin de l’enjeu lié à la triade enfant/parents/soignant pouvant conduire à l’épuisement professionnel. Quelques possibilités pour prévenir ces phénomènes sont étudiés.
Frailty is an emerging global health burden, with major implications for clinical practice and public health. The prevalence of frailty is expected to rise alongside rapid growth in the ageing population. The course of frailty is characterised by a decline in functioning across multiple physiological systems, accompanied by an increased vulnerability to stressors. Having frailty places a person at increased risk of adverse outcomes, including falls, hospitalisation, and mortality. Studies have shown a clear pattern of increased health-care costs and use associated with frailty. All older adults are at risk of developing frailty, although risk levels are substantially higher among those with comorbidities, low socioeconomic position, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyles. Lifestyle and clinical risk factors are potentially modifiable by specific interventions and preventive actions. The concept of frailty is increasingly being used in primary, acute, and specialist care. However, despite efforts over the past three decades, agreement on a standard instrument to identify frailty has not yet been achieved. In this Series paper, we provide an overview of the global impact and burden of frailty, the usefulness of the frailty concept in clinical practice, potential targets for frailty prevention, and directions that need to be explored in the future.
L'auteure analyse les facteurs qui peuvent accroître la vulnérabilité des personnes intellectuellement déficiente. Elle détaille ensuite les éléments qui permettent de protéger ces personnes et de limiter leur risque d'exposition à la maltraitance.
Le nombre de morts inattendues du nourrisson (MIN) a beaucoup diminué au cours des années 1990, mais les chiffres stagnent actuellement, alors que de nombreux décès seraient encore évitables. L’association Naître et vivre participe activement depuis plus de trente ans à sa prévention et œuvre, en collaboration avec les centres de référence de la MIN, à la création et à la diffusion d’outils de prévention multiples qui ont évolué au cours du temps.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced cancer are increasingly discharged from inpatient settings following focused symptom management admissions. Thromboprophylaxis (TP) is recommended for patients with cancer admitted to acute care settings; less is known about TP use in palliative care (PC) settings. This study explored the opinions of Canadian medical oncologists (MO) and PC physicians regarding the use of TP for inpatients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: A fractional factorial survey designed to evaluate the impact of patient factors (age, clinical setting, reason for admission, pre-admission performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group; ECOG), and risk of bleeding on anticoagulation) and physician demographics on recommending TP was administered by email to Canadian MO and PC physicians. Each respondent received eight vignettes randomly selected from a set of 32. Hierarchical regression was used to evaluate the odds of prescribing TP adjusted for patient factors.
RESULTS: 606 MO and 491 PC physicians were surveyed; response rates were 11.1% and 15.0%, respectively. MO were predominantly male (59.7%); PC female (60.3%); most worked in academic environments (90.3% MO; 73.9% PC). Multivariable hierarchical logistic regression demonstrated that all patient factors except age were associated with prescribing TP (ORs range: from 1.34 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.77) for good ECOG, to 2.53 (95% CI 1.9 to 3.37), for reversible reason for admission). Controlling for these factors, medical specialty was independently associated with recommending TP (OR for MO 2.09 (95% CI 1.56 to 2.8)).
CONCLUSIONS: MO have higher odds of recommending TP for inpatients with advanced cancer than PC physicians. Further research exploring the drivers of these differing practices is warranted.
Although male suicide has received research attention, the gendered experiences of men bereaved by male suicide are poorly understood. Addressing this knowledge gap, we share findings drawn from a photovoice study of Canadian-based men who had lost a male friend, partner, or family member to suicide. Two categories depicting the men's overall account of the suicide were inductively derived: (a) unforeseen suicide and (b) rationalized suicide. The "unforeseen suicides" referred to deaths that occurred without warning wherein participants spoke to tensions between having no idea that the deceased was at risk while reflecting on what they might have done to prevent the suicide. In contrast, "rationalized suicides" detailed an array of preexisting risk factors including mental illness and/or substance overuse to discuss cause-effect scenarios. Commonalities in unforeseen and rationalized suicides are discussed in the overarching theme, "managing emotions" whereby participants distanced themselves, but also drew meaning from the suicide.
Background: care of patients with a permanently unsafe swallow who are inappropriate for tube feeding is challenging. Eating and drinking with acknowledged risk (EDAR) may be an appropriate strategy but without clear decision making and communication patients may spend unnecessarily long ‘nil by mouth’ (NBM), they or their family may experience significant anxieties and advance care plans may not be made.
Methods: the FORWARD (Feeding via the Oral Route With Acknowledged Risk of Deterioration) care bundle was sequentially co-designed and embedded across different in-patient clinical services using ‘plan-do-study-act’ methodology to systematise best practice. Care before and after FORWARD’s implementation was evaluated using a time-series analysis of 305 ‘EDAR patients’ (19 in 6 months pre-FORWARD; 42 in a 12-month ‘pilot’; 244 patients in the subsequent 27 months).
Results: median (IQR) days patients were NBM without an alternative feeding route reduced significantly from 2 (1–4) pre-FORWARD to 0 (0–2) in the ‘pilot’ and 0 (0) post-‘pilot’ (P < 0.05). G-chart analysis demonstrated sustained performance across time and different clinical settings. Implementation of FORWARD significantly improved documentation of capacity assessment (42% 98%), discussions with next of kin (47% 98%) and onward communication of feeding plans (67% 81%). In wards where FORWARD was introduced, rate of aspiration pneumonia (a ‘balancing measure’ sensitive to harm associated with EDAR) increased at half the rate of dysphagia (0.8%/year versus 1.6%/year).
Conclusion: the FORWARD care bundle supported complex decision-making around EDAR in patients with persistent dysphagia. The benefits of FORWARD were shown to be sustained over time and in a wide in-patient context.
Efforts to clarify suicide terminology fail to address nuances in suicide-related communication, often relying on poorly-defined terms or implying communication exists primarily as manipulation. In the present paper, we review examples from existing literature and explore how personal suicide-related communication differs from prevention and exposure communication. We also separate definitions for five common types of personal-suicide-related communication: (a) suicide-related disclosure, (b) suicide-related notification, (c) unintended suicide-related communication, (d) coerced suicide-related communication, and (e) conditional suicide-related communication. Finally, we provide specific ways in which standardized definitions can enhance both research and clinical efforts in the future.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality, Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care (OPTIMISTIC) project is a successful, multicomponent demonstration project to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations of long-stay nursing facility residents. Systematic advance care planning (ACP) is a core component of the intervention, based on research suggesting ACP is associated with decreased hospitalizations of nursing facility residents. The purpose of this study was to describe associations between ACP documentation resulting from the OPTIMISTIC intervention and hospitalizations.
DESIGN: Specially trained project nurses were embedded in 19 nursing facilities and systematically engaged in ACP as part of a larger demonstration project.
PARTICIPANTS: Residents (n = 1482) enrolled in the demonstration project for a minimum of 30 days between January 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016.
MEASUREMENTS: ACP status: (1) Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) comfort measures or do not hospitalize (DNH) orders; (2) ACP orders with no hospitalization limit (eg, code status only); and (3) no ACP (potentially avoidable and all-cause hospitalizations per 1000 resident days).
RESULTS: Residents with POST comfort measures/DNH orders (33.2% or n = 493) were less likely than residents with no ACP (14.7% or n = 218) to experience a potentially avoidable hospitalization (P = .001) or all-cause hospitalization (P = .001). These differences became statistically nonsignificant after adjusting for age, functional status, and cognitive functioning.
CONCLUSION: In this successful multicomponent demonstration project to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations, ACP outcomes were not associated with hospitalization rates of nursing facility residents after adjusting for resident characteristics. These findings highlight the challenge of measuring the contributions of individual components of complex, multicomponent interventions. Associations between lower hospitalization rates and ACP completion may be influenced by contextual factors, such as clinical expertise and resources to manage acute conditions leading to hospitalization, in addition to interventions to increase ACP.