Dementia is the leading cause of death in England and Wales, but traditionally it has not been considered a terminal or life-limiting condition. As a result, little significance may be placed on advance care planning (ACP) for people with dementia. Evidence suggests that most patients with advanced dementia have often not been given an opportunity to complete an advance care plan and have not had conversations with their families about their wishes and preferences at the end of life. This article reports on a literature review that aimed to explore the evidence on the introduction of ACP in achieving preferred place of care or death for people living with dementia, and reducing carer burden. The literature review found that ACP discussions have several benefits for people with dementia and their family carers, but that various factors can support or hinder such discussions. It concludes that these people and their families need to plan for end of life and suggests that ACP can increase the likelihood of achieving their preferred place of care and death and reducing decisional burden for carers.
CONTEXT: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is stressing health care systems throughout the world. Significant numbers of patients are being admitted to the hospital with severe illness, often in the setting of advanced age and underlying comorbidities. Therefore, palliative care is an important part of the response to this pandemic. The Seattle area and UW Medicine have been on the forefront of the pandemic in the U.S.
METHODS: UW Medicine developed a strategy to implement a palliative care response for a multihospital health care system that incorporates conventional capacity, contingency capacity, and crisis capacity. The strategy was developed by our palliative care programs with input from the health care system leadership.
RESULTS: In this publication, we share our multifaceted strategy to implement high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that incorporates conventional, contingency, and crisis capacity and focuses on the areas of the hospital caring for the most patients: the emergency department, intensive care units, and acute care services. The strategy focuses on key content areas, including identifying and addressing goals of care, addressing moderate and severe symptoms, and supporting family members.
CONCLUSION: Strategy planning for delivery of high-quality palliative care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic represents an important area of need for our health care systems. We share our experiences of developing such a strategy to help other institutions conduct and adapt such strategies more quickly.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning is not well implemented in Belgian hospital practice. In order to obtain successful implementation, implementation theory states that the adopters should be involved in the implementation process. This information can serve as a basis for creating better implementation strategies.
AIM: For this study, we asked hospitalized palliative patients and their families what they experienced as good advance care planning.
METHODS: Twenty-nine interviews were taken from patients and families, following the Tape Assisted Recall procedure of Elliot. These interviews were analyzed using content analysis based on grounded theory. To improve reliability, 3 independent external auditors audited the analysis.
RESULTS: Results show that hospitalized palliative patients and families want to have advance care planning communication about treatment and care throughout their disease and about different aspects: social, psychological, physical, practical, and medical. They prefer to have these conversations with their supervising physician. They report 4 important goals of advance care planning communication: establishing a trustful relationship with the physician, in which they feel the involvement of the physician; giving and receiving relevant information for the decision process, making a personal decision about which treatment and care are preferred; and finding consensus between the preferred decision of the physician, the patient and the family concerning the treatment and care policy.
CONCLUSION: This study can contribute to advance care planning implementation in hospital practice because it gives in insight into which elements in advance care planning patients and families experience as necessary and when advance care planning is necessary to them.
The objective of this study was to understand the organizational context of nurses' use of advance care plans (ACPs). We use a modified version of Bandera's social cognitive theory model to understand relationships between organizational constructs such as experience with ACPs and satisfaction with organizational support and oncology nurses' knowledge, behaviors, and perceptions around ACPs. The sample included practicing registered nurses with a major focus in oncology who were members of the Oncology Nursing Society in the United States, and nurses at medical hospital or community care settings were included. Institutional review board approval was obtained, and permission was granted from the oncology nursing organization for online surveys. A validated ACP survey was used to measure nurses' experiences and perceptions of working with ACP. Perceptions of ACP by patients, vicarious experience with ACP, direct experience of ACP, having received training, and perceptions of organizational support for ACP were all predictive of total ACP behaviors in the workplace. The final regression model had 3 independent variables and accounted for 33% of the variance in total ACP behaviors. Both vicarious and direct experience with ACP was associated with ACP behaviors in workplaces. This implies the need for more vicarious and direct training experiences, as well as organization support, to build self-efficacy to perform ACP.
The purpose of this quality improvement project was to evaluate a statewide initiative promoting Advance Care Planning (ACP) to educate and support multidisciplinary ACP educators and provide tools to start ACP conversations in a predominantly rural state of the Upper Midwest. Individual objectives were to (1) motivate people of different professions and backgrounds to support the vision and (2) implement a system to educate and maintain a pipeline of ACP educators in appropriate methodologies to enable ACP in distant communities. The Advance Care Planning: Quality Conversations coalition was formed in 2015 to improve health care across the life span. The Reach-Effectiveness-Adoption-Implementation-Maintenance framework was applied to evaluate the project. Outcome variables were measured before, during, and after program implementation through service statistics and a questionnaire. Participation in the coalition's membership team between September 2015 and September 2019 ranged from 18 to 36 with a median of 27 and mode of 27. At least 20 different professions were represented. The coalition provided funds for educating 9 ACP instructors and 180 facilitators according to the Respecting Choices–First Steps ACP program. The coalition's mission has generated sustained interest for 4 years. Key elements and obstacles to implementing a statewide coalition were identified.
OBJECTIVE: To measure the effectiveness of a brief intervention aimed at increasing interest in and use of advanced directives (AD) among primary care patients.
METHODS: Randomized controlled trial. In the intervention arm, patients were given brief oral information and a leaflet on AD by General Practitioners (GPs), in the control group were briefly informed about the study's purpose. Outcome variables were the proportion of patients who expressed interest in AD and those who completed one. Covariates were sex, age, education, race, Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), religion, and possession of financial will.
RESULTS: Overall, 332 patients were recruited; 58 in the intervention and 36 in the control group expressed interest in AD (p = 0.033) and 18 (5.4 %) made an AD (nine in each group). Variables associated with interest were Caucasian race (odds ratio [OR], 1.88), the intervention (OR, 1.86), and CCI extreme scores (OR, 0.36). Variables associated with AD completion were primary education/no schooling (OR, 5.69) and fewer children (OR, 0.57).
CONCLUSIONS: A brief oral and written intervention delivered by GP significantly increased interest in AD and achieved a completion rate of 5.4 %, without differences with the control group.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: AD interventions should focus on individuals already likely to be motivated.
OBJECTIVES: Adult day service centers (ADSCs) may serve as an entrée to advance care planning. This study examined state requirements for ADSCs to provide advance directives (AD) information to ADSC participants, ADSCs' awareness of requirements, ADSCs' practice of providing AD information, and their associations with the percentage of participants with ADs.
METHODS: Using the 2016 National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, analyses included 3,305 ADSCs that documented ADs in participants' files. Bivariate and linear regression analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: Nine states had a requirement to provide AD information. 80.8% of ADSCs provided AD information. 41.3% of participants had documented ADs. There were significant associations between state requirement, awareness, and providing information with AD prevalence. State requirement was mediated by awareness.
DISCUSSION: This study found many ADSCs provided AD information, and ADSCs that thought their state had a requirement and provided information was associated with AD prevalence, regardless of state requirements.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning allows people to plan for their future care needs and can include medical, psychological and social aspects. However, little is known on the use, experience of and attitudes towards advance care planning in patients with Parkinsonian disorders, their family carers and in health care professionals.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of online databases in April 2019 using a narrative synthesis approach with thematic analysis and tabulation to synthesise the findings.
RESULTS: We identified 507 articles and 27 were included. There were five overarching themes: 1) what is involved in advance care planning discussions, 2) when and how advance care planning discussions are initiated, 3) barriers to advance care planning, 4) the role of healthcare professionals and 5) the role of the family carer. This evidence was used to highlight eight effective components to support optimal advance care planning in Parkinsonian disorders: advanced care planning discussions should be individualised in content, timing and approach, patients be invited to discuss advance care planning early and regularly, palliative care services be introduced early, a skilled professional deliver advance care planning, support to family carers be offered in the advance care planning process, healthcare professionals educated on Parkinsonian disorders and palliative care, advance care planning be clearly documented and shared with relevant services; and healthcare professionals enabled to conduct effective advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: These components can inform best practice in advance care planning in patients with Parkinsonian disorders.
BACKGROUND: Respect for autonomy is a paramount principle in end-of-life ethics. Nevertheless, empirical studies show that decision-making, exclusively focused on the individual exercise of autonomy fails to align well with patients' preferences at the end of life. The need for a more contextualized approach that meets real-life complexities experienced in end-of-life practices has been repeatedly advocated. In this regard, the notion of 'relational autonomy' may be a suitable alternative approach. Relational autonomy has even been advanced as a foundational notion of palliative care, shared decision-making, and advance-care planning. However, relational autonomy in end-of-life care is far from being clearly conceptualized or practically operationalized.
MAIN BODY: Here, we develop a relational account of autonomy in end-of-life care, one based on a dialogue between lived reality and conceptual thinking. We first show that the complexities of autonomy as experienced by patients and caregivers in end-of-life practices are inadequately acknowledged. Second, we critically reflect on how engaging a notion of relational autonomy can be an adequate answer to addressing these complexities. Our proposal brings into dialogue different ethical perspectives and incorporates multidimensional, socially embedded, scalar, and temporal aspects of relational theories of autonomy. We start our reflection with a case in end-of-life care, which we use as an illustration throughout our analysis.
CONCLUSION: This article develops a relational account of autonomy, which responds to major shortcomings uncovered in the mainstream interpretation of this principle and which can be applied to end-of-life care practices.
BACKGROUND: Historically, it has been assumed that the Emergency Department (ED) is a place for maximally aggressive care and that Emergency Medicine Providers (EMPs) are biased towards life-prolonging care. However, emphasis on early recognition of code status preferences is increasingly making the ED a venue for code status discussions (CSDs). In 2018, our hospital implemented a policy requiring EMPs to place a code status order (CSO) for all patients admitted through the ED. We hypothesized that if EMPs enter CSDs with a bias toward life-prolonging care, or if the venue of the ED biases CSDs towards life-prolonging care, then we would observe a decrease in the percentage of patients selecting DNR status following our institution's aforementioned CSO mandate.
METHODS: We present a retrospective analysis of rates of DNR orders placed for patients admitted through our ED comparing six-month periods before and after the implementation of the above policy.
RESULTS: Using quality improvement data, we identified patients admitted through the ED during pre (n=7,858) and post (n=8,069) study periods. We observed the following: after implementation DNR preference identified prior to hospital admission from the ED increased from 0.4% to 5.3% (relative risk (RR) 12.5; 95% CI: 5.2-29.9), defining CS in the ED setting at the time of admission increased from 2.4% to 98.6% (p <0.001), and DNR orders placed during inpatient admission was unchanged (RR=0.97 (95% CI = 0.88-1.07)).
DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that the ED can be an appropriate venue for CSDs.
Background: Although access to advance care planning (ACP), palliative care, and hospice has increased, public attitudes may still be barriers to their optimal use.
Purpose: To synthesize empirical research from disparate sources that describes public perceptions of ACP, palliative care, and hospice in ways that could inform public messaging.
Data Sources: Searches of PubMed and other databases were made from January 2011 to January 2020.
Study Selection: Studies reporting survey or interview data with the public that asked specifically about awareness and attitudes toward ACP, palliative care, or hospice were included.
Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently screened citations, read full texts, and performed data abstraction. Twelve studies met inclusion criteria and included >9800 participants. For ACP, 80% to 90% of participants reported awareness, and a similar proportion considered it important, but only 10% to 41% reported having named a proxy or completed a written document. For palliative care, 66% to 71% of participants reported no awareness of palliative care, and those who reported awareness often conflated it with end-of-life care. However, after being prompted with a tested definition, 95% rated palliative care favorably. For hospice, 86% of participants reported awareness and 70% to 91% rated it favorably, although 37% held significant misconceptions.
Limitations: A limited number of studies met inclusion criteria, and some were published in nonpeer reviewed sources. The studies reflect public perceptions pre-COVID-19.
Conclusion: Consumer perceptions of ACP, palliative care, and hospice each have a distinct profile of awareness, perceptions of importance, and reports of action taking, and these profiles represent three different challenges for public messaging.
Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of advance directives, healthcare proxies, and legal representatives in Austrian intensive care units (ICUs), and to explore barriers faced by adults engaged in the contemplation and documentation phase of the advance care planning process.
Methods: Two studies were conducted: (1) A 4-week multicenter study covering seven Austrian ICUs. A retrospective chart review of 475 patients who presented to the ICUs between 1 January 2019 and 31 January 2019 was conducted. (2) An interview and focus group study with 12 semi-structured expert interviews and three focus groups with 21 adults was performed to gain insights into potential barriers faced by Austrian adults planning medical decisions in advance.
Results: Of the 475 ICU patients, 3 (0.6%) had an advance directive, 4 (0.8%) had a healthcare proxy, and 7 (1.5%) had a legal guardian. Despite the low prevalence rates, patients and relatives reacted positively to the question of whether they had an advance directive. Patients older than 55 years and patients with children reacted significantly more positively than younger patients and patients without children. The interviews and focus groups revealed important barriers that prevent adults in Austria from considering planning in advance for potentially critical health states.
Conclusion: The studies show low prevalence rates of healthcare documents in Austrian ICUs. However, when patients were asked about an advance directive, reactions indicated positive attitudes. The gap between positive attitudes and actual document completion can be explained by multiple barriers that exist for adults in Austria when it comes to planning for potential future incapacity.
Background: Approximately 4.5% of the population live with serious mental illness (SMI), a term referring to mental health disorders that are chronic, impair function, and require ongoing treatment. People living with SMI are at risk of premature mortality relative to people without SMI. Chronic medical illnesses contribute significantly to mortality among individuals with SMI. The standard of care for individuals with serious medical illnesses includes palliative care. However, the provision of palliative care has not been operationalized for individuals with SMI.
Objective/Methods: This narrative review presents existing epidemiologic data on end-of-life (EOL) care and palliative care for individuals with comorbid serious medical illness and SMI. Challenges in the care of such patients are discussed. The role of the consultation-liaison psychiatrist in providing EOL care for individuals with SMI is delineated with an eye towards redressing disparities.
Results: Individuals with SMI are at risk of sub-optimal end-of-life care. Patient, clinician, and system-level factors all contribute to disparities including decreased access to palliative care, uneven continued engagement with mental health services, and low rates of advance care planning. CL psychiatrists can use their expertise at the intersection of medicine and psychiatry to address such disparities by (1) correcting misassumptions, (2) promoting advance care planning, (3) engaging long-term caregivers, (4) recognizing social needs, (5) ensuring ongoing access to psychiatric treatment, and (6) addressing suffering.
Conclusions: There are significant disparities in the end-of-life care of individuals with SMI. CL psychiatrists have expertise to ally with medical providers and redress these disparities.
Anyone’s life can turn upside down. Illness, disease, and accidents can jeopardize the life of anyone at any time. For families and their loved ones who fall victim to a serious medical crisis or disease, a little preparation can make a big difference. A 2018 survey revealed that 92% of adults know it is important to share their medical preferences with family and medical providers in preparation for end of life. Only 32% report they have shared their wishes.
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Objectives: This study aims to identify factors among British community-based adults associated with advance care planning engagement. Factors are then compared among six domains of wishes: medical care, spiritual and religious needs, privacy and peace, dignified care, place of death and pain relief.
Methods: Cross-sectional data were analysed from a stratified random sample of adults across Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) who were interviewed on their attitudes towards death and dying. Weighted multivariable logistic regression tested for associations with expressing any end-of-life wishes and then for each separate domain.
Results: Analysis of 2042 respondents (response rate: 53.5%) revealed those less likely to have discussed their wishes were: male, younger, born in the UK, owned their residence, had no experience working in health or social care, had no chronic conditions or disabilities, had not experienced the death of a close person in the last 5 years and feel neither comfortable nor uncomfortable or uncomfortable talking about death. Additional factors among the six domains associated with having not discussed wishes include: having less and more formal education, no religious beliefs, lower household income and living with at least one other person.
Conclusions: This study is the first to be conducted among a sample of community-dwelling British adults and the first of its kind to compare domains of end-of-life wishes. Our findings provide an understanding of social determinants which can inform a public health approach to end-of-life care that promotes advance care planning among compassionate communities.
Background: Advance care planning (ACP) facilitates identification and documentation of patients’ treatment preferences. Its goal aligns with that of palliative care – optimizing quality of life of seriously ill patients. However, concepts of ACP and palliative care remain poorly recognized in Chinese population. This study aims at exploring barriers to ACP from perspective of seriously ill patients and their family caregivers.
Methods: This is a qualitative study conducted in a Palliative Day Care Centre of Hong Kong between October 2016 and July 2017. We carried out focus groups and individual interviews for the seriously ill patients and their family caregivers. A semi-structured interview guide was used to explore participants’ experiences and attitudes about ACP. Qualitative content analysis was adopted to analyze both manifest content and latent content.
Results: A total of 17 patients and 13 family caregivers participated in our study. The qualitative analysis identified four barriers to ACP: 1) limited patients’ participation in autonomous decision making, 2) cognitive and emotional barriers to discussion, 3) lack of readiness and awareness of early discussion, and 4) unprepared healthcare professionals and healthcare system.
Conclusions: Participations of seriously ill patients, family caregivers and healthcare workers in ACP initiation are lacking respectively. A series of interventions are necessary to resolve the barriers.
The large scale and rapid spread of the current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way hospitals and other health services operate. Opportunities for patient-centered decision-making at the end of life are being jeopardized by a scarcity of health system resources. In response, the traditional doctor-initiated advanced care planning (ACP) for critical illness may also need to be readjusted. We propose nurse-led and allied health-led ACP discussions to ensure patient and family inclusion and understanding of the disease prognosis, prevention of overtreatment, and potential outcomes in crisis times. We highlight known barriers and list enablers, long-term and short-term opportunities to assist in the culture change.
Patient portals can play an innovative role in facilitating advanced care planning (ACP) and documenting advance directives (ADs) among older adults with multiple chronic conditions. The objective of this qualitative sub-study was to (1) understand older adults’ use of an ACP patient portal section and (2) obtain user-design input on AD documentation features. Although some older adults may be reluctant, participants reported likely to use a portal for ADs with proper portal design and support.
Objectives: Advance care planning (ACP) typically comprises formal preparations (i.e., living will and/or durable power of attorney for health care) and informal discussions with family members and health care providers. However, some people complete formal documents without discussing them with others. If they become incapacitated, their appointed decision makers may lack guidance on how to interpret or enact their formal wishes. We document the prevalence and correlates of this partial approach to ACP.
Method: Using multinomial logistic regression models and data from a U.S. sample of 4,836 older adults in the 2018 wave of the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), this brief report evaluated associations between social integration indicators and the odds of completing (a) both discussions and formal plans (two-pronged ACP), (b) discussions only, (c) no ACP, and (d) formal ACP only (reference category). We adjust for demographic and health characteristics established as correlates of ACP.
Results: A minority (15%) of NHATS participants reported formal plans without having discussed them. Indicators of social isolation (e.g., smaller social networks and fewer social activities) increased the odds of engaging in formal planning only compared to two-pronged ACP. Socioeconomic disadvantage and probable dementia reduced the odds of having end-of-life conversations, whether as one’s only preparation or in tandem with formal preparations.
Discussion: Socially isolated persons are especially likely to do formal planning only, which is considered less effective than two-pronged ACP. Health care professionals should recognize that older adults with few kin may require additional support and guidance when doing ACP.
Background: Patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation (LT) are seriously ill and experience fluctuating periods of clinical decompensation. Discussion of a patient’s advance care planning (ACP) wishes early in their dynamic disease course is critical to providing value-aligned care while awaiting LT. We aimed to evaluate current ACP documentation and assess readiness to engage in ACP in this population.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of adults undergoing LT evaluation from January 2017 to June 2017 and assessed characteristics associated with documentation using logistic regression. We then administered a survey to LT candidates from March 2018 to May 2018 to determine self-reported readiness to engage in ACP (range 1 = not at all ready to 5 = very ready).
Results: Among 170 LT candidates, median (interquartile range) age was 58 (53–65), 65% were men, MELDNa was 15 (11–21), and Child–Pugh A/B/C were 33/38/29%. Nine percent reported completing ACP prior to LT evaluation, but 0% had legal ACP forms or end-of-life wishes documented in the medical record. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) was discussed with 10%. In univariable analysis, white race (OR 4.16, p = 0.03) and female sex (OR 3.06, p = 0.04) were associated with ACP documentation, but Child–Pugh score and MELDNa were not. Of the 41 LT candidates who completed the ACP survey, 93% were ready to appoint a DPOA and 85% were ready to discuss end-of-life care.
Conclusion: There is a paucity of ACP documentation and identification of DPOA among LT candidates, despite patients reporting readiness to complete ACP and appoint a DPOA. These results reveal an opportunity for tools to facilitate discussions around ACP between clinicians, patients, and their caregivers.