Introduction: It has been suggested that palliative care integrated into standard cancer treatment from the early phase of the disease can improve the quality of life of patients with cancer. In this paper, we present the protocol for a multicentre randomised controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of a nurse-led, screening-triggered, early specialised palliative care intervention programme for patients with advanced lung cancer.
Methods and analysis: A total of 206 patients will be randomised (1:1) to the intervention group or the control group (usual care). The intervention, triggered with a brief self-administered screening tool, comprises comprehensive need assessments, counselling and service coordination by advanced-level nurses. The primary outcome is the Trial Outcome Index of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT) at 12 weeks. The secondary outcomes include participants’ quality of life (FACT-Lung), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7), illness perception (Prognosis and Treatment Perceptions Questionnaire), medical service use and survival. A mixed-method approach is expected to provide an insight about how this intervention works.
Ethics and dissemination: This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the National Cancer Center Japan (approval number: 2016-235). The findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations and will be reflected on to the national healthcare policy.
Trial registration number UMIN000025491.
AIMS: This study explored perceptions on a good-life, good-death, and advance care planning in Koreans with non-cancerous chronic diseases with the goal to develop a culture-specific advance care planning intervention in this population.
DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive design was used.
METHODS: Data collections were conducted between September 2017 - June 2018. Twenty-nine patients aged 41-82 years (85.8% men) participated in the interviews lasting 40-60 min. The verbatim transcriptions of the semi-structured interview data were analysed using conventional content analysis.
RESULTS: Good-life was described as 'present with physical and financial independence,' 'not burdensome to the family,' 'completed life responsibility', and 'helping others.' Some participants described good-death as 'prepared death' while others considered it as 'sudden death during sleep.' All participants wanted to have a painless death and not burden the family. Advance care planning was a new concept to many participants. It was likened to 'insurance.' Some participants believed that decision-making on life-sustaining treatment should be done by their family, not themselves, because of economic or emotional distress. Some participants wanted to discuss medical and non-medical care services to reduce the burden on self and family.
CONCLUSION: Family is key when it comes to the meaning of good-life and good-death. Cultural adaptation is necessary to meet the advance care planning needs of Koreans with non-cancerous chronic diseases.
IMPACT: Successfully implementing advance care planning in Koreans with non-cancerous chronic diseases depends on how it is adapted to the disease-specific characteristics compared with cancer, and the cultural norms and social context. Nurses need to be prepared to offer advance care planning to persons with non-cancerous chronic diseases based on a keen sense of and empathetic cultural competence.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) supports individuals to define, discuss, and record goals and preferences for future medical treatment and care. Despite being internationally recommended, randomised clinical trials of ACP in patients with advanced cancer are scarce.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: To test the implementation of ACP in patients with advanced cancer, we conducted a cluster-randomised trial in 23 hospitals across Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, and United Kingdom in 2015-2018. Patients with advanced lung (stage III/IV) or colorectal (stage IV) cancer, WHO performance status 0-3, and at least 3 months life expectancy were eligible. The ACTION Respecting Choices ACP intervention as offered to patients in the intervention arm included scripted ACP conversations between patients, family members, and certified facilitators; standardised leaflets; and standardised advance directives. Control patients received care as usual. Main outcome measures were quality of life (operationalised as European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC] emotional functioning) and symptoms. Secondary outcomes were coping, patient satisfaction, shared decision-making, patient involvement in decision-making, inclusion of advance directives (ADs) in hospital files, and use of hospital care. In all, 1,117 patients were included (442 intervention; 675 control), and 809 (72%) completed the 12-week questionnaire. Patients' age ranged from 18 to 91 years, with a mean of 66; 39% were female. The mean number of ACP conversations per patient was 1.3. Fidelity was 86%. Sixteen percent of patients found ACP conversations distressing. Mean change in patients' quality of life did not differ between intervention and control groups (T-score -1.8 versus -0.8, p = 0.59), nor did changes in symptoms, coping, patient satisfaction, and shared decision-making. Specialist palliative care (37% versus 27%, p = 0.002) and AD inclusion in hospital files (10% versus 3%, p < 0.001) were more likely in the intervention group. A key limitation of the study is that recruitment rates were lower in intervention than in control hospitals.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that quality of life effects were not different between patients who had ACP conversations and those who received usual care. The increased use of specialist palliative care and AD inclusion in hospital files of intervention patients is meaningful and requires further study. Our findings suggest that alternative approaches to support patient-centred end-of-life care in this population are needed.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN registry ISRCTN63110516.
Background: To assess the psychometric properties, including internal consistency, construct validity, criterion validity, criterion-group validity, and responsiveness, the Reviewed McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire (MQOL-R), into Brazilian Portuguese-(BrP). Also, to analyze the relationship of the BrP-MQOL-R with the scores on the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) and on the Numerical Pain Scale (NPS 0–10).
Methods: The BrP-MQOL-R was administered to a sample of 146 adults (men = 78). A team of experts translated the MQOL-R according to international guidelines. Convergent validity and Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed.
Results: The BrP-MQOL-R Cronbach’s alpha was 0.85. CFA supported the original four-factor structure, with the following revised model fit-indices: PCLOSE = 0.131, Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI) rho 2 = 0.918, incremental fit index (IFI) delta 2 = 0.936. The convergence validity is supported by a significant correlation between BrP-MQOL-R total scores and their subscales with KPS and with the single item related to the quality of life. And by a converse correlation with the pain scores in the NPS (0–10). Receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis showed subjects with KPS equal to or lower than 30% could be discriminated from those with scores on KPS higher than 30% by an area under the curve (AUC) = 0.71, sensitivity = 97%, and specificity = 92%).
Conclusion: The BrP-MQOL-R proves to be a reliable instrument for assessing the quality of life (QOL) in palliative care (PC), with primary evidence of validity. BrP-MQOL-R presented adequate discriminate properties to identify distinct conditions that impact the QOL in PC.
Bladder cancer is the 6th most common cancer worldwide and contributes significant excess mortality and morbidity. It often presents at a late stage when it is incurable, and the prognosis is poor. The local symptoms of bladder cancer-including haematuria, dysuria, frequency, nocturia and pain, have significant effects on quality of life and may require frequent inpatient admissions. As a palliative treatment, radiotherapy can be uniquely useful in providing targeted long term symptomatic control, although this must be balanced against the potential of causing toxicity. A variety of radiotherapy protocols have been developed for managing these symptoms. The results of several studies show that radiotherapy delivered in a hypofractionated regime (21 Gy in 3 fractions) can provide relief of these symptoms within a few weeks. Other commonly used regimes include 35 Gy in 10 fractions, 30 Gy in 5 fractions, a once weekly 36 Gy in 6 fractions, and a single 8 Gy fraction. In the palliative setting symptom resolution lasts for the majority of the patients remaining lifespan. Benefit is particularly clear for symptomatic haematuria and in these patients even single doses may provide rapid benefit. To maximise benefit from radiotherapy, studies are urgently needed to better estimate the prognosis of patients presenting with bladder cancer.
This pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility and possible effects of the “PalliActive Caregivers,” nursing intervention, on the uncertainty in illness and quality of life of family caregivers of patients with cancer receiving palliative care. This pilot study used a randomized controlled design. The participants were 80 family caregivers. The experimental group received the novel “PalliActive Caregivers” intervention. Data were collected using a sociodemographic form, the Uncertainty in Illness Scale, the Quality of Life scale, and an Intervention satisfaction questionnaire. The caregivers who received the intervention “PalliActive Caregivers” reported a high degree of satisfaction (9.74 on a 10-point scale). The intervention showed a significant decrease in uncertainty regarding illness in the experimental group (P = .009), as well as a significant decrease in the psychological well-being of quality of life within the experimental and control groups, before and after the intervention (P = .013, P = .010). It is recommended that future studies using the “PalliActive Caregivers” intervention examine the effects on other variables such as the burden of patient's symptoms, caregiver burden and rewards, self-efficacy in symptom management, competence, unmet needs, and satisfaction with care.
Background: Family meetings facilitate the exploration of issues and goals of care however, there has been minimal research to determine the benefits and cost implications.
Aims: To determine: (1) if family caregivers of hospitalised patients referred to palliative care who receive a structured family meeting report lower psychological distress (primary outcome), fewer unmet needs, improved quality of life; feel more prepared for the caregiving role; and receive better quality of end-of-life care; (2) if outcomes vary dependant upon site of care and; (3) the cost-benefit of implementing meetings into routine practice.
Design: Pragmatic cluster randomised trial involving palliative care patients and their primary family caregivers at three Australian hospitals. Participants completed measures upon admission (Time 1); 10 days later (Time 2) and two months after the patient died (Time 3). Regression analyses, health utilisation and process evaluation were conducted.
Results: 297 dyads recruited; control (n = 153) and intervention (n = 144). The intervention group demonstrated significantly lower psychological distress (Diff: –1.68, p < 0.01) and higher preparedness (Diff: 3.48, p = 0.001) at Time 2. No differences were identified based on quality of end of life care or health utilisation measures.
Conclusions: Family meetings may be helpful in reducing family caregiver distress and enhancing their preparedness for the caregiving role and it appears they may be conducted without increased hospital health utilisation impacts; although opportunity costs need to be considered in order to routinely offer these as a standardised intervention. Additional health economic examination is also advocated to comprehensively understand the cost-benefit implications.
Trial Registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12615000200583
BACKGROUND: The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool intervention (CSNAT-I) has been shown to improve end-of-life care support for informal caregivers. This study investigated the impact of the CSNAT-I on caregivers of patients recently enrolled in specialised palliative care (SPC) at home in Denmark.
METHODS: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial with nine clusters (ie, SPC teams). Outcome measures were collected using caregiver questionnaires at baseline (T0) and 2-week (T1) and 4-week (T2) follow-up.
RESULTS: A total of 437 caregivers were enrolled (control group, n=255; intervention group, n=182). No intervention effect was found on the primary outcome, caregiver strain at T1 (p=0.1865). However, positive effects were found at T1 and T2 on attention to caregivers' well-being (p<0.0001), quality of information and communication (p<0.0001), amount of information (T1: p=0.0002; T2: p<0.0001), involvement (T1: p=0.0045; T2: p<0.0001), talking about greatest burdens (p<0.0001) and assistance in managing greatest burdens (p<0.0001). The effect sizes of these differences were medium or large and seemed to increase from T1 to T2. At T1, positive effects were found on distress (p=0.0178) and home care responsibility (p=0.0024). No effect was found on the remaining outcomes.
CONCLUSION: Although no effect was found on caregiver strain, the CSNAT-I showed positive effects on caregiver distress, home care responsibility and key outcomes regarding caregivers' experience of the interaction with healthcare professionals.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03466580.
Background: Transitioning care from hospital to home is associated with risks of adverse events and poor continuity of care. These transitions are even more challenging when new approaches to care, such as palliative care, are introduced before discharge. Family caregivers (FCGs) are expected to navigate these transitions while also managing care. In addition to extensive caregiving responsibilities, FCGs often have their own health needs that can inhibit their ability to provide care. Those living in rural areas have even fewer resources to meet their self-care and caregiving needs. The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of an intervention to improve FCGs’ health and well-being. The intervention uses video visits to teach, guide, and counsel FCGs in rural areas during hospital-to-home transitions. The intervention is based on evidence of transitional and palliative care principles, which are individualized to improve continuity of care, provide caregiver support, enhance knowledge and skills, and attend to caregivers’ health needs. It aims to test whether usual care practices are similar to this technology-enhanced intervention in (1) caregiving skills (e.g., caregiving preparedness, communication with clinicians, and satisfaction with care), (2) FCG health outcomes (e.g., quality of life, burden, coping skills, depression), and (3) cost. We describe the rationale for targeting rural caregivers, the methods for the study and intervention, and the analysis plan to test the intervention’s effect.
Methods: The study uses a randomized controlled trial design, with FCGs assigned to the control condition or the caregiver intervention by computer-generated lists. The intervention period continues for 8 weeks after care recipients are discharged from the hospital. Data are collected at baseline, 2 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months. Time and monetary costs from a societal perspective are captured monthly.
Discussion: This study addresses 2 independent yet interrelated health care foci—transitional care and palliative care—by testing an intervention to extend palliative care practice and improve transition management for caregivers of seriously ill patients in rural areas. The comprehensive cost assessment will quantify the commitment and financial burden of FCGs.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03339271. Registered on 13 November 2017.
OBJECTIVES: The aim was to review evidence from all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using palliative care education or staff training as an intervention to improve nursing home residents' quality of life (QOL) or quality of dying (QOD) or to reduce burdensome hospitalizations.
DESIGN: A systematic review with a narrative summary.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, Scopus, and Google Scholar, references of known articles, previous reviews, and recent volumes of key journals. RCTs were included in the review. Methodologic quality was assessed.
RESULTS: The search yielded 932 articles after removing the duplicates. Of them, 16 cluster RCTs fulfilled inclusion criteria for analysis. There was a great variety in the interventions with respect to learning methods, intensity, complexity, and length of staff training. Most interventions featured other elements besides staff training. In the 6 high-quality trials, only 1 showed a reduction in hospitalizations, whereas among 6 moderate-quality trials 2 suggested a reduction in hospitalizations. None of the high-quality trials showed effects on residents' QOL or QOD. Staff reported an improved QOD in 1 moderate-quality trial.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Irrespective of the means of staff training, there were surprisingly few effects of education on residents' QOL, QOD, or burdensome hospitalizations. Further studies are needed to explore the reasons behind these findings.
Importance: The evidence for palliative care exists predominantly for patients with cancer. The effect of palliative care on important end-of-life outcomes in patients with noncancer illness is unclear.
Objective: To measure the association between palliative care and acute health care use, quality of life (QOL), and symptom burden in adults with chronic noncancer illnesses.
Data Sources: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and PubMed from inception to April 18, 2020.
Study Selection: Randomized clinical trials of palliative care interventions in adults with chronic noncancer illness. Studies involving at least 50% of patients with cancer were excluded.
Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently screened, selected, and extracted data from studies. Narrative synthesis was conducted for all trials. All outcomes were analyzed using random-effects meta-analysis.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Acute health care use (hospitalizations and emergency department use), disease-generic and disease-specific quality of life (QOL), and symptoms, with estimates of QOL translated to units of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Palliative Care scale (range, 0 [worst] to 184 [best]; minimal clinically important difference, 9 points) and symptoms translated to units of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale global distress score (range, 0 [best] to 90 [worst]; minimal clinically important difference, 5.7 points).
Results: Twenty-eight trials provided data on 13 664 patients (mean age, 74 years; 46% were women). Ten trials were of heart failure (n = 4068 patients), 11 of mixed disease (n = 8119), 4 of dementia (n = 1036), and 3 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n = 441). Palliative care, compared with usual care, was statistically significantly associated with less emergency department use (9 trials [n = 2712]; 20% vs 24%; odds ratio, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.68-1.00]; I2 = 3%), less hospitalization (14 trials [n = 3706]; 38% vs 42%; odds ratio, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.65-0.99]; I2 = 41%), and modestly lower symptom burden (11 trials [n = 2598]; pooled standardized mean difference (SMD), -0.12; [95% CI, -0.20 to -0.03]; I2 = 0%; Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale score mean difference, -1.6 [95% CI, -2.6 to -0.4]). Palliative care was not significantly associated with disease-generic QOL (6 trials [n = 1334]; SMD, 0.18 [95% CI, -0.24 to 0.61]; I2 = 87%; Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Palliative Care score mean difference, 4.7 [95% CI, -6.3 to 15.9]) or disease-specific measures of QOL (11 trials [n = 2204]; SMD, 0.07 [95% CI, -0.09 to 0.23]; I2 = 68%).
Conclusions and Relevance: In this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials of patients with primarily noncancer illness, palliative care, compared with usual care, was statistically significantly associated with less acute health care use and modestly lower symptom burden, but there was no significant difference in quality of life. Analyses for some outcomes were based predominantly on studies of patients with heart failure, which may limit generalizability to other chronic illnesses.
OBJECTIVE: There is an increasing recognition of the significance of music as a complementary therapy in palliative care. Limited studies exist on how music is used as a coping mechanism by palliative care patients. Therefore, the purpose of this scoping review was to explore the efficacy of music interventions for palliative care.
METHOD: We conducted a literature search between June and November 2019 in the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), British Nursing Index (BNI), and PubMed, which includes MEDLINE. The search identified eight articles which met the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
RESULTS: Using thematic analysis, six themes were synthesied to show how music contributes to palliative care. The six themes include Pain management; Relaxation; Happiness and hope; Anxiety and depression management; Enhanced spirituality; and Improved quality of life. These themes reflect the psychological and emotional benefits palliative care patients derive from music therapies.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Music therapy can be an effective psychosocial approach when managing palliative symptoms through its therapeutic effects on physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
OBJECTIVE: End-of-life (EOL) care is a developing concept in India, with well-established practices in certain states like Kerala, but not in all the states. As there is a substantial stigma associated with death discussion across the Indian population, the experiences of caregivers of people with advanced cancer have not been explored. Our aim in this study was to explore the experience and perceptions of caregivers of people diagnosed with advanced cancer regarding the quality of the individuals' death.
METHODS: An exploratory study where the caregivers (n = 108) of advanced cancer patients, who died either during hospitalization or at home, were interviewed to assess quality of death (QOD), using an open-ended question to explore the sufferings of the patients in the final days and caregivers' coping mechanism.
RESULTS: Majority of the patients died at home (n = 79, 73.1%). The thematic analysis of the transcripts resulted in seven sub-themes, which were categorized under four major themes, namely 'bodily discomfort', 'psychological experiences' with the sub-themes resilience and existential distress, 'awareness of prognoses' with the sub-themes aware, unaware and conjecture, and 'carers coping' with the sub-themes perceived strain and contentment.
CONCLUSION: Patients under EOL care experience physical and psychological suffering, as reported by the caregivers. Efforts must be undertaken to reduce suffering by means of improving focus on and strengthening symptom management and enhancing psychosocial support, for optimally utilizing the available interventions to manage the physical symptoms and to address the psychosocial issues.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and families facing challenges associated with life-threatening illness. In order to effectively deliver palliative care, patient and caregiver priorities need to be incorporated in advanced cancer care.
AIM: This study identified experiences of patients living with advanced colorectal cancer and their caregivers to inform the development of an early palliative care pathway.
DESIGN: Qualitative patient-oriented study.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving care at two cancer centres were interviewed using semistructured telephone interviews to explore their experiences with cancer care services received prior to a new developed pathway. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the data were thematically analysed.
RESULTS: From our study, we identified gaps in advanced cancer care that would benefit from an early palliative approach to care. 15 patients and 7 caregivers from Edmonton and Calgary were interviewed over the phone. Participants identified the following gaps in advanced cancer care: poor communication of diagnosis, lack of communication between healthcare providers, role and involvement of the family physician, lack of understanding of palliative care and advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Early palliative approaches to care should consider consistent and routine delivery of palliative care information, collaborations among different disciplines such as oncology, primary care and palliative care, and engagement of patients and family caregivers in the development of care pathways.
Background: Mindfulness practices may have a role in reducing suffering and improving spiritual well-being among patients with serious illness. The efficacy, feasibility and acceptability of such interventions warrant further exploration in the palliative care population.
Objective: To investigate the effect of a brief mindfulness practice, the 5-minute mindfulness of peace intervention, on suffering and spiritual well-being among palliative care patients.
Methods: A randomized controlled study was conducted on adult palliative care patients with moderate to severe levels of suffering. Participants in the intervention arm were guided through a 5-minute mindfulness of peace exercise while participants in the control arm received 5 minutes of active listening. Pre- and post-intervention suffering and spiritual well-being were measured using the Suffering Pictogram and the FACIT-Sp-12 questionnaire, respectively.
Results: 40 participants completed the study. 5-minute mindfulness of peace significantly reduced suffering (median = -3.00, IQR = 2.00) more than 5 minutes of active listening (median = -1.00, IQR = 1.75), U = 73.50, z = -3.48, p = 0.001, 2 = 0.31. FACIT-Sp-12 score also significantly improved in the intervention arm (median = +5.00, IQR = 2.75) compared with the control arm after 5 minutes (median = +1.00, IQR = 3.00), U = 95.50, z = -2.85, p = 0.004, 2 = 0.21.
Conclusions: A brief 5-minute mindfulness of peace exercise is effective in providing immediate relief of suffering and improving spiritual well-being. It is a useful and feasible intervention among patients receiving palliative care for rapidly and momentarily reducing spiritual suffering.
Research on understanding health-related decision-making terminology among family caregivers of adults living with advanced cancer is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine interpretations of the meaning of health-related decision-making terminology such as quality-of-life and end-of-life among caregivers of adults living with advanced cancer as a basis for improved understanding of caregiver decision support needs. Interviews were conducted with a purposive sub-sample of 10 caregivers of adults diagnosed with advanced cancer who completed a longitudinal, descriptive study (NRO14856) of factors influencing cancer care decisions. Audio transcripts were analyzed using qualitative descriptive methods. Caregivers described interpretations of the meaning and process of decision-making and decision-related distress. Caregivers were uncertain about the meaning of end-of-life-related terminology, and a placed high value on quality-of-life and faith/spirituality in the decision-making process. Improvements in information and decision support interventions are needed to better support caregivers and subsequently patients towards informed cancer care decisions.
High-grade glioma (HGG) is characterized by debilitating neurologic symptoms and poor prognosis. Some of the suffering this disease engenders may be ameliorated through palliative care, which improves quality of life for seriously ill patients by optimizing symptom management and psychosocial support, which can be delivered concurrently with cancer-directed treatments. In this article, we review palliative care needs associated with HGG and identify opportunities for primary and specialty palliative care interventions. Patients with HGG and their caregivers experience high levels of distress due to physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms that negatively impact quality of life and functional independence, all in the context of limited life expectancy. However, patients typically have limited contact with specialty palliative care until the end of life, and there is no established model for ensuring their palliative care needs are met throughout the disease course. We identify low rates of advance care planning, misconceptions about palliative care being synonymous with end-of-life care, and the unique neurologic needs of this patient population as some of the potential barriers to increased palliative interventions. Further research is needed to define the optimal roles of neuro-oncologists and palliative care specialists in the management of this illness and to establish appropriate timing and models for palliative care delivery.
BACKGROUND: Early palliative care together with standard haematological care for advanced patients is needed worldwide. Little is known about its effect. The aim of the review is to synthesise the evidence on the impact of early palliative care on haematologic cancer patients' quality of life and resource use.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A systematic review was conducted. The search terms were early palliative care or simultaneous or integrated or concurrent care and haematological or oncohaematological patients. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, CINHAL and Scopus. Additional studies were identified through cross-checking the reference articles. Studies were in the English language, with no restriction for years. Two researchers independently reviewed the titles and abstracts, and one author assessed full articles for eligibility.
RESULTS: A total of 296 studies titles were reviewed. Eight articles were included in the synthesis of the results, two controlled studies provided data on the comparative efficacy of PC interventions, and six one-arm studies were included. Since data pooling and meta-analysis were not possible, only a narrative synthesis of the study results was performed. The quality of the two included comparative studies was low overall. The quality of the six non-comparative studies was high overall, without the possibility of linking the observed results to the implemented interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: Studies on early palliative care and patients with haematological cancer are scarce and have not been prospectively designed. More research on the specific population target, type and timing of palliative care intervention and standardisation of collected outcomes is required.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020141322.
Introduction: Fifteen per cent of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed with advanced disease and carry a 5 year survival rate of only 17%. Cervical cancer may lead to particularly severe symptoms that interfere with quality of life, yet few studies have examined the rate of palliative care referral in this population. This study aims to examine the impact of palliative care referral on women who have died from cervical cancer in two tertiary care centers.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of cervical cancer decedents at two tertiary institutions from January 2000 to February 2017. We examined how aggressive measures of care at the end of life, metrics defined by the National Quality Forum, interacted with clinical variables to understand if end-of-life care was affected. Univariate and multivariate parametric and non-parametric testing was used, and linear regression models were generated to determine unadjusted and adjusted associations between aggressive measures of care at the end of life with receipt of palliative care as the main exposure.
Results: Of 153 cervical cancer decedents, 73 (47%) received a palliative care referral and the majority (57%) of referrals occurred during an inpatient admission. The median time from palliative care consultation to death was 2.3 months and 34% were referred to palliative care in the last 30 days of life. Palliative care referral was associated with fewer emergency department visits (OR 0.18, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.56), inpatient stays (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.61), and intensive care unit admissions (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.93) in the last 30 days of life. Palliative care did not affect chemotherapy or radiation administration within 14 days of death (p=0.36). Women evaluated by palliative care providers were less likely to die in the acute care setting (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.51).
Discussion: In two tertiary care centers, less than half of cervical cancer decedents received palliative care consultations, and those referred to palliative care were often evaluated late in their disease course. Palliative care utilization was also associated with a lower incidence of poor-quality end-of-life care.