Aim: To examine factors that influence the health of older widows and widowers. The review question was: What is the evidence of the relationship between widowhood and health in older adults?
Design: Systematic review.
Data sources: Academic Search Elite, CINAHL, Medline (Ovid) and PubMed were searched for articles published between January 2013-December 2017.
Review methods: A systematic review of quantitative research with a qualitative thematic analysis.
Results: The selection process resulted in 12 studies. One of the themes that emerged was: emotional challenges related to experiences of bereavement, depression and anxiety, which was based on the sub-theme social support as the main strategy for coping with emotional pain and suffering. The second theme was: struggling with poor physical health. The findings indicate that healthcare professionals need knowledge and skills to deal with the health consequences of widowhood in old age. Building community teams can prevent emotional and physical health problems, as well as reduce mortality.
BACKGROUND: Nursing homes are becoming a common site where delivering end-of-life care for older adults. They often represent the junction between the curative and the palliative phase.
AIM: To identify the elements that nursing home residents' family carers perceive as good end-of-life care and develop a conceptual model of good end-of-life care according to the family perspective.
DESIGN: Systematic review (PROSPERO no. 95581) with meta-aggregation method.
DATA SOURCES: Five electronic databases were searched from inception between April and May 2018. Published qualitative studies (and mixed-method designs) of end-of-life care experience of nursing home family carers whose relative was dead or at the end-of-life were included. No language or temporal limits were applied.
RESULTS: In all, 18 studies met inclusion criteria. A 'life crisis' often resulted in a changed need of care, and the transition towards palliative care was sustained by a 'patient-centered environment'. Family carers described good end-of-life care as providing resident basic care and spiritual support; recognizing and treating symptoms; assuring continuity in care; respecting resident's end-of-life wishes; offering environmental, emotional and psychosocial support; keeping family informed; promoting family understanding; and establishing a partnership with family carers by involving and guiding them in a shared decision-making. These elements improved the quality of end-of-life of both residents and their family, thus suggesting a common ground between good end-of-life care and palliative care.
CONCLUSION: The findings provide a family-driven framework to guide a sensitive and compassionate transition towards palliative care in nursing home.
OBJECTIVE: Bereavement is associated with increased risk for morbidity and all-cause mortality across epidemiological, meta-analytic and case-control studies. The body of research examining the association between bereavement and immune function, beginning in 1977, has yet to be reviewed. The current systematic review clarifies these findings, identifies limitations of the diverse literature, and suggests a model and directions for future research.
METHODS: PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews were used to synthesize 41 years of research. Compared to a meta-analysis, a systematic review is appropriate given the heterogeneous nature of the studies. We used the NHLBI Study Quality Assessment Tool to assess the quality of select studies.
RESULTS: Thirty-three publications met inclusion criteria. The majority of studies support the association between bereavement and maladaptive changes in immune parameters in adults, with mixed findings on bereavement-related changes in cellular immunity. A handful of recent, good quality studies show bereaved people demonstrate higher levels of systemic inflammation, maladaptive immune cell gene expression, and lower antibody response to vaccination compared to non-bereaved controls. Individual differences in psychological response to bereavement (e.g. depression, grief) appear to influence the association between bereavement and immune function.
CONCLUSIONS: Research examining the association between bereavement and biomarkers of immune function is heterogeneous in methods and quality. Despite these limitations, there is evidence supporting maladaptive changes in immune function following bereavement. The research area would benefit from longitudinal research with larger sample sizes, advanced immunological methods and incorporating measures of psychological responses to bereavement. The field is poised to refine and scale up its investigation of this common and important phenomenon.
OBJECTIVES: To summarise the current body of published evidence on the use of low-dose and/or adjuvant methadone in the palliative care setting.
METHODS: The authors searched multiple databases (PubMED, SCORPUS, EMBASE and the Cochrane library) for relevant articles using the terms 'methadone', 'palliative', 'low dose' and 'adjuvant'. The review was restricted to articles published between 2003 and 2018. Paediatric and single-case studies were also excluded. Evidence quality was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) method.
RESULTS: Our search yielded 171 results, of which seven met the inclusion criteria. Four were retrospective chart reviews, one was a retrospective cohort study, one was a case series and one was a double-blind randomised control trial. The overall quality was found to be very low. Of the seven articles, all seven reported some improvement in pain with the addition of low-dose or adjuvant methadone. This improvement was statistically significant in four out of seven articles; statistical significance was not commented on in the remaining three articles.
CONCLUSION: While case series and chart reviews offer promising results about the utility of adjuvant and/or low-dose methadone in the management of complex pain, the very low evidence quality, relative dearth of studies and near absence of randomised controlled trials make it impossible to draw firm conclusions. Thus, while very preliminary evidence suggests methadone is a potentially effective and valuable agent, further research must be performed before such findings can be implemented into clinical practice.
BACKGROUND: Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative life-limiting disease. The international literature indicates that patients with advanced dementia can benefit from palliative care (PC) provided during the end-of-life phase. However, evidence indicates that currently many fail to access such provision despite the increased recognition of their palliative needs.
AIM: To investigate the factors influencing provision of PC services for people with advanced dementia.
METHODS: A systematic review of mixed method studies written in English was undertaken. 11 electronic databases including Embase, Medline, PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus from 2008 to 2018 were searched. Narrative synthesis and content analysis were used to analyse and synthesise the data.
KEY FINDINGS: In total, 34 studies were included. 25 studies providing qualitative data, 6 providing quantitative data and 3 mixed methods studies. The findings identified organisational, healthcare professionals and patients-related barriers and facilitators in provision of PC for people with advanced dementia from perspective of stakeholders across different care settings. The most commonly reported barriers are lack of skills and training opportunities of the staff specific to PC in dementia, lack of awareness that dementia is a terminal illness and a palliative condition, pain and symptoms assessment/management difficulties, discontinuity of care for patients with dementia and lack of coordination across care settings, difficulty communicating with the patient and the lack of advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Even though the provision of PC was empirically recognised as a care step in the management of dementia, there are barriers that hinder access of patients with dementia to appropriate facilities. With dementia prevalence rising and no cure on the horizon, it is crucial that health and social care regulatory bodies integrate a palliative approach into their care using the identified facilitators to achieve optimal and effective PC in this population.
INTRODUCTION: It is generally accepted that depression, affecting the quality of life, is a serious and common complication in patients with cancer. Given that there is no integrated study on this topic in Iran, the present study sought to investigate the prevalence of depression in patients with cancer by a systematic review and meta-analysis.
METHODS: To meet the study objectives, all English and Persian papers published from 2000 to January 2018 were systematically collected and the data were extracted for analysis.
RESULTS: There were 14 studies which were selected on the basis of the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A total number of 2831 patients with cancer had participated in the studies. The prevalence of depression among Iranian patients with cancer was 35% (95% CI 16% to 70%) based on random effects model. Among various types of cancer, the highest prevalence of depression appeared to patients suffering from breast cancer.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of depression among patients with cancer in Iran was higher than the developed countries. As depression affects the quality of life of patients with cancer, the results can help policymakers and service providers in planning to reduce the prevalence of depression.
INTRODUCTION: The prevention and relief of suffering are regarded as a goal at the end of life; therefore, suffering assessment at the end of life is essential. In this regard, we need instruments that allow us to evaluate this construct for gathering more evidence, as the assessment of suffering is increasingly used in research and the clinical setting. Many measures have been designed to assess this construct, and the selection of the most appropriate instrument is crucial. The aims of this systematic review are to (1) identify the measures assessing suffering in patients with advanced disease and their psychometric properties and (2) evaluate the methodological quality of studies on measurement properties.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The protocol of this systematic review was developed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols Guidelines. A systematic psychometric review of measures assessing suffering in patients with advanced disease and their psychometric properties will be carried out according to the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health status Measurement INstruments (COSMIN). The search strategy will be performed following the Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies. Searches will be conducted in Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, SciELO, Open Grey, Scopus, Web of Science and COSMIN database of systematic reviews, and it will be limited by time (1980-2018) and language (only literature in English and Spanish). Literature will be evaluated by two independent reviewers according to the COSMIN checklist, and measurement properties data of each study that meet the inclusion criteria will be scored independently by two researchers according to COSMIN quality ratings.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not necessary for systematic review protocols. The results will be disseminated by publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at a relevant conference.
PURPOSE: The undesired effects of midazolam can be life-threatening. This paper delineates the findings related to the pharmacokinetics, adverse effects and drug-drug interactions as well as associated therapeutic implications for safe midazolam use.
METHODS: A systematic review of literature was conducted.
RESULTS: The pharmacokinetics of midazolam depends on hepatic and renal functions, fat tissue mass, route and duration of administration, as well as potential drug-drug interactions. Palliative care patients constitute a high-risk group prone to side effects of drugs, due to polytherapy and multi-organ failure.
CONCLUSION: Midazolam is one of three most frequently administered drugs in palliative care. The indications for its use include anxiety, dyspnea, seizures, vomiting refractory to treatment, agitation, myoclonus, status epilepticus, restlessness, delirium, pruritus, hiccups, insomnia, analgosedation, palliative sedation and preventing or counteracting undesired effects of ketamine.
This literature review aimed to answer the focus question: are district nurses well placed to provide equitable end of life care (EOL) for homeless individuals? It focused on 10 primary research studies, from which two themes emerged and subsequently formed the basis of the discussion: (1) the difficulty in predicting disease trajectory in people who are homeless and (2) the gaps in existing systems. The main findings from these themes were a lack of education on the recognition of the dying and a general lack of knowledge of the complex challenges faced by and health needs of homeless people, which cause stigma from both the general public and health professionals towards these marginalised individuals. Further, there is certainly a lack of suitable places to deliver palliative and EOL care for people who are homeless. Available services are inflexible and have no tolerance for substance misuse, which creates an access barrier for homeless people in need of EOL care.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: People with cancer commonly experience persistent pain and psychological distress. Interventions are needed which address the multifactorial nature of pain and depression, yet few studies have examined the impact of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for cancer-related pain and depression.
RECENT FINDINGS: MBIs for cancer-related pain and depression can be effectively delivered across a range of modalities and show promise for alleviating mood and some physical health symptoms, although not always pain. There is some evidence for the cost-effectiveness of MBIs.
SUMMARY: The field of MBIs would benefit from greater methodological rigour and investigation into a broader range of cancer populations to increase the knowledge base and in turn the evidence base on which interventions can be developed to the benefit to patients with cancer-related pain and depression.
INTRODUCTION: Multiple studies have questioned the benefit of neutropenic diets in decreasing infections in patients with cancer, but recent surveys showed that such diets are still prescribed. In this study, we sought to evaluate the effectiveness of neutropenic diet in decreasing infection and mortality in neutropenic patients with cancer with neutropenia. This review is an update of a previously published systematic review.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We searched different databases to identify comparative studies that investigated the effect of neutropenic diet compared with regular diet in neutropenic adults and children with cancer. We conducted random-effects meta-analyses using the Der-Simonian and Laird method to pool treatment effects from included studies. Outcomes of interest were mortality, bacteremia/fungemia, major infections, quality of life, and the composite outcome for neutropenic fever and/or infection.
RESULTS: We included six studies (five randomised) with 1116 patients, with 772 (69.1%) having underwent haematopoietic cell transplant. There was no statistically significant difference between neutropenic diet and regular diet in the rates of major infections (relative risk [RR] 1.16; 95% CI 0.94 to 1.42) or bacteremia/fungemia (RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.60 to 1.53). In haematopoietic cell transplant patients, neutropenic diet was associated with a slightly higher risk of infections (RR 1.25; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.54). No difference in mortality was seen between neutropenic diet and regular diet (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.50).
CONCLUSION: There is currently no evidence to support the use of neutropenic diet or other food restrictions in neutropenic patients with cancer. Patients and clinicians should continue to follow the safe food-handling guidelines as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: End-stage liver disease (ESLD) is associated with high symptom burden, poor quality of life, and significant healthcare costs. Palliative care, which is not synonymous with hospice or end-of-life care, is a multidisciplinary model of care that focuses on patient-centered goals with the intent of improving quality of life and reducing suffering. This review will summarize current literature supporting the benefits of early integration of palliative care in patients in this population.
RECENT FINDINGS: Advance care planning (ACP) and goals of care discussions have been associated with improved quality of life, decreased anxiety, and improved satisfaction with care for both the patient and the caregiver. These discussions are beneficial to all patients with ESLD, including those listed for liver transplantation.
SUMMARY: Despite the resounding benefits of palliative care for patients with other advanced diseases, palliative care remains underutilized in liver disease. There is an urgent need for education of hepatology/transplant providers as well as development of society guidelines to help dissemination and acceptability of palliative care for patients with ESLD.
When a child loses a parent, their life is forever changed. A world that seemed safe and predictable suddenly becomes strange, frightening, and uncertain (Green & Connolly, 2009). In the time following the loss, it may be difficult for the child to imagine how to ever rediscover the joy of life and move past the loss. The loss of a parent is unfortunately not entirely uncommon, as Pearlman, Schwalbe and Cloitree (2010) report that about 4% of all children in the Western world lose one or both parents before the age of 18.
Background: The present meta-analysis evaluates the efficacy of psychological interventions for grief in bereaved adults and explores the possible moderating influence of various study characteristics.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted by two reviewers who independently searched electronic databases, reviewed and selected eligible studies, and evaluated their methodological quality.
Results: A total of 31 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in the meta-analysis. Statistically significant pooled effects of psychological intervention on grief symptoms were found for both post-intervention (Hedges's g=0.41, p>.001,K=31) and follow-up (g=0.45, p>.001,K=18). While generally robust, the effect was smaller at post-intervention when adjusting for possible publication bias (g=0.31). Compared with the remaining studies, larger post-intervention effect sizes were found for studies with 1) individually delivered interventions (Beta=0.49, p<.001), 2) the ICG-(R)/PG-13 questionnaire as the grief instrument (Beta=0.46, p<.001), 3) participants who were >= 6 months post-loss (Beta=0.58, p<.001), 4) participants included based on high baseline symptom levels (Beta=0.40, p=.002) and 5) higher study quality (Beta=0.06, p=.013).
Limitations: The included studies were methodologically heterogeneous and their methodological quality varied considerably. Moreover, there were some indications of publication bias.
Conclusions: Given the recent introduction of Prolonged Grief Disorder in the ICD-11, the results of the present meta-analysis are timely and of clinical relevance. Based on our results, psychological intervention appears efficacious for alleviating grief symptoms in bereaved adults, with several study characteristics as possible moderators of the effect. The interpretability of the results, however, is challenged by some limitations of the available research, including possible publication bias.
BACKGROUND: Persons with advanced dementia cannot initiate activities because of the executive dysfunction. The lack of activities was identified as one of the most important factors contributing to behavioral problems of these persons. The unmet needs were boredom/sensory deprivation, loneliness/need for social interaction, and need for meaningful activities. There is a need for activities designed specifically for residents with advanced dementia.
OBJECTIVE: A description of patient's needs and of programs that intend to maintain quality of life for people with dementia and facing death.
DATA SOURCES: A literature review of programs used for persons with advanced dementia and residing in long-term facilities, using the PubMed data base and collateral sources.
RESULTS: Since palliative care is appropriate for persons with advanced dementia, attention has to be paid to three following important aspects of care: Medical issues, behavioral symptoms, and meaningful activities. Medical interventions should be limited to those which have more benefits than burdens, behavioral symptoms should be distinguished according to the context in which they occur, and treated by non-pharmacological interventions that involve meaningful activities. This review describes four programs that may promote the quality of life in persons with advanced dementia and facing death. They are designed for persons with advanced dementia, taking into account their functional impairments. Most of these programs involve short infrequent sessions. In contrast, Namaste Care is a daily extended program of enhanced nursing care that can provide quality of life until the last breath.
CONCLUSIONS: It is possible to maintain quality life for people with advanced dementia if a special program of activities is available.
CONTEXT: The goal of advance care planning (ACP) is to help ensure that the care people receive during periods of serious illness is consistent with their preferences and values. There is a lack of clear understanding about how patients and their informal carers feel ACP discussions should be conducted.
OBJECTIVES: To synthesise literature reviews pertaining to patients' and informal carers' perspectives on ACP discussions.
METHODS: Systematic review of reviews RESULTS: We identified 55 literature reviews published between 2007 and 2018. ACP discussions were facilitated by a diverse range of formats and tools, all of which were acceptable to patients and carers. Patients and carers preferred health professionals to initiate discussions, with the relationships they had with the professionals being particularly important. There were mixed feelings about the best timing, with many people preferring to defer discussions until they perceived them to be clinically relevant. ACP was felt to bring benefits including a greater sense of peace and less worry, but it could also be disruptive and distressing. Patients and carers perceived many benefits from ACP discussions, but these may differ from the dominant narratives about ACP in health policy and may move away from the narratives of RCTs and standardisation in research and practice.
CONCLUSIONS: Researchers and clinicians may need to adjust their approaches as current practices are not aligned enough with patient and carer preferences. Future research may need to test implementation strategies of ACP interventions to elucidate how benefits from standardisation and flexibility might both be realised.
Objective : To summarize and synthesize extant literature on memory making in bereavement care for parents who experience the death of a newborn and to identify opportunities for future research.
Data Sources : We conducted a systematic search of four health-related databases (MEDLINE Complete, CINAHL Complete, Embase, and PsychINFO) for original research in January 2019. We then conducted a manual search of the reference lists of all included articles and a citation search via Scopus.
Study Selection : Selection criteria initially included all original research articles available in English that related to parents’ perceptions of perinatal or neonatal palliative care or bereavement care for parents after the death of a newborn. These criteria were refined as we developed familiarity with the available literature. Our initial screening of article titles and abstracts yielded 287 articles for full-text review. After full-text analysis, we included all 25 qualitative or mixed method research articles that met selection criteria.
Data Extraction : We used a spreadsheet modeled on the Joanna Briggs Institute Review Guidelines (2015) for data extraction.
Data Synthesis : Available research was focused primarily on parents’ perceptions of care during and after the death of their newborns. Memory making interventions emerged as significant elements of the experiences of bereaved parent. Several researchers examined parents’ perceptions of specific memory making interventions, such as bereavement photography. Contact with the newborn, opportunities for caregiving, bereavement photography, and the collection or creation of mementos emerged as important elements of memory making. Parents also identified a need for guidance about each of these key strategies for memory making.
Conclusion : We identified few studies focused entirely on memory making as an intervention in the context of bereavement care for parents. However, memory making emerged as a recurring theme throughout qualitative and mixed method studies on parents’ perceptions of perinatal or neonatal end-of-life care. Further research is required to provide evidence to guide memory making interventions for bereaved parents who experience the death of a newborn.
Approximately 30-40 million undocumented immigrants worldwide suffer restricted health care. A scoping review was conducted to determine what is known about this population's palliative end-of-life care experiences. The scoping review followed Arksey and O'Malley's methodological framework. Databases searched included CINAHL, Medline, ProQuest, Scopus, and PHRED. Search terms included uninsured care, palliative care, undocumented immigrants, and terminally ill. The search revealed limited peer-reviewed and grey literature on the topic. A total of six articles met inclusion criteria, of which four were case descriptions. Barriers to palliative care included lack of advanced care planning, lack of health insurance, poverty, fear of deportation, and limited English ability. Undocumented immigrants were more likely to have delayed access to and inadequate palliative end-of-life care. If palliative care is a human right, it is imperative that further research be conducted and policies put in place to better serve this vulnerable population at end-of-life.
Studies that have explored the wish to hasten death (WTHD) in patients with advanced illness have found that the feeling of being a burden may trigger WTHD. Research suggests that both the feeling and the wish are indicators of multidimensional suffering whose meaning may depend on the patient's biographical background. Therefore, we carried out a systematic review and meta-ethnography. Fourteen qualitative studies, reported in 16 articles, met the inclusion criteria. The analysis identified two themes: the personal and social dimensions that could help to explain the feeling of being a burden in these patients. These dimensions reveal how this feeling is linked to physical, psychological/emotional, existential and social factors. The feeling of being a burden cannot be understood without considering patients' personal interpretation of their dependency or care needs, and hence it is also necessary to understand their biographical background. Such an understanding is crucial to inform clinical policies based on the moral duty to provide all patients with humane care.
BACKGROUND: Family members do not have an official position in the practice of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (EAS) in the Netherlands according to statutory regulations and related guidelines. However, recent empirical findings on the influence of family members on EAS decision-making raise practical and ethical questions. Therefore, the aim of this review is to explore how family members are involved in the Dutch practice of EAS according to empirical research, and to map out themes that could serve as a starting point for further empirical and ethical inquiry.
METHODS: A systematic mixed studies review was performed. The databases Pubmed, Embase, PsycInfo, and Emcare were searched to identify empirical studies describing any aspect of the involvement of family members before, during and after EAS in the Netherlands from 1980 till 2018. Thematic analysis was chosen as method to synthesize the quantitative and qualitative studies.
RESULTS: Sixty-six studies were identified. Only 14 studies had family members themselves as study participants. Four themes emerged from the thematic analysis. 1) Family-related reasons (not) to request EAS. 2) Roles and responsibilities of family members during EAS decision-making and performance. 3) Families' experiences and grief after EAS. 4) Family and 'the good euthanasia death' according to Dutch physicians.
CONCLUSION: Family members seem to be active participants in EAS decision-making, which goes hand in hand with ambivalent feelings and experiences. Considerations about family members and the social context appear to be very important for patients and physicians when they request or grant a request for EAS. Although further empirical research is needed to assess the depth and generalizability of the results, this review provides a new perspective on EAS decision-making and challenges the Dutch ethical-legal framework of EAS. Euthanasia decision-making is typically framed in the patient-physician dyad, while a patient-physician-family triad seems more appropriate to describe what happens in clinical practice. This perspective raises questions about the interpretation of autonomy, the origins of suffering underlying requests for EAS, and the responsibilities of physicians during EAS decision-making.