Palliative care offers patients with a serious illness and their families access to services that can improve quality of life, mood, and symptoms. However, the term palliative care is often confused with end of life or hospice services limiting its application to persons with chronic illnesses who might benefit. Non-hospice palliative care is a term that is emerging to more accurately reflect the broader care model that palliative care represents. The aim of this review was to identify the characteristics of published nonhospice palliative care interventions. We derived our sample predominantly from a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis and selected studies published since the review. Inclusion criteria were: self-described palliative care intervention studies using randomized designs for participants with lifelimiting illnesses aged 18 years or older. These 38 studies fell into 3 broad categories: primary, specialty, and hybrid models. Common challenges among these models include limited education of generalists, limited reimbursement, and limited access in certain areas. However, increasing palliative care usage has also been associated with increased hospice use and appropriate timing of referrals.
People have tattooed themselves for thousands of years, and it remains popular with various groups across mainstream society. Although many people choose tattoos that express their life philosophy, epic events in their life, or their personal mantra, the use of tattooing in medicine such as a "do not resuscitate" tattoo is increasingly becoming more common (; ). As these tattoos do not meet the legal requirements for an advance health directive, they are at best a guide to the person's wishes and at worst a useless, painful exercise. New technology such as "talking tattoos" or implantable microchips could conceivably be used to record either an audible advance health directive or directions for emergency responders to access an individual's advance health directive. This article discusses the ethical and legal implications of nonstandard advance health directive tattoos in emergency treatment situations.
Aim: Resuscitation of cardiac arrest involves invasive and traumatic interventions and places a large burden on limited EMS resources. Our aim was to identify prehospital cardiac arrests for which resuscitation is extremely unlikely to result in survival to hospital discharge.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of all cardiac arrests in San Mateo County, California, for which paramedics were dispatched, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018, using the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) database. We described characteristics of patients, arrests, and EMS responses, and used recursive partitioning to develop decision rules to identify arrests unlikely to survive to hospital discharge, or to survive with good neurologic function.
Results: From 2015-2018, 1750 patients received EMS dispatch for cardiac arrest in San Mateo County. We excluded 44 patients for whom resuscitation was terminated due to DNR directives. Median age was 69 years (IQR 57 - 81), 563 (33.0%) patients were female, 816 (47.8%) had witnessed arrests, 651 (38.2%) received bystander CPR, 421 (24.7%) had an initial shockable rhythm, and 1178 (69.1%) arrested at home. A simple rule (non-shockable initial rhythm, unwitnessed arrest, and age 80 or greater) excludes 223 (13.1%) arrests, of whom none survived to hospital discharge.
Conclusion: A simple decision rule (non-shockable rhythm, unwitnessed arrest, age 80 or greater) identifies arrests for which resuscitation is futile. If validated, this rule could be applied by EMS policymakers to identify cardiac arrests for which the trauma and expense of resuscitation are extremely unlikely to result in survival.
Background: Enabling death at home remains an important priority in end-of-life care policy. However, hospital continues to be a more prevalent place of death than home in the UK, with admissions at the end-of-life often negatively labelled. Admissions are frequently attributed to an unsuitable home environment, associated with inadequate family care provision and insufficient professional care delivery.
Aim: To understand problems in professional and lay care provision that discourage death at home and lead to hospital admissions at the end of life.
Design and setting: A qualitative study of admission to a large English hospital of patients close to the end of their life.
Method: Retrospective in-depth semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals (n = 30) and next-of-kin (n = 3) involved in an admission. Interviews addressed why older patients (>65 years) close to the end of life are admitted to hospital. Interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically.
Results: Home-based end-of-life care appeared precarious. Hospital admission was considered by healthcare staff when there was insufficient nursing provision, or where family support, which was often extensive but under supported, was challenged. In these circumstances, home was not recognised to be a suitable place of care or death, justifying seeking care provision elsewhere.
Conclusion: Challenges in home care provision led to hospital admissions. Home end-of-life care depended on substantial input from family and professional carers, both of which were under-resourced. Where either care was insufficient to meet the needs of patients, home was no longer deemed to be desirable by healthcare staff and hospital care was sought.
Aims and objectives: To explore how community nurses (CNs) experience the collaboration with general practitioners (GPs) and specialist palliative home care team (PHCT) nurses in palliative home care and the perceived factors influencing this collaboration.
Background: The complexity of, and the demand for palliative home care is increasing. Primary palliative care is provided by CNs and GPs, often in collaboration with PHCT nurses. Although these professionals may each individually be part of a fixed team, a new temporary team is often composed for every new palliative patient. These membership changes, referred to as team membership fluidity, challenge professionals to work effectively.
Design and methods: A qualitative research design, using semi-structured interviews with CNs. Participant selection happened through regional palliative care networks in Belgium. The network's PHCT nurses selected CNs with whom they recently collaborated. Twenty interviews were conducted. A constant comparative analysis approach was used. COREQ guidelines were followed.
Results: Formal interprofessional team meetings were not common practice. The other's approachability and knowing each other positively influenced the collaboration. Time constraints, the GPs' lack of expertise, communication style, hierarchy perception and income dependency negatively influenced the collaboration with GPs and determined PHCT nurses' involvement. The coping strategies of CNs balanced between a behaviour focused to the patient and to the professional relationship. Specialist PHCT nurses were relied upon for their expertise but also to mediate when CNs disagreed with GPs.
Conclusion: Community nurses showed to be highly adaptable within the fluid team. Strikingly, dynamics described in the doctor-nurse game 50 years ago are still present today and affect the interprofessional communication. Interprofessional education interventions can contribute to improved interprofessional collaboration.
Relevance to clinical practice: The study findings uncovered critical knowledge gaps in interprofessional collaboration in palliative home care. Insights are relevant for and related to professional wellbeing and workplace learning.
BACKGROUND: Aggressive end-of-life (EOL) care is associated with lower quality of life and greater regret about treatment decisions. Higher EOL costs are also associated with lower quality EOL care. Advance care planning and goals-of-care conversations ("EOL discussions") may influence EOL health-care utilization and costs among persons with cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To describe associations among EOL discussions, health-care utilization and place of death, and costs in persons with advanced cancer and explore variation in study measures.
METHODS: A systematic review was conducted using PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL. Twenty quantitative studies published between January 2012 and January 2019 were included.
RESULTS: End-of-life discussions are associated with lower health-care costs in the last 30 days of life (median US$1048 vs US$23482; P < .001); lower likelihood of acute care at EOL (odds ratio [(OR] ranging 0.43-0.69); lower likelihood of intensive care at EOL (ORs ranging 0.26-0.68); lower odds of chemotherapy near death (ORs 0.41, 0.57); lower odds of emergency department use and shorter length of hospital stay; greater use of hospice (ORs ranging 1.79 to 6.88); and greater likelihood of death outside the hospital. Earlier EOL discussions (30+ days before death) are more strongly associated with less aggressive care outcomes than conversations occurring near death.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life discussions are associated with less aggressive, less costly EOL care. Clinicians should initiate these discussions with patients having cancer earlier to better align care with preferences.
OBJECTIVE: To describe children's anxiety, depression, behaviors, and school performance at 2-13 months after sibling neonatal/pediatric intensive care unit (NICU/PICU) or emergency department (ED) death and compare these outcomes by child age, sex, race/ethnicity, whether the child saw their sibling in the NICU/PICU/ED, and attended the sibling's funeral.
STUDY DESIGN: Children in 71 families were recruited for this longitudinal study from 4 children's hospitals and 14 other Florida hospitals. Children rated anxiety (Spence Children's Anxiety Scale) and depression (Children's Depression Inventory); parents rated child behaviors (Child Behavior Checklist) and reported school performance (detentions, suspensions, requested parent-teacher meetings) at 2, 4, 6, and 13 months post-sibling death. Analyses included repeated measures-ANOVA, t-tests, and 1-way ANOVA.
RESULTS: In total, 132 children and 96 parents participated. More children were female (58%), black (50%), and school-age (72%). Of the children, 43% had elevated anxiety and 6% had elevated depression over 13 months post-sibling death. Child-rated anxiety was higher for girls and black vs white children. Child-rated anxiety and depression were lower if they saw their sibling in the NICU/PICU/ED before and/or after the death, and/or attended the funeral. Teens were more withdrawn than school-age children at all time points. Children who did not see their deceased sibling in the NICU/PICU/ED after death had more requests for parent-teacher conferences.
CONCLUSIONS: Children's anxiety was more common than depression, especially in girls and black children. Children who saw their siblings in the NICU/PICU/ED before/after death and/or attended funeral services had lower anxiety and depression over the first 13 months after sibling death.
BACKGROUND: High rates of health care utilization at the end of life may be a marker of care that does not align with patient-stated preferences. We sought to describe trends in end-of-life care and factors associated with dying in hospital.
METHODS: We conducted a population-level retrospective cohort study of adult decedents in Ontario between Apr. 1, 2004, and Mar. 31, 2015, using linked administrative data sets, including the Office of the Registrar General for Deaths database, the hospital Discharge Abstract Database, the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System and physicians' billing claims (Ontario Health Insurance Plan). The primary outcome was place of death. To determine health care utilization and health care costs during the 6 months before death, we also identified admissions to hospital and to the intensive care unit, emergency department visits, and receipt of mechanical ventilation and palliative care.
RESULTS: In the last 6 months of life, 77.3% of 962 462 decedents presented to an emergency department, 68.4% were admitted to hospital, 19.4% were admitted to an intensive care unit, and 13.9% received mechanical ventilation. Forty-five percent of all deaths occurred in hospital, a proportion that declined marginally over time, whereas receipt of palliative care increased during terminal hospital admissions (from 14.0% in fiscal year 2004/05 to 29.3% in 2014/15, p < 0.001) and in the last 6 months of life (from 28.1% in 2004/05 to 57.7% in 2014/15, p < 0.001). The proportion of decedents who presented to the emergency department, were admitted to hospital or were admitted to the intensive care unit in the last 6 months of life did not change over 11 years. The mean total health care costs in the last 6 months of life were highest among those dying in hospital, with most costs attributable to inpatient medical care.
INTERPRETATION: Health care utilization in the last 6 months of life was substantial and did not decrease over time. It is possible that increased capacity for palliative, hospice and home care at the end of life may help to better align health system resources with the preferences of most patients, a topic that should be explored in future studies.
Study objective: Children with medical complexity represent a fragile population and account for the majority of patients followed in pediatric palliative care. Little is known in regard to the role of the emergency department (ED) in caring for the families of children with medical complexity.
Methods: Semistructured focus groups were held with health care professionals from pediatric emergency medicine, palliative care, complex care, and intensive care to explore their perspective on pediatric palliative care in the ED. Data were transcribed and analyzed with NVivo software, and thematic analysis and theoretic sampling were performed.
Results: From January to October 2016, 58 participants were interviewed. Difficulties providing pediatric palliative care in the ED are related on the one hand to characteristics specific to the ED, such as its culture and its health care professionals’ strong emotional responses when caring for children with medical complexity, and on the other hand to factors extrinsic to the ED; mainly, lack of continuity of care. For critically ill children with unknown goals of care and potential for end of life, professionals in the ED should evaluate the clinical situation, contact known health care teams, remain open to families’ preferences, alleviate distressing symptoms, and create a caring environment. Communication between teams is targeted by health care professionals to facilitate and improve patient flow and care.
Conclusion: Although perspectives differ in regard to how to provide care for pediatric palliative care patients in the ED, several barriers to providing high-quality emergency pediatric palliative care can be overcome.
Background: frequent emergency department (ED) attendance at the end of life disrupts care continuity and contradicts most patients’ preference for home-based care.
Objective: to examine factors associated with frequent (=3) end of life ED attendances among older people to identify opportunities to improve care.
Methods: pooled data from two mortality follow-back surveys in England. Respondents were family members of people aged =65 who died four to ten months previously. We used multivariable modified Poisson regression to examine illness, service and sociodemographic factors associated with =3 ED attendances, and directed content analysis to explore free-text responses.
Results: 688 respondents (responses from 42.0%); most were sons/daughters (60.5%). Mean age at death was 85 years. 36.5% had a primary diagnosis of cancer and 16.3% respiratory disease. 80/661 (12.1%) attended ED =3 times, accounting for 43% of all end of life attendances. From the multivariable model, respiratory disease (reference cancer) and =2 comorbidities (reference 0) were associated with frequent ED attendance (adjusted prevalence ratio 2.12, 95% CI 1.21–3.71 and 1.81, 1.07–3.06). Those with =7 community nursing contacts (reference 0 contacts) were more likely to frequently attend ED (2.65, 1.49–4.72), whereas those identifying a key health professional were less likely (0.58, 0.37–0.88). Analysis of free-text found inadequate community support, lack of coordinated care and untimely hospital discharge were key issues.
Conclusions: assigning a key health professional to older people at increased risk of frequent end of life ED attendance, e.g. those with respiratory disease and/or multiple comorbidities, may reduce ED attendances by improving care coordination.
Goals-of-care discussions at end-of-life are associated with increased patient satisfaction and reduced treatment burdens, reduced family and healthcare worker distress and healthcare costs, while achieving equal life-expectancy. It is unclear how goals-of-care discussions should occur. The objective of the study was to determine which patients could benefit, requirements, content, documentation, and harms and benefits of emergency medicine goals-of-care discussions. We sought primary evidence on goals-of-care discussions in EDs with adult patients nearing end-of-life, published in English after 1989. Data sources included Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science and reference lists of included articles. One thousand nine hundred and twenty abstracts were screened, five articles selected. There was no consensus on the meaning of goals-of-care, which is often confused with advanced care planning and treatment limitation. Emergency clinicians can identify most patients needing discussions following training. There was no evidence for how to involve stakeholders, nor how to adapt conversations to meet cultural and linguistically diverse needs. Expert panels have suggested requirements and content for conversations with little supporting evidence. There was no evidence for how emergency conversations differ to those in other settings, nor for harms or benefits for holding goals-of-care conversations in EDs. Increased ED goals-of-care conversations increased hospice referral and reduced in-patient admissions. Most studies were of moderate quality only, outcomes were not standardised and sample sizes were small. 'Goals-of-care' is used inconsistently across the literature. This is the first systematic review regarding goals-of-care discussions in EDs. Further research is needed on all aspects of these conversations.
CONTEXT: The end-of-life period is characterized by increased hospital utilization despite patients' preferences to receive care and die at home.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of interventions aimed at planning for a home death (Yellow Folder) and managing symptoms in the home (Symptom Response Kit) on place of death and hospital utilization among palliative home care patients.
METHODS: This was an ecologic and retrospective cohort study of palliative home care patients in southeastern Ontario from April 2009 to March 2014. Linked health administrative and clinical databases were used to identify palliative home care patients and their receipt of the interventions, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and place of death. Bivariable and multivariable regression was used to evaluate outcomes according to patients' receipt of intervention(s).
RESULTS: The proportion of patients who died in the community increased after implementation of the interventions, from 42.8% to 48.5% (p < 0.0001). Compared to patients who received neither intervention, patients who received the Yellow Folder or Symptom Response Kit had an increased likelihood of dying in the community, with the largest relative risk observed in patients who received both interventions (relative risk=2.20, 95% confidence interval 2.05-2.36). Receipt of these interventions was only associated with reductions in hospitalizations or emergency department visits in the six months prior to death.
CONCLUSION: Patients who received the Yellow Folder or Symptom Response Kit were more likely remain at home at the end-of-life. This association was stronger when these interventions were used together.
CONTEXT: Palliative care in oncology provides multiple benefits, however access to specialty palliative clinicians is limited in community cancer centers. Individual support services are more often available, but little is known on the utilization and impact of these services.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the utilization of outpatient support services in the advanced cancer population and the association with ED and hospital use in a community setting.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review of 314 patients with advanced cancer of lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and gynecologic origin was conducted. Data collected included demographics, descriptive data, type and number of support services (symptom management, nurse navigator, social worker, nutrition, financial counselor, chaplain, and oncology clinical counselor) within 90 days of diagnosis and descriptions of ED visits/hospitalizations within 12 months of diagnosis. Support services were available to patients by referral.
RESULTS: 29.6% of patients were deceased within 6 months and were considered to have severe disease. Patients with severe disease had a significantly greater mean number of support services than patients with non-severe disease (8.9 vs 6.0, p=0.001) and had a greater mean number of visits per year to the ED (6.4 vs 1.8, p<0.001). A greater proportion of patients with severe disease had palliative consultations (48.9% vs 21.7%, p<0.001), but 65.5% of palliative consultations occurred after an ED or hospital visit.
CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrated that advanced cancer patients with severe disease had increased healthcare utilization in all areas measured. Despite high utilization, outpatient support services used in a reactive manner were not effective in reducing ED or hospital visits.
BACKGROUND: New population health community-based models of palliative care can result in more compassionate, affordable, and sustainable high-quality care.
OBJECTIVES: We evaluated utilization and cost outcomes of a standardized, population health community-based palliative care program provided by nurses and social workers.
DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective propensity-adjusted study to quantify cost savings and resource utilization associated with a community-based palliative care program. We analyzed claims data from a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and used a proprietary predictive model to identify 804 members at high risk for overmedicalized end-of-life care. We enrolled 204 members in the palliative care program and compared them with 600 who received standard, telephonic, health plan case management. We excluded members with fewer than two months of enrolled experience or those with insufficient data for analysis, leaving 176 members in the study group and 570 in the control group for evaluation. We compared differences in utilization and costs (medical and pharmacy), hospital admissions, bed days (acute and intensive care unit [ICU]), and emergency department visits.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: A 30,000-member MA plan and a health system in Central Ohio between October 2015 and June 2016.
RESULTS: Members who received community-based palliative care showed a statistically significant 20% reduction in total medical costs ($619 per enrolled member per month), 38% reduction in ICU admissions, 33% reduction in hospital admissions, and 12% reduction in hospital days.
CONCLUSION: A structured nurse and social work model of community-based palliative care using a predictive model to identify MA candidates for intervention can reduce utilization and medical costs.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between the number of chronic conditions and hospital utilization at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: An understanding of the association of multimorbidity with health care utilization at the end of life may inform interventions to improve quality of care for these patients.
METHODS: A mortality follow-back analysis using Washington State death records and electronic health records. Subject included patients in the UW Medicine system who had at least one chronic condition and died between 2010 and 2015. Utilization was measured by inpatient admissions, emergency department use, and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in the last 30 days of life.
RESULTS: For all utilization types, patients with three or more chronic conditions (n = 5124) had significantly higher utilization (p < 0.001) in the last 30 days of life than those with two (n = 5775) or one condition (n = 11,169). Comparing 3 versus 2 versus 1 conditions, the following percentages of patients had each type of utilization: inpatient admissions (37% vs. 28% vs. 19%), ED admissions (5% vs. 4% vs. 2%), and ICU care (28% vs. 20% vs. 12%).
DISCUSSION: Multimorbidity was associated with greater health care utilization at the end of life among patients representing a range of ages and covered by diverse insurers.
The patient who enters at the intensive care unit (ICU) usually does because of health conditions that are sometimes irreversible and lead to death, and the care at the end of life becomes the main factor of this situation; therefore, the aim of this article was to understand the meaning of the experience of giving care to families at the end of life in an ICU. For this reason, a qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological research was carried out. For the data collection, a semi-structured interview was conducted to 18 participants, and the results were returned to each of the participants in order to validate each of the categories and interpretations. Among these results, two main categories were identified: emotional response of the nurse to the family and nursing care to the family of patients at the end of life. It was concluded that the nurses working at the ICU are facing aspects related to the end of life that generates emotional and psychological burden; additionally, they do not have specific training in this subject, especially in relation to the care of the families in this situation, for which they provide this care based on empiricism.
BACKGROUND: The use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in the emergency setting to reverse hypercapnic coma in frail patients with end-stage chronic respiratory failure and do-not-intubate orders remains a questionable issue given the poor outcome of this vulnerable population. We aimed to answer this issue by assessing not only subjects' outcome with NIV but also subjects' point of view regarding NIV for this indication.
METHODS: A prospective observational case-control study was conducted in 3 French tertiary care hospitals during a 2-y period. Forty-three individuals who were comatose (with pH < 7.25 and PaCO2 > 100 mm Hg at admission) were compared with 43 subjects who were not comatose and who were treated with NIV for acute hypercapnic respiratory failure. NIV was applied by using the same protocol in both groups. They all had a do-not-intubate order and were considered vulnerable individuals with end-stage chronic respiratory failure according to well-validated scores.
RESULTS: NIV yielded similar outcomes in the 2 groups regarding in-hospital mortality (n = 12 [28%] vs n = 12 [28%] in the noncomatose controls, P > .99) and 6-month survival (n = 28 [65%] vs n = 22 [51%] in the noncomatose controls, P = .31). Despite poor quality of life scores (21.5 ± 10 vs 31 ± 6 in the awakened controls, P = .056) as assessed by using the VQ11 questionnaire 6 months to 1 y after hospital discharge, a large majority of the survivors (n = 23 [85%]) would be willing to receive NIV again if a new episode of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure occurs.
CONCLUSION: In the frailest subjects with supposed end-stage chronic respiratory failure that justifies treatment limitation decisions, it is worth trying NIV when acute hypercapnic respiratory failure occurs, even in the case of extreme respiratory acidosis with hypercapnic coma at admission.
Few data are available regarding treatment outcomes in lung cancer patients with metastasis who initiated mechanical ventilation in the emergency department (ED). We aimed to evaluate 28-day mortality in lung cancer patients with metastasis who initiated mechanical ventilation in the ED. Patients with solid malignancy who initiated mechanical ventilation in the ED of a tertiary hospital were retrospectively identified and stratified into four groups according to the presence of lung cancer and metastasis. Among 212 included patients, the mortality rates by the 28th hospital day were as follows: 44.2% (19/43) in non-lung cancer patients without metastasis, 63.2% (43/68) in non-lung cancer patients with metastasis, 52.4% (11/21) in lung cancer patients without metastasis, and 66.2% (53/80) in lung cancer patients with metastasis. In multivariable analysis, lung cancer patients with metastasis had significantly higher odds ratio for 28-day mortality than non-lung cancer patients without metastasis (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 7.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.14–24.01). Sepsis-related respiratory failure (adjusted OR = 2.60, 95% CI = 1.16–5.84) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (adjusted OR = 13.34, 95% CI = 4.45–39.95) over respiratory failure without sepsis and acute organ dysfunction process measured by sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score (adjusted OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.05–12.6) were independently associated with an increase in mortality rate. In conclusion, the treatment outcomes in lung cancer patients with metastasis who initiated mechanical ventilation in the ED were poor. Aggressive resuscitation versus end-of-life care in advance of an unexpected medical crisis should be considered in lung cancer patients with metastasis via a multidisciplinary approach with a consideration of underlying comorbid illnesses in the acute organ dysfunction processes.
OBJECTIVE: Terminally ill patients at their end-of-life (EOL) phase attending the emergency department (ED) may have complex and specialized care needs frequently overlooked by ED physicians. To tailor to the needs of this unique group, the ED in a tertiary hospital implemented an EOL pathway since 2014. The objective of our study is to describe the epidemiological characteristics, symptom burden and management of patients using a protocolized management care bundle.
METHODS: We conducted an observational study on the database of EOL patients over a 28-month period. Patients aged 21 years and above, who attended the ED and were managed according to these guidelines, were included. Clinical data were extracted from the hospital's electronic medical records system.
RESULTS: Two hundred five patients were managed under the EOL pathway, with a slight male predominance (106/205, 51.7%) and a median age of 78 (interquartile range 69-87) years. The majority were chronically frail (42.0%) or diagnosed with cancer or other terminal illnesses (32.7%). The 3 most commonly experienced symptoms were drowsiness (66.3%), dyspnea (61.5%), and fever (29.7%). Through the protocolized management care bundle, 74.1% of patients with dyspnea and/or pain received opiates while 59.5% with copious secretions received hyoscine butylbromide for symptomatic relief.
CONCLUSION: The institution of a protocolized care bundle is feasible and provides ED physicians with a guide in managing EOL patients. Though still suboptimal, considerable advances in EOL care at the ED have been achieved and may be further improved through continual education and enhancements in the care bundle.
PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and the potential effects of the Haematological Home Care (HHC) programme for acute leukaemia (AL) patients, either in active chemotherapy or in the terminal phase of disease.
METHODS: We retrospectively assessed a group of AL patients assisted at home in terms of number of hospitalisations, accesses to emergency department and place of death. We also used historical data to evaluate potential effects of HHC.
RESULTS: The study group consisted of 44 patients, 36 of whom (82%) required palliative treatment, and eight (18%) had ongoing active chemotherapy. The mean number of hospitalisations was 0.64 (range 0-7) per patient, and the number of emergency department (ED) visits was 0.82 (range 0-4) per patient. Place of death was at home for 51.4% of patients and in hospital for 40.5%. Considering a historical group of 17 patients assisted at home the rate of hospitalisations and ED visits were 2.53 (range 0-9) and one (range 0-3), respectively. Place of death was home and hospital in 6% and 65%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Haematological Home Care for AL patients is feasible and has potential positive effects in terms rate of hospitalisations and place of death.