Studio DöBra is a community-based initiative in which children (9 y/o) and older adults (mostly 80+) engaged with topics related to dying, death and loss through shared arts activities (e.g. collage, sculpture, games). In an ageing society, Sweden's end-of-life (EoL) care is increasingly professionalised and specialised, but there is little community involvement. One goal of Studio DöBra was therefore to support community engagement with EoL-related topics. Another goal was to create opportunities for interaction between children and older adults as there are few intergenerational meeting places. Two iterations of Studio DöBra were developed (2016, 2018) in different Swedish cities, utilising a community-based participatory research approach. Project groups comprised first author MK and representatives of community organisations such as meeting places for older adults, after-school centres and artistic organisations. Each iteration engaged eight children and eight older adults in a series of five workshops. This article investigates how children and older adults motivate their participation, their experiences of participating and ways in which they were affected by participation. We also investigate how parents reflect on their child's participation in Studio DöBra. Older adults, children and their parents were interviewed after each Studio DöBra. An inductive qualitative process guided by interpretive description was used to analyse the transcripts. Findings indicate that participants acted as individuals with agency in connecting across generations and in creating spaces for engaging with EoL-topics, not only in Studio DöBra but also in their social networks. Participants reflected on a changing sense of community through new intergenerational connections and social activities, and expressed a desire to maintain these. However, participants indicated sustainability challenges related to lacking agency in maintaining these spaces and sense of intergenerational community, as they rely on support from community organisations.
BACKGROUND: The significance of metaphors for the experience of cancer has been the topic of extensive previous research, with "Battle" and "Journey" metaphors standing out as key. Adaptation to the patient's use of metaphor is generally believed to be an important aspect of person-centered care, especially in palliative care. The aim of this study was to investigate the use of metaphors in blogs written in Swedish by people living with advanced cancer and explore possible patterns associated with individuals, age and gender.
METHODS: The study is based on a dataset totaling 2,602,479 words produced some time during the period 2007-2016 by 27 individuals diagnosed with advanced cancer. Both qualitative and quantitative procedures were used, and the findings are represented as raw frequencies as well as normalized frequencies per 10,000 words. Our general approach was exploratory and descriptive. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to analyze statistical significance.
RESULTS: Our results confirm the strong foothold of "Journey" and "Battle" metaphors. "Imprisonment" and "Burden" metaphors were also used by the majority of the individuals. The propensity to use metaphors when describing the cancer experience was found to differ extensively across the individuals. However, individuals were not found to opt for one conceptualization over the other but tended to draw on several different metaphor domains when conceptualizing their experience. Socio-demographic factors such as age or gender were not found to be strong predictors of metaphor choice in this limited study.
CONCLUSIONS: Using a range of different metaphors allows individuals with advanced cancer to highlight different aspects of their experience. The presence of metaphors associated with "Journey", "Battle", "Imprisonment" and "Burden" across individuals could be explained by the fact that the bloggers are part of a culturally consistent cohort, despite variations in age, sex and cancer form. Awareness of metaphors commonly used by patients can enhance health professionals' capacity to identify metaphorical patterns and develop a common language grounded in the patients' own metaphor use, which is an important requisite for person-centered palliative care.
Background: The McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire - Expanded (MQOL-E) and the Quality of Life in Life-Threatening Illness-Family Carer/Caregiver version (QOLLTI-F) are developed for use with patients facing the end of life and their family carers, respectively. They are also developed for possible use as companion instruments. Contemporary measurement validity theory places emphasis on response processes, i.e. what people feel and think when responding to items. Response processes may be affected when measurement instruments are translated and adapted for use in different cultures. The aim of this study was to translate and examine content validity and response processes during completion of MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F version 2 (v2) among Swedish patients with life-threatening illness and their family carers.
Methods: The study was conducted in two stages (I) translation and adaptation (II) examination of content validity and response processes using cognitive interviews with 15 patients and 9 family carers. Participants were recruited from the hemodialysis unit, heart clinic, lung clinic and specialized palliative care of a Swedish county hospital. Patients had life-threatening illness such as advanced heart failure, advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, end-stage kidney disease or advanced cancer. Patients were outpatients, inpatients or receiving home care.
Results: Patients and family carers respectively believed that the items of the MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F v2 reflect relevant and important areas of their quality of life. Although some items needed more time for reflection, both instruments were considered easy to understand. Some changes were made to resolve issues of translation. Participants expressed that reflecting on their situation while answering questions was valuable and meaningful to them, and that responding was an opportunity to express feelings.
Conclusions: The results of response processes pertaining to the Swedish translations of both MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F v2 contribute evidence regarding content validity, linguistic equivalence and cultural appropriateness of the translated instruments. In addition, results show that the instruments may support conversations on matters of importance for quality of life between patients and/or family carers and health care professionals. Further research is needed to study the psychometric properties of Swedish translations.
Introduction: Poorer end-of-life (EOL) care for elderly cancer patients has been reported. We assessed the impact of age on 13 indicators for the quality of EOL care as well as adherence to 6 national quality indicators in gynaecological cancer patients.
Methods: Age-dependent differences in 13 palliative care quality indicators were studied in gynaecological cancer patients registered in the population-based Swedish Register of Palliative Care. Association between the patient’s age and each quality indicator was analyzed by logistic regression, adjusted for place of death where appropriate. Adherence to six national quality indicators determined by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare was estimated in all patients.
Results: We included 3940 patients with the following age distribution: 1.6% were 18–39 years of age, 12.3% 40–59 years, 37.2% 60–74 years, 28.9% 75–84 years and 20% were =85 years. Age-dependent differences in implementation rate were present for some of the 13 quality indicators. Compared to elderly cancer patients, younger patients were more likely to be cared for by a specialized palliative care service, more often informed about imminent death as well as assessed for pain. For most national quality indicators, the goal level was not met. Only for the ‘on demand prescription for pain’, the goal level was reached.
Conclusions: EOL care did not meet national quality indicators in this population-based data from Sweden, in particular in the elderly population. Elderly gynaecological cancer patients are at high risk of poorer EOL care without the involvement of specialized palliative care services. Palliative care services need to be implemented across all institutions of EOL care to ensure good and equal care.
Context: Despite being associated with dependence and social stigma, methadone is a potential end-of-life option in complex cancer pain.
Objectives: To explore attitudes and opinions about methadone and its potential role and current use in complex end-of-life pain.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n = 30) with physicians in specialized palliative care, transcribed and analyzed with conventional qualitative content analysis.
Results: According to the physicians, patients and relatives expressed unexpectedly few negative attitudes, not affecting methadone’s use as an analgesic. Complex pain in bone-metastatic cancer of the prostate, breast and kidney, as well as pancreatic cancer and sarcomas were recurrent suggestions of appropriate indications.
Most of the informants stated that they applied a mechanism-based treatment and mainly prescribed low-dose methadone as an add-on to an existing opioid therapy to benefit from methadone´s proposed NMDA-receptor inhibiting properties, e.g. in cases with reduced opioid sensitivity. Despite its complex pharmacokinetics with a long half-life, most informants expressed defined strategies to avoid side-effects such as respiratory depression, especially when initiating treatment in the home-care setting.
While many palliative care physicians expressed an overly enthusiastic attitude, others stressed the risks of overconfidence, low precision in use, and overlooked treatment options. Besides the obvious physical pain-relieving effects, they stated that effective pain relief could result in a reduced workload and emotional empowerment, both for physicians and staff.
Conclusion: Methadone, especially in the form of low-dose add-on to other opioids is widely advocated in Swedish specialized palliative care as a practical and safe method with rapid onset in complex pain situations at the end of life.
We do not know how much clinical physicians carrying out clinical trials in oncology and haematology struggle with ethical concerns. To our knowledge, no empirical research exists on these questions in a Nordic context. Therefore, this study aims to learn what kinds of ethical challenges physicians in Sweden, Denmark and Finland (n = 29) face when caring for patients in clinical trials; and what strategies, if any, they have developed to deal with them. The main findings were that clinical cancer trials pose ethical challenges related to autonomy issues, unreasonable hope for benefits and the therapeutic misconception. Nevertheless, some physicians expressed that struggling with such challenges was not of great concern. This conveys a culture of hope where health care professionals and patients uphold hope and mutually support belief in clinical trials. This culture being implicit, physicians need opportunities to deliberately reflect over the characteristics that should constitute this culture.
OBJECTIVES: To map out the total use of long-term care (LTC; ie, home care or institutional care) during the last 2 years of life and to investigate to what extent gender differences in LTC use were explained by cohabitation status and age at death.
DESIGN: The National Cause of Death Register was used to identify decedents. Use of LTC was based on the Social Services Register (SSR) and sociodemographic factors were provided by Statistics Sweden.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: All persons living in Sweden who died in November 2015 aged =67 years (n = 5948).
METHODS: Zero inflated negative binomial regression was used to estimate the relative impact of age, gender, and cohabitation status on the use of LTC.
RESULTS: Women used LTC to a larger extent [odds ratio (OR) 2.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.92-2.50] and for a longer period [risk ratio (RR) 1.14, 95% CI 1.11-1.18] than men. When controlling for age at death and cohabitation status, gender differences in LTC attenuated (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.28-1.72) and vanished in regard to the duration. In the controlled model, women used LTC for 15.6 months (95% CI 15.2-16.0) and men for 14.1 months (95% CI 13.7-14.5) out of 24 months. The length of stay in institutional care was 7.2 (95% CI 6.8-7.5) and 6.2 months (95% CI 5.8-6.6), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: A substantial part of women's greater use of LTC was due to their higher age at death and because they more often lived alone. Given that survival continues to increase, the association between older age at death and LTC use suggests that policy makers will have to deal with an increased pressure on the LTC sector. Yet, increased survival among men could imply that more women will have access to spousal caregivers, although very old couples may have limited capacity for extensive caregiving at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: To make end-of-life (EOL) decisions is a complex and challenging task for intensive care physicians and a substantial variability in this process has been previously reported. However, a deeper understanding of intensivists' experiences and attitudes regarding the decision-making process is still, to a large extent, lacking. The primary aim of this study was to address Swedish intensivists' experiences, beliefs and attitudes regarding decision-making pertaining to EOL decisions. Second, we aimed to identify underlying factors that may contribute to variability in the decision-making process.
METHOD: This is a descriptive, qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews with nineteen intensivists from five different Swedish hospitals, with different ICU levels, were performed from February 1st to May 31st 2017.
RESULTS: Intensivists strive to make end-of-life decisions that are well grounded, based on sufficient information. Consensus with the patient, family, and other physicians is important. Concurrently, decisions that are made with scarce information or uncertain medical prognosis, decisions made during on-call hours and without support from senior consultants cause concern for many intensivists. Underlying factors that contribute to the variability in decision making are lack of continuity among senior intensivists, lack of needed support during on-call hours and disagreements with physicians from other specialties. There is also an individual variability primarily depending on the intensivist's personality.
CONCLUSION: Swedish intensivists' wish to make end-of-life decisions based on sufficient information, medically certain prognosis and consensus with the patient, family, staff and other physicians. Swedish intensivists' experience a variability in end-of-life decisions, which is generally accepted and not questioned.
Children's experiences of information and family communication when a parent has a life-threatening illness have been sparsely studied, though such information is important for the child's wellbeing. The aim of this study was to explore children's reports of illness-related information and family communication when living with a parent with a life-threatening illness. Forty-eight children, aged 7 to 19 years, were recruited from four specialized palliative home care units in Stockholm, Sweden. All but one child reported that someone had told them about the parent's life-threatening illness; however, two thirds wanted more information. A quarter of the teenagers reported that they had questions about the illness that they did not dare to ask. Half of the children, aged 8 to 12, reported that they felt partially or completely unable to talk about how they felt or show their feelings to someone in the family. Interventions are needed that promote greater family communication and family-professional communication.
Background: The Patient Dignity Inventory (PDI) is based on an empirically-driven dignity model that has been developed and used for clinically assessing the various sources of dignity-related distress. In a recent review, it received the highest score as a useful instrument in both practice and research in palliative care. The PDI has been adapted to and validated for use in various countries, but not yet Sweden.
Aims: To translate the PDI into Swedish, including cultural adaptation for clinical use.
Methods: A multi-step process of translation, negotiated consensus, expert group discussion (n=7: four invited experts and three researchers) and cognitive interviewing (n=7: persons with palliative care needs).
Findings: Discussion, by the expert reviewers, of both linguistic and cultural issues regarding the content and readability of the translated Swedish version resulted in revisions of items and response alternatives, focusing mainly on semantic, conceptual, and experiential equivalence. A pilot version for cognitive interviews was produced. The analysis of data showed that most of the items were judged to be relevant by the persons with palliative care needs.
Conclusion: The process of translation and adaptation added clarity and consistency. The Swedish version of the PDI can be used in assessing dignity-related distress. The next step will be to test this Swedish version for psychometric properties in a larger group of patients with palliative care needs before use in research.
BACKGROUND: Persons with dementia may have severe physical and psychological symptoms at the end of life. A therapy dog used in their care can provide comfort and relieve thier anxiety. The dog handler guides the dog during the interaction with the patient.
AIM: To describe the impact of therapy dogs on people with dementia in the final stages of life from the perspective of the dog handler.
METHODS: Interviews were conducted and analysed using qualitative content analysis.
FINDINGS: The dog provides comfort and relief through its presence and by responding to the physical and emotional expressions of the dying person.
CONCLUSIONS: Interactions with dogs were found to have a positive impact on persons with dementia and eased the symptoms associated with end of life according to the dog handlers.
Background: To avoid aggressive treatments at the end-of-life and to provide palliative care (PC), physicians need to terminate futile anti-cancer treatments and define the palliative goal of the treatment in time. This single center study assesses the practices used to make the decision that leads to treatment with a palliative goal, i.e., the PC decision and its effect on anti-cancer treatments at the end of life.
Material and methods: Patients with a cancer diagnosis treated in tertiary hospital during 1st January 2013 – 31st December 2014 and deceased by the end of 2014 were identified in the hospital database (N = 2737). Of these patients, 992 were randomly selected for this study. The PC decision was screened from patient records, i.e., termination of cancer-specific treatments and a focus on symptom-centered PC.
Results: The PC decision was defined in 82% of the patients during the last year of life (49% >30 days and 33% =30 days before death, 18% with no decision). The median time from the decision to death was 46 days. Systemic cancer therapy was given during the last month of life in 1%, 36% and 38% (p < .001) and radiotherapy 22%, 40% and 31% (p = .03) cases, respectively; referral to a PC unit was made in 62%, 22% and 11%, respectively (p < .001). In logistic regression analyses younger age, shorter duration of the disease trajectory and type of cancer (e.g., breast cancer) were associated with a lack or late timing of the PC decision.
Conclusion: The decision to initiate a palliative goal for the treatment was frequently made for cancer patients but occurred late for every third patient. Younger age and certain cancer types were associated with late PC decisions, thus leading to anti-cancer treatments continuing until close to the death with low access to a PC unit.
In Sweden, patients in early palliative stages of illness are cared for in primary care and often offered home care. Many are older and at risk for malnutrition, but little is known about their symptom burden and nutritional problems. This cross-sectional study divided older patients in home care into those with and without risk for malnutrition and compared symptom burden in the 2 groups. Participants were patients in Stockholm County (n = 121) in early palliative stages of disease cared for at home by primary care professionals from 10 health-care centers. The Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) was used to identify risk for malnutrition. Symptoms and/or nutritional status in patients with and without risk were assessed with the Functional Assessment of Anorexia/Cachexia Therapy (FAACT), Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment Short Form (PG-SGA), and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS). Forty-two percent of the patients were at risk for malnutrition (MNA). Appetite (P = .012), tiredness (P = .003), and anxiety (P = .008) were worse in these patients than in those without risk (ESAS; significance level, P = .015). Patients at risk were also more concerned about how thin they looked (P = .006), agreed more strongly that their family or friends were pressuring them to eat (P = .000; FAACT; significance level, P = .029), had a higher symptom burden (P = .005), had lower physical activity (P = .000), and more lost weight over time (P = .032; PG-SGA; significance level, P = .040). This study adds a more detailed picture of the symptom burden in older patients at risk for malnutrition. Such information is needed to identify risk for malnutrition earlier and improve patients’ health.
BACKGROUND: Undergraduate nursing students encounter patients at the end of life during their clinical training. They need to confront dying and death under supportive circumstances in order to be prepared for similar situations in their future career.
AIM: To explore undergraduate nursing students' descriptions of caring situations with patients at the end of life during supervised clinical training.
METHODS: A qualitative study using the critical incident technique was chosen. A total of 85 students wrote a short text about their experiences of caring for patients at the end of life during their clinical training. These critical incident reports were then analysed using deductive and inductive content analysis.
FINDINGS: The theme 'students' transformational learning towards becoming a professional nurse during clinical training' summarises how students relate to patients and relatives, interpret the transition from life to death, feel when caring for a dead body and learn end-of-life caring actions from their supervisors.
IMPLICATIONS: As a preparation for their future profession, students undergoing clinical training need to confront death and dying while supported by trained supervisors and must learn how to communicate about end-of-life issues and cope with emotional stress and grief.
Aim: Aim was to describe how Registered Nurses (RNs) and assistant nurses (ANs) working in residential care homes and home care perceived quality end-of-life care after implementation of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) in terms of subjective importance of care aspects and actual care given.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional.
Methods: Registered Nurses (N = 22; 100% response rate) and ANs (N = 120; 59% response rate) working in a Swedish municipality. Data collection with a study-specific questionnaire (50 items) about perceived reality (PR) and subjective importance (SI). Non-parametric statistics.
Results: Implementation of the LCP ensured systematic assessment and alleviation of patients' symptoms and needs. The ANs, more than the RNs, perceived that the patients received the best possible nursing and medical care (p = .01). Both groups considered that communication with patients and families as well as the information exchange between the team members was facilitated. Areas for improvement were identified about psychological and existential support and patients and families' participation in care.
BACKGROUND: Despite complex illness trajectories and a high symptom burden, palliative care has been sub-optimal for patients with end-stage kidney disease and hemodialysis treatment who have a high rate of hospitalization and intensive care towards end of life. There is a growing awareness that further development of palliative care is required to meet the needs of these patients and their family members. In this process, it is important to explore healthcare professionals' views on provision of care. The aim of this study was therefore to describe nurses' and physicians' perspectives on end-of-life and palliative care of patients treated with maintenance hemodialysis.
METHODS: Four focus group interviews were conducted with renal nurses (17) and physicians (5) in Sweden. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze data.
RESULTS: Participants were committed to giving the best possible care to their patients, but there were challenges and barriers to providing quality palliative care in nephrology settings. Professionals described palliative care as end-of-life care associated with hemodialysis withdrawal or palliative dialysis, but also identified care needs and possibilities that are in line with an earlier integrated palliative approach. This was perceived as complex from an organizational point of view. Participants identified challenges related to coordination of care and different perspectives on care responsibilities that impacted symptom management and patients' quality of life. Communication issues relating to the provision of palliative care were revealed where the hemodialysis setting was regarded as an impediment, and personal and professional experiences, beliefs and knowledge were considered of major importance.
CONCLUSIONS: Nurses and physicians identified a need for the improvement of both late and earlier palliative care approaches. The results highlighted a requirement for and possibilities of training, counselling and support of health care professionals in the dialysis context. Further, multi-professional palliative care collaborations should be developed to improve the coordination and organization of end-of-life and palliative care of patients and their family members. A climate allowing conversations about advance care planning throughout the illness trajectory may facilitate the gradual integration of palliative care alongside life-prolonging treatment for improved support of patients and families.
Background: Many nursing students are not prepared to encounter death and care for patients who are at the end of life as newly educated nurses. The Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of Dying Scale (FATCOD) has been used to assess nursing students' attitudes during their education and changes have been noted.
Objective: To examine nursing students' attitudes towards care of dying patients before and after a course in palliative care.
Design: A descriptive study with a pre and post design.
Settings & participants: Nursing students (n = 73) enrolled in a mandatory palliative course in the nursing programme at a Swedish university.
Methods: Data were collected before and after a palliative care course using FATCOD and qualitative open-ended questions. Data from FATCOD were analysed using descriptive and analytical statistics. The open-ended questions were analysed with qualitative content analysis.
Results: The students' mean scores showed a statistically significant change toward a more positive attitude toward care of dying. Students with the lowest pre-course scores showed the highest mean change. The qualitative analysis showed that the students had gained additional knowledge, deepened understanding, and increased feelings of security through the course.
Conclusions: A course in palliative care could help to change nursing students' attitudes towards care of patients who are dying and their relatives, in a positive direction. A course in palliative care is suggested to be mandatory in nursing education, and in addition to theoretical lectures include learning activities such as reflection in small groups, simulation training and taking care of the dead body.
BACKGROUND: Timely identification of patients with palliative care needs is a prerequisite for being able to carry out effective and equal palliative care. The Supportive and Palliative Care Indicators Tool (SPICT) identifies patients likely to benefit from a palliative approach.
AIM: The main objective was to describe the translation, cross-cultural adaptation and content validation process of the SPICT-SE. In this process, the prefinal SPICT-SE was tested in focus group interviews to explore how the tool was perceived and interpreted by healthcare professionals in a Swedish healthcare context.
METHODS: In this qualitative descriptive study, the translation, cross-cultural adaptation and content validation process of the SPICT-SE was based on a recommended method for cross-cultural adaptation of self-report measures. The process included two independent forward translations, a synthesis, and one independent back-translation. An expert committee consolidated all the versions and developed the prefinal version of the SPICT-SE. The prefinal version of the SPICT-SE was tested in four focus group interviews with physicians and nurses engaged in inpatient or outpatient care in south-west Sweden. A thematic analysis of the transcribed interviews was performed. The SPICT-SE was then revised to the final version.
RESULTS: In the thematic analysis, four themes were constructed that together described how the SPICT-SE was perceived and interpreted by healthcare professionals: The mindset is familiar and relevant; the tool needs to be adjusted in order to be clearer; the purpose and consequences of the tool are ambiguous; and the tool supports a palliative approach.
CONCLUSION: The SPICT-SE has now been successfully translated, culturally adapted and content validated in a Swedish healthcare context.
Background: A decision to refrain from cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the case of cardiac arrest is recommended in terminally ill patients to avoid unnecessary suffering at time of death. The aim of this study was to describe the frequency of decisions and documentation of “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” (DNACPR) in two Medical Home Care Units in Stockholm. Unit A had written guidelines about how to document CPR-decisions in the medical records, including a requirement for a decision to be taken (CPR: yes/no) while Unit B had no such requirement.
Method: The medical records for all patients in palliative phase of their disease at the two Units were reviewed. Data was collected on documentation of decisions about CPR (yes/no), DNACPR-decisions and documentation regarding whether the patient or next-of-kin had been informed about the DNACPR-decision.
Results: In the two Units, 316 and 219 patients in palliative phase were identified. In Unit A 100% of the patients had a CPR-decision (yes/no) compared to 79% in Unit B (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in DNACPR-decisions between the two Units, 43 and 37%. Documentation about informing the patient regarding the decision was significantly higher in Unit A, 53% compared to 14% at Unit B (p < 0.001). Documentation about informing the next-of-kin was also significantly higher at Unit A; 42% compared to 6% at Unit B (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Less than 50% of patients in palliative phase had a decision of DNACPR in two Medical Home Care Units in Stockholm. The presence of written guidelines and a requirement for a CPR-decision did not increase the frequency of DNACPR-decisions but was associated with a higher frequency of documentation of decisions and of information given to both the patients and the next-of-kin.
BACKGROUND: Authors of expert guidelines and consensus statements recommend that decisions at the end-of-life (EOL) be discussed before and after implantation of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and include promotion of shared decision-making. The purpose of this study was to describe experiences, attitudes, and knowledge about the ICD at EOL in ICD recipients and to compare experiences, attitudes, and knowledge in ICD recipients with and without heart failure (HF). We further sought to determine factors associated with having discussions about EOL.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Using a national registry in Sweden of all ICD recipients (n=5355) in 2012, an EOL questionnaire, along with other ICD-related measures, was completed by 2403 ICD recipients. Of the participants, 1275 (n=53%) had HF. Their responses in the knowledge, experience, and attitude domains were almost identical to those without HF. Forty percent of patients with and without HF did not want to discuss their illness trajectory or deactivation of their ICD ever. In logistic regression analyses, we found that having had an ICD shock (OR, 2.05; CI, 1.64-2.56), having high levels of anxiety (OR, 1.41; CI, 1.04-1.92), and having high levels of ICD concerns (OR, 1.53; CI, 1.22-1.92) were the only significant predictors of having discussions with providers about EOL scenarios (P<0.001 for full model).
CONCLUSIONS: HF was not a predictor of having an EOL conversation. Further research is needed to determine if attitudes related to not wanting to discuss EOL interfere with good quality of life and of death, or if shared decision-making should be encouraged in these individuals.