Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders affect outcomes in patients with sepsis admitted to intensive care unit (ICU).
Design: This is a retrospective observational study.
Participants: We enrolled 796 consecutive adult intensive care patients at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, a 2700-bed tertiary teaching hospital in southern Taiwan. A total of 717 patients were included.
Main measures: Clinical factors such as age, gender and other clinical factors possibly related to DNR orders and hospital mortality were recorded.
Key results: There were 455 patients in the group without DNR orders and 262 patients in the group with DNR orders. Within the DNR group, patients were further grouped into early (orders signed on intensive care day 1, n=126) and late (signed after day 1, n=136). Patients in the DNR group were older and more likely to have malignancy than the group without DNR orders. Mortality at days 7, 14 and 28, as well as intensive care and hospital mortality, were all worse in these patients even after propensity-score matching. There were higher Charlson Comorbidity Index in the emergency room, but better outcomes in those with early-DNR orders compared with late-DNR orders.
Conclusion: DNR orders may predict worse outcomes for patients with sepsis admitted to medical ICUs. The survival rate in the early-DNR order group was not inferior to the late-DNR order group.
BACKGROUND: Factors facilitating/hindering concordance between preferred and received life-sustaining treatments may be distorted if preferences and predictors are measured long before death.
AIM: To examine factors facilitating/hindering concordance between cancer patients' preferred and received life-sustaining-treatment states in their last 6 months.
DESIGN: Longitudinal, observational design.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: States of preferred and received life-sustaining treatments (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, intensive care unit care, cardiac massage, intubation with mechanical ventilation, intravenous nutritional support, and nasogastric tube feeding) were examined in 218 Taiwanese cancer patients by a latent transition model with hidden Markov modeling. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to examine factors facilitating/hindering concordance between preferred and received life-sustaining-treatment states.
RESULTS: Concordance between preferred and received life-sustaining-treatment states was poor (40.8%, kappa value (95% confidence interval): 0.05 [-0.03, 0.14]). Patients who accurately understood their prognosis and preferred comfort care were significantly more likely to receive preferred life-sustaining treatments before death than those who did not know their prognosis but wanted to know, those who were uniformly uncertain about what life-sustaining treatments they preferred to receive, and those who preferred nutritional support but declined other life-sustaining treatments. Patient age, physician-patient end-of-life-care discussions, symptom distress, and functional dependence were not associated with concordance between preferred and received life-sustaining-treatment states.
CONCLUSION: Prognostic awareness and preferred states of life-sustaining treatments were significantly associated with concordance between preferred and received life-sustaining-treatment states. Personalized interventions should be developed to cultivate terminally ill cancer patients' accurate prognostic awareness, allowing them to formulate realistic life-sustaining-treatment preferences and facilitating their receiving value-concordant end-of-life care.
This study investigated (a) whether significant health changes occur before imminent widowhood and (b) the effects of widowhood on the physical and psychological health of men and women = 50 years old. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine a matched-pair sample of the Taiwanese Elderly. We found that for men, the major effect of widowhood was on psychological health, but that for women, the major effect was on physical health. Psychological health was significantly worse for widowed than for non-widowed women, but not for men. The difference in psychological health between widowed and non-widowed women, however, changed before widowhood.
Objective To investigate symptom-relief and comorbid drug uses at the end of life for older people with different dying trajectories (cancer, organ failure, frailty and sudden death) in Taiwan.
Methods In a retrospective observational study of older people aged 65 years and older who died in hospitals between 2008 and 2012, we used NHIRD to measure numbers, incremental changes and determinants of symptom-relief and comorbid drug use in the last month of outpatient care and last hospitalisation before death.
Results We included 59 407 older adults (cancer 37%, organ failure 26%, frailty 35% and sudden death 2%) who died in hospitals for this study. In the last hospitalisation before death, individuals who died of cancer received greatest number of symptom-relief drugs (mean: 4.65, [SD 2.77]) and increased most the average change in the number of symptom-relief drug use (+1.60; SD 3.36). However, individuals who died of organ failure received the highest number of comorbid drugs (mean 2.88, [SD 1.95]) and also increased most the average change in the number of comorbid drug use (+0.17; SD 2.28) at last hospitalisation. Different dying trajectories were key determinants of receiving symptom-relief and comorbid drugs in our study.
Conclusions Our study suggests that the drug use of older adults at the end of life in the cancer group is different from that in the organ failure and frailty groups. Policymakers and health professionals should consider the different strategies to optimise drug use for older people with different dying trajectories near their end of life.
The study was to describe the essence of the lived experience of parents with a child with incurable cancer at the end of life (EOL). A descriptive phenomenological study was conducted with ten parents of children with incurable cancer in a medical centre in Taiwan. Data were collected from in-depth interviews and were analysed according to the method of Giorgi. Two major themes emerged: (a) immersion in the struggling and suffering, which included conflicts and arguments, witnessing their child suffering, denying their child being at EOL and waiting for a miracle; and (b) acceptance of death, which included an end to suffering, living in the moment, discussion of death and letting go. Parents had difficulty adapting to a palliative care perspective due to their misconception that this meant giving up on their child. In addition, religion and belief played varied and important roles in the lived experience of these parents with a child with incurable cancer. Healthcare providers must address the core value of palliative care and help parents accept the reality of their child's situation at an earlier stage in order to provide a better quality of life for the child.
BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to examine whether a longitudinal advance care planning (ACP) intervention facilitates concordance between the preferred and received life-sustaining treatments (LSTs) of terminally ill patients with cancer and improves quality of life (QoL), anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms during the dying process.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Of 795 terminally ill patients with cancer from a medical center in Taiwan, 460 were recruited and randomly assigned 1:1 to the experimental and control arms. The experimental arm received an interactive ACP intervention tailored to participants' readiness to engage in this process. The control arm received symptom management education. Group allocation was concealed, data collectors were blinded, and treatment fidelity was monitored. Outcome measures included 6 preferred and received LSTs, QoL, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms. Intervention effectiveness was evaluated by intention-to-treat analysis.
RESULTS: Participants providing data had died through December 2017. The 2 study arms did not differ significantly in concordance between the 6 preferred and received LSTs examined (odds ratios, 0.966 [95% CI, 0.653-1.428] and 1.107 [95% CI, 0.690-1.775]). Participants who received the ACP intervention had significantly fewer anxiety symptoms (β, -0.583; 95% CI, -0.977 to -0.189; P= .004) and depressive symptoms (ß, -0.533; 95% CI, -1.036 to -0.030; P= .038) compared with those in the control arm, but QoL did not differ.
CONCLUSIONS: Our ACP intervention facilitated participants' psychological adjustment to the end-of-life (EoL) care decision-making process, but neither improved QoL nor facilitated EoL care honoring their wishes. The inability of our intervention to improve concordance may have been due to the family power to override patients' wishes in deeply Confucian doctrine-influenced societies such as Taiwan. Nevertheless, our findings reassure healthcare professionals that such an ACP intervention does not harm but improves the psychological well-being of terminally ill patients with cancer, thereby encouraging physicians to discuss EoL care preferences with patients and involve family caregivers in EoL care decision-making to eventually lead to patient value-concordant EoL cancer care.
PURPOSE: To examine the effectiveness of an advance care planning (ACP) intervention in facilitating concordance between cancer patients' preferred and received life-sustaining treatment (LST) states and to explore modifiable factors facilitating or impeding such concordance.
METHODS: Terminal cancer patients (N=460) were randomly assigned 1:1 to the experimental and control arms of a randomized clinical trial, with 430 deceased participants comprising the final sample. States of preferred LSTs (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intensive care unit care, chest compression, intubation with mechanical ventilation, intravenous nutrition, and nasogastric tube feeding) and LSTs received in the last month were examined by hidden Markov modeling. Concordance and its modifiable predictors were evaluated by kappa and multivariate logistic regression, respectively.
RESULTS: We identified three LST-preference states (uniformly preferring LSTs, rejecting LSTs except intravenous nutrition support, and mixed LST preferences) and three received LST states (uniformly receiving LSTs, received intravenous nutrition only, and selectively receiving LSTs). Concordance was not significantly higher in the experimental than the control arm (kappa [95% CI]:0.126 [0.032, 0.221] vs. 0.050 [-0.028, 0.128]; arm difference: odds ratio [95% CI]: 1.008 [0.675, 1.5001]). Preferred-received LST-state concordance was facilitated by accurate prognostic awareness, better quality of life, and more depressive symptoms, whereas concordance was impeded by more anxiety symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: Our ACP intervention did not facilitate concordance between terminally ill cancer patients' preferred and received LST states, but patient value-concordant end-of-life care may be facilitated by interventions to cultivate accurate prognostic awareness, improve quality of life, support depressive patients, and clarify anxious patients' over-expectations of LST efficacy.
CONTEXT: Postloss depressive-symptom trajectories are heterogeneous and predicted by preloss psychosocial resources, but this evidence was from one old study on terminal cancer patients' caregivers for whom these issues are highly relevant.
OBJECTIVES: To identify depressive-symptom trajectories among cancer patients' bereaved caregivers and examine if they are predicted by preloss psychosocial resources while considering caregiving burden.
METHODS: Preloss psychosocial resources (sense of coherence [SOC] and social support) were measured among 282 caregivers. Depressive symptoms were measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression [CES-D] scale 1, 3, 6, 13, 18, and 24 months postloss (CES-D scores >16 indicate severe depressive symptoms). Distinct depressive-symptom trajectories and their predictors were identified by latent-class growth analysis.
RESULTS: We identified five depressive-symptom trajectories (prevalence): endurance (47.2%), resilience (16.7%), transient-reaction (20.2%), prolonged symptomatic (11.7%), and chronically distressed (4.2%). Over 2 years postloss, the endurance group never experienced severe depressive symptoms. Severe depressive symptoms lasted 6, 7-12, and 18 months for the resilience, transient-reaction, and prolonged-symptomatic groups, respectively. The chronically distressed group's severe depressive symptoms persisted. The endurance and chronically distressed groups had the best and weakest psychological resources, respectively. Endurance-group caregivers perceived the greatest social support, whereas the resilience and transient-reaction groups had higher social support than the prolonged-symptomatic group.
CONCLUSIONS: Most (84.1%) caregivers' depressive symptoms subsided within 1-year postloss. Preloss psychosocial resources predicted depressive-symptom trajectories for bereaved caregivers. Healthcare professionals can help caregivers adjust their bereavement by providing support to enhance their SOC and encouraging social contacts while they are providing end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVE: To compare perceptions of various aspects of palliative care for doctors and nurses; and examine factors contributing to perceived quality palliative care in intensive care units (ICUs).
DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey study conducted from November to December 2013. Questionnaires used were Knowledge, Attitudinal and Experiential Survey on Advance Directives (ADs), Clarke's Quality of Palliative Care and Nurses' Participation in the end-of-life (EOL) decision-making process.
SETTING: Seven adult medical and surgical ICUs at a medical center in Northern Taiwan.
PARTICIPANTS: In total, 172 doctors and nurses who worked in adult ICU for more than 3 months.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Nurses' and doctors' perception of quality palliative care.
RESULTS: Nurses provided better care than doctors in symptom management, comfort care and spiritual care; their participation in EOL decision-making was the sole modifiable contributor to perceived quality palliative care in ICUs (ß = 0.24, P < 0.01). Both doctors and nurses had positive attitudes towards ADs (mean = 4.05/10; standard deviation [SD] = 1.38) while their knowledge of ADs was poor (mean = 29.72/40; SD = 3.00). More than half of nurses currently participated in EOL decision-making and over 80% of doctors and nurses agreed both parties should engage in EOL decision-making process. Majority of doctors (83.9%) reckoned nurses agreed with their EOL decisions while a significant percentage (40%) of nurses were uncertain about doctors’ decisions ( 2 = 12.07, P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Nurses' participation in EOL decision-making and strengthening spiritual care are imperative to rendering quality palliative care in ICUs. Potential disagreements arose during EOL decision-making between doctors and nurses; and insufficient knowledge of ADs should be addressed.
BACKGROUND: We attempted to identify factors associated with physicians' decisions to terminate CPR and to explore the role of family in the decision-making process.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective observational study in a single center in Taiwan. Patients who experienced in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) between 2006 and 2014 were screened for study inclusion. Multivariate survival analysis was conducted to identify independent variables associated with IHCA outcomes using the Cox proportional hazards model.
RESULTS: A total of 1525 patients were included in the study. Family was present at the beginning of CPR during 722 (47.3%) resuscitation events. The median CPR duration was significantly shorter for patients with family present at the beginning of CPR than for those without family present (23.5 mins vs 30 min, p = 0.01). Some factors were associated with shorter time to termination of CPR, including arrest in an intensive care unit, Charlson comorbidity index score greater than 2, age older than 79 years, baseline evidence of motor, cognitive, or functional deficits, and vasopressors in place at time of arrest. After adjusting for confounding effects, family presence was associated with shorter time to termination of CPR (hazard ratio, 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.46; p = 0.008).
CONCLUSION: Clinicians' decisions concerning when to terminate CPR seemed to be based on outcome prognosticators. Family presence at the beginning of CPR was associated with shorter duration of CPR. Effective communication, along with outcome prediction tools, may avoid prolonged CPR efforts in an East Asian society.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study of post-treatment oral cavity cancer (OCC) patients was to identify factors associated with self-reported overall body image, perceived attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with body appearance.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited patients with OCC from the outpatient radiation department of a single cancer center in northern Taiwan. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded, and patients were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), the University of Washington Quality of Life scale (UW-QOL), and the Body Image Scale (BIS).
RESULTS: A total of 168 patients were included in this current study, 76 females and 92 males. Negative overall body image was associated with greater degree of depression, greater fear of social interactions, poorer social-emotional function, receipt of surgery, female gender, and greater avoidance of social interaction; these factors explained 49.0% of the variance in this outcome measure. Poor perceived attractiveness was associated with greater depression, greater fear of social interaction, and receipt of surgery; these factors explained 25.4% of the variance in this outcome measure. Dissatisfaction with body appearance was associated with poor social-emotional function, greater fear of social interaction, receipt of reconstruction, advanced cancer stage, and female gender; these factors explained 52.2% of the variance in this outcome measure.
CONCLUSIONS: This study of post-treatment OCC patients indicated that depression and fear of social interaction strongly influenced overall body image, perceived attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with body appearance.
OBJECTIVE: Shared decision making is essential for patients and their families when facing serious and life-threatening diseases. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of patient-centred and family-centred care meetings (PFCCM) on intensive measures and resource utilisation during end-of-life (EOL) hospitalisation among terminally ill patients.
DESIGN AND SETTING: A retrospective cross-sectional study using electronic medical records was conducted in a tertiary referral medical centre in Taiwan.
PARTICIPANTS: We identified 6843 deceased patients with terminal illness who either received or did not receive PFCCM during EOL hospitalisation between January 2013 and December 2015.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Patients who were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). Those who underwent invasive or non-invasive mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy, haemodialysis and surgical intervention during the final hospitalisation were determined by the use of intensive care measures; secondary measures were individual total and daily medical expenditures. A generalised estimating equation (GEE) model was used to compare the differences between the two groups. OR and beta coefficients (ß) with 95% CI were estimated.
RESULTS: This study identified 459 patients (6.7%) who received PFCCM during EOL hospitalisation. Multivariate analyses showed that patients who received PFCCM were less likely to have ICU admissions (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.57), undergo surgical interventions (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.95) and invasive mechanical ventilation (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.66) during the final hospitalisation, after adjusting for patient demographics, clinical conditions and year of admission. Additionally, a significant decrease in daily medical expenditures was observed in PFCCM patients (ß -0.18, 95% CI -0.25 to -0.12) than in non-PFCCM patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Patient-physician discussion through PFCCM is associated with less intensive care utilisation and daily medical expenditure during EOL hospitalisation in terminally ill patients.
CONTEXT: At the end of life, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer (LC) patients exhibit similar symptoms; however, a large-scale study comparing end-of-life health care utilization between these two groups has not been conducted in East Asia.
OBJECTIVES: To explore and compare end-of-life resource use during the last 6 months before death between COPD and LC patients.
METHODS: Using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, we conducted a nationwide retrospective cohort study in COPD (n = 8,640) and LC (n = 3,377) patients who died between 1997 and 2013.
RESULTS: The COPD decedents were more likely to be admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) (57.59% vs 29.82%), to have longer ICU stays (17.59 vs 9.93 days), and to undergo intensive procedures than the LC decedents during their last 6 months; they were less likely to receive inpatient (3.32% vs 18.24%) or home-based palliative care (0.84% vs 8.17%) and supportive procedures than the LC decedents during their last 6 months. The average total medical cost during the last 6 months was approximately 18.42% higher for the COPD decedents than for the LC decedents.
CONCLUSION: Higher intensive health care resource use, including intensive procedure use, at the end of life suggests a focus on prolonging life in COPD patients; it also indicates an unmet demand for palliative care in these patients. Avoiding potentially inappropriate care and improving end-of-life care quality by providing palliative care to COPD patients are necessary.
This community-based cluster randomized trial evaluated the efficacy of a 4-week multimedia educational intervention followed by telephone consultations at Weeks 12 and 24 on the selection of a hospice program for end-of-life care and completion of an advance directive (AD) in case of future advanced dementia. One hundred twenty-three cognitively intact older adults from five community centers in Taiwan were randomly assigned to two groups. The study showed that 100% of participants in the intervention group (two community centers, n = 52) selected hospice program care for end-of-life care and signed ADs, whereas those in the control group were less likely to do both ( p < .001). Participants in the intervention group also had a positive change in knowledge, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and behavioral intention of advance care planning (ACP) for advanced dementia. The theoretically based multimedia educational program was effective in assisting ACP implementation and completing ADs among community-dwelling older adults.
BACKGROUND: The benefits of hospice palliative care (HPC) for end-of-life (EoL) patients have been widely acknowledged in recent years. There is still limited knowledge about cancer patients' willingness toward HPC. This study aimed to investigate the willingness of cancer patients to receive HPC and the influencing factors.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with cancer patients enrolled from teaching hospitals in Taiwan. The questionnaire included demographic characteristics, EoL care preferences, and scales for measuring the willingness to receive HPC, HPC knowledge, and attitude towards HPC. Data were collected by senior nurses and they were analyzed using descriptive and a regression analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 148 valid questionnaires were collected. The participants indicated that they 'willing to receive' HPC (mean3.8 on a 5-point scale). The predictors for their willingness to receive HPC were knowledge about HPC (P = 0.001), positive attitude towards HPC (P = 0.008), preference for hospital death (P = 0.022), and preference for quality of life (P = 0.047) as the goal of EoL care. These factors explained 32.7% of the total variance in the willingness to receive HPC.
CONCLUSIONS: Cancer patients were generally willing to receive HPC. Clinician should discuss EoL care with them earlier. Develop appropriate educational strategies that can provide cancer patients with sufficient and tailored HPC information to develop their knowledge and to create a positive attitude about HPC is necessary, thereby to allow for early HPC intervention and to fulfill the patients' need for HPC.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life (EOL) care in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) can vary depending on religious beliefs of health care providers and families as well as the sociocultural environment. Although guidelines exist for EOL care in NICUs, most are based on Western studies, and little is known about such care in Asian countries, which have different religious and social background.
OBJECTIVE: This review synthesized empirical research to reveal the state of the science on infant EOL care in Asian countries.
DESIGN: This was an integrative review.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Data were collected from studies identified in CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, and PubMed. The search was limited to current empirical studies involving infant EOL care in Asian countries and published in English between 2007 and 2016.
RESULTS: Of 286 studies initially identified, 11 empirical studies conducted in Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, and Turkey were included in the review. Four themes were captured: factors influencing decision making, trends in decision making, practical aspects of EOL care, and health care providers' preparation. In most NICUs, health care providers controlled decisions regarding use of life-sustaining treatment, with parents participating in decision making no more than 60% of the time. Although care decisions were gradually changing from "do everything" for patient survival to a more palliative approach, comfort care at the EOL was chosen no more than 63% of the time.
CONCLUSION: While infant EOL care practice and research vary by country, few articles address these matters in Asia. This integrative review characterizes infant EOL care in Asia and explores cultural influences on such care.
OBJECTIVE: Hemodialysis (HD) is the most common renal replacement therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease in Taiwan. The use of HD in hospice care and its impact on terminal cancer patients remains unclear.
METHODS: Using claim data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, all patients who died from cancer and claim data of their terminal admissions in hospice from 2007 to 2010. Those with a comorbid diagnosis of renal failure or who had health insurance claims data for HD were enrolled.
RESULTS: A total of 5482 subjects were identified, of whom 4484 received HD and 998 did not. The HD group was significantly correlated with a younger age and high costs of terminal hospice admission. After adjusting for age and gender, the HD group was positively associated with a long hospice stay, in-hospice death, bone/connective tissue/breast cancers, and secondary/metastatic cancers, but negatively associated with genitourinary cancer. Compared with Department of Health/municipal hospitals, patients at both national and private university-affiliated hospitals were less likely to undergo HD.
CONCLUSIONS: For terminal cancer patients under hospice care, HD was associated with a younger age, long terminal hospice stay, and high medical costs. Some types of cancers were associated with HD. University-affiliated hospitals played significant roles in non-HD renal supportive care. In-hospice HD is still common in Taiwan. Dialysis withdrawal and alternative care have space to promoting in hospice care.
BACKGROUND: Few studies have reported the epidemiology and clinical outcome of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in Asian patients with pancreatic cancer. This study investigated the incidence, risk factors, and clinical outcome of VTE in patients with pancreatic cancer following palliative chemotherapy.
METHODS: The medical records of 838 patients with newly diagnosed locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer who underwent palliative chemotherapy between 2010 and 2016 at four institutes in Taiwan were retrospectively reviewed. The clinical characteristics of all patients were analyzed to identify independent predictors of VTE and their effects on survival outcome.
RESULTS: During the median follow-up period of 7.7 months (range, 0.6â€“55.6), VTE occurred in 67 (8.0%) of the 838 patients. Leukocyte count > 11,000/µL and presence of liver metastases were the independent predictors of VTE. Patients with VTE did not show significantly poorer survival outcomes than those without VTE. However, early-onset VTE that occurred within 1.5 months after chemotherapy initiation was an independent negative prognosticator for overall survival.
CONCLUSION: VTE incidence was found to be lower in Asian patients with pancreatic cancer than in their Western counterparts. Early-onset VTE, but not late-onset VTE, is a negative prognosticator for survival outcomes.
BACKGROUND: No study has compared the effects of hemodialysis on the symptom burden of terminally ill and nonterminally ill end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine the effects of hemodialysis on the symptom burden of ESRD patients and compare the terminally ill and nonterminally ill groups.
DESIGN: This was a quantitative survey; for patients on hemodialysis, the survey was conducted at the beginning and end of the weekly cycle of hemodialysis sessions.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: A total of 211 ESRD patients were recruited in Taiwan, 47 of which were terminally ill (38 on hemodialysis) and 164 nonterminally ill (110 on hemodialysis).
MEASUREMENTS: Symptom burden was assessed using the Taiwanese version of the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory for kidney disease.
RESULTS: Being terminally ill predicted higher symptom severity (B = 0.604, p = 0.017), whereas hemodialysis predicted lower symptom severity (B = -0.614, p = 0.014) in ESRD patients. Nonterminally ill patients who were married or on hemodialysis experienced lower symptom severity (B = -0.604, p = 0.013 and B = -0.665, p = 0.017, respectively). Among terminally ill patients, neither hemodialysis nor other background characteristics predicted symptom severity. When hemodialysis was initiated, no change in symptom severity was observed in terminally ill and nonterminally ill patients.
CONCLUSIONS: The effects of hemodialysis on symptom burden were different between ESRD patients with different disease states. Hemodialysis predicted lower symptom severity only in nonterminally ill ESRD patients. Apart from dialysis, care providers should revisit the palliative approach for treating terminally ill ESRD patients to improve their quality of life.
BACKGROUND: Even though no evidence suggests tube feeding is beneficial for individuals with advanced dementia, many are still tube fed.
OBJECTIVE: To assess perceptions of hospital staff regarding reducing tube feeding (RTF) of patients with advanced dementia.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
SETTING: A regional teaching hospital in Taipei, Taiwan.
SUBJECTS: Hospital staff (n = 624), including physicians, nurses, dieticians, paramedical personnel, social workers, volunteers, attendants, and administrators.
MEASUREMENTS: Anonymous questionnaires.
RESULTS: The overall awareness of RTF for advanced dementia patients averaged 10.2 ± 3.74 points (maximum, 19 points) among all respondents. Among the different hospital professions, dieticians scored the highest, whereas nurses and attendants/volunteers had relatively low scores. Over half of respondents (57%) agreed tube feeding is the best choice for advanced dementia with dysphagia. Physicians of different specialties had significantly different responses toward RTF with regard to the belief that tube feeding reduces the risk of aspiration pneumonia, referring patients who refuse tube feeding to other health care team members, and the belief that family members would be able to accept the patient's death along with insufficient food/fluid intake. Only 35.1% of respondents believed they were able to implement comfort feeding.
CONCLUSIONS: The present survey shows a persistent knowledge gap among various health care professions regarding tube feeding of patients with advanced dementia. Also, there is insufficient awareness about this subject, indicating that promotion of comfort feeding by enhanced training and communication within medical teams is essential to achieving better person-centered care and preventing unnecessary suffering.