Background: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process that enables individuals to describe, in advance, the kind of health care they would want in the future, and has been shown to reduce hospital-based interventions at the end of life. Our goal was to describe the current state of ACP in a home-based primary care program for frail homebound older people in Vancouver, Canada. We did this by identifying four key elements that should be essential to ACP in this program: frailty stage, documentation of substitute decision-makers, and decision-making with regard to both resuscitation (i.e., do not resuscitate (DNR)) and hospitalization (i.e., do not hospitalize (DNH)). While these elements are an important part of the ACP process, they are often excluded from common practice.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, observational study of data abstracted from 200 randomly selected patient electronic medical records between July 1 and September 30, 2017. We describe the association between demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and four key elements of ACP documentation and decision-making as documented in the clinical record using bivariate comparison, a logistic regression model and multiple logistic regression analysis.
Results: In 73% (n=146) of the patient records, there was no explicit documentation of frailty stage. Sixty-four per cent had documentation of a substitute decision-maker. Of those who had their preferences documented, 90.6% (n=144/159) indicated a preference for DNR, and 23.6% (n=29/123) indicated a preference for DNH. In multiple regression modeling, a diagnosis of dementia and older age were associated with documentation of a DNR preference, adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 4.79 (95% CI 1.37, 16.71) and AOR = 1.14 (95% CI 1.05, 1.24), respectively. Older age, male sex, and English identified as the main language spoken were associated with a DNH preference. AOR = 1.17 (95% CI 1.06, 1.28), AOR = 4.19 (95% CI 1.41, 12.42), and AOR = 3.42 (95% CI 1.14, 10.20), respectively.
Conclusions: Clinician documentation of some elements of ACP, such as identification of a substitute decision-maker and resuscitation status, have been widely adopted, while other elements that should be considered essential components of ACP, such as frailty staging and preferences around hospitalization, are infrequent and provide an opportunity for practice improvement initiatives. The significant association between language and ACP decisions suggests an important role for supporting cross-cultural fluency in the ACP process.
Background: The signing of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) consent is mandatory in providing a palliative approach in the end-of-life care for the terminally ill patients and requires an effective communication between the physician and the patients or their family members. This study aimed to investigate the association between the communication skills of physicians who participated in the SHARE (supportive environment, how to deliver the bad news, additional information, reassurance, and emotional support) model course on the patient notification and the signing of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) consent by the terminally ill patients at emergency rooms.
Methods: Between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018, a total of 109 terminally ill patients were enrolled in this study, of which 70 had signed a DNR and 39 had not. Data regarding the patients' medical records, a questionnaire survey completed by family members, and patient observation forms were used for the assessment of physicians' communication skills during patient notification. The observation form was designed based on the SHARE model. A multivariate logistic regression model was applied to identify the independent significant factors of the patient and family member variables as well as the four main components of the observation form.
Results: The results revealed that knowing how to convey bad news and providing reassurance and emotional support were significantly correlated with a higher rate of signing DNR consent. Additionally, physician-initiated discussion with family members and a predicted limited life expectancy were negative independent significant factors for signing DNR consent.
Conclusion: This study revealed that good communication skills help to increase the signing of DNR consent. The learning of such skills from attendance of the SHARE model course is encouraged for the physicians in the palliative care of terminally ill patients in an emergency room.
Critics of organ donation after circulatory death (DCD) argue that, even if donors are past the point of autoresuscitation, they have not satisfied the "irreversibility" requirement in the circulatory and respiratory criteria for determining death, since their circulation and respiration could be artificially restored. Thus, removing their vital organs violates the "dead-donor" rule. I defend DCD donation against this criticism. I argue that practical medical-ethical considerations, including respect for do-not-resuscitate orders, support interpreting "irreversibility" to mean permanent cessation of circulation and respiration. Assuming a consciousness-related formulation of human death, I then argue that the loss of circulation and respiration is significant, because it leads to the permanent loss of consciousness and thus to the death of the human person. The DNR request by an organ donor should thus be interpreted to mean "do not restore to consciousness." Finally, I respond to an objection that if "irreversibility" has a medical-ethical meaning, it would entail the absurd possibility that one of two individuals in the same physical state could be alive and the other dead-an implication that some think is inconsistent with understanding death as an objective biological state of the organism. I argue that advances in medical technology have created phenomena that challenge the assumption that human death can be understood in strictly biological terms. I argue that ethical and ontological considerations about our nature bear on the definition and determination of death and thus on the permissibility of DCD.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of intercenter variation and patient factors on end-of-life care practices for infants who die in regional neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis using the Children's Hospital Neonatal Database during 2010-2016. A total of 6299 nonsurviving infants cared for in 32 participating regional NICUs were included to examine intercenter variation and the effects of gestational age, race, and cause of death on 3 end-of-life care practices: do not attempt resuscitation orders (DNR), cardiopulmonary resuscitation within 6 hours of death (CPR), and withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies (WLST). Factors associated with these practices were used to develop a multivariable equation.
RESULTS: Dying infants in the cohort underwent DNR (55%), CPR (21%), and WLST (73%). Gestational age, cause of death, and race were significantly and differently associated with each practice: younger gestational age (<28 weeks) was associated with CPR (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.5-2.1) but not with DNR or WLST, and central nervous system injury was associated with DNR (1.6, 1.3-1.9) and WLST (4.8, 3.7-6.2). Black race was associated with decreased odds of WLST (0.7, 0.6-0.8). Between centers, practices varied widely at different gestational ages, race, and causes of death.
CONCLUSIONS: From the available data on end-of-life care practices for regional NICU patients, variability appears to be either individualized or without consistency.
BACKGROUND: Individual physicians and physician-associated factors may influence patients'/surrogates' autonomous decision-making, thus influencing the practice of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. The objective of this study was to examine the influence of individual attending physicians on signing a DNR order.
METHODS: This study was conducted in closed model, surgical intensive care units in a university-affiliated teaching hospital located in Northern Taiwan. The medical records of patients, admitted to the surgical intensive care units for the first time between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2013 were reviewed and data collected. We used Kaplan-Meier survival curves with log-rank test and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models to compare the time from surgical intensive care unit admission to do-not-resuscitate orders written for patients for each individual physician. The outcome variable was the time from surgical ICU admission to signing a DNR order.
RESULTS: We found that each individual attending physician's likelihood of signing do-not-resuscitate orders for their patients was significantly different from each other. Some attending physicians were more likely to write do-not-resuscitate orders for their patients, and other attending physicians were less likely to do so.
CONCLUSION: Our study reported that individual attending physicians had influence on patients'/surrogates' do-not-resuscitate decision-making. Future studies may be focused on examining the reasons associated with the difference of each individual physician in the likelihood of signing a do-not-resuscitate order.
The addition of a do-not-operate (DNO) section to current medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST) and physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) medical order forms would more completely document patients' wishes for invasive interventions at the end of life. We propose a modification of the MOLST and POLST forms, in addition to hospital and electronic medical records, to include a DNO section, in addition to preexisting do-not-resuscitate (DNR) and do-not-intubate (DNI) orders, with the goal of reducing suffering from nonbeneficial surgical interventions in patients with severe illness at the end of life.
Only 2.3% of patients at a Midwest home healthcare (HH) agency had documented advance directives (ADs), compared with 28% nationally. Of concern, this HH agency lacked standardized procedures for advance care planning (ACP) leading to inadequate staff knowledge regarding end-of-life, avoidable hospital readmissions, and delayed transitions into hospice care. Lack of ADs is directly correlated to higher hospital readmission rates and lower hospice length of stay. The purpose of this initiative was to develop evidence-based procedures using the Respecting Choices ACP model to: 1) educate staff, 2) increase ACP conversations offered and completed among high-risk patients, 3) increase Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) rates, 4) reduce 60-day hospital readmissions, and 5) support hospice care admissions. Staff received discipline-specific education on ACP/ADs. The Knowledge-Attitudinal-Experiential Survey on Advance Directives (KAESAD), assessed staff ACP/AD knowledge, confidence, and experiences. Standardized electronic medical record tools were created to track ACP conversations, POLST rates, 60-day hospital readmissions, and hospice admissions. Paired t-test and chi-square analyses compared changes pre- and post implementation. The KAESAD survey was analyzed for 75 staff (100%) and demonstrates improvement in knowledge, confidence, and experiences. Data also demonstrate increases in: ACP offered 6% to 80% (p < .001); ACP conversations completed 4% to 31% (p < .001); POLST rates 26% to 43.6% (p = .059); decreased 60-day hospital readmissions 40% to 20% (p = .025); whereas hospice care admissions was not impacted ranging from 10% to 5.5% (p = .381). Respecting Choices serves as an effective ACP framework to improve ACP conversations, POLST rates, and hospital readmissions.
BACKGROUND: Research has shown that do not resuscitate (DNR) and do not intubate (DNI) orders may be construed by physicians to be more restrictive than intended by patients. Previous studies of physicians found that DNR/DNI orders are associated with being less willing to provide invasive care.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of code status on emergency residents' decision-making regarding offering invasive procedures for those patients with DNR/DNI compared with their full code counterparts.
METHODS: We conducted a nationwide survey of emergency medicine residents using an instrument of 4 clinical vignettes involving patients with serious illnesses. Two versions of the survey, survey A and survey B, alternated the DNR/DNI and full code status for the vignettes. Residency leaders were contacted in August 2018 to distribute the survey to their residents.
RESULTS: Three hundred and three residents responded from across the country. The code status was strongly associated with decisions to intubate or perform CPR and influenced the willingness to offer other invasive procedures. DNR/DNI status was associated with less frequent willingness to place central venous catheters (88.2% for DNR/DNI vs. 97.2% for full code, p < 0.001), admit patients to the intensive care unit (89.9% vs. 99.0%, p < 0.001), offer dialysis (79.3% vs. 98.0%, p < 0.001), and surgical consultation (78.7% vs. 94.2%, p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: In a nationwide survey, emergency medicine residents were less willing to provide invasive procedures for patients with DNR/DNI status, including the placement of central venous catheters, admission to the intensive care unit, and consultation for dialysis and surgery.
Introduction: Do not resuscitate (DNR) is a medical procedure for patients who are suffering from critical, untreatable, and irreversible disease where the patient's life is predicted to end. DNR is considered a sensitive decision for patients and their relatives, as well as physicians.
Aim: This study is aimed to assess the knowledge and attitude of medical students and interns toward the DNR order and the factors affecting their attitude at the King Abdulaziz University Hospital (KAUH) in Jeddah.
Methods: Nonintervention cross-sectional study was conducted among 429 medical students (preclinical and clinical years) and interns who were given an online questionnaire between May and June in 2016 at KAUH in 18 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Results: Our study indicates that most of the participants (73.2%) were familiar with DNR order; however, more than half of them (58.3%) did not take any lecture or session on DNR. Large proportion of medical students had the opinion that attending a lecture or session on DNR would help them discuss it more skillfully with the patients and their relatives. More than half of the participants (55%) believed that there is a Fatwa that regulates DNR on the Islamic level.
Conclusion: Participants, who were interns, were more familiar with the term DNR, whereas the 2nd-year medical students were less familiar with DNR. Considering the variation in the knowledge of participants about DNR, we conclude that additional lectures and sessions about DNR should be added to the medical school curriculum to make the students more confident and able in handling the DNR discussions.
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.
OBJECTIVE: Treatment limitation, as well as do-not-resuscitate (DNR) directives, are difficult but important to improve patients' quality of life and minimize dysthanasia. We aimed to study the approach to withholding, withdrawal, and DNR decisions, patients' characteristics, and process documentation in a general Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Portugal.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis of data regarding the limitation of treatment decisions collected from previously-designed forms and complemented by medical record consultation.
RESULTS: A total of 1602 patients were admitted to the ICU between 2011 and 2016. DNR decisions were documented in 127 cases (7.9%). Patients with treatment limitations were older and had higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score II. The most frequent diagnosis preceding these decisions was sepsis (52.0%, n = 66); the most common main reason for limiting treatment was a poor prognosis of acute illness. Of the patients to whom a DNR was implemented, 117 (92.1%) died in the ICU (40.1% of the total number of ICU deaths), and hospital mortality was 100%. Participants in these decisions, as well as types of treatment withdrawn and their respective timings, were not registered in medical records.
CONCLUSION: Treatment limitation and DNR decisions were relatively common, in line with other Southern European studies, but behind Northern European and North American centers. Patients with these limitations were older and more severely ill than patients without such decisions. Documentation of these processes should be clear and detailed, either in specific forms or computerized clinical records; there is room for improvement in this area.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of early triggered palliative care consultation on the outcomes of high-risk ICU patients.
DESIGN: Single-center cluster randomized crossover trial.
SETTING: Two medical ICUs at Barnes Jewish Hospital.
PATIENTS: Patients (n = 199) admitted to the medical ICUs from August 2017 to May 2018 with a positive palliative care screen indicating high risk for morbidity or mortality.
INTERVENTIONS: The medical ICUs were randomized to intervention or usual care followed by washout and crossover, with independent assignment of patients to each ICU at admission. Intervention arm patients received a palliative care consultation from an interprofessional team led by board-certified palliative care providers within 48 hours of ICU admission.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Ninety-seven patients (48.7%) were assigned to the intervention and 102 (51.3%) to usual care. Transition to do-not-resuscitate/do-not-intubate occurred earlier and significantly more often in the intervention group than the control group (50.5% vs 23.4%; p < 0.0001). The intervention group had significantly more transfers to hospice care (18.6% vs 4.9%; p < 0.01) with fewer ventilator days (median 4 vs 6 d; p < 0.05), tracheostomies performed (1% vs 7.8%; p < 0.05), and postdischarge emergency department visits and/or readmissions (17.3% vs 38.9%; p < 0.01). Although total operating cost was not significantly different, medical ICU (p < 0.01) and pharmacy (p < 0.05) operating costs were significantly lower in the intervention group. There was no significant difference in ICU length of stay (median 5 vs 5.5 d), hospital length of stay (median 10 vs 11 d), in-hospital mortality (22.6% vs 29.4%), or 30-day mortality between groups (35.1% vs 36.3%) (p > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Early triggered palliative care consultation was associated with greater transition to do-not-resuscitate/do-not-intubate and to hospice care, as well as decreased ICU and post-ICU healthcare resource utilization. Our study suggests that routine palliative care consultation may positively impact the care of high risk, critically ill patients.
Background: Life expectancy in patients with end-stage kidney disease treated with hemodialysis (HD) is limited, and as such, the presence of an advanced care directive (ACD) may improve the quality of death as experienced for patients and families. Strategies to discuss and implement ACDs are limited with little being known about the status of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders in the Canadian HD population.
Objectives: Using data from the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS), we set out to (1) examine the variability in DNR orders across Canada and its largest province, Ontario and (2) identify clinical and functional status measures associated with a DNR order.
Design: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from the DOPPS Canada Phase 4 to 6 from 2009 to 2017.
Setting: DOPPS facilities in Canada.
Patients: All adults (>18 years) who initiated chronic HD with a documented ACD were included.
Measurements: ACD and DNR orders.
Methods: Descriptive statistics were compared for baseline characteristics (demographics, comorbidities, medications, facility characteristics, and patient functional status) and DNR status. The crude proportion of patients per facility with a DNR order was calculated across Canada and Ontario. Functional status was determined by activities of daily living and components of the Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQOL)-validated questionnaire. We used generalized estimating equations (GEEs) to create sequential multivariable models (demographics, comorbidities, and functional status) of variables associated with DNR status.
Results: A total of 1556 (96% of total) patients treated with HD had a documented ACD and were included. A total of 10% of patients had a DNR order. The crude variation of DNR status differed considerably across facilities within Canada, between Ontario and non-Ontario, and within Ontario (interprovince variation = 6.3%-17.1%, Ontario vs non-Ontario = 8.2% vs 11.7%, intraprovincial variation [Ontario] = 1%-26%). Patients with a DNR order were more commonly older, white, with cardiac comorbidities, with less or shorter predialysis care compared with those without a DNR order. Patients with a DNR order reported lower energy, more difficulty with transfers, meal preparation, household tasks, and financial management. In a multivariate model, age, cardiac disease, stroke, dialysis duration, and intradialytic weight gain were associated with DNR status.
Limitations: Relatively small number of events or measures in certain categories.
Conclusions: A large inter- and intraprovincial (Ontario) variation was observed regarding DNR orders across Canada highlighting areas for potential quality improvement. While functional status did not appear to have a bearing on the presence of a DNR order, the presence of various comorbidities was associated with the presence of a DNR order.
OBJECTIVES: Many older adult patients want to be treated aggressively for reversible conditions, even when their current quality of life is limited; however, most standard living wills focus on the very end of life and provide little guidance to acute care providers (ACPs) should their older adult patient be admitted with a potentially treatable acute condition and temporarily lose capacity. We developed what we believe is a more informational and directive living will for this population. We sought to determine whether ACPs would find our pilot living will more helpful when caring for their older adult patients.
METHODS: Convenience sample of members of the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). Respondents were asked to compare the pilot living will with their state form and then answer five attitudinal questions.
RESULTS: In total, 125 providers from 39 states completed the survey: 86% indicated that the pilot living will better helped them understand their patients' general end-of-life preferences, 87.5% indicated the pilot living will would be more helpful in making specific treatment decisions for their patients, and 85% indicated the pilot living will would better facilitate end-of-life discussions with surrogates.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that it is possible to design a functional advanced directive that better reflects the wishes of the older adult patient who wants to be treated aggressively in selected clinical situations. By more clearly defining these wishes, acute providers (eg, hospitalists, intensivists) can make more informed, patient-centered recommendations to surrogates.
PURPOSE: Patients make treatment decisions based not only on what they want, but what they think their families want. Discordance in such perceived preferences may therefore pose challenges for advance care planning. This study examines discordance in preference for life-extending care versus comfort-focused care and its association with do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order placement.
METHODS: One hundred eighty-nine patients with advanced cancers refractory to at least one chemotherapy regimen were enrolled in a multisite observational study. In structured interviews, patients reported their preference for treatment maximizing either life extension or comfort; patients also indicated their perception of their families' preference. DNR placement was reported by patients and verified using medical records.
RESULTS: Approximately 23% of patients (n = 43) perceived discordance between their preference and their families’ preference. Patients who perceived discordance were less likely to have completed a DNR compared with those who perceived concordance, even after controlling for relevant confounds (odds ratio = .35; P = .02). Subgroups of discordance and concordance showed varying DNR placement rates ( 2, 19.95; P < .001). DNR placement rate was lowest among discordant subgroups, where there was either a personal (26.7%; four of 15) or family preference for comfort care (28.6%; eight of 28), followed by patients who perceived concordance for wanting life-extending care (34.5%; 29 of 84) and by patients who perceived concordance in wanting comfort-focused care (66.1%; 41 of 62).
CONCLUSION: Many patients may perceive discordance between personal and family treatment preferences, posing impediments to advance care planning. Such patients may benefit from additional decision support.
BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) is a legal order that demonstrates a patient's will to avoid further suffering from advanced treatment at the end of life. The concept of palliative care is increasingly accepted, but the impacts of different major illnesses, geographic regions, and health expenses on DNR rates remain unclear.
METHODS: This study utilized the two-million National Health Insurance (NHI) Research Database to examine the percentage of DNR rates among all deaths in hospitals from 2001 to 2011. DNR in the study was defined as no resuscitation before death in hospitals. Death records were extracted from the database and correlated with healthcare information. Descriptive statistics were compiled to examine the relationships between DNR rates and variables including major illnesses, geographic regions, and NHI spending.
RESULTS: A total of 126,390 death records were extracted from the database for analysis. Among cancer-related deaths, pancreatic cancer patients had the highest DNR rate (86.99%) and esophageal cancer patients had the lowest DNR rate (71.62%). The higher DNR rate among cancer-only patients (79.53%) decreased with concomitant dialysis (66.07%) or ventilator use (57.85%). The lower DNR rates in patients with either chronic dialysis (51.27%) or ventilator use (59.10%) increased when patients experienced these two conditions concomitantly (61.31%). Although DNR rates have consistently increased over time across all regions of Taiwan, a persistent disparity was noted between the East and the South (76.89% vs. 70.78% in 2011, p < 0.01). After adjusting for potential confounders, DNR patients had significantly lower NHI spending one year prior to death ($67,553), compared with non-DNR patients.
CONCLUSION: Our study found that DNR rates varied across cancer types and decreased in cancer patients with concomitant chronic dialysis or ventilator use. Disparities in DNR rates were evident across geographic regions in Taiwan. A wider adoption of the DNR policy may achieve substantial savings in health expenses and improve patients' quality of life.
Purpose: In Korea, hospice palliative care (HPC) provision for cancer patients has increased recently. However, whether end of life (EoL) care practices have improved along with the development of HPC is unclear. We intended to investigate the changes in EoL care practices and their association with HPC referral.
Materials and Methods: Retrospective medical record review of adult cancer patients who died at National Cancer Center Korea from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2014 was performed. Changes of EoL practices including chemotherapy within 2 weeks from death, death in intensive care unit (ICU), documentation of "do not resuscitate (DNR)" within 7 days from death and referral to HPC from 2009 to 2014 were analyzed as well as the association between referral to HPC and other practices.
Results: A total of 2,377 cases were included in the analysis. Between 2009 and 2014, referral to HPC increased and DNR documentation within 7 days from death decreased significantly. Cases for chemotherapy within 2 weeks from death and death in ICU didn't change over the study period. Patients referred to HPC were less likely to receive chemotherapy within 2 weeks from death, die in ICU and document DNR within 7 days from death.
Conclusion: During the study period, EoL practices among cancer patients partly changed toward less aggressive in our institution. HPC referral was associated with less aggressive cancer care at the EoL. Policies to promote EoL discussion are necessary to improve the EoL practices of cancer patients.
Increasingly, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses are confronted with the request to operate on patients with preexisting “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders (seeFraming Case, later in this article). There is much uncertainty and confusion regarding the proper approach to managing advance directives for these patients. Many believe that DNR orders must be suspended before an operation, and there is concern that clinicians put themselves at risk when operating on a patient with an extant DNR order.
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CONTEXT: Nearly 70% of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) directives for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients are established during their terminal hospitalization. Whether patient use of end-of-life resources differs between early and late establishment of a DNR is unknown.
OBJECTIVES: To compare end-of-life resource use between patients according to DNR directive status: no DNR, early DNR (EDNR) (established before terminal hospitalization), and late DNR (LDNR) (established during terminal hospitalization).
METHODS: Electronic health records from all COPD decedents in a teaching hospital in Taiwan were analyzed retrospectively with respect to medical resource use during the last year of life and medical expenditures during the last hospitalization. Multivariate linear regression analysis was used to determine independent predictors of cost.
RESULTS: Of the 361 COPD patients enrolled, 318 (88.1%) died with a DNR directive, 31.4% of which were EDNR. COPD decedents with EDNR were less likely to be admitted to intensive care units (12.0 %, 55.5%, and 60.5% for EDNR, LDNR, and no DNR, respectively), had lower total medical expenditures, and were less likely to undergo invasive mechanical ventilator support during their terminal hospitalization. The average total medical cost during the last hospitalization was nearly 2-fold greater for LDNR than for EDNR decedents. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that nearly 60% of medical expenses incurred were significantly attributable to no EDNR, younger age, longer length of hospital stay, and more comorbidities.
CONCLUSION: Although 88% of COPD decedents died with a DNR directive, 70% of these directives were established late. LDNR results in lower quality of care and greater intensive care resource use in end-of-life COPD patients.
Objective: To survey university students on their views concerning the respect for autonomy of patients and the best interest of patients in relation to the withholding of resuscitation.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey among university students of medicine, nursing, philosophy, law and theology of the first and the final study years at the University of Ljubljana and the University of Zagreb was conducted during the academic year of 2016/2017. A questionnaire constructed by Janiver et al. presenting clinical case vignettes was used.
Results: The survey response rates for students in Ljubljana and Zagreb were 45.4% (512 students) and 37.9% (812 students), respectively. The results of our research show statistically significant differences in do-not resuscitate decisions in different cases between medical and non-medical students in both countries. Male and religious students in both countries have lower odds of respecting relatives' wishes for the withholding of resuscitation (odds ratio 0.49-0.54; 95% confidence interval). All students agreed that they would first resuscitate children if they had to prioritize among patients.
Conclusions: Our study clearly shows that gender, religious beliefs, and type of study are important factors associated with the decisions pertaining to the respect for autonomy, patient's best interest, and initiation or withholding of resuscitation.