We propose that the palliative care team response will occur in two ways: first, communication and second, symptom management. Our experience with discussing goals of care with the family of a COVID-positive patient highlighted some expected and unexpected challenges. We describe these challenges along with recommendations for approaching these conversations. We also propose a framework for proactively mobilizing the palliative care workforce to aggressively address goals of care in all patients, with the aim of reducing the need for rationing of resources.
OBJECTIVE: To measure the effectiveness of a brief intervention aimed at increasing interest in and use of advanced directives (AD) among primary care patients.
METHODS: Randomized controlled trial. In the intervention arm, patients were given brief oral information and a leaflet on AD by General Practitioners (GPs), in the control group were briefly informed about the study's purpose. Outcome variables were the proportion of patients who expressed interest in AD and those who completed one. Covariates were sex, age, education, race, Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), religion, and possession of financial will.
RESULTS: Overall, 332 patients were recruited; 58 in the intervention and 36 in the control group expressed interest in AD (p = 0.033) and 18 (5.4 %) made an AD (nine in each group). Variables associated with interest were Caucasian race (odds ratio [OR], 1.88), the intervention (OR, 1.86), and CCI extreme scores (OR, 0.36). Variables associated with AD completion were primary education/no schooling (OR, 5.69) and fewer children (OR, 0.57).
CONCLUSIONS: A brief oral and written intervention delivered by GP significantly increased interest in AD and achieved a completion rate of 5.4 %, without differences with the control group.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: AD interventions should focus on individuals already likely to be motivated.
OBJECTIVES: Code status specifies the action that healthcare providers should take in the event of cardiac arrest. Studies have shown, however, that patients with do-not-resuscitate/do-not-intubate (DNR/DNI) orders have worse outcomes and do not consistently receive the standard of care. Several studies have demonstrated that physicians behave differently toward patients with DNR/DNI orders, but little research exists into whether DNR/DNI status affects the practice of other members of the care team. Our objective was to determine whether code status affects decision making by nursing staff.
METHODS: This was an anonymous, self-administered survey of nurses between April 2018 and March 2019 using SurveyMonkey. The survey contained four previously published clinical vignettes followed by a series of questions regarding specific interventions tailored to reflect nursing escalation of care. Our focus was two local hospitals: one large academic quaternary-referral center and one large community hospital. Registered nurses on medical-surgical units identified based on available unit-specific e-mail listservs from both hospitals were the participants. Nurses in higher-acuity units were excluded.
RESULTS: Nurses are significantly less likely to call rapid response or a physician when a patient undergoes certain changes in clinical status if the patient is labeled as DNR/DNI rather than full code. For all of the vignettes, respondents were less likely to say they would call rapid response or a physician for patients with a DNR/DNI status who developed tachycardia (P < 0.001). Nurses also were less likely to escalate care for patients with DNR/DNI status who developed tachypnea or mental status changes. Nurses were equally likely to call a physician for the development of abdominal pain or new hypotension (P > 0.05). Nurses with >3 years of experience were less likely to escalate care throughout the vignettes (odds ratio <1).
CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to demonstrate that code status affects decision making by nursing staff. It highlights the limitations that code status designations create with regard to patient care. By acknowledging that patients with DNR/DNI orders receive different care, we can create systems in which patients are treated equally, regardless of their code status.
BACKGROUND: Historically, it has been assumed that the Emergency Department (ED) is a place for maximally aggressive care and that Emergency Medicine Providers (EMPs) are biased towards life-prolonging care. However, emphasis on early recognition of code status preferences is increasingly making the ED a venue for code status discussions (CSDs). In 2018, our hospital implemented a policy requiring EMPs to place a code status order (CSO) for all patients admitted through the ED. We hypothesized that if EMPs enter CSDs with a bias toward life-prolonging care, or if the venue of the ED biases CSDs towards life-prolonging care, then we would observe a decrease in the percentage of patients selecting DNR status following our institution's aforementioned CSO mandate.
METHODS: We present a retrospective analysis of rates of DNR orders placed for patients admitted through our ED comparing six-month periods before and after the implementation of the above policy.
RESULTS: Using quality improvement data, we identified patients admitted through the ED during pre (n=7,858) and post (n=8,069) study periods. We observed the following: after implementation DNR preference identified prior to hospital admission from the ED increased from 0.4% to 5.3% (relative risk (RR) 12.5; 95% CI: 5.2-29.9), defining CS in the ED setting at the time of admission increased from 2.4% to 98.6% (p <0.001), and DNR orders placed during inpatient admission was unchanged (RR=0.97 (95% CI = 0.88-1.07)).
DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that the ED can be an appropriate venue for CSDs.
A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order is an important end-of-life decision. In Taiwan, family caregivers are also involved in this decision-making process. This study aimed to explore the concerns and experiences regarding DNR decisions among caregivers in Taiwan. Qualitative study was conducted. Convenience sampling was used, and 26 caregivers were recruited whose patients had a DNR order and had received hospice care or hospice home care. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection, including the previous experiences of DNR discussions with the patients and medical staff and their concerns and difficulties in decision-making. The data analysis was based on the principle of thematic analysis. Four themes were identified: (1) Patients: The caregivers respected the patients’ willingness and did not want to make them feel like “giving up.” (2) Caregivers’ self: They did not want to intensify the patients’ suffering but sometimes found it emotionally difficult to accept death. (3) Other family members: They were concerned about the other family members’ opinions on DNR orders, their blame, and their views on filial impiety. (4) Medical staff: The information and suggestions from the medical staff were foundational to their decision-making. The caregivers needed the health care professionals’ supports to deal with the concerns from patients and other family members as well as their emotional reactions.
Background: Very few studies have investigated the racial differences in do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in children, and these studies are limited to oncological cases. We aim to characterize the racial difference in DNR orders among U.S. pediatric surgical patients.
Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the mortality of all children who underwent an inpatient surgery between 2012 and 2017 from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. We used log-binomial models to estimate the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of DNR use comparing white with African American (AA) children. To estimate the risk-adjusted difference in DNR orders, we controlled the analyses for age, prematurity status, emergent case status, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, year of operation, surgical specialty, and surgical complexity.
Results: Between 2012 and 2017, a total of 276,917 children underwent inpatient surgery, of whom 0.8% (n = 1601) died within 30 days of operation. Of the 1601 mortality cases, we retained 1212 children who were of either AA (26.0%, n = 350) or white (63.9%, n = 862) race. Most children were neonates, had an American Society of Anesthesiologists class =4 (70.0%, n = 811), and developed one or more postoperative complications (68.7%, n = 833). Overall, AA children were more likely to be neonates at the time of surgery (42.0% vs. 40.3%, p < 0.001), to be premature (66.3% vs. 49.0%, p < 0.001), and develop one or more postoperative complications (73.7% vs. 66.7%, p = 0.017). White children were three times more likely to have a DNR order than their AA peers (adjusted RR: 3.01, 95% CI: 1.09–8.56, p = 0.044).
Conclusion: Among pediatric surgical patients in the United States, children of white race were three times more likely to have a DNR order in place than their AA peers despite the latter being “sicker” and more likely to develop postoperative complications. The mechanisms underlying this racial difference deserve further elucidation to improve shared decision making and goal-concordant care.
Background: The present study aimed to characterize factors associated with patients issued DNR orders during hospitalization who are discharged alive without any instruction orders by physicians regarding end-of-life treatment, with a focus on the timing of DNR order issuance.
Methods: in total, 2997 DNR cases from all 61,037 patients aged =20 years admitted to a representative general hospital in Tokyo were extracted and divided into two groups by patient hospital release status (discharged alive/deceased). Study items included age, sex, disease type (non-cancer/cancer), hospital department (internal medicine/others), timing of DNR order issuance, implementation (or not) of life-sustaining treatment (LST) or the presence of any restrictions on LST and hospital length of stay. We conducted multiple logistic regression analysis, setting hospital release status as the dependent variable and each above study item as explanatory variables.
Results: DNR orders were issued at a rate of 4.9%. The analysis revealed that patients with a DNR who were ultimately discharged alive were statistically more likely to be those for whom DNR orders are issued early after admission (adjusted odds ratio: AOR, 13.7), non-cancer patients (AOR, 3.4), internal medicine department patients (AOR, 1.63), females (AOR, 1.34), and elderly (aged =85 years; AOR, 1.02); these patients were also less likely to be receiving LST (AOR, 0.36).
Conclusions: By focusing on those with DNR orders who were ultimately discharged alive, we discovered that these patients were likely to have DNR orders issued early after admission, and that they were more likely to be elderly, female, non-cancer patients, or those in internal medicine departments. Further examination of these data may help to elucidate why these particular DNR-related characteristics (including socio-economic and cultural factors) are evident in patients who end up being discharged alive.
PURPOSE: Women who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest have similar rates of survival to hospital admission as men; however, women are less likely to survive to hospital discharge. We hypothesized that women would have higher rates of "do not attempt resuscitation" (DNAR) orders and that this order would be associated with lower use of aggressive interventions.
METHODS: We identified adult hospital admissions with a diagnosis of cardiac arrest (ICD-9 427.5) from the 2010 California State Inpatient Dataset. Multivariable logistic regression was used to test the association between patient sex and a DNAR order within the first 24 h of admission, adjusting for patient demographic characteristics and comorbid medical conditions. In secondary analysis, procedures performed after establishment of DNAR order and survival to hospital discharge were compared by sex.
FINDINGS: We analyzed 6562 patients (44% women, 56% men) who experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and survived to hospital admission. In unadjusted analysis, more women than men had establishment of a DNAR order during the first 24 h of admission (23.4% versus 19.3%; P < 0.01). After adjusting for age, race, and comorbid conditions, women remained significantly more likely to have a DNAR order established during the first 24 h of their hospital admission after cardiac arrest compared with men (odds ratio = 1.23; 95% CI, 1.09-1.40). No sex difference was found in procedures used after DNAR order was established.
IMPLICATIONS: Female survivors of cardiac arrest are significantly more likely than men to have a DNAR order established within the first 24 h of in-hospital treatment. The establishment of a DNAR order is associated with patients undergoing fewer procedures than individuals who do not have a DNAR order established. Given that patients who have a DNAR order receive less-aggressive intervention after arrest, it is possible that an early DNAR order may contribute to sex differences in survival to hospital discharge.
INTRODUCTION: An electronic resuscitation system, implemented in 2015, within electronic patient records (EPR) at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was studied, aiming to review and improve decision documentation and communication.
METHOD: The study (January 2018 - June 2018) included all gerontology inpatients with electronic do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (e-DNACPR) decisions. Cases were identified weekly, followed by retrospective analysis of discharges. Amendments to the electronic system and improvements were implemented between cycles. CYCLE 1: One-hundred and thirty-three patients were included; 85% had an e-DNACPR form; 86% of all forms had senior doctor involvement; 68% evidenced patient/relative discussion; 13% documented multidisciplinary team (MDT) discussion.
INTERVENTIONS: A mandatory 'named nurse' field was added to the form and trust-wide education programme implemented. CYCLE 2: One-hundred and twenty-six patients were included; 100% had an e-DNACPR form; 93% evidenced senior doctor involvement; 71% evidenced patient/relative discussion; 57% documented MDT discussion.
CONCLUSION: Changes to the process and trust-wide education resulted in more robust documentation and communication.
Hospitalized patients with do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders commonly require surgical procedures. When this occurs, the usual practice in our medical center is to suspend the DNR order during the perioperative period. Few studies provide the patient perspective regarding automatic DNR suspension. The research team used a mixed-method, nonexperimental qualitative study design to conduct audio-recorded interviews with 17 nonsurgical patients who had DNR orders. We studied the patients' understanding of DNR status and their expectations regarding the changing of this status if surgery were required. The patients in the study expected a discussion regarding any change in their DNR status before the day of surgery and thought they should have the option to maintain their DNR status.
The COVID-19 pandemic requires healthcare teams to rethink how they can continue to provide high quality care for all patients, whether they are suffering from a COVID-19 infection or other diseases with clinical uncertainty. Although the number of cases of COVID-19 in Jordan remains relatively low compared to many other countries, our team introduced significant changes to team operations early, with the aim of protecting patients, families and healthcare staff from COVID-19 infections, while preparing to respond to the needs of patients suffering from severe COVID-19 infections. This paper describes the changes made to our ‘Do not resuscitate' (DNR) policy for the duration of the pandemic.
The daughter of a man who successfully fought to establish that patients have a right to be consulted on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has launched a High Court challenge against Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary for England.
Kate Masters has written a letter before action to Hancock after news reports suggested that blanket bans on CPR were being imposed during the covid-19 pandemic.
In the letter, she called on Hancock to give an emergency direction to all healthcare professionals providing that “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” (DNACPR) orders must not be imposed unless the patient or family have been consulted and certain information provided.
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Previously-stated DNR status would seem irrelevant to ventilator allocation, and yet some existing and proposed guidelines for triage during a public health emergency list DNR status in the list of criteria for excluding patients from getting ventilators or other life-saving health care. This approach is in direct opposition to the generally agreed-upon goal of maximizing the number of survivors, and could result in confusion and public mistrust of the health care system.
Background: The relationship between clinical course and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) status has not been well studied in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) setting.
Objective: To describe the relationship between DNR order placement and clinical course.
Design: Single center retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients, ages 0–18 years, who have died in the PICU from 2008 to 2016.
Measurements: Retrospective chart review of DNR status, patient characteristics, and clinical course. We compared length of stay and number of consults/procedures/imaging studies done on patients with early DNR (>48 hours before death), late DNR (within 48 hours of death), and no DNR order placement.
Results: One-hundred and sixty-one children were included. Nearly half (48%) were male with median (interquartile range) age of 3 years (0–12). One-third (58) had an underlying oncologic diagnosis. Eighteen percent (29/161) were classified as early DNR, 33% (53/161) as late DNR, and 49% (79/161) as no DNR. We found no differences in patient characteristics or risk of mortality at admission among the groups. The early DNR group showed decreased number of invasive procedures (0.68), imaging studies (1), and consults (0.21) per day when compared with the late (2, 1.53, 0.50) and no DNR groups (2.09, 1.73, 0.43).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that early DNR placement in the PICU is associated with a change in clinical course centered around less invasive care. Earlier DNR placement can potentially trigger a shift in care goals that could improve the quality of life for patients and mitigate emotional and physical toll on patients and their families during the highly stressful end-of-life time period.
Medical leaders have said it is “unacceptable” for advance care plans—with or without a completed “Do not attempt to resuscitate” (DNAR) form—to be applied in a blanket manner to whole groups of people during the covid-19 pandemic.
Purpose: Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decision-making in severely ill patients presents many difficult medical, ethical, and legal challenges. The primary aim of this study was to explore cancer patients’ and health care professionals’ attitudes regarding DNR decision-making authority and timing of the decision.
Methods: This study was a questionnaire survey among Danish cancer patients and their attending physicians and nurses in an oncology outpatient setting. Potential differences between patients’, physicians’, and nurses’ answers to the questionnaire were analyzed using Fisher’s exact test.
Results: Responses from 904 patients, 59 physicians, and 160 nurses were analyzed. The majority in all three groups agreed that DNR decisions should be made in collaboration between physician and patient. However, one-third of the patients answered that the patient alone should make the decision regarding DNR, which contrasts with the physicians’ and nurses’ attitudes, 0% and 6% pointing to the patient as sole decision-maker, respectively. In case of disagreement between patient and physician, a majority of both patients (66%) and physicians (86%) suggested themselves as the ultimate decision-maker. Additionally, 43% of patients but only 19% of physicians preferred the DNR discussion being brought up early in the course of the disease.
Conclusions: With regard to the decisional role of patient vs. physician and the timing of the DNR discussion, we found a substantial discrepancy between the attitudes of cancer patients and physicians. This discrepancy calls for a greater awareness and discussion of this sensitive topic among both health care professionals and the public.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is challenging health care systems worldwide and raising important ethical issues, especially regarding the potential need for rationing health care in the context of scarce resources and crisis capacity. Even if capacity to provide care is sufficient, one priority should be addressing goals of care in the setting of acute life threatening illness, especially for patients with chronic, life-limiting disease.
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OBJECTIVES: The 2014 Court of Appeals decision with respect to Tracey vs Cambridge University Hospital ('the Tracey judgement') changed the requirements for discussing Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions with patients. This study is a retrospective case note review aiming to identify any changes in practice around discussing DNACPR decisions in hospices following the judgement.
METHODS: 150 case notes from 2013 (before the Tracey judgement) were compared with 150 case notes from 2015 (following the Tracey judgement). These notes came from five hospices in the West Midlands. The notes were analysed to determine if the judgement resulted in changes to how frequently DNACPR decisions were discussed with patients and their families, as well as whether there were any changes in the documentation of reasons for not discussing such decisions.
RESULTS: Discussions with patients around DNACPR decisions increased from 31% to 60% and with relatives from 29% to 59% following the Tracey judgement. Prior to the judgement the most frequently documented reason for not discussing was to avoid distress (23%), whereas after judgement it was patients lacking capacity to engage in such a discussion (40%). There was a lack of consistency and clarity in defining the concept of 'physical or psychological harm'.
CONCLUSIONS: Although DNACPR decisions are being discussed more frequently with patients and families following the Tracey judgement, clarity on what constitutes 'physical or psychological harm' caused by these discussions is still required. Future research must examine whether the judgement is delaying or preventing DNACPR decisions being made.
BACKGROUND: Combining orders for do-not-resuscitate (DNR) for cardiac arrest with do-not-intubate (DNI) orders into a DNR/DNI code status is not evidence-based practice and may violate patient autonomy and informed consent when providers discuss intubation only in the context of CPR.
RESEARCH QUESTION: How often do providers refer to patients with a DNR order as "DNR/DNI" without documentation of refusal of intubation for non-arrest situations?
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Retrospective observational study of adults (18 years or older) hospitalized in a Level 1 trauma/academic hospital between July 2017 and June 2018 inclusive with DNR orders placed during hospitalization RESULTS: Of 422 hospitalized adults with DNR orders, 261 (61.9%) had code status written in progress notes as DNR/DNI. Providers' use of the term DNR/DNI in progress notes was significantly (OR 2.21 99% CI 1.12 - 4.37) more common on medical hospital services (hospitalist, family medicine, internal medicine) than on non-medical ward services (medical/surgical intensive care units, surgery, psychiatry, neurology services).Of 261 "DNR/DNI"patients, providers did not document informed refusal of intubation for non-arrest situations for 68 (26.0%) of patients. By comparison, of 161 patients where providers documented code status in progress notes as DNR alone, 69 (42.9%) did have documentation of refusal of intubation for non-arrest events. Therefore, if a DNR/DNI code status was used in a non-arrest emergency to determine whether to intubate a patient, 68 (16.1%) of 422 patients could inappropriately be denied intubation without informed refusal (or despite their informed acceptance), and 69 (16.4%) could inappropriately be intubated despite their documented refusal of intubation.
INTERPRETATION: Conflation of DNR and DNI into DNR/DNI does not reliably distinguish patients who refuse or accept intubation for indications other than cardiac arrest, and thus may inappropriately deny desired intubation for those who would accept it, and inappropriately impose intubation on patients who would not.
BACKGROUND: The use of Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders has increased but many are placed late in the dying process. This study is to determine the association between the timing of DNR order placement in the intensive care unit (ICU) and nurses' perceptions of patients' distress and quality of death.
METHODS: 200 ICU patients and the nurses (n = 83) who took care of them during their last week of life were enrolled from the medical ICU and cardiac care unit of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan and the surgical ICU at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Nurses were interviewed about their perceptions of the patients' quality of death using validated measures. Patients were divided into 3 groups-no DNR, early DNR, late DNR placement during the patient's final ICU stay. Logistic regression analyses modeled perceived patient quality of life as a function of timing of DNR order placement. Patient's comorbidities, length of ICU stay, and procedures were also included in the model.
RESULTS: 59 patients (29.5%) had a DNR placed within 48 hours of ICU admission (early DNR), 110 (55%) placed after 48 hours of ICU admission (late DNR), and 31 (15.5%) had no DNR order placed. Compared to patients without DNR orders, those with an early but not late DNR order placement had significantly fewer non-beneficial procedures and lower odds of being rated by nurses as not being at peace (Adjusted Odds Ratio namely AOR = 0.30; [CI = 0.09-0.94]), and experiencing worst possible death (AOR = 0.31; [CI = 0.1-0.94]) before controlling for procedures; and consistent significance in severe suffering (AOR = 0.34; [CI = 0.12-0.96]), and experiencing a severe loss of dignity (AOR = 0.33; [CI = 0.12-0.94]), controlling for non-beneficial procedures.
CONCLUSIONS: Placement of DNR orders within the first 48 hours of the terminal ICU admission was associated with fewer non-beneficial procedures and less perceived suffering and loss of dignity, lower odds of being not at peace and of having the worst possible death.