Context: Uremic pruritus (UP) affects up to half of all patients with kidney disease and has been independently associated with poor patient outcomes. UP is a challenging symptom for clinicians to manage as there are no validated guidelines for its treatment.
Objectives: The study aimed to develop and validate an algorithm and patient information toolkit for the treatment of UP in patients with kidney disease.
Methods: The study involved a literature search and development of an initial draft algorithm, followed by content and face validation of this algorithm. Validation entailed three rounds of interviews with six nephrology clinicians per round. Participants assessed the relevance of each component of the algorithm and then rated a series of statements on a scale of 1-5 to assess face validity of the algorithm. After each round, the content validity index (CVI) of each algorithm component was calculated, and the algorithm was revised by the study team in response to findings. This process was followed by a second study that developed and validated a patient information pamphlet and video.
Results: Algorithm validation participants were affiliated with three institutions and included seven physicians, four registered nurses, three nurse practitioners, three pharmacists, and a dietician. The average CVI of the algorithm components across all three rounds was 0.89, with 0.80 commonly cited as the lower acceptable limit for content validation. More than 78% of participants rated each face validity statement as “Agree” or “Strongly Agree”. For the patient information tools, five clinicians and 15 patients were included in validation. The average CVI was 1.00 for both tools, and the average face validity was 92%.
Conclusion: A treatment algorithm and patient information toolkit for managing UP in patients with kidney disease were developed and validated through expert review. Further research will be conducted on implementation of the treatment algorithm and evaluating patient-reported outcomes.
Context: Older adults with advanced lung cancer experience high symptom burden at end of life (EOL), yet hospice enrollment often happens late or not at all. Receipt of medications to manage symptoms in the outpatient setting, outside the Medicare hospice benefit, has not been described.
Objectives: We examined patterns of symptom management medication receipt at EOL for older adults who died of lung cancer.
Methods: This retrospective cohort used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results—Medicare database to identify decedents diagnosed with lung cancer at age 67 years and older between January 2008 and December 2013 who survived six months and greater after diagnosis. Using Medicare Part B and D claims, we identified monthly receipt of outpatient medications for symptomatic management of pain, emotional distress, fatigue, dyspnea, anorexia, and nausea/vomiting. Multivariable logistic regression estimated associations between medication receipt and patient demographic characteristics, comorbidity, and concurrent therapy.
Results: Of the 16,246 included patients, large proportions received medications for dyspnea (70.7%), pain (62.5%), and emotional distress (49.4%), with lower prevalence for other symptoms. Medication receipt increased from six months to one month before death. Women and dual Medicaid enrolled were more likely to receive medications for pain, emotional distress, dyspnea, and nausea/vomiting. Receipt of symptom management medications decreased with increasing age and racial/ethnical minorities.
Conclusion: Symptom management medication receipt was common and increasing toward EOL. Lower use by males, older adults, and nonwhites may reflect poor access or poor patient-provider communication. Further research is needed to understand these patterns and assess adequacy of symptom management in the outpatient setting.
Objectives: Common terminal phase symptoms include pain, dyspnoea, anxiety, terminal restlessness, nausea and noisy breathing. This study identified the proportion of community pharmacies across two Australian states stocking medicines useful in managing terminal phase symptoms, while exploring factors considered predictive of pharmacies carrying these medicines.
Methods: Community pharmacies from across the states of New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA) were concurrently mailed a survey. Respondents were asked questions relating to medicines stocked, expiry date of stock, awareness of people with palliative care needs and demographic characteristics of the pharmacy. A ‘prepared pharmacy’ was defined as a pharmacy that held medicines useful in the management of terminal phase symptoms.
Results: The proportion of prepared pharmacies across NSW and SA was 21.9%. Multiple logistic regression demonstrated eight predictors of prepared pharmacies, of which awareness of people with palliative needs using their service was the strongest.
Conclusions: One-fifth of community pharmacies carry formulations useful in managing terminal phase symptoms. The main factor associated with this was awareness of people with palliative needs using the pharmacy. Strategies that engage with pharmacists in anticipation of the terminal phase are critical, supporting people with palliative needs to remain at home to die, if desired.
OBJECTIVES: The use of drugs beyond their marketing authorisation, that is, off-label use, is common practice in palliative care with over 70% of off-label use having little or no scientific support. The lack of evidence makes recommendations for off-label use essential, in order to increase the safety of drug therapy and thus patient safety. The aim of this study was to develop a guide for preparing and consenting drug-specific recommendations for off-label use in palliative care.
METHODS: Group Delphi Study with three rounds and a prior online survey to identify topics of dissent. Participants represented professional groups working in palliative care involved in direct patient care and/or drug management and various care settings. Furthermore, representatives of relevant professional associations, experts with academic, non-clinical background and experts with international expertise were invited.
RESULTS: 18/20 invited professionals participated in the prior online-survey. 15 experts participated in the Group Delphi process. Six domains, including identification of drugs, drug uses, assessment of evidence, formulation, consensus and updating of recommendations were generated and respective statements were included in the Group Delphi process. The consensus process resulted in 28 statements forming the guide for recommendations.
CONCLUSIONS: The resultant systematic approach for preparing and consenting drug-specific recommendations for off-label use will allow the development of recommendations with transparent and reproducible monographs. This will help to increase treatment quality and patient safety as well as security of decision-making in palliative care. The developed guide is part of a larger project aiming to provide therapy recommendations for areas that have little or no scientific evidence.
BACKGROUND: Patients in the last phase of their lives often use many medications. Physicians tend to lack awareness that reviewing the usefulness of medication at the end of patients' lives is important. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the perspectives of patients, informal caregivers, nurses and physicians on the role of nurses in medication management at the end of life.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients in the last phase of their lives, in hospitals, hospices and at home; and with their informal caregivers, nurses and physicians. Data were qualitatively analyzed using the constant comparative method.
RESULTS: Seventy-six interviews were conducted, with 17 patients, 12 informal caregivers, 15 nurses, 20 (trainee) medical specialists and 12 family physicians. Participants agreed that the role of the nurse in medication management includes: 1) informing, 2) supporting, 3) representing and 4) involving the patient, their informal caregivers and physicians in medication management. Nurses have a particular role in continuity of care and proximity to the patient. They are expected to contribute to a multidimensional assessment and approach, which is important for promoting patients' interest in medication management at the end of life.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that nurses can and should play an important role in medication management at the end of life by informing, supporting, representing and involving all relevant parties. Physicians should appreciate nurses' input to optimize medication management in patients at the end of life. Health care professionals should recognize the role the nurses can have in promoting patients' interest in medication management at the end of life. Nurses should be reinforced by education and training to take up this role.
BACKGROUND: The management of medicines towards the end of life can place increasing burdens and responsibilities on patients and families. This has received little attention yet it can be a source of great difficulty and distress patients and families. Dose administration aids can be useful for some patients but there is no evidence for their wide spread use or the implications for their use as patients become increasing unwell. The study aimed to explore how healthcare professionals describe the support they provide for patients to manage medications at home at end of life.
METHODS: Qualitative interview study with thematic analysis. Participants were a purposive sample of 40 community healthcare professionals (including GPs, pharmacists, and specialist palliative care and community nurses) from across two English counties.
RESULTS: Healthcare professionals reported a variety of ways in which they tried to support patients to take medications as prescribed. While the paper presents some solutions and strategies reported by professional respondents it was clear from both professional and patient/family caregiver accounts in the wider study that rather few professionals provided this kind of support. Standard solutions offered included: rationalising the number of medications; providing different formulations; explaining what medications were for and how best to take them. Dose administration aids were also regularly provided, and while useful for some, they posed a number of practical difficulties for palliative care. More challenging circumstances such as substance misuse and memory loss required more innovative strategies such as supporting ways to record medication taking; balancing restricted access to controlled drugs and appropriate pain management and supporting patient choice in medication use.
CONCLUSIONS: The burdens and responsibilities of managing medicines at home for patients approaching the end of life has not been widely recognised or understood. This paper considers some of the strategies reported by professionals in the study, and points to the great potential for a more widely proactive stance in supporting patients and family carers to understand and take their medicines effectively. By adopting tailored, and sometimes, 'outside the box' thinking professionals can identify immediate, simple solutions to the problems patients and families experience with managing medicines.
BACKGROUND: Cystic fibrosis is a life-limiting autosomal recessive genetic illness. A feeling of shortness of breath is common in cystic fibrosis, especially as the disease progresses. Reversing the underlying cause is the priority when treating breathlessness (dyspnoea), but when it is not feasible, palliation (easing) becomes the primary goal to improve an individual's quality of life. A range of drugs administered by various routes have been used, but no definite guidelines are available. A systematic review is needed to evaluate such treatments.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy and safety of drugs used to ease breathlessness in people with cystic fibrosis.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis Trials Register, compiled from electronic database searches and handsearching of journals and conference abstract books. Date of last search: 18 November 2019. We searched databases (clinicaltrials.gov, the ISRCTN registry, the Clinical Trials Registry India and WHO ICTRP) for ongoing trials. These searches were last run on 06 March 2020.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We planned to include randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials in people with cystic fibrosis (diagnosed by a positive sweat chloride test or genetic testing) who have breathlessness. We considered studies comparing any drugs used for easing breathlessness to another drug administered by any route (inhaled (nebulised), intravenous, oral, subcutaneous, transmucosal (including buccal, sublingual and intra-nasal) and transdermal).
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: The authors assessed the search results according to the pre-defined inclusion criteria.
MAIN RESULTS: The new searches in 2020 yielded two ongoing studies that were not relevant to the review question. Previous searches had found only one study (cross-over in design), which did not fulfil the inclusion criteria as no data were available from the first treatment period alone.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Due to the lack of available evidence, this review cannot provide any information for clinical practice. The authors call for specific research in this area after taking into account relevant ethical considerations. The research should focus on the efficacy and safety of the drugs with efficacy being measured in terms of improvement in quality of life, dyspnoea scores and hospital stay.
Doctors, nurses, and family caregivers worldwide are facing tough decisions concerning the supply and administration of medications to manage symptoms when patients are dying from covid-19 or other conditions in the community or care homes. Proposed changes in practice aimed at ensuring adequate end-of-life symptom control need careful consideration alongside appropriate training and support.
Updated UK advice, including NICE rapid guidance on managing covid-19 symptoms in the community, reiterates the importance of prescribing medications in advance of need for pain, nausea and vomiting, agitation, and respiratory secretions. These drugs may be administered if needed by visiting doctors or nurses, as is already well established in some countries. However, this practice is being overhauled radically in response to the pandemic.
Purpose: We studied the prevalence of medications of questionable benefit in the last 6 months of life among older nursing home residents with and without dementia in Germany.
Methods: a retrospective cohort study was conducted on claims data from 67,328 deceased nursing home residents aged 65+ years who were admitted between 2010 and 2014. We analyzed prescription regimens of medications of questionable benefit in the 180–91-day period and the 90-day period prior to death for residents with dementia (n = 29,052) and without dementia (n = 38,276). Factors associated with new prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit prior to death were analyzed using logistic regression models among all nursing home residents and stratified by dementia.
Results: A higher proportion of nursing home residents with dementia were prescribed at least one medication of questionable benefit in the 180–91-day (29.6%) and 90-day (26.8%) periods prior to death, compared with residents without dementia (180–91 days, 22.8%; 90 days, 20.1%). Lipid-lowering agents were the most commonly prescribed medications. New prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit were more common among residents with dementia (9.8% vs. 8.7%). When excluding anti-dementia medication, new prescriptions of these medications were more common among residents without dementia (6.4% vs. 8.0%). The presence of dementia (odds ratio [OR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.32–1.48) and excessive polypharmacy were associated with new prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit prior to death (OR 4.74, 95%CI 4.15–5.42).
Conclusion: even when accounting for anti-dementia prescriptions, the prevalence of nursing home residents with dementia receiving medications of questionable benefit is considerable and may require further attention.
Purpose: To determine the use of avoidable medications in end-of-life patients living at home when they were moved from the general practice setting to the palliative medicine physician (T1) and before death (T2).
Methods: This retrospective longitudinal study describes the prevalence of end-of-life patients cared for at home between April 2016 and December 2018 receiving preventive and symptomatic drug treatments. Socio-demographic data, diagnosis and drug treatments for each patient were collected in a web-based Case Report Form.
Results: The study sample comprised 1565 end-of-life patients with a median age (25–75 percentile) of 79.8 (72.5–85.3 years). All patients were treated with symptomatic drugs, and there were significantly fewer patients from T1 to T2 with at least one preventive medication at end of life (92.1% and, 60.8%, p < 0.0001). There was a significant variability between the palliative care physicians in the mean numbers of avoidable preventive medication (1.5–3.9 at T1 and 0.4–2.7 at T2, p = 0.06) prescribed.
Conclusion: More than half end-of-life patients living at home still receive avoidable medications. Drug prescription needs to be improved and palliative care setting could have an important role in reducing potentially inappropriate prescriptions. Emphasizing the positive aspects of stopping medicines, shared criteria with de-prescribing guidelines for potentially inappropriate medication in end-of-life patients and multidisciplinary discussion with involvement of patient and family caregivers could be useful to rationalize drug therapy.
Background: A substantial number of older adults die in residential aged care facilities, yet little is known about the characteristics of and how best to optimise medication use in the last year of life.
Aim: The aim of this review was to map characteristics of medication use in aged care residents during the last year of life in order to examine key concepts related to medication safety and draw implications for further research and service provision.
Design: A scoping review following Arskey and O’Malley’s framework was conducted using a targeted keyword search, followed by assessments of eligibility based on title and content of abstracts and full papers. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, the scoping review protocol was prospectively registered to the Open Science Framework on 27 November 2018.
Data Sources: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL and Cochrane databases to identify peer-reviewed studies published between 1937 and 2018, written in English and looking at medication use in individuals living in aged care facilities within their last year of life.
Results: A total of 30 papers were reviewed. Five key overarching themes were derived from the analysis process: (1) access to medicines at the end of life, (2) categorisation and classes: medicines and populations, (3) polypharmacy and total medication numbers, (4) use of symptomatic versus preventive medications and (5) ‘inappropriate’ medications.
Conclusion: Number of prescriptions or blunt categorisations of medications to assess their appropriateness are unlikely to be sufficient to promote well-being and medication safety for older people in residential aged care in the final stages of life.
The aim of this study was to compare the symptomatology, palliative care outcomes, therapeutic procedures, diagnostic tests, and pharmacological treatments for people with dementia (PWD) and without dementia (PW/OD) admitted to Spanish nursing homes.
DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study which is part of a long-term prospective follow-up of elderly people performed in nursing homes to measure end-of-life care processes.
PARTICIPANTS: 107 nursing home patients with advanced or terminal chronic diseases were selected according to the criteria of the Palliative Care Spanish Society.
SETTING: Two trained nurses from each nursing home were responsible for participant selection and data collection. They must have treated the residents and had a minimum seniority of 6 months in the nursing home.
MEASUREMENTS: Sociodemographic data; Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale; Palliative Care Outcome Scale; and prevalence of diagnostic tests, pharmacological treatments, and therapeutic procedures were evaluated.
RESULTS: Pain, fatigue, and nausea were found to be significantly higher in the nondementia group and insomnia, poor appetite, and drowsiness were significantly higher in the dementia group. Patient anxiety, support, feeling that life was worth living, self-worth, and practical matters management were higher in the nondementia group. Regarding drugs, use of corticoids was higher in the nondementia group, while use of anxiolytics was higher in the dementia group. Diagnostic procedures such as urine analysis and X-ray were higher in the dementia group.
CONCLUSIONS: Differences in symptom perception, diagnostic tests, and pharmacological procedures were found between patients with and without dementia. Specific diagnostic tools need to be developed for patients with dementia.
Background: For most people, the last 12 months of life are spent living in the community, with the support of family and friends for a number of caregiving functions. Previous research has found that managing medicines is challenging for caregivers. Currently there is little information describing which caregivers may struggle with tasks associated with managing a loved one's medicines.
Aim: The aim of this study was to identify factors that flag caregivers who are likely to experience problems when managing someone else's medications.
Setting/Participants: The annual South Australian Health Omnibus Survey provides a face-to-face, cross-sectional, whole-of-population view of health care. Structured interviews, including questions covering palliative care and end-of-life care, were conducted with 14,625 residents in their own homes.
Results: Of the 1068 respondents who had provided care for someone who died of a terminal illness in the last five years, 7.4% identified that additional support with medicine management would have been beneficial. In addition, three factors were predictive of the need for additional support in managing medicines: aged <65 years; lower household income; and living in a metropolitan region.
Conclusion: The findings of this study provide insights to inform the development of palliative care service models to support informal caregivers in the management of medications for people with a life-limiting illness.
Background: Polypharmacy is an important issue in the care of older patients with cancer, as it increases the risk of unfavorable outcomes. We estimated the prevalence of polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, and drug–drug interactions (DDIs) in older patients with cancer in Korea and their associations with clinical outcomes.
Subjects, Materials, and Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective observational study of geriatric patients with cancer undergoing first-line palliative chemotherapy. Eligible patients were older adults (=70 years) with histologically diagnosed solid cancer who were candidates for first-line palliative chemotherapy. All patients enrolled in this study received a geriatric assessment (GA) at baseline. We reviewed the daily medications taken by patients at the time of GA before starting chemotherapy. PIMs were assessed according to the 2015 Beers criteria, and DDIs were assessed by a clinical pharmacist using Lexi-comp Drug Interactions. We evaluated the association between polypharmacy and clinical outcomes including treatment-related toxicity, and hospitalization using logistic regression and Cox regression analyses.
Results: In total, 301 patients (median age 75 years; range, 70–93) were enrolled; the most common cancer types were colorectal cancer (28.9%) and lung cancer (24.6%). Mean number of daily medications was 4.7 (±3.1; range, 0–14). The prevalence of polypharmacy (=5 medications) was 45.2% and that of excessive polypharmacy (=10 medications) was 8.6%. PIM use was detected in 137 (45.5%) patients. Clinically significant DDIs were detected in 92 (30.6%) patients. Polypharmacy was significantly associated with hospitalization or emergency room (ER) visits (odds ratio: 1.73 [1.18–2.55], p < .01). Neither polypharmacy nor PIM use showed association with treatment-related toxicity.
Conclusion: Polypharmacy, PIM use, and potential major DDIs were prevalent in Korean geriatric patients with cancer. Polypharmacy was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization or ER visits during the chemotherapy period.
Implications for Practice: This study, which included 301 older Korean patients with cancer, highlights the increased prevalence of polypharmacy in this population planning to receive palliative chemotherapy. The prevalence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy was 45.2% and 8.6%, respectively. The prescription of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) was detected in 45.5% and clinically significant drug–drug interaction in 30.6% of patients. Given the association of polypharmacy with increased hospitalization or emergency room visits, this study points to the need for increased awareness and intervention to minimize polypharmacy in the geriatric cancer population undergoing chemotherapy. Moreover, specific criteria for establishing PIMs should be adopted for the treatment of older adults with cancer.
The aim of the study is to evaluate the intensity of symptoms, and any treatment and therapeutic procedures received by advanced chronic patients in nursing homes. A multi-centre prospective study was conducted in six nursing homes for five months. A nurse trainer selected palliative care patients from whom the sample was randomly selected for inclusion. The Edmonton Symptoms Assessment Scale, therapeutic procedures, and treatment were evaluated. Parametric and non-parametric tests were used to evaluate month-to-month differences and differences between those who died and those who did not. A total of 107 residents were evaluated. At the end of the follow-up, 39 had (34.6%) died. All symptoms (p < 0.050) increased in intensity in the last week of life. Symptoms were more intense in those who had died at follow-up (p < 0.05). The use of aerosol sprays (p = 0.008), oxygen therapy (p < 0.001), opioids (p < 0.001), antibiotics (p = 0.004), and bronchodilators (p = 0.003) increased in the last week of life. Peripheral venous catheters (p = 0.022), corticoids (p = 0.007), antiemetics (p < 0.001), and antidepressants (p < 0.05) were used more in the patients who died. In conclusion, the use of therapeutic procedures (such as urinary catheters, peripheral venous catheter placement, and enteral feeding) and drugs (such as antibiotics, anxiolytics, and new antidepressant prescriptions) should be carefully considered in this clinical setting.
OBJECTIVES; To evaluate the prevalence and factors associated with statin pharmacotherapy in long-stay nursing home residents with life-limiting illness.
SETTING: US Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home facilities.
PARTICIPANTS: Long-stay nursing home resident Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years or older with life-limiting illness (n = 424 212).
MEASUREMENTS: Prevalent statin use was estimated as any low-moderate intensity (daily dose low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol [LDL-C] reduction <30%-50%) and high-intensity (daily dose LDL-C reduction >50%) use via Medicare Part D claims for a prescription supply on September 30, 2016, with a 90-day look-back period. Life-limiting illness was operationally defined to capture those near the end of life using evidence-based criteria to identify progressive terminal conditions or limited prognoses (<6 mo). Poisson models provided estimates of adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals for resident factors.
RESULTS: A total of 34% of residents with life-limiting illness were prescribed statins (65--75 y = 44.0%, high intensity = 11.1%; >75 y = 31.1%, high intensity = 5.4%). Prevalence of statins varied by life-limiting illness definition. Of those with a prognosis of less than 6 months, 23% of the 65 to 75 and 12% of the older than 75 age groups were on statins. Factors positively associated with statin use included minority race or ethnicity, use of more than five concurrent medications, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or risk factors.
CONCLUSION: Despite having a life-limiting illness, more than one-third of clinically compromised long-stay nursing home residents remain on statins. Although recent national guidelines have expanded indications for statins, the benefit of continued therapy in an advanced age population near the end of life is questionable. Efforts to deprescribe statins in the nursing home setting may be warranted.
OBJECTIVES: Continuation of aspirin for secondary prevention in persons with limited life expectancy (LLE) is controversial. We sought to determine the incidence and predictors of aspirin discontinuation in veterans with LLE and/or advanced dementia (LLE/AD) who were taking aspirin for secondary prevention at nursing home admission, stratified by whether their limited prognosis (LP) was explicitly documented at admission.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study using linked Veterans Affairs (VA) and Medicare clinical/administrative data and Minimum Data Set resident assessments.
SETTING: All VA nursing homes (referred to as community living centers [CLCs]) in the United States.
PARTICIPANTS: Older (=65 y) CLC residents with LLE/AD, admitted for 7 days or longer in fiscal years 2009 to 2015, who had a history of coronary artery disease and/or stroke/transient ischemic attack, and used aspirin within the first week of CLC admission (n = 13 844).
MEASUREMENTS: The primary dependent variable was aspirin discontinuation within the first 90 days after CLC admission, defined as 14 consecutive days of no aspirin receipt. Independent variables included an indicator for explicit documentation of LP, sociodemographics, environment of care characteristics, cardiovascular risk factors, bleeding risk factors, individual markers of poor prognosis (eg, cancer, weight loss), and facility characteristics. Fine and Gray subdistribution hazard models with death as a competing risk were used to assess predictors of discontinuation.
RESULTS: Cumulative incidence of aspirin discontinuation was 27% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 26%-28%) in the full sample, 34% (95% CI = 33%-36%) in residents with explicit documentation of LP, and 24% (95% CI = 23%-25%) in residents with no such documentation. The associations of independent variables with aspirin discontinuation differed in residents with vs without explicit LP documentation at admission.
CONCLUSION: just over one-quarter of patients discontinued aspirin, possibly reflecting the unclear role of aspirin in end of life among prescribers. Future research should compare outcomes of aspirin deprescribing in this population.
OBJECTIVES: Many older adults with limited life expectancy and/or advanced dementia (LLE/AD) are potentially overtreated for diabetes and may benefit from deintensification. Our aim was to examine the incidence and predictors of diabetes medication deintensification in older Veterans with LLE/AD who were potentially overtreated at admission to Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes (community living centers [CLCs]).
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study using linked VA and Medicare clinical/administrative data and Minimum Data Set assessments.
SETTING: VA CLCs.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 6960 Veterans with diabetes and LLE/AD admitted to VA CLCs in fiscal years 2009 to 2015 with hemoglobin (Hb)A1c measured within 90 days of admission.
MEASUREMENTS: We evaluated treatment deintensification (discontinuation or dose reduction for a consecutive 7-day period) among residents who were potentially overtreated (HbA1c =7.5% and receiving hypoglycemic medications). Competing risk models assessed 90-day cumulative incidence of deintensification.
RESULTS: More than 40% (n = 3056) of Veteran CLC residents with diabetes were potentially overtreated. The cumulative incidence of deintensification at 90 days was 45.5%. Higher baseline HbA1c values were associated with a lower likelihood of deintensification (e.g., HbA1c 7.0-7.5% vs <6.0%; adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = .57; 95% confidence interval [CI] = .50-.66). Compared with non-sulfonylurea oral agents (e.g., metformin), other treatment regimens were more likely to be deintensified (aRR = 1.31-1.88), except for basal insulin (aRR = .59; 95% CI = .52-.66). The only resident factor associated with increased likelihood of deintensification was documented end-of-life status (aRR = 1.12; 95% CI = 1.01-1.25). Admission from home/assisted living (aRR = .85; 95% CI = .75-.96), obesity (aRR = .88; 95% CI = .78-.99), and peripheral vascular disease (aRR = .90; 95% CI = .81-.99) were associated with decreased likelihood of deintensification.
CONCLUSION: Deintensification of treatment regimens occurred in less than one-half of potentially overtreated Veterans and was more strongly associated with low HbA1c values and use of medications with high risk for hypoglycemia, rather than other resident characteristics.
Background: Delirium in the hospitals leads to worse outcomes for patients. There were no previous studies that characterize patients with delirium from multiple hospital locations.
Objective: To describe patient characteristics screening positive for delirium and identify any correlations with hospital location and medication use.
Design, Settings, Patients: Retrospective chart review of 227 hospitalized patients from a large, academic, tertiary referral, 2-campus health system. Patients were =18 years old and had delirium for at least =24 hours. Validated delirium screening tools were utilized.
Measurements: Patients’ demographics, inpatient stay information, delirium episodes characteristics, drugs, and palliative and psychiatry teams’ involvement.
Results: Most patients were older with a mean age of 64.1 years. The most common primary diagnoses were infection, cardiac, and pulmonary. Average length of delirium was 7.2 days (standard deviation [SD] = 8.2), and average length of stay (LOS) was 18.7 days (median = 10.5, SD = 35.1, 95% confidence interval = 14.1-23). Thirty-day readmission rate was 24.8% (65/262 hospitalizations); 12.8% of patients died in the hospital (29/227). Around one-third of hospitalizations had involvement of palliative care, palliative psychiatry, or general psychiatry team. There was a decrease in the number of medications administered 24 hours after the first recording of delirium compared to the immediate preceding 48 hours. Those hospitalizations where delirium first occurred in the intensive care unit (ICU) did have a longer LOS (average = 22.9, SD = 45.7) than those where delirium first occurred outside the ICU (average = 14.8, SD = 20.5). Patients were likely to have received an opioid within 48 hours in 51% of hospitalizations and to have received benzodiazepines in 16% of hospitalizations.
Conclusion: In our study, we found that delirium significantly impacted length of delirium episode, number of episodes of delirium, length of hospital admission, and mortality. The population most sensitive to the impacts of delirium were elderly patients.