The number of people living with Alzheimer disease and other dementias continues to grow because of the aging of the US population. Increasingly, the issue of patient- and/or surrogate-directed withholding of oral, hand-fed food and fluids in cases of late-stage dementia is confronting caregivers. Major media outlets have covered several cases wherein patients with explicit directives or clear surrogate decision making were not allowed to face the end of their lives according to their wishes. Ethical and legal scholars, as well as many end-of-life advocacy groups, are working to develop a framework and provide guidance in these cases. A local hospice organization was faced with these ethical deliberations when an activated proxy decision maker advocated for caregivers to stop hand feeding an incapacitated patient with end-stage dementia. In this article, this case is summarized, and this important ethical issue is presented in the setting of a literature review and nursing implications.
Objectif: Les soins palliatifs sont en développement, mais l’annonce d’une prise en charge palliative reste un bouleversement et les médecins de soins primaires ont des difficultés à évoquer ces termes. Les patients et les soignants n’ont pas de vision commune des soins palliatifs, or c’est un des facteurs déterminants dans la réussite d’une prise en charge. L’objectif de cette étude était d’explorer les représentations sociales associées aux mots « soins palliatifs » auprès du grand public.
Méthode: Il a été réalisé une enquête qualitative avec 16 entretiens semi-dirigés, entre juillet 2016 et avril 2017. Les entretiens ont été intégralement retranscrits puis l’analyse de contenu a été réalisée avec un codage par découpage en unités de sens.
Résultats: Les personnes interrogées disaient méconnaître le sujet. Les soins palliatifs concernaient surtout des patients décrits comme ayant un état physique précaire, peu communicants et dépendants. Pour la majorité des personnes interrogées, les soins palliatifs intervenaient juste avant la mort. Leur but était le bien-être physique et psychique, la prise en charge globale, mais également la prise en compte des proches. Les personnes imaginaient facilement les infirmières et les aides-soignantes comme étant au contact des patients, mais plus difficilement les médecins, moins concernés selon eux. Les émotions suscitées étaient souvent négatives (la peur, l’angoisse, la tristesse).
Conclusion: Les représentations étaient riches et hétérogènes, s’appuyant sur les expériences personnelles vécues. Les représentations étaient finalement proches de la définition des soins palliatifs de la Société française d’accompagnement et de soins palliatifs, avec quelques nuances. Ces résultats ouvrent des pistes de réflexion sur les moyens et la nécessité d’informer les patients et leurs proches concernant la finalité et les objectifs des soins palliatifs.
Study objective: Children with medical complexity represent a fragile population and account for the majority of patients followed in pediatric palliative care. Little is known in regard to the role of the emergency department (ED) in caring for the families of children with medical complexity.
Methods: Semistructured focus groups were held with health care professionals from pediatric emergency medicine, palliative care, complex care, and intensive care to explore their perspective on pediatric palliative care in the ED. Data were transcribed and analyzed with NVivo software, and thematic analysis and theoretic sampling were performed.
Results: From January to October 2016, 58 participants were interviewed. Difficulties providing pediatric palliative care in the ED are related on the one hand to characteristics specific to the ED, such as its culture and its health care professionals’ strong emotional responses when caring for children with medical complexity, and on the other hand to factors extrinsic to the ED; mainly, lack of continuity of care. For critically ill children with unknown goals of care and potential for end of life, professionals in the ED should evaluate the clinical situation, contact known health care teams, remain open to families’ preferences, alleviate distressing symptoms, and create a caring environment. Communication between teams is targeted by health care professionals to facilitate and improve patient flow and care.
Conclusion: Although perspectives differ in regard to how to provide care for pediatric palliative care patients in the ED, several barriers to providing high-quality emergency pediatric palliative care can be overcome.
Background: frequent emergency department (ED) attendance at the end of life disrupts care continuity and contradicts most patients’ preference for home-based care.
Objective: to examine factors associated with frequent (=3) end of life ED attendances among older people to identify opportunities to improve care.
Methods: pooled data from two mortality follow-back surveys in England. Respondents were family members of people aged =65 who died four to ten months previously. We used multivariable modified Poisson regression to examine illness, service and sociodemographic factors associated with =3 ED attendances, and directed content analysis to explore free-text responses.
Results: 688 respondents (responses from 42.0%); most were sons/daughters (60.5%). Mean age at death was 85 years. 36.5% had a primary diagnosis of cancer and 16.3% respiratory disease. 80/661 (12.1%) attended ED =3 times, accounting for 43% of all end of life attendances. From the multivariable model, respiratory disease (reference cancer) and =2 comorbidities (reference 0) were associated with frequent ED attendance (adjusted prevalence ratio 2.12, 95% CI 1.21–3.71 and 1.81, 1.07–3.06). Those with =7 community nursing contacts (reference 0 contacts) were more likely to frequently attend ED (2.65, 1.49–4.72), whereas those identifying a key health professional were less likely (0.58, 0.37–0.88). Analysis of free-text found inadequate community support, lack of coordinated care and untimely hospital discharge were key issues.
Conclusions: assigning a key health professional to older people at increased risk of frequent end of life ED attendance, e.g. those with respiratory disease and/or multiple comorbidities, may reduce ED attendances by improving care coordination.
OBJECTIVES: Incident depression, occurring after an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in never depressed patients, exerts a negative effect on the cardiac prognosis. Nonetheless only a few studies have evaluated the risk factor for incident depression and, particularly, no study have investigated the role of personality disorders. Therefore, the aim of this study is to verify if personality disorders represent a risk for incident depression in patients at their first ACS.
METHOD: The study sample was selected among never depressed patients who were consecutively admitted to the Coronary Intensive Care Unit, from January 2009 to March 2012, for the first ACS. The study sample included 262 patients. The presence of depressive disorder was assessed with the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV criteria), whereas its severity was evaluated with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Evaluations were collected at baseline and at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12 and 24 months of follow-up. Moreover, at baseline personality disorders were investigated with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II disorders.
RESULTS: Out of 262 subjects, a depressive disorder was diagnosed in 56 patients (21%). At baseline risk factors for incident depression were being widowed, having a distress reaction and narcissistic personality traits.
CONCLUSION: Clinicians should keep in mind these characteristics when facing patients at their first ACS, given the detrimental effect of depression on cardiac prognosis. A psychological support should prevent the onset of incident depression in these patients.
Breathlessness is one of the most common symptoms experienced at the end of life, affecting all areas of a patient's life. It is frightening and leads to high rates of emergency hospital attendances. Often, there is no easily reversible cause and patients are admitted to the acute medical unit (AMU) in order to manage their symptoms with little overall benefit - frustrating patients and clinicians alike. This review reminds the generalist of the significance of breathlessness as a symptom. It highlights the management strategies available to effect improvement and gives practical tips on how this can be achieved within the busy and time-pressured environment of the AMU.
Background: Bereavement is associated with impaired mental health, increases in adverse health behaviors, and heightened risk of suicidal ideation, attempts, and death by suicide. The purpose of this literature review was to explore associations between cause of death and suicidal thoughts among bereaved individuals. Our aim was to compare incidence of suicidal ideation by cause of death and identify gaps in this literature to guide future research and clinical intervention.
Methods: PRISMA-P guidelines were used to structure an electronic literature search in the PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and Web of Science databases. The search focused on English language studies that were published before February 2019 and sought to compare rates of suicidal ideation among bereaved people who lost a loved one to suicide, accidental overdose, cancer, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and HIV/AIDs.
Results: Ten articles were identified with suicide as cause of death, zero articles for accidental overdose, zero articles for cardiovascular disease, eight articles for cancer, one article for dementia, and one article for HIV/AIDs. Given the limited number of articles generated by our search, a formal meta-analysis was not appropriate. However, a comparison of results did suggest that suicide bereavement was associated with the highest rates of suicide ideation (14.1% to 49%). Stigma, isolation, avoidance behaviors, and psychological distress were associated with suicidal thoughts among bereaved individuals, regardless of the deceased's cause of death.
Conclusions: Findings of this literature search revealed significant gaps in the literature, especially regarding thoughts of suicide in bereaved survivors of accidental overdose and cardiovascular disease. Results suggest that multiple causes of death are associated with suicidal ideation in bereavement, but that suicide bereavement may be the cause of death associated with the highest risk of suicidal ideation. More research is needed to understand the ways in which cause of death influences prevalence, risk, and protective factors associated with suicidal thoughts among bereaved individuals.
BACKGROUND: Although therapeutic arts are used in the palliative care setting, little has been described about what happens during the artist-patient encounter and how these interactions can complement and integrate into the interdisciplinary model of palliative care. The objective of this study is to describe the artist-patient encounter and how artists can function in the palliative interdisciplinary model of care.
METHODS: Authors reviewed 229 reports written by artists about encounters with palliative patients, and performed thematic analysis on 95.
RESULTS: Artists describe physical, emotional and spiritual responses by patients including relaxation, invigoration and accessing spirituality, some of which were unique to the artist-patient interaction. Artists also described personal reactions including themes of professional fulfillment, kinship and empathy with patient suffering. Themes surrounding the artist-patient bond and trust also emerged.
CONCLUSIONS: The artist-patient encounter has an effect on both patients and artists, and can create a therapeutic relationship between them. Artists provide unique perspectives and contribute to care paradigms when integrated with the palliative team.
OBJECTIVE: A proportion of children die, making them potentially eligible to be organ/tissue donors. Not all are approached for donation, and experiences of those parents are not well understood. The objective was to investigate to what extent organ and tissue donation (OTD) is discussed as part of end-of-life care and to explore parents' and healthcare professionals' (HCPs) experiences.
DESIGN: A retrospective qualitative study.
SETTING: Multicentre study with participants recruited through two neonatal intensive care units (ICUs), two paediatric ICUs, a cardiac ICU and a children's hospice.
PATIENTS: Bereaved parents, parents of a child with a long-term condition (LTC) and HCPs.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Parents' and HCPs' views and experiences of discussions about OTD.
RESULTS: 24 parents of 20 children were interviewed: 21 bereaved parents and 3 parents of a child with a LTC. Seven parents were asked about donation (13 not asked), four agreed and two donated. 41 HCPs were interviewed. Themes: complexity of donation process, OTD as a coping strategy, the importance of asking, difficulty of raising the topic,\ and parents' assumptions about health of organs (when donation is not discussed).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings add new knowledge about parents' assumptions about the value of their child's organs when discussions about OTD are not raised, and that HCPs do not routinely ask, are sometimes hesitant to ask in fear of damaging relationships, and the reality of the complexity of the donation process. Given the current levels of awareness around OTD, the topic should be raised.
RATIONALE: Little direction exists on how to integrate early palliative care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
OBJECTIVES: To identify patient and family caregiver early palliative care needs across stages of COPD severity.
METHODS: As part of the Medical Research Council Framework developmental phase for intervention development, we conducted a formative evaluation study of patients with moderate to very severe COPD (FEV1/FVC < 70% and FEV1 < 80%-predicted) and their family caregivers. Validated surveys on quality of life (QOL), anxiety and depressive symptoms, and social isolation quantified symptom severity. Semi-structured interviews were analyzed for major themes on early palliative care and needs in patients and family caregivers and across COPD severity stages.
RESULTS: Patients (n=10) were a mean (±SD) age of 60.4±7.5 years, 50% African American, and 70% male, with 30% having moderate COPD, 30% severe COPD, and 40% very severe COPD. Family caregivers (n=10) were a mean age of 58.3±8.7 years, 40% African American, and 10% male. Overall, 30% (n=6) of participants had poor QOL, 45% (n=9) had moderate-severe anxiety symptoms, 25% (n=5) had moderate-severe depressive symptoms, and 40% (n=8) reported social isolation. Only 30% had heard of palliative care, and most participants had misconceptions that palliative care was end-of-life care. All participants responded positively to a standardized description of early palliative care and were receptive to its integration as early as moderate stage. Five broad themes of early palliative care needs emerged: 1) coping with COPD; 2) emotional symptoms; 3) respiratory symptoms; 4) illness understanding; and 5) prognostic awareness. Coping with COPD and emotional symptoms were commonly shared early palliative care needs. Patients with very severe COPD and their family caregivers prioritized illness understanding and prognostic awareness compared to those with moderate-severe COPD.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with moderate to very severe COPD and their family caregivers found early palliative care acceptable and felt it should be integrated before end-stage disease. Of the five broad themes of early palliative care needs, coping with COPD and emotional symptoms were the highest priority, followed by respiratory symptoms, illness understanding, and prognostic awareness.
Background: care of patients with a permanently unsafe swallow who are inappropriate for tube feeding is challenging. Eating and drinking with acknowledged risk (EDAR) may be an appropriate strategy but without clear decision making and communication patients may spend unnecessarily long ‘nil by mouth’ (NBM), they or their family may experience significant anxieties and advance care plans may not be made.
Methods: the FORWARD (Feeding via the Oral Route With Acknowledged Risk of Deterioration) care bundle was sequentially co-designed and embedded across different in-patient clinical services using ‘plan-do-study-act’ methodology to systematise best practice. Care before and after FORWARD’s implementation was evaluated using a time-series analysis of 305 ‘EDAR patients’ (19 in 6 months pre-FORWARD; 42 in a 12-month ‘pilot’; 244 patients in the subsequent 27 months).
Results: median (IQR) days patients were NBM without an alternative feeding route reduced significantly from 2 (1–4) pre-FORWARD to 0 (0–2) in the ‘pilot’ and 0 (0) post-‘pilot’ (P < 0.05). G-chart analysis demonstrated sustained performance across time and different clinical settings. Implementation of FORWARD significantly improved documentation of capacity assessment (42% 98%), discussions with next of kin (47% 98%) and onward communication of feeding plans (67% 81%). In wards where FORWARD was introduced, rate of aspiration pneumonia (a ‘balancing measure’ sensitive to harm associated with EDAR) increased at half the rate of dysphagia (0.8%/year versus 1.6%/year).
Conclusion: the FORWARD care bundle supported complex decision-making around EDAR in patients with persistent dysphagia. The benefits of FORWARD were shown to be sustained over time and in a wide in-patient context.
BACKGROUND: End-of-life care practices in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are the focus of growing attention in Europe, due to rapidly increasing number of older persons living in LTCFs. The knowledge about end-of-life discussions or existence of written advance directives in the European LTCFs is scarce. This study's aim is to investigate the prevalence of written advance directives and their sociodemographic associates, among recently deceased LTCF residents, in six European countries.
METHODS: Data from the European Union-funded PACE database were collected from 322 LTCFs in six European countries in 2014. The assessments were performed by using two questionnaires designed for LTCF administrative staff and for staff member.LTCFs were selected within each country by using proportional stratified random sampling procedure. Facilities with certain types and sizes were included from each country.Multilevel multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate associations between written advance directives and selected predictors.
RESULTS: In total, 32.5 % of the 1384 deceased LTCF residents had a written advance directive with a range from 0% to 77 % between countries. The proportion of the most common advance directive, 'Do not resuscitate in case of cardiac or respiratory arrest (DNR)', varied correspondingly from 0% to 75%.LTCF type (OR 2.86 95% CI 1.59 to 5.23) and capability of expressing at the time of admission (OR 3.26 95% CI 2.26 to 4.71) were the independent predictors for advance directive. Residents living in LTCFs where physician was available were less likely to have advance directive compared with residents from LTCFs where physician was not available.
CONCLUSION: Extensive differences for prevalence of written advance directive exist between countries among older LTCF residents in Europe. Timely and appropriate response to LTCF resident's health needs and preferences efforts advance care planning.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The development of advance care plans (Plans) in general practice can be time consuming. End-of-life care should reflect an individual’s documented preferences. The aim of this study was to examine the content and implementation of Plans in hospital during end-of-life care.
METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of the hospital medical records of decedents aged =75 years was performed to assess Plan content and implementation.
RESULTS: Of the 536 decedents, 52 had a Plan. There were 17 cases where life-prolonging treatment was given and contradicted preferences listed in the Plan. This included instances of intubation, surgery and curative medication.
DISCUSSION: General practice staff investment in advance care planning should be reflected in the utilisation of Plans and, where medically indicated, respect for patients’ preferences.
Background: Observations indicate that struggling with a burden of an incurable disease such as advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may result in the weakening of an individual sense of dignity, and be a source of spiritual suffering. Clinicians providing respiratory care to patients should be open to their spiritual needs, in the belief it may improve coping with the end-of-life COPD.
Objectives: The study aimed to assess overall feasibility and potential benefits of Dignity Therapy (DT) in patients with advanced COPD. Methods: Patients with severe COPD, in whom a DT intervention was implemented according to the protocol established by Chochinov et al were included into the study. An self-designed questionnaire was applied to assess the patients' satisfaction after intervention. Subsequently, the patients' statements were allocated to specific problem categories, corresponding to the spiritual suffering concerns, as structured by Groves and Klauser.
Results: DT was completed in 10 patients, with no unexpected side effects. Satisfaction Questionnaire showed a positive effect of DT on the patient' well-being (3.9 on a 5-point Likert scale). The analyses of the patients' original statements enabled an effective identification of the spiritual suffering and spiritual resources and faced by COPD patients.
Conclusion: DT is an intervention well received by COPD patients, which may help them in recognising and fulfilling their spiritual needs in the last phase of their life. Information acquired on the patients' resources and spiritual challenges may help clinicians improve their care, especially with regard to supporting their patients at the end-of-life stage.
BACKGROUND: transitions between care settings near the end-of-life for people with dementia can be distressing, lead to physical and cognitive deterioration, and may be avoidable.
OBJECTIVE: to investigate determinants of end-of-life hospital transitions, and association with healthcare use, among people with dementia.
DESIGN: retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: electronic records from a mental health provider in London, linked to national mortality and hospital data.
SUBJECTS: people with dementia who died in 2007-2016.
METHODS: end-of-life hospital transitions were defined as: multiple admissions in the last 90 days (early), or any admission in the last three days of life (late). Determinants were assessed using logistic regression.
RESULTS: of 8,880 people, 1,421 (16.0%) had at least one end-of-life transition: 505 (5.7%) had early, 788 (8.9%) late, and 128 (1.5%) both types. Early transitions were associated with male gender (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.11-1.59), age (>90 vs <75 years OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.97), physical illness (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.20-1.94), depressed mood (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.17-1.90), and deprivation (most vs least affluent quintile OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37-0.90). Care home residence was associated with fewer early (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.76) and late (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.97) transitions. Early transitions were associated with more hospital admissions throughout the last year of life compared to those with late and no transitions (mean 4.56, 1.89, 1.60; P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: in contrast to late transitions, early transitions are associated with higher healthcare use and characteristics that are predictable, indicating potential for prevention.
OBJECTIVES: The role of palliative gastrectomy in the management of metastatic gastric cancer remains inadequately clarified.
METHODS: We analyzed patients with metastatic gastric cancer enrolled in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry from January 2004 to December 2012. Propensity score (PS) analysis with 1:1 matching and the nearest neighbor matching method was performed to ensure well-balanced characteristics of the groups of patients who undergone gastrectomy and those without gastrectomy. Data were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate the overall survival and cancer-specific survival rates with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS: In general, receiving any kind of gastrectomy was associated with an improvement in survival in the multivariate analyses (hazard ratio [HR]os = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.59-0.70, HRcss = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.57-0.68) and PS matching (PSM) analyses (HRos = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.56-0.70, HRcss = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.55-0.70). After PSM, palliative gastrectomy was found to be associated with remarkably improved survival for patients with stage M1 with only 1 metastasis but not associated with survival of patients with stage M1 with extensive metastasis (>= metastatic sites)
DISCUSSION: The results obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database suggest that patients with metastatic gastric cancer might benefit from palliative gastrectomy on the basis of chemotherapy. However, a PSM cohort study of this kind still has a strong selection bias and cannot replace a properly conducted randomized controlled trial.
BACKGROUND: Research on nurses' perceptions of dignity is limited, with much work instead focusing on patients' experiences. Maintaining the dignity of patients is considered to be an important element of nursing care; however, it is often diminished by the acts and omissions of healthcare providers.
OBJECTIVES: The purposes of this study were to understand oncology nurses' perceptions of care that supports patients' dignity during end-of-life hospitalization and to propose a theoretical foundation consistent with these perceptions as a guide to practice.
METHODS: A qualitative study using grounded theory was employed. Semistructured interviews with 11 experienced female oncology nurses generated insights into their perceptions of dignity in caring for terminally ill patients. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method until data saturation was reached.
FINDINGS: This study revealed an emerging model for dignity care that uses communication, support, and facilitation in the education of nurses during end-of-life care. The proposed model could enhance the facilitation of nursing education and aid in the design of nursing course curricula and practical experiences that may improve nurses' ability to provide care supporting dignity.
OBJECTIVES: Recent studies have shown that the early provision of palliative care (PC) integrated into oncology in the hospital has beneficial effects on the quality of life of people who are dying and their family caregivers. However, a model to integrate palliative home care (PHC) early in oncology care is lacking. Therefore, our aim is to develop the Early Palliative Home care Embedded in Cancer Treatment (EPHECT) intervention.
METHODS: We conducted a phase 0-1 study according to the Medical Research Council framework. Phase 0 consisted of a literature search on existing models for early integrated PC, and focus groups with PHC teams to investigate experiences with being introduced earlier. In phase 1, we developed a complex intervention to support the early integration of PHC in oncology care, based on the results of phase 0. The intervention components were reviewed and refined by professional caregivers and stakeholders.
RESULTS: Phase 0 resulted in components underpinning existing interventions. Based on this information, we developed an intervention in phase 1 consisting of: (1) information sessions for involved professionals, (2) general practitioner as coordinator of care, (3) regular and tailored home consultations by the PHC team, (4) a semistructured conversation guide to facilitate consultations, and (5) interprofessional and transmural collaboration.
CONCLUSION: Taking into account the experiences of the PHC teams with being involved earlier and the components underpinning successful interventions, the EPHECT intervention for the home setting was developed. The feasibility and acceptability of the intervention will be tested in a phase II study.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Penile squamous cell carcinoma (PSCC) remains a challenging malignancy to treat and there is an urgent need of significant improvements at all levels of medical care. In the current review, we summarized the significant obstacles encountered during management of PSCC and discussed the clinical relevance of novel findings and their potential to address these obstacles.
RECENT FINDINGS: The recent genetic and immunological advances suggest that patients with PSCC can benefit from available targeted therapy and immunotherapy options. Moreover, evidence has accumulated over time suggesting that majority of the patients diagnosed with PSCC suffer from psychosocial problems and impaired rehabilitation.
SUMMARY: Effective prevention strategies against PSCC are urgently needed especially in developing countries given the limited therapeutic options. About a quarter of patients with metastatic PSCC appear to benefit from available targeted therapies and about half of the patients can be a suitable candidate for immune checkpoint blockade as half of the PSCC cases exhibit PD-L1 expression. Moreover, increased public awareness, healthcare provider education and social support programs may help patients suffering from PSCC coping with the psychosocial burdens of the disease.
Objective To investigate symptom-relief and comorbid drug uses at the end of life for older people with different dying trajectories (cancer, organ failure, frailty and sudden death) in Taiwan.
Methods In a retrospective observational study of older people aged 65 years and older who died in hospitals between 2008 and 2012, we used NHIRD to measure numbers, incremental changes and determinants of symptom-relief and comorbid drug use in the last month of outpatient care and last hospitalisation before death.
Results We included 59 407 older adults (cancer 37%, organ failure 26%, frailty 35% and sudden death 2%) who died in hospitals for this study. In the last hospitalisation before death, individuals who died of cancer received greatest number of symptom-relief drugs (mean: 4.65, [SD 2.77]) and increased most the average change in the number of symptom-relief drug use (+1.60; SD 3.36). However, individuals who died of organ failure received the highest number of comorbid drugs (mean 2.88, [SD 1.95]) and also increased most the average change in the number of comorbid drug use (+0.17; SD 2.28) at last hospitalisation. Different dying trajectories were key determinants of receiving symptom-relief and comorbid drugs in our study.
Conclusions Our study suggests that the drug use of older adults at the end of life in the cancer group is different from that in the organ failure and frailty groups. Policymakers and health professionals should consider the different strategies to optimise drug use for older people with different dying trajectories near their end of life.