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Family caregivers play an important role in end-of-life (EoL) decision making when the patient is unable to make his/her own decisions. While communication about EoL care between patients and family is perhaps a first step toward advance care planning (ACP)/EoL decisions, not every culture puts great value on open communication about this topic. The aims of the present study were to explore EoL communication and the aspects of communication among caregivers of Latino patients in the rural United States (U.S.)–Mexico border region.
This study analyzed data from a hospice needs assessment collected from 189 family caregivers of Latino patients at a home health agency in a rural U.S.–Mexico border region. Bivariate tests and logistic regression were used to address our aims.
About half of the family caregivers (n = 96, 50.8%) reported to have ever engaged in EoL discussion with patients. Significant predictors of EoL discussion included life-sustaining treatment preference (odds ratio [OR] = 0.44, p < 0.05); knowledge of an advance directive (AD) (OR = 5.50, p < 0.01); and distrust of physicians (OR = 0.29, p < 0.01). Caregivers who preferred extending the life of their loved one even if he/she had to rely on life supports were less likely to engage in EoL communication. Also, caregivers who worried that physicians might want to stop treatments (i.e., “pull the plug”) too soon were less likely to do so. Conversely, caregivers who had knowledge about ADs were more likely to engage in EoL communication.
Significance of Results:
EoL communication is a complex process influenced by individual, social, and cultural values and the beliefs of both the patient and his/her family. Inclusion of family caregivers in the ACP process and facilitating culturally tailored EoL communication between patients and family caregivers is important.
Hospital palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life and optimize hospital utilization for seriously ill patients who need intensive care. The present review examined whether hospital palliative care in intensive care (ICU) and non-ICU settings will influence hospital length of stay and in-hospital mortality.
A systematic search of CINAHL/EBSCO, the Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, MEDLINE/Ovid, PubMed, and the Web of Science through 12 October 2016 identified 16 studies that examined the effects of hospital palliative care and reported on hospital length of stay and in-hospital death. Random-effects pooled odds ratios and mean differences with corresponding 95% confidence intervals were estimated. Heterogeneity was measured by the I2 test. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system was utilized to assess the overall quality of the evidence.
Of the reviewed 932 articles found in our search, we reviewed the full text of 76 eligible articles and excluded 60 of those, which resulted in a final total of 16 studies for analysis. Five studies were duplicated with regard to outcomes. A total of 18,330 and 9,452 patients were analyzed for hospital length of stay and in-hospital mortality from 11 and 10 studies, respectively. Hospital palliative care increased mean hospital length of stay by 0.19 days (pooled mean difference = 0.19; 95% confidence interval [CI95%] = –2.22–2.61 days; p = 0.87; I2 = 95.88%) and reduced in-hospital mortality by 34% (pooled odds ratio = 0.66; CI95% = 0.52–0.84; p < 0.01; I2 = 48.82%). The overall quality of evidence for both hospital length of stay and in-hospital mortality was rated as very low and low, respectively.
Significance of results:
Hospital palliative care was associated with a 34% reduction of in-hospital mortality but had no correlation with hospital length of stay.
Hospice is an important method of promoting quality end-of-life (EoL) care, yet its utilization is relatively low in underserved populations. The unique characteristics of a border community—such as a lack of healthcare resources and cultural integration—impact EoL decision making. The aim of our study was to assess the willingness to use hospice care services and its predictors among family caregivers of Latino patients in the United States (U.S.)–Mexico border region of Southern California.
This study analyzes secondary data from a home health agency in the U.S.–Mexico border region. Quantitative data were collected via a face-to-face interview with 189 caregivers of patients enrolled in the agency. Bivariate tests and logistic regression were employed to address our study objectives.
The majority (83%) of family caregivers were willing to use hospice services for their loved ones. The factors impacting willingness to use hospice services included the primary language of the caregiver (OR = 6.30, CI95% = 1.68, 23.58); trust in doctors to make the right decisions (OR = 3.77, CI95% = 1.05, 13.57); and the belief that using hospice care means giving up on life (OR = 0.52, CI95% = 0.30; 0.88). Caregivers who trusted doctors to make the best decisions for their loved ones and English-speaking caregivers were more willing to utilize hospice services, while caregivers who held a strong belief that hospice care means giving up on life were less likely to consider using hospice care for their loved ones.
Significance of results:
The willingness of family caregivers to use hospice services for their loved ones is influenced by cultural perspectives about hospice care. As the importance of family involvement in EoL care planning has been highlighted, family caregivers' beliefs about hospice care services need to be addressed within their particular cultural context.
This study aimed to describe knowledge of an advance directive (AD) and preferences regarding end-of-life (EoL) care communication, decision making, and designation of surrogates in Chinese-American elders and to examine the role of acculturation variables in AD awareness.
Survey data were collected through face-to-face interviews on a sample of 385 Chinese-American elders aged 55 or above living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The choice of language (Mandarin, Cantonese, or English) and place of interview (senior apartments, Chinese senior centers, or homes) was at the respondent's preference. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis was employed to examine the influence of acculturation variables on AD awareness.
Some 21% of participants had heard about ADs, and only 10% had completed one. Elders with higher acculturation levels (OR = 1.04, p < 0.10) and those residing more than 20 years in the United States (OR = 6.87, p < 0.01) were more likely to be aware of ADs after controlling for the effects of demographics, health, and experiences of EoL care. The majority preferred physicians to initiate AD discussions (84.9%) and identified burdens on families as the most important factor in making EoL decisions (89.3%). About 55.1 % considered daughters as the preferred healthcare surrogate.
Significance of Results:
Acculturation levels influence awareness of an AD, and family values are crucial in EoL care decision making. Cultural factors should be considered in designing and delivering appropriate programs to promote knowledge of EoL care among Chinese-American elders and their families.
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