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Cancer patients had elevated risk of suicidality. However, few researches studied the risk/protective factors of suicidal/self-harm behaviors considering the competing risk of death. The objective of this study is to systematically investigate the risk of suicidal/self-harm behaviors among Hong Kong cancer patients as well as the contributing factors.
Patients aged 10 or above who received their first cancer-related hospital admission (2002–2009) were identified and their inpatient medical records were retrieved. They were followed for 365 days for suicidal/self-harm behaviors or death. Cancer-related information and prior 2-year physical and psychiatric comorbidities were also identified. Competing risk models were performed to explore the cumulative incidence of suicidal/self-harm behavior within 1 year as well as its contributing factors. The analyses were also stratified by age and gender.
In total, 152 061 cancer patients were included in the analyses. The cumulative incidence of suicidal/self-harm behaviors within 1 year was 717.48/100 000 person-years. Overall, cancer severity, a history of suicidal/self-harm behaviors, diabetes and hypertension were related to the risk of suicidal/self-harm behaviors. There was a U-shaped association between age and suicidal/self-harm behaviors with a turning point at 58. Previous psychiatric comorbidities were not related to the risk of suicidal/self-harm behaviors. The stratified analyses confirmed that the impact of contributing factors varied by age and gender.
Cancer patients were at risk of suicidal/self-harm behaviors, and the impacts of related factors varied by patients' characteristics. Effective suicide prevention for cancer patients should consider the influence of disease progress and the differences in age and gender.
The objective of this study was to assess the psychosocial distress and associated factors in advanced cancer patients consulting at the outpatient Palliative Care Unit at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico City.
A retrospective study was conducted using electronic records (June 2015 to December 2016).
A total of 646 patients with advanced cancer during their first visit to the outpatient palliative care unit at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico were evaluated using the Distress Thermometer (DT) and ECOG performance status scores.
Overall, 62% were women, with a median age of 57 years, and married (54.8%). The most frequent diagnosis was gastrointestinal cancer (28.6%), and 38.9% had a functional performance status of ECOG 2. The median DT score was 4.0 (IQR = 2–6), with 56% reporting DT scores ≥4. The three most frequent problems ≥4 were sadness (82.6%), feeling weak (81.2%), worry (79.6%), and <4 were feeling weak (57.7%), fatigue (55.6%), and financial security (52.1%). The variables associated with distress according to the multiple logistic regression analysis were problems with housing (OR = 2.661, 95% CI = 1.538–4.602), sadness (OR = 2.533, 95% CI = 1.615–3.973), transportation (OR = 1.732, 95% CI = 1.157–2.591), eating (OR = 1.626, 95% CI = 1.093–2.417), nervousness (OR = 1.547, 95% CI = 1.014–2.360), and sleep (OR = 1.469, 95% CI = 1.980–2.203).
The principal factors were related to distress levels, housing problems, transportation issues, and emotional problems such as sadness, nervousness, lower functionality, and younger age. Therefore, psychosocial support is of considerable relevance in palliative care. These findings will help clinicians understand the distress of patients with advanced cancer in palliative care in Latin American countries.
People with intellectual disabilities are living longer, and many require palliative care. There is a lack of evidence regarding information needs which may exist for their family caregivers. This study aimed to determine the informational needs of family caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities who require palliative care.
A qualitative, exploratory design was underpinned by the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping and the Transformative Paradigm. The study involved five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts and two Hospices in one region of the United Kingdom. Family caregivers (n = 10) participated in individual interviews. HSC professionals’ (n = 28) perceptions of informational needs were explored within focus groups (n = 6).
Family caregivers reported information needs chiefly concerning the disease, financial entitlements, and practical support which could change over the disease trajectory. Findings evidence the expertise of long-term family caregivers, prior to the end of life. Palliative care and intellectual disability teams acknowledged their role to work in partnership and facilitate access to information. Recommendations were mapped onto a co-designed logic model.
Significance of results
New insights into the specific informational needs of this family caregiving population. A co-designed logic model presents these needs and how they may be addressed. Central co-ordinators have been advocated for these caregivers. This model could have international applicability for similar family carers, supporting people with other disabilities or cognitive impairment, and should be further explored.
This study aimed to investigate the association between professional characteristics and the prevalence of advance directives among palliative care professionals.
This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. A diverse sample of 327 healthcare professionals completed an online survey investigating demographic variables, length of time working in palliative care, post-graduate qualifications in palliative care, and development of their own advance directives.
The prevalence of advance directives among professionals working in palliative care was associated with factors such as higher academic qualifications, holding a post-graduate qualification in palliative care, and working in palliative care for a longer time. Furthermore, psychologists were most likely to have registered their own advance directives, compared with other healthcare professionals.
Significance of results
Post-graduate palliative care education and professional experience in this area appear to be important factors associated with palliative care professionals writing of their own advance directives. However, our study suggests that just being involved in or familiar with the context of palliative and end-of-life care does not guarantee that health professionals register their advance directives.
Despite the increased focus on improving advance care planning (ACP) in African Americans through community partnerships, little published research focused on the role of the African American church in this effort. This study examines parishioner perceptions and beliefs about the role of the church in ACP and end-of-life care (EOLC).
Qualitative interviews were completed with 25 church members (parishioners n = 15, church leader n = 10). The coding of data entailed a direct content analysis approach incorporating team experts for final themes.
Seven themes emerged: (1) church role on end-of-life, (2) advocacy for health and well-being, (3) health literacy in EOLC, (4) lay health training on ACP and EOLC, (5) church recognized as a trusted source, (6) use of church ministries to sustain programs related to ACP and EOLC, and (7) community resources for EOLC needs.
Significance of results
The church has a central role in the African American Community. These findings suggest that involving African American churches in ACP and EOLC training can have a positive effect on facilitating planning and care during illness, dying, and death for their congregants.
There is an increasing recognition of the significance of music as a complementary therapy in palliative care. Limited studies exist on how music is used as a coping mechanism by palliative care patients. Therefore, the purpose of this scoping review was to explore the efficacy of music interventions for palliative care.
We conducted a literature search between June and November 2019 in the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), British Nursing Index (BNI), and PubMed, which includes MEDLINE. The search identified eight articles which met the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Using thematic analysis, six themes were synthesied to show how music contributes to palliative care. The six themes include Pain management; Relaxation; Happiness and hope; Anxiety and depression management; Enhanced spirituality; and Improved quality of life. These themes reflect the psychological and emotional benefits palliative care patients derive from music therapies.
Significance of results
Music therapy can be an effective psychosocial approach when managing palliative symptoms through its therapeutic effects on physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
To develop a staff training intervention for agitation in people with severe dementia, reaching end-of-life, residing in nursing homes (NHs), test feasibility, acceptability, and whether a trial is warranted.
Feasibility study with pre- and post-intervention data collection, qualitative interviews, and focus groups.
Three NHs in South East England with dementia units, diverse in terms of size, ownership status, and location.
Residents with a dementia diagnosis or scoring ≥2 on the Noticeable Problems Checklist, rated as “severe” on Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, family carers, and staff (healthcare assistants and nurses).
Manualized training, delivered by nonclinical psychology graduates focusing on agitation in severe dementia, underpinned by a palliative care framework.
Main outcomes were feasibility of recruitment, data collection, follow-up, and intervention acceptability. We collected resident, family carer, and staff demographics. Staff provided data on resident’s agitation, pain, quality of life, and service receipt. Staff reported their sense of competence in dementia care. Family carers reported on satisfaction with end-of-life care. In qualitative interviews, we explored staff and family carers’ views on the intervention.
The target three NHs participated: 28 (49%) residents, 53 (74%) staff, and 11 (85%) family carers who were eligible to participate consented. Eight-four percent of staff attended ≥3 sessions, and we achieved 93% follow-up. We were able to complete quantitative interviews. Staff and family carers reported the intervention and delivery were acceptable and helpful.
The intervention was feasible and acceptable indicating a larger trial for effectiveness may be warranted.
Non-communicable chronic diseases (NCCDs) are the main cause of morbidity and mortality globally. Demographic aging has resulted in older populations with more complex healthcare needs. This necessitates a multilevel rethinking of healthcare policies, health education and community support systems with digitalization of technologies playing a central role. The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Aging (A3) working group focuses on well-being for older adults, with an emphasis on quality of life and healthy aging. A subgroup of A3, including multidisciplinary stakeholders in health care across Europe, focuses on the palliative care (PC) model as a paradigm to be modified to meet the needs of older persons with NCCDs. This development paper delineates the key parameters we identified as critical in creating a public health model of PC directed to the needs of persons with NCCDs. This paradigm shift should affect horizontal components of public health models. Furthermore, our model includes vertical components often neglected, such as nutrition, resilience, well-being and leisure activities. The main enablers identified are information and communication technologies, education and training programs, communities of compassion, twinning activities, promoting research and increasing awareness amongst policymakers. We also identified key ‘bottlenecks’: inequity of access, insufficient research, inadequate development of advance care planning and a lack of co-creation of relevant technologies and shared decision-making. Rethinking PC within a public health context must focus on developing policies, training and technologies to enhance person-centered quality life for those with NCCD, while ensuring that they and those important to them experience death with dignity.
Expectant parents who live through perinatal loss experience intense grief, which is not always acknowledged or accepted. A screening tool to detect bereaved parents’ grief reactions can guide professionals, including perinatal palliative care teams, to provide follow-up for those in need. This review's goal is to identify and synthesize the international published literature on existent instruments specifically measuring the grieving process after any perinatal loss and to identify factors that could moderate grief reactions.
Systematic review (PROSPERO # CRD42018092555) with critical synthesis. PUBMED, Cochrane, and PsycINFO databases were searched in English language articles using the keywords “perinatal” AND (“grief” OR “bereavement” OR mourning) AND (“scale” OR “questionnaire” OR “measure” OR “assessment”) up to May 2018. Eligibility criteria included every study using a measure to assess perinatal grief after all kinds of perinatal losses, including validations and translations to other languages and interventions designed to alleviate grief symptoms.
A total of 67 papers met inclusion criteria. Seven instruments measuring perinatal grief published between 1984 and 2002 are described. The Perinatal Grief Scale (PGS) was used in 53 of the selected studies. Of those, 39 analyzed factors associated with grief reactions. Six articles used PGS scores to evaluate pre- and post-bereavement interventions. Studies in English language only might have limited the number of articles.
Significance of results
The PGS is the most used standardized measures to assess grief after perinatal loss. All parents living through any kind of perinatal loss should be screened.
Although the literature recognizes the participation of patients in medical decisions as an important indicator of quality, there is a lack of consensus regarding the influence of advance directives (ADs) on reducing aggressive measures during end-of-life care involving cancer patients.
A systematic review was conducted to analyze the influence of ADs on reducing aggressive end-of-life care measures for cancer patients.
We searched the Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Lilacs databases for studies published until March 2018 using the following keywords, without language restrictions: “advance directives,” “living wills,” “terminal care,” “palliative care,” “hospice care,” and “neoplasms.” Article quality was assessed using study quality assessment tools from the Department of Health and Human Services (NHLBI).
A total of 1,489 studies were identified; 7 met the inclusion criteria. The studies were recently published (after 2014, 71.4%). Patients with ADs were more likely to die at the site of choice (n = 3) and received less chemotherapy in the last 30 days (n = 1). ADs had no impact on intensive care unit admission (n = 1) or hospitalization (n = 1). One study found an association between ADs and referral to palliative care, but other did not find the same result.
Significance of results
Of the seven articles found, four demonstrated effects of ADs on the reduction in aggressive measures at the end of life of cancer patients. Heterogeneity regarding study design and results and poor methodological quality are challenges when drawing conclusions.
One of the main goals of the Family Talk Intervention (FTI) is to increase communication within families with dependent children about illness-related consequences and to support parenting. FTI is family-centered and includes six manual-based meetings led by two interventionists. This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of the FTI in terms of acceptability from the perspective of parents in families with dependent children where one parent receives specialized palliative home care.
A descriptive design employing mixed methods was used to evaluate the FTI in specialized palliative home care. In total, 29 parents participated in interviews and responded to a questionnaire following FTI. Qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics were used for analyses.
FTI responded to both the ill parent's and the healthy co-parent's expectations, and they recommended FTI to other families. Parents found the design of FTI to be well-structured and flexible according to their families’ needs. Many parents reported a wish for additional meetings and would have wanted FTI to start earlier in the disease trajectory. Parents also would have wished for a more thorough briefing with the interventionists to prepare before the start. The importance of the interventionists was acknowledged by the parents; their professional competence, engagement, and support were vital for finding ways to open communication within the family. The FTI meetings provided them with a setting to share thoughts and views. Parents clearly expressed that they would never have shared thoughts and feelings in a similar way without the meetings.
Significance of results
According to parents, FTI was found acceptable in a palliative home care context with the potential to add valuable support for families with minor children when a parent is suffering from a life-threatening illness.
China is home to one-fifth of the world's population. In the setting of a growing and aging population as well as the designation of palliative care access as a human right in 2013, the implementation of palliative care in China gains special importance. Palliative care education is an important precondition to ensure a nationwide access to palliative care. This systematic review details the status of under- and postgraduate palliative care education in China, examining both the students’ and physicians’ perception, knowledge, and skills in palliative care, and the available educational interventions and programs.
Four databases were searched in September 2018, using considered search terms. Titles, abstracts, and, if necessary, full texts were scanned to identify publications matching the inclusion criteria.
Nine publications were included. They revealed six findings: palliative care education is lacking in both under- and postgraduate medical education, only a few programs exist. Palliative care as a concept is well known, detailed knowledge, and practical skills are less developed. Chinese physicians consider palliative care an important field to be developed in cancer care, yet the majority of healthcare professionals are not willing to work in palliative care services. Communication should be a main emphasis in palliative care education, especially in undergraduate training. Finally, there is no highly qualified research on under- or postgraduate palliative care education in Mainland China.
Significance of results
These findings suggest that palliative care education in China is in demand and should be systematically integrated into medical education. Further research on the topic is urgently needed.
Palliative care providers may face questions from patients and relatives regarding the heritability of cancers. Implications of such discussions for providers have been little explored. This study aimed to gather palliative care providers’ views on their main needs, roles, and ethical concerns regarding cancer family history discussions.
The palliative care providers who participated in the 2015 and 2017 annual meetings of the Quebec Palliative Care Association were approached to complete a web-based questionnaire. Study participants answered the questionnaire between November 2016 and July 2017. They were asked to identify the most facilitating factor for cancer family history discussions, as well as their most important knowledge needs, potential role, and ethical concerns. Descriptive analyses were conducted.
Ninety-four palliative care providers answered the questionnaire. Access to specialized resources to obtain information and protocols or guidelines were considered the most facilitating factors for cancer family history discussions by 32% and 20% of providers, respectively. Knowledge of hereditary cancers was the most relevant educational need for 53%. Thirty-eight per cent considered essential to be informed about their rights and duties regarding cancer family history discussions. Being attentive to patients’ concerns and referring families to appropriate resources were identified as the most relevant roles for palliative care providers by 47% and 34% of respondents, respectively. Fifty-eight per cent agreed that cancer family history discussions should be initiated only if beneficial to family members.
Significance of results
Education on hereditary cancers made consensus among palliative care providers as the most important knowledge need regarding discussing cancer family history at the end of life. Nonetheless, other less commonly expressed needs, including access to genetics specialists, protocols, or guidelines, and awareness of provider rights and duties concerning such discussions, deserve attention. Answering providers’ needs might help optimize cancer predisposition management in palliative care.
This study sought to compare the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Subscale (HADS-D) and Brief Edinburgh Depression Scale (BEDS) as case-finding tools of major depressive disorder in patients with advanced cancer in a palliative care service.
An observational study was performed which included patients with advanced cancer who attended the palliative care service at the National Institute of Cancer in Mexico. Patients were asked to fill out the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and BEDS and were then assessed by a psychiatrist to evaluate major depressive disorder (MDD) as per the DSM-5 criteria. The case-finding capability of each scale was determined using receiver operating characteristic curves, assessing the area under the curve (AUC) in comparison to the clinical diagnosis.
Eighty-nine patients were included; median age was 57 years, and 71% were female. Among these, 19 patients were diagnosed with MDD during the interview. When comparing the self-reported scales, BEDS had a better performance compared with HADS-D (AUC 0.8541 vs. 0.7665). Limitations include a heterogeneous population and a limited sample size.
Significance of results
The BEDS outperformed the HADS-D tool in discriminating patients with and without depression. A BEDS cutoff value of ≥5 is suggested as a case-finding score for depression in this population.
CHD remains one of the leading causes of mortality of children in the United States. There is limited research about the experience of parents from the diagnosis of their child with CHD through the death of their child. A prior study has shown that adults with heart failure go through a series of four transitions: 1) learning the diagnosis, 2) reframing the new normal, 3) taking control of the illness, and 4) understanding death is inevitable. In our qualitative study, we performed semi-structured interviews with parents who have a child die of CHD to determine whether the four transitions in adults apply to parents of children with CHD. We found that these four transitions were present in the parents we interviewed and that there were two novel transitions, one that proceeded the first Jones et al transition (“Prenatal diagnosis”) and one that occurred after the final Jones et al transition (“Adjustment after death”). It is our hope that identification of these six transitions will help better support families of children with CHD.
Family carers (FCs) of nursing home (NH) residents are best placed to notice deteriorations that signal impending death in their relative, which can open a conversation with healthcare professionals (HCPs) about adjusting the care plan. We explored contributors to bereaved FCs’ decision to transition towards palliative-oriented care for their relatives in NHs.
This qualitative descriptive study used a phenomenological design. Thirty-two bereaved FCs across 13 Italian NHs completed semi-structured interviews. Additional data were collected on NH referrals to palliative care services (PCS) in the 6 months before study start and treatments provided in the last week of life. Content analysis with a combined inductive and deductive approach was applied to identify codes and fit them into an a priori framework. When codes did not fit, they were grouped into new categories, which were finally gathered into themes.
FCs reported four types of “trigger events” that made them doubt that their relative would recover: (1) physical deterioration (e.g., stopping eating/walking or swallowing problems); (2) social confirmation (e.g., confirming their relative's condition with friends); (3) multiple hospitalizations; and (4) external indicators (e.g., medical examinations by external consultants). A “resident-centered environment” helped FCs recognize trigger events and “raise awareness of the possibility of death”; however, the “need for reassurance” was pivotal to a “gradual transition towards palliative-oriented care”. When participants did not recognize the trigger event, their relative continued to receive curative-oriented care. NHs that referred residents to PCS discussed palliative-oriented care more frequently with FCs, had a lower nurse-to-resident and nurse aide-to-resident ratio, and administered more palliative-oriented care.
Significance of results
Trigger events represent an opportunity to discuss residents’ prognosis and are the starting point for a gradual transition towards palliative-oriented care. Adequate staffing, teamwork, and communication between FCs and healthcare professionals contribute to a sensitive, timely shift in care goals.
This study was conducted to determine the relationship between religious attitudes of Muslim women with gynecologic cancer and mental adjustment to cancer.
Designed as a descriptive relational study, this study was conducted with 123 patients with gynecologic cancer. A personal information form, prepared in accordance with the literature, the Religious Attitude Scale (RAS), and the Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (MACS) were used as data collection tools. The data were assessed using descriptive statistics, Pearson's correlation analysis, and linear regression analysis.
A positive correlation was determined between the RAS score and the fighting spirit subscale of the MACS (r = 0.65, p < 0.001). A negative correlation was found between the helplessness/hopelessness and anxious preoccupation subscales of the MACS and the RAS score (r = −0.40, p < 0.001; r = −0.30, p < 0.001, respectively).
Significance of results
The present results are helpful in understanding the influence of religious attitudes on the mental adjustment to gynecologic cancer patients. The results can serve as a reference for nursing education and clinical healthcare practice. Palliative healthcare providers can participate in improved care by recognizing spiritual needs and by advocating for attention to spiritual needs as a routine part of cancer care.
Studies have suggested 5–20% of paediatric ICU patients may receive care felt to be futile. No data exists on the prevalence and impact of futile care in the Paediatric Cardiac ICU. The aim is to determine the prevalence and economic impact of futile care.
Materials and method:
Retrospective cohort of patients with congenital cardiac disease 0–21 years old, with length of stay >30 days and died (2015–2018). Documentation of futility by the medical team was retrospectively and independently reviewed.
Of the 127 deaths during the study period, 51 (40%) had hospitalisation >30 days, 13 (25%) had received futile care and 26 (51%) withdrew life-sustaining treatment. Futile care comprised 0.69% of total patient days with no difference in charges from patients not receiving futile care. There was no difference in insurance, single motherhood, education, income, poverty, or unemployment in families continuing futile care or electing withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Black families were less likely than White families to elect for withdrawal (p = 0.01), and Hispanic families were more likely to continue futile care than non-Hispanics (p = 0.044).
This is the first study to examine the impact of futile care and characteristics in the paediatric cardiac ICU. Black families were less likely to elect for withdrawal, while Hispanic families more likely to continue futile care. Futile care comprised 0.69% of bed days and little burden on resources. Cultural factors should be investigated to better support families through end-of-life decisions.
For many years, dementia care has been dominated by the standard medical approach, in which dementia is treated mainly with drugs, such as anti-anxiety, antidepressant and anti-psychotic medications. With the aim of seeking effective treatments for patients with dementia, over the last years, several contributions have criticised the pervasive use of drugs for the management of behavioural and physiological symptoms related to dementia, proposing personalised interventions aimed at supporting patients and their relatives from diagnosis until death. With particular reference to long-term settings, in this work, we aim at understanding the organisational implications of three types of interventions (labelled supportive care interventions – SCIs) that have characterised this shift in dementia care: person-centred, palliative and multi-disciplinary care. Conducted by following the integrative review method, our review underlines how SCIs have controversial consequences on the quality of care, the care-givers’ quality of life and cultural backgrounds. After an in-depth analysis of selected papers, we offer some considerations about the implications of SCIs for long-term care organisations and future research directions.
Palliative care (PC) aims to improve patients' and families' quality of life through an approach that relieves physical, psychosocial, and spiritual suffering, although the latter continues to be under-assessed and under-treated. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of physical, psychosocial, and hope assessments documented by a PC team in the first PC consultation.
The retrospective descriptive analysis of all first PC consultations registered in our anonymized database (December 2018–January 2020), searching for written documentation regarding (1) Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) physical subscale (pain, tiredness, nausea, drowsiness, appetite, shortness of breath, constipation, insomnia, and well-being), (2) the single question “Are you depressed?” (SQD), (3) the question “Do you feel anxious?” (SQA), (4) feeling a burden, (5) hope-related concerns, (6) the dignity question (DQ), and (7) will to live (WtL).
Of the 174 total of patients anonymously registered in our database, 141 PC home patients were considered for analysis; 63% were male, average age was 70 years, the majority had malignancies (82%), with a mean performance status of 52%. Evidence of written documentation was (1) ESAS pain (96%), tiredness (89%), nausea (89%), drowsiness (79%), appetite (89%), shortness of breath (82%), constipation (74%), insomnia (72%), and well-being (52%); (2) the SQD (39%); (3) the SQA (11%); (4) burden (26%); (5) hope (11%); (6) the DQ (33%); and (7) WtL (33%).
Significant differences were found between the frequencies of all documented items of the ESAS physical subscale (29%), and all documented psychosocial items (SQD + SQA + burden + DQ) (1%), hope (11%), and WtL (33%) (p = 0.0000; p = 0.0005; p = 0.0181, respectively).
Significance of results
There were differences between documentation of psychosocial, hope, and physical assessments after the first PC consultation, with the latter being much more frequent. Further research using multicenter data is now required to help identify barriers in assessing and documenting non-physical domains of end-of-life experience.