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There is no tool to appropriately assess terminal delirium, including the natural terminal course. The objective of this study was to develop an evaluation scale to assess distress from irreversible terminal delirium and to examine the validity of the scale.
Based on previous qualitative analysis and systematic literature searches, we carried out a survey regarding the views of bereaved families and developed a questionnaire. We extracted items that bereaved families regarded as important and constructed an evaluation scale of terminal delirium. Then, we applied the questionnaire in a cross-sectional questionnaire survey of bereaved relatives of cancer patients who were admitted to a hospice or a palliative care unit.
We developed the Terminal Delirium-Related Distress Scale (TDDS), a 24 item questionnaire consisting of five subscales (support for families and respect for a patient, ability to communicate, hallucinations and delusions, adequate information about the treatment of delirium, and agitation and restlessness). Two hundred and eighty-one bereaved relatives participated in the validation phase. The construct validity was shown to be good by repeated factor analysis. Convergent validity, confirmed by the correlation between the TDDS and the Care Evaluation Scale (r = 0.651, P < 0.001), was also good. The TDDS had good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha coefficient for all 24 items = 0.84).
Significance of results
This study showed that the TDDS is a valid and feasible measure of irreversible terminal delirium.
This study explores the views of healthcare professionals regarding care and treatment goals in irreversible terminal delirium and their effect on patients and caregivers.
We conducted a qualitative interview study of healthcare professionals (palliative care physician, oncologist, psycho-oncologist, and clinical psychologist) engaged in the treatment of terminally ill cancer patients. We assessed the views of healthcare workers regarding treatment goals in terminal delirium and their effect on patients and their families.
Of the 21 eligible healthcare professionals, 20 agreed to participate in this study. Three of the professionals had experience with treating terminal delirium as family caregivers. We identified five important aspects of treatment goals in terminal delirium based on the views of healthcare professionals: (1) adequate management of symptoms/distress, (2) ability to communicate, (3) continuity of self, (4) provision of care and support to families, and (5) considering a balance (between symptom alleviation and maintaining communication; between symptom alleviation and family preparations for the death of patients; balance between specific treatment goals for delirium and general treatment goals).
Significance of results
According to the views of healthcare workers questioned in this study, goals of care and treatment in terminal delirium are multidimensional and extend beyond simply controlling patient symptoms.
This study investigates the usefulness of the Structured Interview for Competency and Incompetency Assessment Testing and Ranking Inventory (SICIATRI) for cancer patients, which is a structured interview that assesses a patient's competency in clinical practice.
The SICIATRI, originally developed to measure patients' competency to give informed consent, were administered referred cancer patients who needed for assessing medical decision making capacity. The usefulness of the SICIATRI was investigated retrospectively. Recommendation for modification of the SICIATRI for cancer patients if applicable were made by the research team.
Among the 433 cancer patients referred for psychiatric consultation, 12 were administered the SICIATRI and all of the administration were conducted without big problems. All patients were 60 years or older. The most common purpose for competency evaluation was to analyze patients' understanding of the anti-cancer treatment proposed by oncologists, followed by their refusal of the treatment. Half of the patients (n = 6) were diagnosed with delirium and three among them were judged as having the most impaired status of a patient's competency. Two patients (17%) were diagnosed with major depression and another two (17%) were mental retardation and each one patient was diagnosed with dementia and past history of alcohol dependence. Among 6 patients without delirium 5 subjects including a dementia patient were judged as fully competent. Total of 5 small potential modifications of the SICIATRI for its use with Japanese cancer patients were recommended.
Significance of results:
Our experience suggests that the SICIATRI is a useful instrument for psycho-oncology clinical practice.
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most popular psychiatric disorders in the general population and is also well known as a very common comorbid psychiatric disorder among patients with major depression. On the other hand, social anxiety disorder has been termed “the neglected anxiety disorder” because its diagnosis is often missed. Furthermore, the potential impact of social anxiety disorder on the psychological distress of cancer patients has not been reported.
We encountered two cancer patients with refractory depression after cancer diagnosis, in whom comorbid social anxiety disorder was unexpectedly detected during a subsequent follow-up.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to discuss the potential impact of social anxiety disorder on cancer patients' distress. These two cases may help to improve our understanding of the complicated mental health problems of cancer patients and the potential influence of social anxiety disorder on patients' follow-up medical treatment.
Significance of results:
Comorbid social anxiety disorder should be considered when a cancer patient's depression is resistant to treatment and the existence of communication problems between the patient and the medical staff is suspected.
We evaluated the absorption and metabolism of palatinose in rats by the carbohydrate load test and the 13C- and H2-breath tests. We compared the results of these tests with those of sucrose, since sucrose is an isomer of palatinose and generally known to be degraded and absorbed from the small intestine. In the carbohydrate load test, blood glucose and plasma insulin levels after oral administration of palatinose rose more gradually and reached a maximum that was lower than that after sucrose administration. In the 13C-breath test, rats were orally administrated [1-13C]sucrose or [1-13C]palatinose and housed in a chamber. The expired air in the chamber was collected, and the level of 13CO2 in the expired air was measured at appropriate intervals for 360 min. The value of time taken to reach the maximum concentration for expired 13CO2 from [1-13Cglucose] ([1-13Cglc]) and [1-13Cfructose] ([1-13Cfru]) palatinose was significantly longer than that from [1-13Cglc] and [1-13Cfru]sucrose, respectively. The value of area under the curve (AUC) for [1-13Cglc]palatinose was larger than that for [1-13Cglc]sucrose, but AUC for [1-13Cfru] showed no difference between palatinose and sucrose. In the H2-breath test, the concentration of H2 in the expired air was measured for 420 min. H2 was hardly detected with both palatinose and sucrose and no significant difference was observed between the two groups. These results suggest that palatinose is utilised in vivo at a rate equal to that of sucrose.
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