Medline ® Abstracts for References 13,18
of 'Advance care planning and advance directives'
Associations between end-of-life discussions, patient mental health, medical care near death, and caregiver bereavement adjustment.
Wright AA, Zhang B, Ray A, Mack JW, Trice E, Balboni T, Mitchell SL, Jackson VA, Block SD, Maciejewski PK, Prigerson HG
CONTEXT: Talking about death can be difficult. Without evidence that end-of-life discussions improve patient outcomes, physicians must balance their desire to honor patient autonomy against a concern of inflicting psychological harm.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether end-of-life discussions with physicians are associated with fewer aggressive interventions.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A US multisite, prospective, longitudinal cohort study of patients with advanced cancer and their informal caregivers (n = 332 dyads), September 2002-February 2008. Patients were followed up from enrollment to death, a median of 4.4 months later. Bereaved caregivers' psychiatric illness and quality of life was assessed a median of 6.5 months later.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Aggressive medical care (eg, ventilation, resuscitation) and hospice in the final week of life. Secondary outcomes included patients' mental health and caregivers' bereavement adjustment.
RESULTS: One hundred twenty-three of 332 (37.0%) patients reported having end-of-life discussions before baseline. Such discussions were not associated with higher rates of major depressive disorder (8.3% vs 5.8%; adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-3.32), or more worry (mean McGill score, 6.5 vs 7.0; P = .19). After propensity-score weighted adjustment, end-of-life discussions were associated with lower rates of ventilation (1.6% vs 11.0%; adjusted OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08-0.83), resuscitation (0.8% vs 6.7%; adjusted OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-0.80), ICU admission (4.1% vs 12.4%; adjusted OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.14-0.90), and earlier hospice enrollment (65.6% vs 44.5%; adjusted OR, 1.65;95% CI, 1.04-2.63). In adjusted analyses, more aggressive medical care was associated with worse patient quality of life (6.4 vs 4.6; F = 3.61, P = .01) and higher risk of major depressive disorder in bereaved caregivers (adjusted OR, 3.37; 95% CI, 1.12-10.13), whereas longer hospice stays were associated with better patient quality of life (mean score, 5.6 vs 6.9; F = 3.70, P = .01). Better patient quality of life was associated with better caregiver quality of life at follow-up (beta = .20; P = .001).
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life discussions are associated with less aggressive medical care near death and earlier hospice referrals. Aggressive care is associated with worse patient quality of life and worse bereavement adjustment.
Department of Medical Oncology and Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 550 Shields Warren, 44 Binney St, Boston, MA 02115, USA. email@example.com
Hope and advance care planning in patients with end stage renal disease: qualitative interview study.
Davison SN, Simpson C
BMJ. 2006 Oct;333(7574):886. Epub 2006 Sep 21.
OBJECTIVE: To understand hope in the context of advance care planning from the perspective of patients with end stage renal disease.
DESIGN: Qualitative in-depth interview study.
SETTING: Outpatient department of a university affiliated nephrology programme.
PARTICIPANTS: 19 patients with end stage renal disease purposively selected from the renal insufficiency, haemodialysis, and peritoneal dialysis clinics.
RESULTS: Patients' hopes were highly individualised and were shaped by personal values. They reflected a preoccupation with their daily lives. Participants identified hope as central to the process of advance care planning in that hope helped them to determine future goals of care and provided insight into the perceived benefits of advance care planning and their willingness to engage in end of life discussions. More information earlier in the course of the illness focusing on the impact on daily life, along with empowerment of the patient and enhancing professional and personal relationships, were key factors in sustaining patients' ability to hope. This helped them to imagine possibilities for a future that were consistent with their values and hopes. The reliance on health professionals to initiate end of life discussions and the daily focus of clinical care were seen as potential barriers to hope.
CONCLUSIONS: Facilitated advance care planning through the provision of timely appropriate information can positively enhance rather than diminish patients' hope. Current practices concerning disclosure of prognosis are ethically and psychologically inadequate in that they do not meet the needs of patients.
Division of Nephrology and Immunology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org