Skip to Main Content

Palliative Care LibGuide

Recent Full-Text Articles

Acute healthcare utilization in end-of-life among Swedish brain tumor patients – a population based register study.

Source: BMC Palliative Care (MyAthens)

Patients with progressive primary brain tumors commonly develop a spectrum of physical as well as cognitive symptoms. This places a large burden on family members and the condition’s complexity often requires frequent health care contacts. We investigated potential associations between sociodemographic or socioeconomic factors, comorbidity or receipt of specialized palliative care (SPC) and acute healthcare utilization in the end-of-life (EOL) phase.

An adaptation of meaning-centered psychotherapy integrating “essential care”: A pilot study

Source: Palliative & Supportive Care (MyAthens)

Introduction: There is a growing interest in the emotional state of cancer patients. The main objective of this pilot study is to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy and Essential Care (MCP-EC) in patients with advanced cancer compared with usual psychological support. We define “Essential Care” as the promotion of patient care and self-care through the recall of good care experiences and discussion of the concepts: responsibility, self-compassion, kindness, and attitude.
Method: Pilot, single-center, and prospective study of 30 patients with advanced cancer and emotional distress. Our adaptation consisted in three session Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy-Palliative Care, plus a fourth session named “Essential Care”. The study was carried out in two phases. First, 20 patients were randomized to one of the two arms: individual MCP-EC (experimental, n = 10) or usual psychological supportive (control, n = 10). In a second phase, 10 patients were assigned consecutively to Group MCP-EC (n = 10). All patients were evaluated at baseline (pre-) and post-intervention with questionnaires for sociodemographic data and clinical scales.

Results: Nineteen patients completed the 4 sessions of MCP-EC, 9 individual format and 10 group format. Usual supportive intervention was delivered to 10 control patients. Total 28 patients completed pre- and post-treatment evaluations. There were no pre- vs. post-differences in the evaluations of the control group. In the experimental group, significant pre- vs. post-differences were found in EQ-5D-3L, HADS, FACIT, DM, HAI, SCS-SF, and TD questionnaires. These results indicated that MCP-EC reduced anxiety and depression symptoms, hopelessness, demoralization, as well as increased spiritual well-being and sense of meaning. Participants were satisfied and found the MCP-EC intervention positively.

Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that the MCP-EC has feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy reducing the emotional distress in advanced cancer patients. Larger studies are warranted to clarify the strengths and limitations of this psychotherapy.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Family Caregivers of Individuals With End-Stage Heart Failure

Source: Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing (CIAP)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, family caregivers were providing a tremendous amount of care for family members with heart failure with the prevalence of caregiver reliance in heart failure expected to increase in the United States. Social distancing and other restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic may have added further challenges to caregiving routines. The purpose of this study was to examine the family caregiver perception of the effect of COVID-19 on caregiving routines. To determine caregiver perception of COVID-19's impact, 1 Likert question and 1 open-ended response were asked. Braun and Clark's method guided open-ended response thematic analysis. The 113 replies to the open-response question yielded themes such as social isolation, added fear, anxiety, or worry, changed appointments, wearing masks, and living status change. Social isolation (41.6%) was the most common theme; the most significant theme was living status change (P = .003), and family caregivers reported that the pandemic affected their routines either negatively or somewhat negatively (62.1%). Family caregivers are affected during times of crisis. Research and policies that recognize the residual effects of COVID-19 on caregiving practices and support care transitions for family caregivers in the heart failure population are needed.

Inappropriate end-of-life cancer care in a generalist and specialist palliative care model: a nationwide retrospective population-based observational study

Source: BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care (MyAthens)

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of provision and timing of palliative care (PC) on potentially inappropriate end-of-life care to patients with cancer in a mixed generalist—specialist PC model.
Method: A retrospective population-based observational study using a national administrative health insurance database. All 43 067 adults in the Netherlands, who were diagnosed with or treated for cancer during the year preceding their death in 2017, were included. Main exposure was either generalist or specialist PC initiated >30 days before death (n=16 967). Outcomes were measured over the last 30 days of life, using quality indicators for potentially inappropriate end-of-life care.
Results: In total, 14 504 patients (34%) experienced potentially inappropriate end-of-life care; 2732 were provided with PC >30 days before death (exposure group) and 11 772 received no PC or ≤30 days before death (non-exposure group) (16% vs 45%, p<0.001). Most patients received generalist PC (88%). Patients provided with PC >30 days before death were 5 times less likely to experience potentially inappropriate end-of-life care (adjusted OR (AOR) 0.20; (95% CI 0.15 to 0.26)) than those with no PC or PC in the last 30 days. Both early (>90 days) and late (>30 and≤90 days) PC initiation had lower odds for potentially inappropriate end-of-life care (AOR 0.23 and 0.19, respectively).
Conclusion: Timely access to PC in a mixed generalist—specialist PC model significantly decreases the likelihood of potentially inappropriate end-of-life care for patients with cancer. Generalist PC can play a substantial role.

Neuromodulation in Chronic Pelvic Pain: A Narrative Review

Source: Pain and Therapy (CIAP)

Chronic primary pelvic pain syndrome (CPPPS) is a heterogeneous disease with unknown pathogenesis and a lack of distinct pathological features, which complicates diagnosis and therapy and has a significant impact on patients' daily life. Because pharmacological management is ineffective and long-term use may result in additional system damage, developing a more effective treatment is critical. Neuromodulation has advanced rapidly over the last few decades, and various types of neuromodulations have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of CPPPS. In this article we discuss the evolution of neuromodulation technology in the treatment of chronic pelvic pain, its application to various subtypes of chronic pelvic pain, and the comparison of relevant efficacy and parameter differences, as well as assess the relative advantages and disadvantages of sacral neuromodulation, percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation , transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, electroacupuncture, and pudendal neuromodulation. Furthermore, it was noted that chronic pelvic pain should be evaluated in terms of pain, associated symptoms, psychological problems, and quality of life. Although neuromodulation approaches have been shown to be effective in treating chronic pelvic pain, more extensive multicenter trials are required to confirm this.

Palliative care delivery changes during COVID-19 and enduring implications in oncology nursing: a rapid review

Source: Current Opinion in Supportive Palliative Care (CIAP)

Purpose of review: A rapid review was conducted to synthesize evidence of palliative care delivery changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes were synthesized according to the eight domains of high-quality palliative care and enduring implications for oncology nurses beyond the pandemic discussed.
Recent findings: The most significant changes occurred in the structure and processes of palliative care (Domain 1), where increased utilization of telehealth was critical in circumventing barriers imposed by COVID-19 mitigation. The suboptimal availability of community-based psychosocial supports for patients and caregivers and inadequate health system-based psychosocial supports for healthcare providers were highlighted (Domains 3-5). The pandemic also ushered in an increased emphasis on the need for advance care planning (ACP), where integrating its delivery earlier in the outpatient setting and shifting policy to promote subsequent virtual documentation (Domain 8) were essential to ensure care preferences were clarified and accessible before health crises occurred.
Summary: Continuing to embrace and sustain systems-level changes with respect to telehealth, psychosocial supports, and ACP are critical to bridging gaps in palliative care delivery underscored by the pandemic. Oncology nurses are well positioned to fill these gaps in care beyond the pandemic by providing evidence-based, palliative care throughout the cancer continuum.