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1.
Can J Anaesth ; 67(10): 1417-1423, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777840

ABSTRACT

Symptom management and end-of-life care are core skills for all physicians, although in ordinary times many anesthesiologists have fewer occasions to use these skills. The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has caused significant mortality over a short time and has necessitated an increase in provision of both critical care and palliative care. For anesthesiologists deployed to units caring for patients with COVID-19, this narrative review provides guidance on conducting goals of care discussions, withdrawing life-sustaining measures, and managing distressing symptoms.


RéSUMé: La prise en charge des symptômes et les soins de fin de vie sont des compétences de base pour tous les médecins, bien qu'en temps ordinaire, de nombreux anesthésiologistes n'ont que peu d'occasions de mettre en pratique ces compétences. La pandémie actuelle de coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) a provoqué un taux de mortalité significatif dans un court intervalle et a nécessité une augmentation des besoins en soins intensifs et en soins palliatifs. Destiné aux anesthésiologistes déployés dans les unités prenant soin de patients atteints de la COVID-19, ce compte rendu narratif offre des recommandations quant à la façon de mener les discussions à propos des objectifs de soins, du retrait des thérapies de soutien vital, et de la prise en charge de symptômes de détresse.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Critical Care/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Terminal Care/organization & administration , Anesthesiologists/organization & administration , Anesthesiologists/standards , COVID-19 , Clinical Competence , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Critical Care/standards , Humans , Palliative Care/organization & administration , Pandemics , Physicians/organization & administration , Physicians/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Terminal Care/standards , Withholding Treatment
2.
Crit Care Med ; 49(10): e1037-e1039, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475866

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine if a restrictive visitor policy inadvertently lengthened the decision-making process for dying inpatients without coronavirus disease 2019. DESIGN: Regression discontinuity and time-to-event analysis. SETTING: Two large academic hospitals in a unified health system. PATIENTS OR SUBJECTS: Adult decedents who received greater than or equal to 1 day of ICU care during their terminal admission over a 12-month period. INTERVENTIONS: Implementation of a visit restriction policy. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: We identified 940 adult decedents without coronavirus disease 2019 during the study period. For these patients, ICU length of stay was 0.8 days longer following policy implementation, although this effect was not statistically significant (95% CI, -2.3 to 3.8; p = 0.63). After excluding patients admitted before the policy but who died after implementation, we observed that ICU length of stay was 2.9 days longer post-policy (95% CI, 0.27-5.6; p = 0.03). A time-to-event analysis revealed that admission after policy implementation was associated with a significantly longer time to first do not resuscitate/do not intubate/comfort care order (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.6-3.1; p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Policies restricting family presence may lead to longer ICU stays and delay decisions to limit treatment prior to death. Further policy evaluation and programs enabling access to family-centered care and palliative care during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic are imperative.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Decision Making , Health Policy , Visitors to Patients/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/psychology , Critical Illness/mortality , Critical Illness/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Terminal Care/methods , Terminal Care/psychology , Terminal Care/standards
4.
Br J Hosp Med (Lond) ; 82(4): 1-6, 2021 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207923

ABSTRACT

In view of the high morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19, early and honest conversations with patients about goals of care are vital. Advance care planning in its traditional manner may be difficult to achieve given the unpredictability of the disease trajectory. Despite this, it is crucial that patients' care wishes are explored as this will help prevent inappropriate admissions to hospital and to critical care, improve symptom control and advocate for patient choice. This article provides practical tips on how to translate decisions around treatment escalation plans into conversations, both face-to-face and over the phone, in a sensitive and compassionate manner. Care planning conversations for patients with COVID-19 should be individualised and actively involve the patient. Focusing on goals of care rather than ceilings of treatment can help to alleviate anxiety around these conversations and will remind patients that their care will never cease. Using a framework such as the 'SPIKES' mnemonic can help to structure this conversation. Verbally conveying empathy will be key, particularly when wearing personal protective equipment or speaking to relatives over the phone. It is also important to make time to recognise your own emotions during and/or after these conversations.


Subject(s)
Advance Care Planning/organization & administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Terminal Care/organization & administration , Advance Care Planning/standards , Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/standards , Empathy , Humans , Patient Care Planning , Personal Protective Equipment , SARS-CoV-2 , Telephone , Terminal Care/standards
5.
J Pastoral Care Counsel ; 75(1_suppl): 17-23, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140436

ABSTRACT

This paper presents and discusses data from three of the qualitative questions in the international COVID-19 survey: What was the most important aspect of spiritual care that was lost during the pandemic? What was new to you during this pandemic? What are the new ways of delivering spiritual care you have experienced? Of these new experiences, what do you think was the most effective?


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Clergy/psychology , Pastoral Care/methods , Pastoral Care/standards , Digital Technology , Humans , Physical Distancing , Professional Role , Qualitative Research , Surveys and Questionnaires , Teleworking , Terminal Care/standards , Touch
7.
BMJ Open ; 10(8): e037466, 2020 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695785

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted ongoing challenges to optimal supportive end-of-life care for adults living in long-term care (LTC) facilities. A supportive end-of-life care approach emphasises family involvement, optimal symptom control, multidisciplinary team collaboration and death and bereavement support services for residents and families. Community-based and palliative care specialist physicians who visit residents in LTC facilities play an important role in supportive end-of-life care. Yet, perspectives, experiences and perceptions of these physicians remain unknown. The objective of this study was to explore barriers and facilitators to optimal supportive end-of-life palliative care in LTC through the experiences and perceptions of community-based and palliative specialist physicians who visit LTC facilities. DESIGN: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews, basic qualitative description and directed content analysis using the COM-B (capability, opportunity, motivation - behaviour) theoretical framework. SETTING: Residential long-term care. PARTICIPANTS: 23 physicians who visit LTC facilities from across Alberta, Canada, including both in urban and rural settings of whom 18 were community-based physicians and 5 were specialist palliative care physicians. RESULTS: Motivation barriers include families' lack of frailty knowledge, unrealistic expectations and emotional reactions to grief and uncertainty. Capability barriers include lack of symptom assessment tools, as well as palliative care knowledge, training and mentorship. Physical and social design barriers include lack of dedicated spaces for death and bereavement, inadequate staff, and mental health and spiritual services of insufficient scope for the population. CONCLUSION: Findings reveal that validating families' concerns, having appropriate symptom assessment tools, providing mentorship in palliative care and adapting the physical and social environment to support dying and grieving with dignity facilitates supportive, end-of-life care within LTC.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Long-Term Care , Palliative Care/standards , Pandemics , Physicians , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Skilled Nursing Facilities , Terminal Care/standards , Adult , Aged , Alberta , Attitude of Health Personnel , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Family , Female , Frail Elderly , Frailty , Health Services Needs and Demand , Hospice Care , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Qualitative Research , Respect , SARS-CoV-2 , Specialization
9.
Palliat Med ; 34(9): 1249-1255, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-690192

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The literature contains limited information on the problems faced by dying patients with COVID-19 and the effectiveness of interventions to manage these. AIM: The aim of this audit was to assess the utility of our end-of-life care plan, and specifically the effectiveness of our standardised end-of-life care treatment algorithms, in dying patients with COVID-19. DESIGN: The audit primarily involved data extraction from the end-of-life care plan, which includes four hourly nursing (ward nurses) assessments of specific problems: patients with problems were managed according to standardised treatment algorithms, and the intervention was deemed to be effective if the problem was not present at subsequent assessments. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: This audit was undertaken at a general hospital in England, covered the 8 weeks from 16 March to 11 May 2020 and included all inpatients with COVID-19 who had an end-of-life care plan (and died). RESULTS: Sixty-one patients met the audit criteria: the commonest problem was shortness of breath (57.5%), which was generally controlled with conservative doses of morphine (10-20 mg/24 h via a syringe pump). Cough and audible respiratory secretions were relatively uncommon. The second most common problem was agitation/delirium (55.5%), which was generally controlled with standard pharmacological interventions. The cumulative number of patients with shortness of breath, agitation and audible respiratory secretions increased over the last 72 h of life, but most patients were symptom controlled at the point of death. CONCLUSION: Patients dying of COVID-19 experience similar end-of-life problems to other groups of patients. Moreover, they generally respond to standard interventions for these end-of-life problems.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Delirium/drug therapy , Drug Therapy/standards , Dyspnea/drug therapy , Hospice Care/standards , Palliative Care/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Terminal Care/standards , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/nursing , Drug Therapy/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hospice Care/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Hypnotics and Sedatives/therapeutic use , Male , Middle Aged , Morphine/therapeutic use , Palliative Care/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/nursing , Practice Guidelines as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Terminal Care/statistics & numerical data , United Kingdom/epidemiology
10.
Palliat Med ; 34(9): 1235-1240, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-616769

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Hospital clinicians have had to rapidly develop expertise in managing the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 including symptoms common at the end of life, such as breathlessness and agitation. There is limited evidence exploring whether end-of-life symptom control in this group requires new or adapted guidance. AIM: To review whether prescribing for symptom control in patients dying with COVID-19 adhered to existing local guidance or whether there was deviation which may represent a need for revised guidance or specialist support in particular patient groups. DESIGN/SETTING: A retrospective review of the electronic patient record of 61 hospital inpatients referred to the specialist palliative care team with swab-confirmed COVID-19 who subsequently died over a 1-month period. Intubated patients were excluded. RESULTS: In all, 83% (40/48) of patients were prescribed opioids at a starting dose consistent with existing local guidelines. In seven of eight patients where higher doses were prescribed, this was on specialist palliative care team advice. Mean total opioid dose required in the last 24 h of life was 14 mg morphine subcutaneous equivalent, and mean total midazolam dose was 9.5 mg. For three patients in whom non-invasive ventilation was in place higher doses were used. CONCLUSION: Prescription of end-of-life symptom control drugs for COVID-19 fell within the existing guidance when supported by specialist palliative care advice. While some patients may require increased doses, routine prescription of higher starting opioid and benzodiazepine doses beyond existing local guidance was not observed.


Subject(s)
Biopharmaceutics/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Delirium/drug therapy , Dyspnea/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Terminal Care/methods , Terminal Care/standards , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Hypnotics and Sedatives/therapeutic use , Male , Midazolam/therapeutic use , Middle Aged , Morphine/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Head Neck ; 42(7): 1507-1515, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-614117

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus has altered the health care environment for the management of head and neck cancers. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide direction during the pandemic for rational Head and Neck Cancer management in order to achieve a medically and ethically appropriate balance of risks and benefits. METHODS: Creation of consensus document. RESULTS: The process yielded a consensus statement among a wide range of practitioners involved in the management of patients with head and neck cancer in a multihospital tertiary care health system. CONCLUSIONS: These guidelines support an ethical approach for the management of head and neck cancers during the COVID-19 epidemic consistent with both the local standard of care as well as the head and neck oncological literature.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Infection Control/standards , Medical Oncology/standards , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Ambulatory Care/standards , COVID-19 , Combined Modality Therapy , Continuity of Patient Care/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Humans , Multi-Institutional Systems , Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures/standards , Palliative Care/standards , Patient Safety , Pennsylvania , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Terminal Care/standards , Tertiary Care Centers
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