This study evaluates palliative treatment of inpatient cancer patients in two health centres and in one hospice in Finland. Apart from outpatient clinics, health centres in Finland also have inpatient wards where patients are treated by GPs. The hospice provides a home-like environment for terminal patients, who are cared for by a specialist in internal medicine. Our patient population comprised 36 health centre patients and 36 hospice patients enrolled in 1998. A structured questionnaire was used containing information on diagnosis, duration of the illness, current medication, daily activities, and socioeconomic background. The nurses assessed their patients' emotional needs. We found that the two groups of patients were similar in terms of gender, marital status and social situation. The hospice patients were significantly younger (P
This paper describes the development of the Rapid Response Radiotherapy Program and evaluates the continuing medical education (CME) series, in the form of multidisciplinary monthly Radiation Oncology Palliative Care Rounds at the Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre.
Palliative care rounds were initiated by the multidisciplinary committee in September, 1998. From January, 2000, to June, 2002, attendees used a standard 5- point Likert rating scale to conduct formal evaluations.
A total of 203 evaluation forms examining 20 rounds have been collected. Findings indicated that 86.8, 96.0, 87.1, and 90.8% of participants thought the material of the presentation was relevant to their practice, interesting, and instructional. Overall 90.1% of the respondents highly rated the grand rounds (rating of 4 or 5).
The grand rounds are an effective CME activity at our hospital.
Despite cancer patients preferring to spend their last days out-of-hospital, many make difficult visits to the emergency department (ED). Family physician continuity of care has been shown in some clinical situations to reduce ED utilization.
To determine if greater family physician continuity of care for cancer patients during the end-of-life is associated with less ED utilization.
This retrospective, population-based study involved secondary analysis of linked administrative data files for 1992 to 1997. Sources included the Nova Scotia Cancer Registry, Vital Statistics, the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center Oncology Patient Information System and Palliative Care Program (PCP), Hospital Admissions/Separation data, and Physician Services information. Subjects included adults with a recorded date of cancer diagnosis who died of cancer and who had made at least three visits to a family physician during their last 6 months of life. The relationship between total ED visits and family physician continuity of care, developed using the Modified Modified Continuity Index (MMCI), was examined using negative binomial regression with adjustments for survival, year of death, sex, age, cancer type, region, PCP admission, specialty visits, hospital days, death location, income quintile, and total ambulatory visits.
In total, 8702 subjects made 11,551 ED visits (median = 1.0); median MMCI was 0.83. Adjusted results indicate those experiencing low continuity (MMCI or = 0.8) and patients experiencing moderate continuity (MMCI = 0.5-0.8) made twice as many ED visits (RR = 2.28; CI = 2.15-2.42).
Given this significant association between family physician continuity of care and ED visits during the end-of-life, and given international trends to reform primary care, active planning of strategies to facilitate such continuity should be encouraged.
Patients with advanced cancer experience various problems with eating, and their meals should be tailored to meet their specific needs. Two methods of food service were compared in a shared acute oncology/palliative care unit; an electrical food cart allowing patients to select their food types and portions at the bedside, and a traditional food tray delivery service that relied on meals being prepared in a centralized kitchen and then delivered by tray. Over a 10-day period, lunch meals were delivered by food cart and supper meals via food trays. Twenty-seven out of 32 patients participated in the trial. Patients significantly preferred the food cart to the trays with respect to the timing and appeal of the meal, appropriateness of food types and food portions and the variety of the food choices. A food cart as used in this trial provides a more flexible and appropriate method of food delivery to in-patients in the oncology and palliative unit. Further studies should examine whether this translates to improved caloric intake and quality of life parameters.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common cause of disability and death in Canada. Moreover, morbidity and mortality from COPD continue to rise, and the economic burden is enormous. The main goal of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) Evidence-Based Guidelines is to optimize early diagnosis, prevention and management of COPD in Canada. Targeted spirometry is strongly recommended to expedite early diagnosis in smokers and exsmokers who develop respiratory symptoms, and who are at risk for COPD. Smoking cessation remains the single most effective intervention in accordance with the increasing severity of symptoms and disability. Long-acting anticholinergics and beta2-agonist inhalers should be prescribed for patients who remain symptomatic despite short-acting bronchodilatory therapy. Inhaled steroids should not be used as first-line therapy in COPD but have a role in preventing exacerbations in patients with more advanced disease who suffer recurrent exacerbations. Management strategies consisting of combined modern pharmacotherapy and nonpharmacotherapeutic interventions (eg, pulmonary rehabilitation/exercise training) can effectively improve symptoms, activity levels and quality of life, even in patients with severe COPD. Acute exacerbations of COPD cause significant morbidity and mortality and should be treated promptly with bronchodilators and a short course of oral steroids; antibiotics should be prescribed for purulent exacerbations. Patients with advanced COPD and respiratory failure require a comprehensive management plan that incorporates structured end-of-life care.
Comment In: Can Respir J. 2004 Jan-Feb;11(1):15-615010727
Three hundred Canadian primary care physicians were surveyed to determine their perceived barriers to the accessibility of palliative bone radiotherapy and their perceptions regarding treatment efficacy. The response rate was 61%. Factors perceived to hinder accessibility were identified, and the physicians recognized they were not comfortable with their radiotherapy knowledge.