The 2011 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Heart Failure (HF) Guidelines Focused Update reviews the recently published clinical trials that will potentially impact on management. Also reviewed is the less studied but clinically important area of sleep apnea. Finally, patients with advanced HF represent a group of patients who pose major difficulties to clinicians. Advanced HF therefore is examined from the perspectives of HF complicated by renal failure, the role of palliative care, and the role of mechanical circulatory support (MCS). All of these topics are reviewed from a perspective of practical applications. Important new studies have demonstrated in less symptomatic HF patients that cardiac resynchronization therapy will be of benefit. As well, aldosterone receptor antagonists can be used with benefit in less symptomatic HF patients. The important role of palliative care and the need to address end-of-life issues in advanced HF are emphasized. Physicians need to be aware of the possibility of sleep apnea complicating the course of HF and the role of a sleep study for the proper assessment and management of the conditon. Patients with either acute severe or chronic advanced HF with otherwise good life expectancy should be referred to a cardiac centre capable of providing MCS. Furthermore, patients awaiting heart transplantation who deteriorate or are otherwise not likely to survive until a donor organ is found should be referred for MCS.
Comment In: Can J Cardiol. 2011 Nov-Dec;27(6):871.e721885242
Most cancer patients receiving life-prolonging or palliative treatment are offered non-specialist palliative services. There is a lack of knowledge about their problem profile. The aim of this article is to describe the incidence of patient-reported physical and emotional problems on admission and discharge from general hospital wards and health staff's reported intervention. A prospective study was undertaken over 12 months, where advanced cancer patients completed a patient questionnaire, EORTC QLQ C15-PAL, on admission (n= 97) and discharge (n= 46). The incidences of the problems were dichotomised in intensity categories. The average number of 'clinically relevant problems' on admission was 5 (SD 2) and on discharge 4 (SD 2). A Wilcoxon signed rank test showed significant change in mean score for six out of nine problem areas, but the majority of the patients did not move to the lower intensity category. The highest concurrence was between patient-reported problems and reported intervention for physical function, pain, constipation and loss of appetite. Palliative cancer patients' self-reported problem profile on admission and discharge from hospital has not previously been described and the results indicate a need to focus on improvements to palliative services and for a special service for pain and constipation that could prevent some admissions.
This paper examines how clinical nurse specialists assessed their competences in relief of symptoms, and explores factors affecting good care routines in palliative care.
A prospective survey among 235 former post-bachelor (response rate 50.6 %) students at two university colleges in Norway.
Correlations between the measured concepts showed a medium to high correlation between all five competences. Use of care routines correlated with all the other factors. The ability to identify lack of care showed significant correlation with one concept: time available for nursing. The results from the regression analysis supported a model with good care routines as a dependent variable (F=22.59, df=91, P
BACKGROUND: The gap between nursing research and practice is readily acknowledged in literature, with a variety of strategies suggested for reducing this gap. It is necessary not only to address problems of research implementation in practice, but also to find strategies that strengthen the influence of practitioners on research agendas through more collaborative relationships in order to have an impact on care of patients. A multi-centre research project was therefore initiated by two universities and three health care facilities, aiming to improve quality of care for patients with advanced cancer through a knowledge-exchange programme between nurse researchers, practitioners and students. AIM: The aim of this article is to explore how clinical staff reason about care provision for patients with advanced cancer, through analysis of 20 focus group discussions conducted with staff in three different health care facilities in two Swedish cities. An initial analysis based on grounded theory was complemented with consideration of the interactive process in the focus group discussions, and carried out by a team consisting of senior nurse researchers, clinical experts and nursing instructors. FINDINGS: The findings of the focus group discussions emphasize the complexity of caregiving for patients with advanced cancer. The tension between caregiving ideals and limits imposed by the realities of caregiving in today's health system were striking. Practitioners discussed the organization of care, different constellations of relationships between patients, family members and professionals, and theoretical and experiential knowledge as equally important aspects in dealing with all concrete situations in daily practice. The importance of reflective practice, use of self and ethical reasoning also permeated the focus group discussions. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight an integrated need both to influence organizational structures and working relationships, along with increasing knowledge, if sustainable change is to be effected.
Evidence-based guidelines or care pathways for symptom management could provide a means to reduce symptom distress in dying patients. We surveyed directors of nursing from hospices affiliated with the Population-based Palliative Care Research Network (PoPCRN) regarding their hospices' current use of and attitudes toward written symptom management materials. A majority (53/78, 68 percent) of participating hospices reported use of written materials, such as guidelines, protocols, or care pathways, for one or more symptoms. Materials were based on multiple sources and varied from simple medication orders to more comprehensive, multicategory symptom management resources. Regardless of the composition, these materials were perceived as helpful. Given this favorable view, variations in the use and content of written materials may signify an opportunity to decrease symptom distress in hospice through the implementation of evidence-based symptom management resources.