Volume 6, Issue 1

  • 2019, November

    original research

    Outpatient–Focused Advance Care Planning: Telehealth Consultation for Geriatric Primary Care PatientsOpen Access

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    Abstract [+]

    Introduction

    Documentation of advance care planning (ACP) in the electronic health record (EHR) is a quality measure promoted by both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). There is no best practice model for promotion of ACP in primary care. Clinic prompts reminders from staff, and provision of forms and handouts modestly increase ACP completion. Targeted advance care planning and goals of care discussions for high-risk high-need older patients may help promote ACP in primary care.

    Methods

    High-risk, high-need geriatric patients were identified by the clinical assessment of need (CAN) risk calculator for a telehealth intervention by an advanced practice nurse trained in palliative care and embedded in the geriatric patient-aligned care team (Geri-PACT) and provided telehealth outreach for ACP and goals of care discussions.

    Outcomes

    At baseline the Geri-PACT panel had a 54% prevalence of ACP in the EHR. Completion of a life-sustaining treatment note (LST) increased from 39% to 74% following the telehealth intervention producing a total of 89% ACP documents in the EHR. Additionally, 9% of patients received goals of care discussions and a need for additional home and community-based services was identified for 12% of patients contacted. Outreach to three practices in an established physician referral and patient visit network which included 10 providers indicated that primary care providers desired to approach their own patients for ACP. These providers were educated and provided tools and information about CMS and VA ACP quality improvement directives.

    Conclusion

    A focused telehealth intervention performed by a nurse trained in palliative care and embedded in a geriatric patient-centered medical home was able to significantly increase ACP documentation in the EHR for elderly patients in the practice. Primary care providers place core importance on the value of the patient-clinician relationship and prefer to approach their own patients rather than rely on consultation for ACP. Education for primary care providers and provision of resources to perform ACP and goals of care discussions for their patients may be a worthwhile strategy to improve ACP completion and documentation in the EHR.

    Keywords

    Advance directives; Primary care; Telehealth.


  • 2020, August

    original research

    Impact of the Use of Non-Pharmacological Care Tools in Building the Perception of Dignity in Ailing People at the End-of-LifeOpen Access

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    Abstract [+]

    Objective

    This paper examines the link between non-pharmacological care tools carried out by volunteers in a hospice and the development of the perception of dignity in people with end-of-life terminal illnesses.

    Materials and Methods

    We interviewed volunteers from a hospice institution in Argentina, who carried out non-pharmacological care activities aimed at people at the end-of-life. The results of these interviews were analyzed with the Atlas Ti software, using the grounded theory as a form of qualitative codification.

    Results

    From the codification of the interviews, we obtained the following analysis categories: 1. Caring after the caregivers (mentioned 14 times), 2. Care taking into account the temporal needs of others (mentioned 7 times), 3. Active listening (mentioned 11 times), 4. Environmental aesthetic factors (mentioned 18 times) and 5. Enhancement of autonomy and selfhood (mentioned 22 times).

    Discussion

    We examined ways in which volunteers associated with the care of people with end-of-life terminal illnesses understand their work from the explanation of the non-pharmacological care activities developed within the institution, as well as the link that these have with the different dimensions of the human sense.

    Conclusion

    The non-pharmacological care tools, as they alleviate existential/spiritual suffering, impact positively in the possibility of a terminal person’s capacity to perceive herself/himself as worthy.

    Keywords

    Hospice; Non-pharmacological care; Dignity.