An Exploratory Survey of End-of-Life Attitudes, Beliefs, and Experiences of Adolescents With HIV/AIDS and Their Families

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Journal of pain and symptom management (Impact Factor: 2.8). 07/2012; 44(3):373-85.e29. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.09.022
Source: PubMed


For youths with life-limiting conditions, little is known regarding families' understanding of their adolescent's wishes for end-of-life (EOL) care.
To examine congruence in HIV positive adolescents and their families' thoughts about death and dying.
The Lyon Advance Care Planning Survey-Adolescent and Surrogate versions were administered within a randomized controlled trial. Participants (n=48) were medically stable adolescents aged 14-21 years with HIV/AIDS and their families. Congruence was measured by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for continuous variables and by kappa for ordinal or dichotomous responses.
Adolescent participants were as follows: mean age 16.6 years (range 14-21); 37.5% males; 92% African American; 38% CD4 count <200; and viral load mean=32,079 copies/mL (range <400-91,863 copies/mL). Adolescent/family dyads agreed that it is important to complete an advance directive to let loved ones know their wishes (21/24 dyads), yet no dyads agreed an advance directive had been completed. Dyads endorsed incongruent thoughts about the adolescent being afraid of dying in pain (64%; congruent afraid=8 dyads, kappa=-0.0769) and being off life support machines (congruent important=9 dyads, ICC=-0.133, 95% confidence interval = -0.540, 0.302, P=0.721). Families' knowledge of teens' preferences for the timing of EOL conversations (early vs. late in course of illness) was poor (kappa=-0.1186). Adolescents (90%) wanted to talk about EOL issues before they entered the dying phase.
Although important areas of congruence emerged, equally important areas, such as the timing of these conversations and adolescents' EOL needs and wishes, are not known by their families. Families need help initiating conversations to assure that their adolescents' EOL wishes are known to them.

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    • "This study moves the field of pACP forward, implementing structured conversations in practice. Adolescents with cancer recognized pACP as a process, with 75% preferring to discuss pACP early or throughout the illness trajectory, which confirms earlier findings with adolescents [3] [28] and supports the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of the concurrent use of PC and curative care for children from the time of diagnosis of a life-threatening illness [37]. Safeguards [38] were put in place that represent effective ACP: (1) an iterative process of adapting a structured, disease-specific protocol to be developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive; (2) the patient and family/surrogate decision maker were present; (3) conversations first addressed adolescents' values and goals of care before discussing treatment preferences; (4) trained or certified facilitators conducted these conversations; (5) oncologists received e-mail communication about the process and pACP documents; and (6) advance directives were readily available in the medical record. "
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    ABSTRACT: To test the feasibility, acceptability and safety of a pediatric advance care planning intervention, Family-Centered Advance Care Planning for Teens With Cancer (FACE-TC). Adolescent (age 14-20years)/family dyads (N = 30) with a cancer diagnosis participated in a two-armed, randomized, controlled trial. Exclusion criteria included severe depression and impaired mental status. Acceptability was measured by the Satisfaction Questionnaire. General Estimating Equations models assessed the impact of FACE-TC on 3-month post-intervention outcomes as measured by the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Generic Core Scale, the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Cancer-Specific Module, the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, the Spiritual Well-Being Scale of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-IV, and advance directive completion. Acceptability was demonstrated with enrollment of 72% of eligible families, 100% attendance at all three sessions, 93% retention at 3-month post-intervention, and 100% data completion. Intervention families rated FACE-TC worthwhile (100%), whereas adolescents' ratings increased over time (65%-82%). Adolescents' anxiety decreased significantly from baseline to 3 months post-intervention in both groups (β = -5.6; p = .0212). Low depressive symptom scores and high quality of life scores were maintained by adolescents in both groups. Advance directives were located easily in medical records (100% of FACE-TC adolescents vs. no controls). Oncologists received electronic copies. Total Spirituality scores (β = 8.1; p = .0296) were significantly higher among FACE-TC adolescents versus controls. The FACE-TC adolescents endorsed the best time to bring up end-of-life decisions: 19% before being sick, 19% at diagnosis, none when first ill or hospitalized, 25% when dying, and 38% for all of the above. Family-Centered Advance Care Planning for Teens With Cancer demonstrated feasibility and acceptability. Courageous adolescents willingly participated in highly structured, in-depth pediatric advance care planning conversations safely.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 12/2013; 54(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.10.206 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Congruence in spirituality between HIV+ adolescent (n = 40)/family (n = 40) dyads and psychological adjustment and quality of life were assessed, using the Spiritual Well-Being Scale of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy, Beck Depression Inventory-II, Beck Anxiety Inventory and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory at baseline and 3-month post-intervention. Adolescents were 60 % female and 92 % African American. Congruence in spirituality between adolescent/surrogate dyads remained unchanged at 3 months. High congruence existed for "having a reason for living"; rejection of "life lacks meaning/purpose" and "HIV is a punishment from God." Adolescents were less likely to forgive the harm others caused them than their families.
    Journal of Religion and Health 10/2012; 53(3). DOI:10.1007/s10943-012-9657-y · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Advance care planning (ACP) prepares patients and their families for future health care decisions; however, the needs of adolescent oncology patients for participation in ACP have not been well studied. OBJECTIVE To examine the efficacy of family-centered ACP. DESIGN AND SETTING Two-group randomized controlled trial in a pediatric oncology program. PARTICIPANTS Sixty adolescents aged 14 to 21 years with cancer and their surrogates or families were enrolled in the study between January 17, 2011, and March 29, 2012. INTERVENTION Thirty dyads received 3- to 60-minute sessions 1 week apart. Intervention dyads completed (1) the Lyon Family-Centered ACP Survey, (2) the Respecting Choices interview, and (3) Five Wishes. Control subjects received standard care plus information. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Statement of treatment preferences and Decisional Conflict Scale score. RESULTS The mean age of the adolescents was 16 years; 36 (60%) were male, 30 (50%) white, 26 (43%) black, and 4 (7%) Asian. Diagnoses were as follows: leukemia (14 patients [47%]), brain tumor (8 [27%]), solid tumor (6 [20%]), and lymphoma (2 [7%]). Significantly increased congruence was observed for intervention dyads compared with controls for 4 of the 6 disease-specific scenarios; for example, for situation 2 ("treatment would extend my life by not more than 2 to 3 months"), intervention dyads demonstrated higher congruence (κ = 0.660; P < .001) vs control dyads (κ = -0.0636; P = .70). Intervention adolescents (100%) wanted their families to do what is best at the time, whereas fewer control adolescents (62%) gave families this leeway. Intervention adolescents were significantly better informed about end-of-life decisions (t = 2.93; effect size, 0.961; 95% CI, 0.742-1.180; P = .007). Intervention families were more likely to concur on limiting treatments than controls. An ethnic difference was found in only one situation. CONCLUSIONS Advance care planning enabled families to understand and honor their adolescents' wishes. Intervention dyads were more likely than controls to limit treatments. Underserved African American families were willing to participate.
    03/2013; 167(5):1-8. DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.943
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