Evaluation of an admission and discharge programme at a UK specialist palliative day hospice.
ABSTRACT This paper reports on a system of managing admissions and discharges from a specialist palliative day hospice (SPDH) in the south of England. SPDH is a well established component of palliative care provision in the UK, but studies have rarely addressed issues around admission and discharge. Case study methodology was used to evaluate the programme. Interviews were conducted with five patients who had attended the day hospice, taken a break or been discharged and returned; their carer(s); the key worker from the day hospice; and any other health professional who was involved in the patient's care during the admission. Communication issues were found within the team regarding referral and discharge processes, documentation of care, decision making, and information giving. Family members did not feel involved in decision making in relation to the programme. The most significant finding was the emotional and psychological impact on the patients of taking the break. Discharge from SPDH is known to be a difficult and sensitive issue, especially when patients are living with life-limiting illnesses that can change quickly. The patients in this study all had some form of dependency on the service and four of the five would have chosen to continue attending if they could. They experienced deterioration in psychological and physical wellbeing during the period in which they did not attend.
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ABSTRACT: Objectives: Home discharge after hospital admission to an inpatient palliative care unit (PCU) is a major challenge. Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system is commonly observed in patients with advanced cancer in this setting. The aim of this prospective observational study was to determine whether the measurement of heart rate variability (HRV) by assessing parameters of the autonomic nervous system on a 24-h-ECG at the time of admission to the PCU was correlated with the likelihood of discharge. Methods: Sixty hospitalized patients with advanced cancer of distinct origin, admitted to a PCU, were enrolled consecutively. The Karnofsky performance status scale (KPS) and the palliative performance scale (PPS) were obtained. HRV was measured over one day (20-24 hours) using a portable five-point ECG. The aim of the study was to compare HRV measurements in patients who could be discharged and those who died. The association of these variables with home discharge or death at the PCU was calculated. Results: Discharge was achieved in 45% of patients while 55% of patients died. Median KPS and median PPS on admission were significantly higher in discharged patients than in those who died (P=0.001). Patients who were discharged tended to have a higher HRV, although the difference was not significant. Conclusions: KPS and PPS were significant predictors of the likelihood of discharge while HRV did not predict discharge.Annals of Palliative Medicine. 08/2014;
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ABSTRACT: Abstract PURPOSE: Discharging a patient admitted to an inpatient palliative care unit (PCU) is a major challenge. A predictor of the feasibility of home discharge at the time of admission would be very useful. We tried to identify such predictors in a prospective observational study. METHODS: Sixty patients with advanced cancer admitted to a PCU were enrolled. Sociodemographic data were recorded and a panel of laboratory tests performed. The Karnofsky performance status scale (KPS) and the palliative performance scale (PPS) were determined. A palliative care physician and nurse independently predicted whether the patient would die at the ward. The association of these variables with home discharge or death at the PCU was determined. RESULTS: Sixty patients (26 men and 34 women) with advanced cancer were included in the study. Discharge was achieved in 45 % of patients, while 55 % of patients died at the PCU. The median stay of discharged patients was 15.2 days, and the median stay of deceased patients 13.6 days. Median KPS and PPS on admission was 56.2 % for the entire group and significantly higher for discharged patients (60.7 %) compared to deceased patients (52.4 %). Median BMI on admission was 22.8 in the entire group and was similar in discharged and deceased patients. No correlation was found between a panel of sociodemographic variables and laboratory tests with regard to discharge or death. In a binary logistic regression model, the probability of discharge as estimated by the nurse/physician and the KPS and PPS were highly significant (p = 0.008). CONCLUSION: Estimation by a nurse and a physician were highly significant predictors of the likelihood of discharge and remained significant in a multivariate logistic regression model including KPS and PPS. Other variables, such as a panel of laboratory tests or sociodemographic variables, were not associated with discharge or death.Supportive Care in Cancer 01/2015; · 2.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background We conducted a wait-list control randomised trial of an outpatient rehabilitation service for people living with and beyond cancer, delivered in a hospice day care unit. We report the results of an economic evaluation undertaken using the trial data.Methods Forty-one participants were recruited into the study. A within-trial stochastic cost-utility analysis was undertaken using Monte-Carlo simulation. The outcome measure for the economic evaluation was quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Costs were measured from the perspective of the NHS and personal social services. Uncertainty in the observed data was captured through probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Scenario analysis was conducted to explore the effects of changing the way QALYs were estimated and adjusting for baseline difference in the population. We also explore assumptions about the length of treatment benefit being maintained.ResultsThe incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for the base-case analysis was £14,231 per QALY. When QALYs were assumed to change linearly over time, this increased to £20,514 per QALY at three months. Adjusting the estimate of QALYs to account for differences in the population at baseline increased the ICER to £94,748 per QALY at three months. Increasing the assumed length of treatment benefit led to reduced ICERs in all scenarios.Conclusions Although the intervention is likely to be cost-effective in some circumstances, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the decision to implement the service. Further research, informed by a formal value of information analysis, would reduce this uncertainty.BMC Health Services Research 11/2014; 14(1):558. · 1.66 Impact Factor