[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although Peer Review Organizations (PROs) and researchers rely on physicians to assess quality of care, little is known about what physicians think about when they judge quality. We sought to identify features of individual cases that are associated with physicians' judgments.
Using 1994 Medicare data, we selected hospitalizations for 1134 beneficiaries in 42 acute care hospitals in California and Connecticut. The sample was enriched with 17 surgical and six medical complications identified using diagnosis and procedure codes. PRO physicians confirmed quality problems using a structured implicit chart review instrument and provided written open-ended comments about each case. We coded physicians' comments for factors presumed to influence judgments about quality.
In crude and adjusted comparisons, reviewers questioned quality more frequently in cases with serious or fatal outcomes, technical mishaps and inadequate documentation. Among surgical (but not medical) patients, they were less likely to record poor quality among patients presenting with an acute illness.
Factors other than the adequacy of key processes of care are associated with physician-reviewers' judgments about quality.
International Journal for Quality in Health Care 11/2001; 13(5):357-65. · 1.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A common assumption is that life-sustaining treatments are much less cost-effective for older patients than for younger patients. We estimated the incremental cost-effectiveness of providing mechanical ventilation and intensive care for patients of various ages who had acute respiratory failure.
Retrospective analysis of data on acute respiratory failure from Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT).
1,005 with acute respiratory failure; 963 received ventilator support and 42 had ventilator support withheld.
We studied 1,005 patients enrolled in a five-center study of seriously ill patients (SUPPORT) with acute respiratory failure (pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and an Acute Physiology Score > or = 10) requiring ventilator support. For cost-effectiveness analyses, we estimated life expectancy based on long-term follow-up of SUPPORT patients and estimated utilities (quality-of-life weights) using time-tradeoff questions. We used hospital fiscal data and Medicare data to estimate healthcare costs. We divided patients into three age groups (< 65, 65-74, and > or = 75 years); for each age group, we performed separate analyses for patients with a < or = 50% probability of surviving at least 2 months (high-risk group) and those with a > 50% probability of surviving at least 2 months (low-risk group).
Of the 963 patients who received ventilator support, 44% were female; 48% survived 6 months; and the median (25th, 75th percentile) age was 63 (46, 75) years. For the 42 patients for whom ventilator support was withheld, the median survival was 3 days. For low-risk patients (> 50% estimated 2-month survival), the incremental cost (1998 dollars) per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) saved by providing ventilator support and aggressive care increased across the three age groups ($32,000 for patients age < 65, $44,000 for those age 65-74, and $46,000 for those age > or = 75). For high-risk patients, the incremental cost-effectiveness was much less favorable and was least favorable for younger patients ($130,000 for patients age < 65, $100,000 for those age 65-74, and $96,000 for those age > or = 75). When we varied our assumptions from 50% to 200% of our baseline estimates in sensitivity analyses, results were most sensitive to the costs of the index hospitalization.
For patients with relatively good short-term prognoses, we found that ventilator support and aggressive care were economically worthwhile, even for patients 75 years and older. For patients with poor short-term prognoses, ventilator support and aggressive care were much less cost-effective for adults of all ages.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 04/2001; 49(4):382-90. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many patients with acute respiratory failure die despite prolonged and costly treatment. Our objective was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of providing rather than withholding mechanical ventilation and intensive care for patients with acute respiratory failure due to pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.
We studied 1,005 patients enrolled in a five-center study of seriously ill patients (the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments [SUPPORT]) with acute respiratory failure (pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and an Acute Physiology Score > or =10) who required ventilator support. We estimated life expectancy based on long-term follow-up of SUPPORT patients. Utilities were estimated using time-tradeoff questions. Costs (in 1998 dollars) were based on hospital fiscal data and Medicare data.
Of the 963 patients who received ventilator support, 48% survived for at least 6 months. At 6 months, survivors reported a median of 1 dependence in activities of daily living, and 72% rated their quality of life as good, very good, or excellent. Among the 42 patients in whom ventilator support was withheld, the median survival was 3 days. Among patients whose estimated probability of surviving at least 2 months from the time of ventilator support ("prognostic estimate") was 70% or more, the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) saved by providing rather than withholding ventilator support and aggressive care was $29,000. For medium-risk patients (prognostic estimate 51% to 70%), the incremental cost-effectiveness was $44,000 per QALY, and for high-risk patients (prognostic estimate < or =50%), it was $110,000 per QALY. When assumptions were varied from 50% to 200% of baseline estimates, the results ranged from $19,000 to $48,000 for low-risk patients, from $29,000 to $76, 000 for medium-risk patients, and from $67,000 to $200,000 for high-risk patients.
Ventilator support and intensive care for acute respiratory failure due to pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome are relatively cost-effective for patients with >50% probability of surviving 2 months. However, for patients with an expected 2-month survival < or =50%, the cost per QALY is more than threefold greater at >$100,000.
The American Journal of Medicine 01/2001; 109(8):614-20. · 4.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to determine factors associated with receiving cardiologist care among patients with an acute exacerbation of congestive heart failure.
Because cardiologist care for acute cardiovascular illness may improve care, barriers to specialty care could impact patient outcomes.
We studied 1,298 patients hospitalized with acute exacerbation of congestive heart failure who were cared for by cardiologists or generalist physicians. Using multivariable logistic models we determined factors independently associated with attending cardiologist care.
Patients were less likely to receive care from a cardiologist if they were black (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.35, 0.80), had an income of less than $11,000 (AOR 0.65, 95% CI 0.45, 0.93) or were older than 80 years of age (AOR 0.23, 95% CI 0.12, 0.46). Patients were more likely to receive cardiologist care if they had college level education (AOR 1.89, 95% CI 1.02, 3.51), a history of myocardial infarction (AOR 1.59, 95% CI 1.17, 2.16), a serum sodium less than 133 on admission (AOR 1.96, 95% CI 1.30, 2.95) or a systolic blood pressure less than 90 on admission (AOR 1.97, 95% CI 1.20, 3.24). Patients who stated a desire for life extending care were also more likely to receive care from a cardiologist (AOR 1.40, 95% CI 1.04, 1.90).
After adjusting for severity of illness and patient preferences for care, patient sociodemographic factors were strongly associated with receiving care from a cardiologist. Future investigations are required to determine whether these associations represent unmeasured preferences for care or inequities in our health care system.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 01/2001; 36(7):2119-25. · 14.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because there are few data describing alternative medicine use in older populations, we analyzed a nationally representative survey to quantify and characterize the use of alternative medicine in people aged 65 and older.
We utilized data collected in a nationally representative, random, telephone survey of adults, measuring use of conventional medical services and use of 20 alternative medicine therapies in the last 12 months.
A total of 2,055 adults, 311 of whom were aged 65 and older and who constituted our sample of older Americans.
Overall, 30% of people aged 65 and older used at least one alternative medicine modality in the last year compared with 46% of those less than age 65 (P < .001), and 19% of older people saw a provider of alternative medicine within the past year compared with 26% of those less than age 65. The alternative medicine modalities used most commonly by those aged 65 and older were chiropractic (11%), herbal remedies (8%), relaxation techniques (5%), high dose or mega-vitamins (5%), and religious or spiritual healing by others (4%). Older persons with a primary care provider used alternative medicine more frequently (34% vs 7% P < .05) than those with no primary care provider. Patients who saw their physician more frequently were more likely to use alternative medicine (0 visits 7%, 1-2 visits 22%, 3-6 visits 35%, 7 or more visits 44% P < .05). Six percent of older patients were taking both herbs and prescription drugs. Of older patients who used alternative medicine, 57% made no mention of their use of any alternative modality to their doctor.
Thirty percent of Americans aged 65 and older reported using alternative medicine (amounting to 10 million Americans based on extrapolations to census data) and 19% visited an alternative medicine provider (making 63 million visits based on extrapolations to census data) within the past year. The two modalities used most commonly were chiropractic and herbs, both of which may be problematic in older patients. Physicians should ask all patients, including those aged 65 and older, about their use of alternative medicine, and in those aged 65 and older, physicians should ask specific questions about the user of chiropractic and herbal medicine.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 12/2000; 48(12):1560-5. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this work was to identify similarities and differences in primary attending physicians' (generalists' versus oncologists') care practices and outcomes for seriously ill hospitalized patients with malignancy.
This was a prospective cohort study (SUPPORT project).
Subjects were recruited from 5 US teaching hospitals; data were gathered from 1989 to 1994.
Included in the study was a matched sample of 642 hospitalized patients receiving care for non-small-cell lung cancer, colon cancer metastasized to the liver, or multiorgan system failure associated with malignancy with either a generalist or an oncologist as the primary attending physician.
Care practices and patient outcomes were determined from hospital records. Length of survival was identified with the National Death Index. Physicians' perceptions of patient's prognosis, preference for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and length of relationship were assessed by interview. A propensity score for receiving care from an oncologist was constructed. After propensity-based matching of patients, practices and outcomes of oncologists' and generalists' patients were assessed through group comparison techniques.
Generalist and oncologist attendings showed comparable care practices, including the number of therapeutic interventions, eg, "rescue care" and chemotherapy, and the number of care topics discussed with patients/ families. Length of stay, discharge to supportive care, readmission, total hospital costs, and survival rates were similar. For both physician groups, perception of patients' wish for CPR was associated with rescue care (P < 0.03), and such care was related to higher hospital costs (P < 0.000). Poorer prognostic estimates predicted aggressiveness-of-care discussions by both types of physicians. Length of the patient-doctor relationship was associated with oncologists' care practices. More documented discussion about aggressiveness of care was related to higher hospital costs and shorter survival for patients in both physician groups (P < 0.001).
Generalists and oncologists showed similar care practices and outcomes for comparable hospitalized late-stage cancer patients. Physicians' perceptions about patients' preferences for CPR and prognosis influenced decision making and outcomes for patients in both physician groups. Length of relationship with patients was associated only with oncologists' care practices. Rescue care increased hospital costs but had no effect on patient survival. Future studies should compare physicians' palliative care as well as acute-care practices in both inpatient and ambulatory care settings. Patients' end-of-life quality and interchange between physician groups should also be documented and compared.
Medical Care 11/2000; 38(11):1103-18. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine rates of breast cancer screening for older women cared for in a primary care practice and to identify associations between patient and physician characteristics and breast cancer screening.
A retrospective cohort study of older women.
An urban hospital-based academic general medicine practice. This practice uses a computerized medical record and office procedures that facilitate tracking and ordering of mammograms.
A random sample of 130 women aged 65 to 80 who receive primary care at a hospital-based general medicine practice.
Data were collected from the hospital's computerized medical record. We recorded all clinical breast exams and mammograms performed or recommended during the 2-year study period.
The median age of the 130 women studied was 71, and 21% of the women were black. Most patients had no serious comorbid illness (69%) and were independent in their activities of daily living (92%). During the 2-year study period, mammography was recommended for 95% of women and completed for 84%, and clinical breast exam was performed on 75%. Patients of male physicians had higher rates of mammography than patients of female physicians (89% vs. 75%, P = .045). Patients of faculty physicians had higher rates of clinical breast exam than patients of house officers or fellows (83% vs. 56%, P = .001).
We report a very high rate of mammography for women cared for at a hospital-based primary care practice. The systems in place to facilitate ordering and tracking of mammograms probably contributed to the unusually high rate of mammography observed.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 09/2000; 48(8):961-6. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of administrative data to identify inpatient complications is technically feasible and inexpensive but unproven as a quality measure. Our objective was to validate whether a screening method that uses data from standard hospital discharge abstracts identifies complications of care and potential quality problems.
This was a case-control study with structured implicit physician reviews.
Acute-care hospitals in California and Connecticut in 1994.
The study included 1,025 Medicare beneficiaries greater than 265 years of age.
Using administrative data, we stratified acute-care hospitals by observed-to-expected complication rates and randomly selected hospitals within each state. We randomly selected cases flagged with 1 of 17 surgical complications and 6 medical complications. We randomly selected controls from unflagged cases.
Peer-review organization physicians' judgments about the presence of the flagged complication and potential quality-of-care problems.
Physicians confirmed flagged complications in 68.4% of surgical and 27.2% of medical cases. They identified potential quality problems in 29.5% of flagged surgical and 15.7% of medical cases but in only 2.1% of surgical and medical controls. The rate of physician-identified potential quality problems among flagged cases exceeded 25% in 9 surgical screens and 1 medical screen. Reviewers noted several potentially mitigating circumstances that affected their judgments about quality, including factors related to the patients' illness, the complexity of the case, and technical difficulties that clinicians encountered.
For some types of complications, screening administrative data may offer an efficient approach for identifying potentially problematic cases for physician review. Understanding the basis for physicians' judgments about quality requires more investigation.
Medical Care 09/2000; 38(8):796-806. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hospital discharge diagnoses, coded by use of the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM), increasingly determine reimbursement and support quality monitoring. Prior studies of coding validity have investigated whether coding guidelines were met, not whether the clinical condition was actually present.
To determine whether clinical evidence in medical records confirms selected ICD-9-CM discharge diagnoses coded by hospitals.
Retrospective record review of 485 randomly sampled 1994 hospitalizations of elderly Medicare beneficiaries in Califomia and Connecticut.
Proportion of patients with specified ICD-9-CM codes representing potential complications who had clinical evidence confirming the coded condition.
Clinical evidence supported most postoperative acute myocardial infarction diagnoses, but fewer than 60% of other diagnoses had confirmatory clinical evidence by explicit clinical criteria; 30% of medical and 19% of surgical patients lacked objective confirmatory evidence in the medical record. Across 11 surgical and 2 medical complications, objective clinical criteria or physicians' notes supported the coded diagnosis in >90% of patients for 2 complications, 80% to 90% of patients for 4 complications, 70% to <80% of patients for 5 complications, and <70% for 2 complications. For some complications (postoperative pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, and hemorrhage or hematoma), a large fraction of patients had only a physician's note reporting the complication.
Our findings raise questions about whether the clinical conditions represented by ICD-9-CM codes used by the Complications Screening Program were in fact always present. These findings highlight concerns about the clinical validity of using ICD-9-CM codes for quality monitoring.
Medical Care 08/2000; 38(8):868-76. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT) represents one of the largest and most comprehensive efforts to describe patient preferences in seriously ill patients, and to evaluate how effectively patient preferences are communicated. Our objective was to review findings from SUPPORT describing the communication of seriously ill patients' preferences for end-of-life care.
We identified published reports from SUPPORT describing patient preferences and the communication of those preferences. We abstracted findings that addressed each of the following questions: What patient characteristics predict patient preferences for end of life care? How well do physicians, nurses, and surrogates understand their patients' preferences, and what variables are correlated with this understanding? Does increasing the documentation of existing advance directives result in care more consistent with patients' preferences?
Patients who are older, have cancer, are women, believe their prognoses are poor, and are more dependent in ADL function are less likely to want CPR. However, there is considerable variability and geographic variation in these preferences. Physician, nurse, and surrogate understanding of their patient's preferences is only moderately better than chance. Most patients do not discuss their preferences with their physicians, and only about half of patients who do not wish to receive CPR receive DNR orders. Factors other than the patients' preferences and prognoses, including the patient's age, the physician's specialty, and the geographic site of care were strong determinants of whether DNR orders were written. In SUPPORT patients, there was no evidence that increasing the rates of documentation of advance directives results in care that is more consistent with patients' preferences.
SUPPORT documents that physicians and surrogates are often unaware of seriously ill patients' preferences. The care provided to patients is often not consistent with their preferences and is often associated with factors other than preferences or prognoses. Improving these deficiencies in end-of-life care may require systematic change rather than simple interventions.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S187-93. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite concern about the high costs and the uncertain benefit of prolonged treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU), there has been little research examining decision-making and outcomes for patients with prolonged ICU stays.
To evaluate decision-making and outcomes for seriously ill patients with an ICU stay of at least 14 days.
A prospective cohort study.
Five teaching hospitals.
Seriously ill patients enrolled in the Study To Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Risks and Outcomes of Treatments (SUPPORT).
Patients, their surrogate decision-makers, and their physicians were interviewed about prognosis, communication, and goals of medical care. Based on age, diagnoses, comorbid illnesses, and acute physiology data, the SUPPORT Prognostic Model provided estimates of 6-month survival on study days 1, 3, 7, and 14. Hospital costs were estimated from hospital billing data.
Of the 9105 patients enrolled in SUPPORT, 1494 (16%) had ICU stays of 14 days or longer. The median length of stay in an ICU was 4 days for the entire SUPPORT cohort and 35 days for patients who were treated in an ICU for 14 days or longer. Median hospital costs were $76,501 for patients who had ICU stays 14 days or longer and $10,916 for patients who did not have long ICU stays. Fifty-five percent of patients with long ICU stays had died by 6 months, and an additional 19% had substantial functional impairment. Among patients with ICU stays of at least 14 days, only 20% had estimates of 6-month survival that fell below 10% at any time during their hospitalization. For patients with long ICU stays, the mean predicted probability of 6-month survival was 0.46 on study Day 3 and 0.47 on study Day 14. Fewer than 40% of patients (or their surrogates) reported that their physicians had talked with them about their prognoses or preferences for life-sustaining treatment. Among the patients who preferred a palliative approach to care, only 29% thought that their care was consistent with that aim. Those who discussed their preferences for care with a physician were 1.9 times more likely to believe that treatment was in accord with their preferences for palliation (95% CI, 1.4-2.5)
Prolonged ICU stays were expensive and were often followed by death or disability. Patients reported low rates of discussions with their physicians about their prognoses and preferences for life-sustaining treatments. Many preferred that care focus on palliation and believed that care was inconsistent with their preferences. Patients were more likely to receive care consistent with their preferences if they had discussed their care preferences with their physicians.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S70-4. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The intervention in SUPPORT, the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments, was ineffective in changing communication, decision-making, and treatment patterns despite evidence that counseling and information were delivered as planned. The previous paper in this volume shows that modest alterations in the intervention design probably did not explain the lack of substantial effects.
To explore the possibility that improved individual, patient-level decision-making is not the most effective strategy for improving end-of-life care and that improving routine practices may be more effective.
This paper reflects our efforts to synthesize findings from SUPPORT and other sources in order to explore our conceptual models, their consistency with the data, and their leverage for change.
Many of the assumptions underlying the model of improved decision-making are problematic. Furthermore, the results of SUPPORT suggest that implementing an effective intervention based on a normative model of shared decision-making can be quite difficult. Practice patterns and social expectations may be strong influences in shaping patients' courses of care. Innovations in system function, such as quality improvement or changing the financing incentives, may offer more powerful avenues for reform.
SUPPORT's intervention may have failed to have an impact because strong psychological and social forces underlie present practices. System-level innovation and quality improvement in routine care may offer more powerful opportunities for improvement.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S214-21. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Few studies describe the end of life in very old people.
To characterize the last 6 months of life and dying in patients 80 years and older by describing demographic characteristics, functional state and quality of life, symptoms, preferences, use of life-sustaining treatments, satisfaction with care, and family burden.
A retrospective analysis for patients enrolled in a prospective cohort study.
Four teaching hospitals who participated in the Hospitalized Elderly Longitudinal Project (HELP).
417 patients who died within 1 year of their enrollment hospitalization.
Chart reviews and interview data with patients and surrogates at several points in time. We constructed four observational time windows backward in time beginning with the patients' death.
Before hospitalization, two out of three patients reported fair quality of life, and patients averaged 2.4 impairments in activities of daily living. Seventy percent preferred comfort care on the third day of hospitalization. During the last month of life, three of five patients interviewed in the hospital and four of five interviewed out of the hospital preferred not to be resuscitated. At the time of death, four of five patients had a do not resuscitate (DNR) order and two of five had an order to withhold a ventilator. During the last month of life, one out of four patients reported severe pain.
Patients reported increasing functional impairments and limited quality of life. The majority preferred comfort care. The number of patients in severe pain was substantial. Before death, the majority had measures in place to limit aggressive care.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S131-9. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To review previously published findings about how patient age influenced patterns of care for seriously ill patients enrolled in the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT).
An observational prospective study.
Five acute care hospitals.
A total of 9105 seriously ill patients enrolled in SUPPORT.
The outcomes examined included patients' preferences for aggressive care, decision making regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of other life-sustaining treatments, hospital costs, intensity of resource use, and survival.
Although older patients preferred less aggressive care than younger patients, many older patients wanted cardiopulmonary resuscitation and care focused on life extension. Patients' families and healthcare providers underestimated older patients' desire for aggressive care. After adjustment for illness severity, comorbidity, baseline function, and patients' preferences for aggressive care, older age was associated with lower hospital costs and resource intensity and higher rates of decisions to withhold life-sustaining treatments. In adjusted analyses, older age was associated with a slight survival disadvantage. This survival disadvantage persisted, even after adjustment for aggressiveness of care, suggesting that the relation between age and survival is not accounted for by less aggressive treatment of older patients.
Even after adjustment for patients' prognoses and care preferences, seriously ill hospitalized older patients were treated less aggressively than younger patients. SUPPORT cannot fully identify whether the relationship between older age and less aggressive treatment is better explained by the withholding of potentially beneficial treatments from older patients, or by the excessive provision of ineffective treatment to younger patients. However, the latter explanation is favored by the SUPPORT finding that less aggressive treatment for older patients does not contribute to the modest survival disadvantage associated with older age.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S176-82. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments -- SUPPORT -- was to improve the care of seriously ill patients by improving decision-making for patients with life-threatening illnesses. Several theories have been proposed to explain why the SUPPORT intervention was unsuccessful at improving outcomes.
To review and discuss explanations offered by others regarding why the SUPPORT intervention failed to have a discernible impact on its prespecified outcome measures.
A descriptive review of published articles and book chapters, with synthesis of data-based and conceptual insights.
The Medline, Bioethicsline, and Ethx databases were searched for citations to SUPPORT articles between 1994 and the end of 1998. This search was supplemented by other published materials that had come to the authors' attention.
The critiques and explanations regarding the reasons the SUPPORT intervention did not improve outcomes were catalogued and organized into 11 major categories, the first 10 of which are explored in the present study: (1) the inception cohort was biased against an effect of the intervention, (2) the intervention was not implemented as designed, (3) the intervention failed because nurses were too readily ignored, (4) the intervention was too polite, (5) the intervention presented information ineffectively, (6) the intervention did not focus on primary care physicians, (7) the intervention falsely dichotomized do not resuscitate (DNR) decisions, (8) the intervention needed more years on site or an earlier start with each patient, (9) the intervention required more appropriate outcome measures, (10) the intervention was irrelevant because usual care is not seriously flawed, (11) the conceptual model behind SUPPORT was fundamentally flawed in aiming to improve individual, patient-level decision-making as the way to improve seriously ill, hospitalized patients' experiences.
Although some of the critiques were found to raise important concerns, we conclude in each case that the explanation offered is inadequate to explain the failure of the intervention. We urge further reflection on the fundamental assumptions that informed the design of that intervention and refer the reader to a more comprehensive treatment of that issue in the companion paper in this volume.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S206-13. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dying experience of patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) or multiple organ system failure with sepsis (MOSF) has not been described.
To describe patients dying from ARF or MOSF, including demographic characteristics, baseline function and quality of life, symptoms, preferences, use of life-sustaining treatments, satisfaction with care, and family burden.
A multicenter prospective study.
Five US teaching hospitals, in the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT).
A total of 1295 adults who died during hospitalization for ARF or MOSF.
Chart reviews and interviews with patients and surrogates.
SUPPORT enrolled 2956 patients with ARF or MOSF, and 44% died during enrollment hospitalization. Quality of life before hospitalization was reported as fair by 87% of patients. The mean number of impairments in their baseline activities of daily living was 1.6. At the time of death, 79% had a DNR order and 31% had an order to withhold ventilator support. The average time from the DNR order to death was 2 days. Dying patients spent an average of 9 days on a ventilator. Surrogates indicated that one out of four patients died with severe pain and one out of three with severe confusion. Families of 42% of the patients who died reported one or more substantial burden.
Patients in this study reported substantial functional impairments and reduced quality of life. Limitations to aggressive treatments were usually implemented only when death was imminent. Family impact and physical and emotional suffering were substantial.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 06/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S140-5. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify age group differences in care practices and outcomes for seriously ill hospitalized patients with malignancy.
Prospective cohort study (SUPPORT project).
Five United States teaching hospitals; data was gathered between 1989 and 1994.
Nine hundred twenty five older (age > or = 65 years), 983 middle aged (age = 45-64 years), and 274 younger (age = 18-44 years) hospitalized patients receiving care for non-small cell lung cancer, colon cancer metastasized to the liver, or multi-organ system failure associated with malignancy.
Care practices and patient outcomes were determined from hospital records. Length of survival was identified using the National Death Index. After adjusting for important variables, including severity of illness (i.e., SUPPORT model estimate for 2-month survival, cancer condition), hospital site, selection to intervention and sociodemographic variables, age group differences in care practices and outcomes were identified using general linear models.
Older patients with cancer had lower resource utilization during hospitalization (P < .04) and were less likely to receive cancer-related treatments (i.e., chemotherapy, platelet infusions, scheduled intravenous medications) than middle-aged and young-adult patients in the first week of hospitalization (P < or = .01). More care topics were discussed with older patients and their families then with younger patients and their families (P < .001). Length of stay and total hospital costs were lower for older and middle-aged patients than for younger patients. Although more older patients had discussions about transfer to hospice (P < .001), older patients were no more likely to be discharged with supportive care (inpatient hospice or home with home/ hospice care). Older patients died sooner than middle-aged patients (P < .01).
Patient age influenced care decisions and outcomes. Older patients (age > or = 65 years) received less aggressive care, had more discussions about care decisions, and died sooner than younger patients with cancer. Younger patients had longer stays, higher hospital costs, and greater probability of rehospitalization. Although well over half of patients died within 6 months of hospitalization, few patients in any age group were discharged with supportive care. Future studies should examine age differences in palliation, as well as acute care of cancer patients across inpatient and ambulatory care settings and should assess quality of care at the end of life.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 05/2000; 48(5 Suppl):S25-32. · 3.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies suggest that specialty care is more costly but may produce improved outcomes for patients with acute cardiac illnesses.
To determine whether patients with congestive heart failure who are cared for by cardiologists experienced differences in costs, care patterns, and survival compared with patients of generalists.
Prospective cohort study.
5 U.S. teaching hospitals between 1989 and 1994.
1298 patients hospitalized with an exacerbation of congestive heart failure.
Hospital costs; average daily Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System (TISS) score; and survival censored at 30, 180, and 365 days and 31 December 1994.
Compared with patients of generalists, patients of cardiologists were younger (mean age, 63.3 and 71.4 years; P < 0.001) and had lower Acute Physiology Scores at the time of admission (35.1 and 36.7; P < 0.001) but were more likely to have a history of ventricular arrhythmias (21.0% and 10.2%; P < 0.001). At 6 months, 201 (27%) patients of cardiologists and 149 (27%) patients of generalists had died. After adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and severity of illness, patients of cardiologists incurred costs that were 42.9% (95% CI, 27.8% to 59.8%) higher and average daily TISS scores that were 2.83 points (CI, 1.96 to 3.68 points) higher than those of patients of generalists. Patients of cardiologists were more likely to undergo right-heart catheterization (adjusted odds ratio, 2.9 [CI, 1.7 to 4.9]) or cardiac catheterization (adjusted odds ratio, 3.9 [CI, 2.4 to 6.2]) and had higher odds for transfer to an intensive care unit and electrocardiographic monitoring. Adjusted survival did not differ significantly between groups at 30 days; however, there was a trend toward improved survival among patients of cardiologists at 1 year (adjusted relative hazard, 0.82 [CI, 0.65 to 1.04]) and at maximum follow-up (adjusted relative hazard, 0.80 [CI, 0.66 to 0.96]).
In this observational study of patients hospitalized with congestive heart failure, cardiologist care was associated with greater costs and resource use and no difference in survival at 30 days of follow-up. Whether the trend toward better survival at longer follow-up represents differences in care or unadjusted illness severity is uncertain.
Annals of internal medicine 03/2000; 132(3):191-200. · 13.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patient race is associated with decreased resource use for seriously ill hospitalized adults. We studied whether this difference in resource use can be attributed to more frequent or earlier decisions to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining therapies.
We studied adults with one of nine illnesses that are associated with an average 6-month mortality of 50% who were hospitalized at five geographically diverse teaching hospitals participating in the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT). We examined the presence and timing of decisions to withhold or withdraw ventilator support and dialysis, and decisions to withhold surgery. Analyses were adjusted for demographic characteristics, prognosis, severity of illness, function, and patients' preferences for life-extending care.
The mean (+/- SD) age of the patients was 63 +/- 16 years; 16% were African-American, 44% were women, and 53% survived for 6 months or longer. Of the 9,076 patients, 5,349 (59%) had chart documentation that ventilator support had been considered in the event the patient's condition required such a treatment to sustain life, 2,975 charts (33%) had documentation regarding major surgery, and 1,293 (14%) had documentation of discussions about dialysis. There were no significant differences in the unadjusted rates of decisions to withhold or withdraw treatment among African-Americans compared with non-African-Americans: among African-Americans, 33% had a decision made to withhold or withdraw ventilator support compared with 35% among other patients, 14% had a decision made to withhold major surgery compared with 12% among other patients, and 25% had a decision made to withhold or withdraw dialysis compared with 30% among other patients (P >0.05 for all comparisons). After adjustment for demographic characteristics, prognosis, illness severity, function, and preferences for care, there were no differences in the timing or rate of decisions to withhold or withdraw treatments among African-Americans compared with non-African-American patients.
Patient race does not appear to be associated with decisions to withhold or withdraw ventilator support or dialysis, or to withhold major surgery, in seriously ill hospitalized adults.
The American Journal of Medicine 02/2000; 108(1):14-9. · 4.77 Impact Factor