COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Toward optimal end-of-life care for patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: insights from a multicentre study

Graeme M Rocker, Peter M Dodek, Daren K Heyland
Canadian Respiratory Journal: Journal of the Canadian Thoracic Society 2008, 15 (5): 249-54
18716686

BACKGROUND: Understanding patients' needs and perspectives is fundamental to improving end-of-life (EOL) care. However, little is known of what quality care means to patients who have advanced lung disease.

OBJECTIVES: To describe ratings of importance and satisfaction with elements of EOL care, informational needs, decision-making preferences, obstacles to a preferred location of death, clinical outcomes, and health care use before and during an index hospital admission for patients who have advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

METHODS: A questionnaire with regard to quality EOL care was administered to patients older than 55 years of age who had advanced medical disease in five Canadian teaching hospitals.

RESULTS: For 118 hospitalized patients who had advanced COPD, the following items were rated as extremely important for EOL care: not being kept alive on life support when there is little hope for meaningful recovery (54.9% of respondents), symptom relief (46.6%), provision of care and health services after discharge (40.0%), trust and confidence in physicians (39.7%), and not being a burden on caregivers (39.6%). Compared with patients who had metastatic cancer, patients with COPD had lower (P<0.05) satisfaction with care, interest in information about prognosis, cardiopulmonary resuscitation or mechanical ventilation, and referral rates to palliative care, whereas use of acute care services was higher (P<0.05) for patients who had advanced COPD.

CONCLUSION: Canadian patients who have advanced COPD identify several priorities for improving care. Avoidance of prolonged or unwanted life support requires more effective communication, decision making and goal setting. Patients also deserve better symptom control and postdischarge strategies to minimize perceived burdens on caregivers, emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

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