Defining Serious Illness Among Adult Surgical Patients

Katherine C Lee, Anne M Walling, Steven S Senglaub, Amy S Kelley, Zara Cooper
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2019, 58 (5): 844-850.e2

CONTEXT: Palliative care (PC) for seriously ill surgical patients, including aligning treatments with patients' goals and managing symptoms, is associated with improved patient-oriented outcomes and decreased health care utilization. However, efforts to integrate PC alongside restorative surgical care are limited by the lack of a consensus definition for serious illness in the perioperative context.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to develop a serious illness definition for surgical patients and identify a denominator for quality measurement efforts.

METHODS: We developed a preliminary definition including a set of criteria for 11 conditions and health states. Using the RAND-UCLA Appropriateness Method, a 12-member expert advisory panel rated the criteria for each condition and health state twice, once after an in-person moderated discussion, for validity (primary outcome) and feasibility of measurement.

RESULTS: All panelists completed both rounds of rating. All 11 conditions and health states defining serious illness for surgical patients were rated as valid. During the in-person discussion, panelists refined and narrowed criteria for two conditions (vulnerable elder, heart failure). The final definition included the following 11 conditions and health states: vulnerable elder, heart failure, advanced cancer, oxygen-dependent pulmonary disease, cirrhosis, end-stage renal disease, dementia, critical trauma, frailty, nursing home residency, and American Society of Anesthesiology Risk Score IV-V.

CONCLUSION: We identified a consensus definition for serious illness in surgery. Opportunities remain in measuring the prevalence, identifying health trajectories, and developing screening criteria to integrate PC with restorative surgical care.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"