Background: Helping people achieve their preferred location of care is an important indicator of quality end-of-life (EOL) care. Using a sample of Australian medical oncology outpatients, this study examined (1) their preferred location of EOL care; (2) their perceived benefits and worries of receiving care in that location; (3) the percentage who had discussed preferences with their doctor and/or support person; and (4) whether they wanted their doctor to ask them where they wanted to die. Methods: Adults with a confirmed diagnosis of cancer were approached between September 2015 and January 2016 in the waiting room of an Australian oncology outpatient clinic. Consenting participants completed a home-based pen-and-paper survey indicating preferred location of care, perceived benefits and worries of that location, whether they had discussed preferences with their doctors, and whether they were willing to be asked about their preferences. Results: A total of 203 patients returned the survey (47% of those eligible). Less than half preferred to be cared for at home (47%), 34% preferred a hospice/palliative care unit, and 19% preferred the hospital. Common benefits and worries associated with locations included perceived burden on others, familiarity of environment, availability of expert medical care, symptom management, and likelihood of having wishes respected. More patients had discussed preferences with their support persons (41%) than doctors (7%). Most wanted a doctor to ask them about preferred location of care (87%) and thought it was important to die in the location of their choice (93%). Conclusions: Patients were willing to have clinicians to ask them where they wanted to die, although few had discussed their preferences with doctors. Although home was the most preferred location for many patients, the overall variation suggests that clinicians should adopt a systematic approach to eliciting patient preferences.
Amy Waller, Rob Sanson-Fisher, Nicholas Zdenkowski, Charles Douglas, Alix Hall, and Justin Walsh
Amy Waller, Charles Douglas, Rob Sanson-Fisher, Nicholas Zdenkowski, Angela Pearce, Tiffany Evans, and Justin Walsh
Objectives: This study surveyed a sample of medical oncology outpatients to determine (1) the proportion who have already discussed and documented their end-of-life (EOL) wishes; (2) when and with whom they would prefer to convey their EOL wishes; (3) the EOL issues they would want to discuss; and (4) the association between perceived cancer status and advance care planning (ACP) participation. Methods: Adult medical oncology outpatients were approached in the waiting room of an Australian tertiary treatment center. Consenting participants completed a pen-and-paper survey assessing participation in ACP, preferences for conveying EOL wishes, timing of EOL discussions, and EOL issues they want to be asked about. Results: A total of 203 patients returned the survey (47% of eligible). EOL discussions occurred more frequently with support persons (47%) than with doctors (7%). Only 14% had recorded their wishes, and 45% had appointed an enduring guardian. Those who perceived their cancer as incurable were more likely to have participated in ACP. If facing EOL, patients indicated that they would want family involved in discussions (85%), to be able to write down EOL wishes (82%), and to appoint enduring guardians (91%). Many (45%) preferred the first discussion to happen when their disease became incurable. Slightly less than one-third thought discussions regarding EOL should be patient-initiated. Most agreed doctors should ask about preferred decision-making involvement (92%), how important it is that pain is managed well (95%), and how important it is to remain conscious (82%). Fewer (55%) wanted to be asked about the importance of care extending life. Conclusions: Many patients would like to have discussions regarding EOL care with their doctor and involve their support persons in this process. Only a small percentage of respondents had discussed EOL care with their doctors, recorded their wishes, or appointed an enduring guardian. The first step requires clinicians to ask whether an individual patient wishes to discuss EOL issues, in what format, and at what level of detail.
Nicholas Zdenkowski, Phyllis Butow, Andrew Spillane, Charles Douglas, Kylie Snook, Mark Jones, Christopher Oldmeadow, Sheryl Fewster, Corinna Beckmore, Frances M. Boyle, and for the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group
Background: Neoadjuvant systemic therapy (NAST) is an increasingly used treatment option for women with large operable or highly proliferative breast cancer. With equivalent survival outcomes between NAST and up-front surgery, the situation-specific preference-sensitive nature of the decision makes it suitable for a decision aid (DA). This study aimed to develop and evaluate a DA for this population. Methods: A DA booklet was developed according to international standards, including information about adjuvant and neoadjuvant treatment, outcome probabilities, and a values clarification exercise. Eligible women, considered by investigators as candidates for NAST, were enrolled in a multi-institutional, single-arm, longitudinal study. Patient-reported outcome measure questionnaires were completed pre- and post-DA, between chemotherapy and surgery, and at 12 months. Outcomes were feasibility (percentage of eligible patients accessing the DA); acceptability to patients (percentage who would recommend it to others) and clinicians (percentage who would use the DA in routine practice); and decision-related outcomes. Results: From 77 eligible women, 59 were enrolled, of whom 47 (79.7%; 95% CI, 69.4–89.9) reported having read the DA; 51 completed the first post-DA questionnaire. Of these 51, 41 participants (80.4%; 95% CI, 69.5–91.3) found the DA useful for their decision about NAST. Of 18 responding investigators, 16 (88.9%; 95% CI, 74.4–103.4) indicated they would continue to use the DA in routine practice. Post-DA, decisional conflict decreased significantly (P<.01); anxiety and distress decreased significantly; and 86.3% (95% CI, 73.7–94.3) achieved at least as much decisional control as they desired. Conclusions: This DA was feasible and acceptable to patients and clinicians, and improvement in decision-related outcomes was demonstrated when used in combination with clinical consultations. This DA could safely be implemented into routine practice for women considering NAST for operable breast cancer.