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The Final Days Keeping the Promise of Comfort.

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Presentation on theme: "The Final Days Keeping the Promise of Comfort."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Final Days Keeping the Promise of Comfort

2 End-Stage Lung Disease
Cancer Discontinued Dialysis End-Stage Lung Disease Stroke Post-99 Ischemic Encephalopathy Neuro- Degenerative Bedridden Can’t clear secretions Pneumonia Dyspnea, Congestion, Agitated Delirium

3 Main Features of Approach to Care
Perceptive and vigilant regarding changes “Proactive” communication with patient and family anticipate questions and concerns available don’t present “non-choices” as choices Aggressive pursuit of comfort Don’t be caught off-guard by predictable problems

4 Predictable Challenges
in the Final Days Functional decline- transfers, toileting Can’t swallow meds- route of administration Terminal pneumonia dyspnea congestion delirium:> 80% At times ++ agitation Concerns of family and friends

5 Concerns of Patients, Family, and Friends
How could this be happening so fast? What about food & fluids? Things were fine until that medicine was started! Isn’t the medicine speeding this up? Too drowsy! Too restless! Confusion… he’s not himself, lost him already What will it be like? How will we know? We’ve missed the chance to say goodbye

6 Which Came First.... The Med Changes or the Decline?
Steady decline Accelerated deterioration begins, medications changed Rapid decline due to illness progression with diminished reserves. Medications questioned or blamed

7 Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Final The Perception of the “Sudden Change”
When reserves are depleted, the change seems sudden and unforeseen. However, the changes had been happening. That was fast! Melting ice = diminishing reserves Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Final

8 Family / Friends Wanting to Intervene With Food and / or Fluids
discuss goals distinguish between prolonging living vs. prolonging dying parenteral fluids generally not needed for comfort pushing calories in terminal phase does not improve function or outcome

9 Consider Concerns About Food And Fluids Separately
Intake Food Food and Fluid Intake Intake Fluid Conflicting evidence regarding effect on thirst in terminal phase; cannot be dogmatic in discouraging artificial fluids in all situations Strong evidence base regarding absence of benefit in terminal phase

10 Patient’s Lifetime Extending the final days in terminal illness:
Time that death would have occurred without intervention Patient’s Lifetime Extending the final days in terminal illness: Prolonging life or prolonging the dying phase? Consider carefully the rationale of trying to prolong life by adding time to the period of dying

You are seeking their thoughts on what the patient would want, not what they feel is “the right thing to do”.

“If he could come to the bedside as healthy as he was a year ago, and look at the situation for himself now, what would he tell us to do?” Or “If you had in your pocket a note from him telling you what to do under these circumstances, what would it say?”

13 TALKING ABOUT DYING “Many people think about what they might experience as things change, and they become closer to dying. Have you thought about this regarding yourself? Do you want me to talk about what changes are likely to happen?”

14 First, let’s talk about what you should not expect.
pain that can’t be controlled. breathing troubles that can’t be controlled. “going crazy” or “losing your mind”

15 If any of those problems come up, I will make sure that you’re comfortable and calm, even if it means that with the medications that we use you’ll be sleeping most of the time, or possibly all of the time. Do you understand that? Is that approach OK with you?

16 You’ll find that your energy will be less, as you’ve likely noticed in the last while.
You’ll want to spend more of the day resting, and there will be a point where you’ll be resting (sleeping) most or all of the day.

17 Gradually your body systems will shut down, and at the end your heart will stop while you are sleeping. No dramatic crisis of pain, breathing, agitation, or confusion will occur - we won’t let that happen.

18 Neuroleptic (haloperidol or methotrimeprazine) +/–
Basic Medications in The Final Day(s) SYMPTOM MEDICATION Pain Opioid Dyspnea Secretions Scopolamine Restlessness Neuroleptic (haloperidol or methotrimeprazine) +/– benzodiazepine

19 An uncomfortable awareness of breathing
DYSPNEA: An uncomfortable awareness of breathing

20 “...the most common severe symptom in the last days of life”
DYSPNEA: “...the most common severe symptom in the last days of life” Davis C.L. The therapeutics of dyspnoea Cancer Surveys 1994 Vol.21 p

21 National Hospice Study
Dyspnea Prevalence Reuben DB, Mor V. Dyspnea in terminally ill cancer patients. Chest 1986;89(2):234-6.

22 End-of-Life Care in Cystic Fibrosis: Treatments Received in Last 12 Hours of Life
Robinson,WM et al, Pediatrics 100(2) Aug.1997 Only 11% were noted to have titration of opioids at end of life specifically for dyspnea

IN THE TERMINALLY ILL? Addington-Hall JM, MacDonald LD, Anderson HR, Freeling P. Dying from cancer: the views of bereaved family and friends about the experience of terminally ill patients. Palliative Medicine : n = Last week of life severe / very severe dyspnea: 50% less than ½ of these were offered effective treatment

24 Multiple And Diverse Potential
Causes Of Dyspnea Lung parenchyma: tumour, infection, fibrosis (radiation, chemotherapy) pleura (effusion, tumour) lymphangitic carcinomatosis airway obstruction Vascular – pulmonary embolism, superior vena cava obstruction, vessel erosion with hemoptysis Pericardial – effusion, restriction by tumour Cardiac – cardiomyopathy (eg. adriamycin, cyclophosphamide) Anemia Metabolic – hypokalemia, hyponatremia Neuromuscular – neurodegenerative disease, cachexia, paraneoplastic myesthenic syndromes (Eaton-Lambert) Intra-abdominal – ascites, organomegaly, tumour mass

25 Approach To The Dyspneic Palliative Patient
Two basic intervention types: Non-specific, symptom-oriented Disease-specific

26 Simple Non-Specific Measures In Managing Dyspnea
calm reassurance patient sitting up / semi-reclined open window fan

27 Non-Specific Pharmacologic Interventions In Dyspnea
Oxygen - hypoxic and ? non-hypoxic Opioids - complex variety of central effects Chlorpromazine or Methotrimeprazine - some evidence in adult literature; caution in children due to potential for dystonic reactions Benzodiazepines - literature inconsistent but clinical experience extensive and supportive

Anti-tumor: chemo/radTx, hormone, laser Infection Anemia CHF SVCO Pleural effusion Pulmonary embolism Airway obstruction

29 Opioids in Dyspnea Uncertain mechanism
Comfort achieved before resp compromise; rate often unchanged Often patient already on opioids for analgesia; if dyspnea develops it will usually be the symptom that leads the need for titration Dosage should be titrated empirically; may easily reach doses commonly seen in adults May need rapid dose escalation in order to keep up with rapidly progressing distress

“Death Rattle” Positioning ANTISECRETORY: Scopolamine, glycopyrrolate Consider suctioning if secretions are: distressing, proximal, accessible not responding to antisecretory agents

How do you know that the aggressive use of opioids doesn't actually bring about or speed up the patient's death?

Bruera et al. J Pain Symptom Manage ; 5:

33 Typically, With Excessive Opioid Dosing
One Would See: pinpoint pupils gradual slowing of the respiratory rate breathing is deep (though may be shallow) and regular

Cheyne-Stokes Rapid, shallow “Agonal” / Ataxic

Wilkinson J. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine 1993: p 497-8 Where an action, intended to have a good effect, can achieve this effect only at the risk of producing a harmful/bad effect, then this action is ethically permissible providing: The action is good in itself. The intention is solely to produce the good effect (even though the bad effect may be foreseen). The good effect is not achieved through the bad effect. There is sufficient reason to permit the bad effect (the action is undertaken for a proportionately grave reason).

36 Mount B., Flanders E.M.; Morphine Drips, Terminal Sedation, and Slow Euthanasia: Definitions and Fact, Not Anecdotes J Pall Care 12:4 1996; p 31-37 The principle of double effect is not confined to end-of-life circumstances… Good effects Bad effects Burdens Side Effects Beneficial Effects Benefits

37 The difference in aggressive opioid use in end-of-life circumstances is that the “bad effect” = Death The doctrine of double effect exists to support those health care providers who may otherwise withhold opioids in the dying out of fear that the opioid may hasten the dying process A problem with the emphasis on double effect is that there in an implication that this is a common scenario…. in day-to-day palliative care it is extremely rare to need to even consider its implications

38 DON’T FORGET...For death at home
Health Care Directive: no CPR Letters (regarding anticipated home death) to: Funeral Home Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Copy in the home physician not required to pronounce death in the home, but be available to sign death certificate

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