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VOLUME 26 , ISSUE 4 ( April, 2022 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

A Survey of Clinicians Regarding Goals of Care for Patients with Severe Comorbid Illnesses Hospitalized for an Acute Deterioration

Rishi K Sarangi, Arvind Rajamani, Ramanathan Lakshmanan, Saradha Srinivasan, Hemamalini Arvind

Keywords : ACP, Advance care planning, ICU, Perceptions, Supportive and palliative care indicators tool (SPICT)

Citation Information : Sarangi RK, Rajamani A, Lakshmanan R, Srinivasan S, Arvind H. A Survey of Clinicians Regarding Goals of Care for Patients with Severe Comorbid Illnesses Hospitalized for an Acute Deterioration. Indian J Crit Care Med 2022; 26 (4):459-465.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-24166

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 13-05-2022

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2022; The Author(s).


Background: Patients with terminal illnesses hospitalized with acute deteriorations often suffer from unnecessary/inappropriate therapies at the end of their lives. Appropriate advance care planning (ACP) practices aligned to patients’ goals of care may mitigate this. Materials and methods: To explore the rationale for clinical decision-making in hospitalized patients with terminal illnesses and formulate a practice pathway to streamline care. Between May and December 2018, a questionnaire survey with three case vignettes derived from intensive care unit (ICU) patients was emailed to ICU, respiratory and renal doctors, and nurses in two Sydney hospitals. Respondents chose various management options ranging from all active therapies to palliation. The primary outcome was the proportion of responses for each management option. With these and a thematic analysis of responses to identify barriers to ACP practice, a practice pathway was formulated. Results: Of the 310 invited clinicians, 178 responded (57.4%). About 89.2% of respondents reported caring for dying patients frequently. Sixty percent saw patients suffering from prolonged therapies. Most respondents deemed patients in the case vignettes to be terminally ill, warranting ACP discussions. However, many still wanted to treat the acute deterioration with active ICU-level interventions. Most respondents reported being comfortable in having ACP discussions. Conclusion: The survey showed discordance between the stated opinions and the choice of management options for terminally ill patients with acute deteriorations; possibly due to the lack of a considered approach in choosing management options that align with medical consensus and the patient's/family's wishes, a practice pathway is suggested to improve management.

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