The objective of this analysis was to examine the use of 11 non-essential medications in actively dying patients | BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care
This was a planned secondary analysis of data from the Best Practices for End-of-Life Care for Our Nation’s Veterans trial, a multicentre implementation trial of an intervention to improve processes of end-of-life care in inpatient settings. Supported with an electronic comfort care decision support tool, intervention included training hospital staff to identify actively dying patients, communicate the prognosis to patients/families and implement best practices of traditionally home-based hospice care. Data on medication use before and after intervention were derived from electronic medical records of 5476 deceased veterans.
Non-essential medications continue to be administered to actively dying patients. Discontinuation of these medications may be facilitated by interventions that enhance recognition and consideration of patients’ actively dying status.
Full reference: Williams, B.R., et al. (2017) Continuation of non-essential medications in actively dying hospitalised patients. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Published Online First: 13 September 2017.