Items in AFP with MESH term: Advance Care Planning
ABSTRACT: Most patients eventually must face the process of planning for their future medical care. However, few Americans have a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care. Although advance directives provide a legal basis for physicians to carry out treatment using a health care proxy or a living will, they also should reflect the patient's values and preferences. Family physicians are in a position to integrate medical knowledge, individual values, and cultural influences into end-of-life care. Family physicians can best respect the autonomy of patients by allowing the patient and family to prospectively identify relevant health care preferences, by sustaining an ongoing discussion about end-of-life preferences, and by abiding by the decisions their patients have made.
ABSTRACT: Approximately 1.5 million Americans reside in nursing homes. A family physician often leads the interdisciplinary team that provides for the medical, functional, emotional, nutritional, social, and environmental needs of these patients. The treatment of nursing home residents is a dynamic process of ongoing assessment, transitions, and shifting care plans. The clinical assessment of nursing home residents focuses on cognition, mood, disability, skin integrity, and medication management. Advance care planning includes the development of realistic goals of care with the patient and family that go beyond living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders. The nursing home medical record and Minimum Data Set document the interdisciplinary findings and care plan. Transitions between different health care environments are facilitated by communication among health care professionals and detailed transfer documentation. Palliative care encompasses continuing reassessment of the goals of care; general supportive care (e.g., family, cultural, spiritual); and legal planning. Identifying and reporting resident abuse and neglect, and infection control practices are also essential in nursing home care.
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of end-stage renal disease continues to increase, and dialysis is offered to older and more medically complex patients. Pain is problematic in up to one-half of patients receiving dialysis and may result from renal and nonrenal etiologies. Opioids can be prescribed safely, but the patient’s renal function must be considered when selecting a drug and when determining the dosage. Fentanyl and methadone are considered the safest opioids for use in patients with end-stage renal disease. Nonpain symptoms are common and affect quality of life. Phosphate binders, ondansetron, and naltrexone can be helpful for pruritus. Fatigue can be managed with treatment of anemia and optimization of dialysis, but persistent fatigue should prompt screening for depression. Ondansetron, metoclopramide, and haloperidol are effective for uremia-associated nausea. Nondialytic management may be preferable to dialysis initiation in older patients and in those with additional life-limiting illnesses, and may not significantly decrease life expectancy. Delaying dialysis initiation is also an option. Patients with end-stage renal disease should have advance directives, including documentation of situations in which they would no longer want dialysis.