What is Quality End-of-Life Care for Patients With Heart Failure? A Qualitative Study With Physicians
Cardiology, MaineHealth Institute for Research
Journal of the American Heart Association
Adult; Aged; Cardiologists (psychology); Female; Heart Failure (therapy); Humans; Interviews as Topic; Male; Middle Aged; Physicians (psychology); Physicians, Primary Care (psychology); Qualitative Research; Quality of Health Care; Terminal Care (methods, standards)
Background Advanced heart failure (AHF) carries a morbidity and mortality that are similar or worse than many advanced cancers. Despite this, there are no accepted quality metrics for end-of-life (EOL) care for patients with AHF. Methods and Results As a first step toward identifying quality measures, we performed a qualitative study with 23 physicians who care for patients with AHF. Individual, in-depth, semistructured interviews explored physicians' perceptions of characteristics of high-quality EOL care and the barriers encountered. Interviews were analyzed using software-assisted line-by-line coding in order to identify emergent themes. Although some elements and barriers of high-quality EOL care for AHF were similar to those described for other diseases, we identified several unique features. We found a competing desire to avoid overly aggressive care at EOL alongside a need to ensure that life-prolonging interventions were exhausted. We also identified several barriers related to identifying EOL including greater prognostic uncertainty, inadequate recognition of AHF as a terminal disease and dependence of symptom control on disease-modifying therapies. Conclusions Our findings support quality metrics that prioritize receipt of goal-concordant care over utilization measures as well as a need for more inclusive payment models that appropriately reflect the dual nature of many AHF therapies.
Hutchinson RN, Gutheil C, Wessler BS, Prevatt H, Sawyer DB, Han PKJ. What is Quality End-of-Life Care for Patients With Heart Failure? A Qualitative Study With Physicians. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020;9(18):e016505. doi:10.1161/JAHA.120.016505