Intervention to Improve Care at Life’s End in Inpatient Settings: The BEACON Trial
- F. Amos Bailey MD,
- Beverly R. Williams PhD,
- Lesa L. Woodby PhD,
- Patricia S. Goode MD,
- David T. Redden PhD,
- Thomas K. Houston MD,
- U. Shanette Granstaff MPH,
- Theodore M. Johnson II MD,
- Leslye C. Pennypacker MD,
- K. Sue Haddock PhD,
- John M. Painter PhD,
- Jessie M. Spencer MD,
- Thomas Hartney MD,
- Kathryn L. Burgio PhD
- … show all 14 hide
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Widespread implementation of palliative care treatment plans could reduce suffering in the last days of life by adopting best practices of traditionally home-based hospice care in inpatient settings.
To evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-modal intervention strategy to improve processes of end-of-life care in inpatient settings.
Implementation trial with an intervention staggered across hospitals using a multiple-baseline, stepped wedge design.
Six Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs).
Staff training was targeted to all hospital providers and focused on identifying actively dying patients and implementing best practices from home-based hospice care, supported with an electronic order set and paper-based educational tools.
Several processes of care were identified as quality endpoints for end-of-life care (last 7 days) and abstracted from electronic medical records of veterans who died before or after intervention (n = 6,066). Primary endpoints were proportion with an order for opioid pain medication at time of death, do-not-resuscitate order, location of death, nasogastric tube, intravenous line infusing, and physical restraints. Secondary endpoints were administration of opioids, order/administration of antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and scopolamine (for death rattle); sublingual administration; advance directives; palliative care consultations; and pastoral care services. Generalized estimating equations were conducted adjusting for longitudinal trends.
Significant intervention effects were observed for orders for opioid pain medication (OR: 1.39), antipsychotic medications (OR: 1.98), benzodiazepines (OR: 1.39), death rattle medications (OR: 2.77), sublingual administration (OR: 4.12), nasogastric tubes (OR: 0.71), and advance directives (OR: 1.47). Intervention effects were not significant for location of death, do-not-resuscitate orders, intravenous lines, or restraints.
This broadly targeted intervention strategy led to modest but statistically significant changes in several processes of care, indicating its potential for widespread dissemination to improve end-of-life care for thousands of patients who die each year in inpatient settings.
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- Intervention to Improve Care at Life’s End in Inpatient Settings: The BEACON Trial
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 29, Issue 6 , pp 836-843
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- palliative care
- end-of-life care
- palliative medicine
- Industry Sectors
- F. Amos Bailey MD (1) (2)
- Beverly R. Williams PhD (1) (2)
- Lesa L. Woodby PhD (1) (2)
- Patricia S. Goode MD (1) (2)
- David T. Redden PhD (1) (2)
- Thomas K. Houston MD (3) (4)
- U. Shanette Granstaff MPH (1) (2)
- Theodore M. Johnson II MD (5) (6)
- Leslye C. Pennypacker MD (7)
- K. Sue Haddock PhD (8)
- John M. Painter PhD (9)
- Jessie M. Spencer MD (10)
- Thomas Hartney MD (11)
- Kathryn L. Burgio PhD (1) (2)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Veterans Affairs, Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), 11G, 700 South 19th Street, Birmingham, AL, 35233, USA
- 2. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
- 3. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA eHealth Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, Bedford, MA, USA
- 4. University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
- 5. Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), Decatur, GA, USA
- 6. Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
- 7. Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, Gainesville, FL, USA
- 8. William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center, Columbia, SC, USA
- 9. Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC, USA
- 10. G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA
- 11. Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Augusta, GA, USA