All About Nursing · Hospice & Palliative Care

Determining Prognosis: Patients with End-Stage Cardiac Disease (Reading & Sharing)

The principles for determining when patients with end-stage cardiac disease require end-of-life care, are actually similar to those for determining prognosis of patients with advanced pulmonary disease.

Disabling Dyspnea or Chest Pain

  • Dyspnea or chest pain with rest or minimal exertion and can therefore classified as New York Heart Association class IV (NYHA class IV)
  • Ejection fraction less or equal 20%, if available
  • Persistent symptoms despite optimal medical management with vasodilators and dialectics, or
  • Inability to tolerate optimal medical management due to hypotension and/or renal failure
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All About Nursing · Hospice & Palliative Care · Nursing Continue Education

Euthanasia- Good Death vs Killing on Request (Reading & Sharing)

The word euthanasia is combination of the Greek eu= good, and thanatos = death. Literally and etymologically it therefore means “good death”. Historically and scholarly, euthanasia in the strict- and in the Dutch context the only proper- sense refers to the situation in which a doctor kills a person who is suffering “unbearably” and “hopelessly” at the latter’s explicit request (usually by administering a lethal injection)… and euthanasia is in the Netherlands reserved for killing on request. In concrete terms, euthanasia invovles injecting the patient with two types of eubstances: barbiturates to induce coma, followed by neuromuscular blockers which cause respiratory muscle paralysis. The consequent anoxia and cardiac arrest bring on immediate death.

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Hospice & Palliative Care

End Stage Disease Progression and Complications – Oncologic Disorders (Learning Hospice)

  • Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed and is the leading cause of death from cancer in women worldwide.
  • Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed and the leading cause of death from cancer in men worldwide.
  • Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States following heart disease.

Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal of mutated cells that can be caused by external and internal factors. Mutated cells have certain characteristics as follows:

  • can avoid apoptosis (cell death)
  • resist normal aging process
  • can replicate outside normal controlling mechanisms
  • produce chemicals that dissolve surrounding tissue
  • invade other parts of the body
  • overcome the immune system
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All About Nursing · Hospice & Palliative Care

Pain Management at the End of Life (Reading and Sharing)

The prevalence of pain varies by dx, stage of disease, and setting of care. Approximately 1/3 of patients with cancer experience pain at the time of diagnosis, while 2/3 with metastatic disease report pain. Less is known about the prevalence of pain in those with diagnoses other than cancer.

Pain is described by the World Health Organization as a “multidimensional phenomenon with sensory, physiological, cognitive, affective, behavioral and spiritual components.” Pain is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon, an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in these terms. (Pain is whatever the patient says it is.)

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