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Utilization of Palliative Care for Patients with COVID-19 and Acute Kidney Injury during a COVID-19 Surge

Scherer, Jennifer S; Qian, Yingzhi; Rau, Megan E; Soomro, Qandeel H; Sullivan, Ryan; Linton, Janelle; Zhong, Judy; Chodosh, Joshua; Charytan, David M
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:AKI is a common complication of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is associated with high mortality. Palliative care, a specialty that supports patients with serious illness, is valuable for these patients but is historically underutilized in AKI. The objectives of this paper are to describe the use of palliative care in patients with AKI and COVID-19 and their subsequent health care utilization. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS/METHODS:We conducted a retrospective analysis of New York University Langone Health electronic health data of COVID-19 hospitalizations between March 2, 2020 and August 25, 2020. Regression models were used to examine characteristics associated with receiving a palliative care consult. RESULTS:=0.002). Despite greater use of palliative care, patients with AKI had a significantly longer length of stay, more intensive care unit admissions, and more use of mechanical ventilation. Those with AKI did have a higher frequency of discharges to inpatient hospice (6% versus 3%) and change in code status (34% versus 7%) than those without AKI. CONCLUSIONS:Palliative care was utilized more frequently for patients with AKI and COVID-19 than historically reported in AKI. Despite high mortality, consultation occurred late in the hospital course and was not associated with reduced initiation of life-sustaining interventions. PODCAST/UNASSIGNED:This article contains a podcast at
PMID: 35210281
ISSN: 1555-905x
CID: 5172422

Factors associated with hospital admission and severe outcomes for older patients with COVID-19

Kim, Jiyu; Blaum, Caroline; Ferris, Rosie; Arcila-Mesa, Mauricio; Do, Hyungrok; Pulgarin, Claudia; Dolle, Johanna; Scherer, Jennifer; Kalyanaraman Marcello, Roopa; Zhong, Judy
BACKGROUND:Morbidity and death due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) experienced by older adults in nursing homes have been well described, but COVID-19's impact on community-living older adults is less studied. Similarly, the previous ambulatory care experience of such patients has rarely been considered in studies of COVID-19 risks and outcomes. METHODS:To investigate the relationship of advanced age (65+), on risk factors associated with COVID-19 outcomes in community-living elders, we identified an electronic health records cohort of older patients aged 65+ with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 with and without an ambulatory care visit in the past 24 months (n = 47,219) in the New York City (NYC) academic medical institutions and the NYC public hospital system from January 2020 to February 2021. The main outcomes are COVID-19 hospitalization; severe outcomes/Intensive care unit (ICU), intubation, dialysis, stroke, in-hospital death), and in-hospital death. The exposures include demographic characteristics, and those with ambulatory records, comorbidities, frailty, and laboratory results. RESULTS:The 31,770 patients with an ambulatory history had a median age of 74 years; were 47.4% male, 24.3% non-Hispanic white, 23.3% non-Hispanic black, and 18.4% Hispanic. With increasing age, the odds ratios and attributable fractions of sex, race-ethnicity, comorbidities, and biomarkers decreased except for dementia and frailty (Hospital Frailty Risk Score). Patients without ambulatory care histories, compared to those with, had significantly higher adjusted rates of COVID-19 hospitalization and severe outcomes, with strongest effect in the oldest group. CONCLUSIONS:In this cohort of community-dwelling older adults, we provided evidence of age-specific risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalization and severe outcomes. Future research should explore the impact of frailty and dementia in severe COVID-19 outcomes in community-living older adults, and the role of engagement in ambulatory care in mitigating severe disease.
PMID: 35179781
ISSN: 1532-5415
CID: 5175772

Association Between Self-reported Importance of Religious or Spiritual Beliefs and End-of-Life Care Preferences Among People Receiving Dialysis

Scherer, Jennifer S; Milazzo, Kaylin C; Hebert, Paul L; Engelberg, Ruth A; Lavallee, Danielle C; Vig, Elizabeth K; Kurella Tamura, Manjula; Roberts, Glenda; Curtis, J Randall; O'Hare, Ann M
Importance:Although people receiving maintenance dialysis have limited life expectancy and a high burden of comorbidity, relatively few studies have examined spirituality and religious beliefs among members of this population. Objective:To examine whether there is an association between the importance of religious or spiritual beliefs and care preferences and palliative care needs in people who receive dialysis. Design, Setting, and Participants:A cross-sectional survey study was conducted among adults who were undergoing maintenance dialysis at 31 facilities in Seattle, Washington, and Nashville, Tennessee, between April 22, 2015, and October 2, 2018. The survey included a series of questions assessing patients' knowledge, preferences, values, and expectations related to end-of-life care. Data were analyzed from February 12, 2020, to April 21, 2021. Exposures:The importance of religious or spiritual beliefs was ascertained by asking participants to respond to this statement: "My religious or spiritual beliefs are what really lie behind my whole approach to life." Response options were definitely true, tends to be true, tends not to be true, or definitely not true. Main Outcomes and Measurements:Outcome measures were based on self-reported engagement in advance care planning, resuscitation preferences, values regarding life prolongation, preferred place of death, decision-making preference, thoughts or discussion about hospice or stopping dialysis, prognostic expectations, and palliative care needs. Results:A total of 937 participants were included in the cohort, of whom the mean (SD) age was 62.8 (13.8) years and 524 (55.9%) were men. Overall, 435 (46.4%) participants rated the statement about religious or spiritual beliefs as definitely true, 230 (24.6%) rated it as tends to be true, 137 (14.6%) rated it as tends not to be true, and 135 (14.4%) rated it as definitely not true. Participants for whom these beliefs were more important were more likely to prefer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (estimated probability for definitely true: 69.8% [95% CI, 66.5%-73.2%]; tends to be true: 60.8% [95% CI, 53.4%-68.3%]; tends not to be true: 61.6% [95% CI, 53.6%-69.6%]; and definitely not true: 60.6% [95% CI, 52.5%-68.6%]; P for trend = .003) and mechanical ventilation (estimated probability for definitely true: 42.6% [95% CI, 38.1%-47.0%]; tends to be true: 33.5% [95% CI, 25.9%-41.2%]; tends not to be true: 35.1% [95% CI, 27.2%-42.9%]; and definitely not true: 27.9% [95% CI, 19.6%-36.1%]; P for trend = .002) and to prefer a shared role in decision-making (estimated probability for definitely true: 41.6% [95% CI, 37.7%-45.5%]; tends to be true: 35.4% [95% CI, 29.0%-41.8%]; tends not to be true: 36.0% [95% CI, 26.7%-45.2%]; and definitely not true: 23.8% [95% CI, 17.3%-30.3%]; P for trend = .001) and were less likely to have thought or spoken about stopping dialysis. These participants were no less likely to have engaged in advance care planning, to value relief of pain and discomfort, to prefer to die at home, to have ever thought or spoken about hospice, and to have unmet palliative care needs and had similar prognostic expectations. Conclusions and Relevance:The finding that religious or spiritual beliefs were important to most study participants suggests the value of an integrative approach that addresses these beliefs in caring for people who receive dialysis.
PMID: 34347059
ISSN: 2574-3805
CID: 4995472

Challenges in communication, prognostication and dialysis decision-making in the COVID-19 pandemic: implications for interdisciplinary care during crisis settings

Nair, Devika; Malhotra, Sonia; Lupu, Dale; Harbert, Glenda; Scherer, Jennifer S
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:Using case vignettes, we highlight challenges in communication, prognostication, and medical decision-making that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic for patients with kidney disease. We include best practice recommendations to mitigate these issues and conclude with implications for interdisciplinary models of care in crisis settings. RECENT FINDINGS:Certain biomarkers, demographics, and medical comorbidities predict an increased risk for mortality among patients with COVID-19 and kidney disease, but concerns related to physical exposure and conservation of personal protective equipment have exacerbated existing barriers to empathic communication and value clarification for these patients. Variability in patient characteristics and outcomes has made prognostication nuanced and challenging. The pandemic has also highlighted the complexities of dialysis decision-making for older adults at risk for poor outcomes related to COVID-19. SUMMARY:The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for nephrologists to be competent in serious illness communication skills that include virtual and remote modalities, to be aware of prognostic tools, and to be willing to engage with interdisciplinary teams of palliative care subspecialists, intensivists, and ethicists to facilitate goal-concordant care during crisis settings.
PMID: 33395035
ISSN: 1473-6543
CID: 4789782

The Impact of COVID-19 Surge on Clinical Palliative Care: A Descriptive Study from a New York Hospital System

Moriyama, Derek; Scherer, Jennifer S; Sullivan, Ryan; Lowy, Joseph; Berger, Jeffrey T
CONTEXT/BACKGROUND:In spring 2020, New York experienced as surge of patients hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (COVID-19) disease, as part of a global pandemic. There is limited data on populations of COVID-19 infected patients seen by palliative care services. OBJECTIVE:To describe a palliative care population at one New York hospital system during the initial pandemic surge. METHODS:This repeated cross sectional, observational study collected data on palliative care patients in a large health system seen during the COVID-19 outbreak and compared it to pre-COVID data. RESULTS:Palliative service volume surged from 678 (4% of total admissions) pre-COVID-19 to 1,071 (10% of total admissions) during the COVID-19 outbreak. During the outbreak, 695 (64.9%) of palliative patients tested positive for the virus. Compared with a pre-outbreak group, this COVID-19 positive group had higher rates of male (60.7% vs 48.6%, p < 0.01) and Latino (21.3% vs 13.3%; p < 0.01) patients and less white patients (21.3% vs 13.3%; p < 0.01). Our patient's with COVID-19 also had greater prevalence of obesity and diabetes and lower rates of end-stage organ disease and cancers. The COVID-19 positive group had a higher rate of intensive care unit admissions (58.9% vs 33.9%; p < 0.01) and in-hospital mortality rate (57.4% vs 13.1%; p < 0.01) compared to the pre-outbreak group. There was increased odds of mortality in palliative care patients who were COVID-19 positive (OR = 3.21; 95% CI = 2.43 - 4.24) and those admitted to the ICU (OR = 1.45; 95% CI = 1.11 - 1.9). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:During the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, palliative care services experienced a large surge of patients who tended to be healthier at baseline and more acutely ill at time of admission than pre-COVID palliative patients.
PMID: 33359217
ISSN: 1873-6513
CID: 4731312

An Exploratory Qualitative Study of Patient and Caregiver Perspectives of Ambulatory Kidney Palliative Care

Bristol, Alycia A; Chaudhry, Sobaata; Assis, Dana; Wright, Rebecca; Moriyama, Derek; Harwood, Katherine; Brody, Abraham A; Charytan, David M; Chodosh, Joshua; Scherer, Jennifer S
OBJECTIVES/UNASSIGNED:The ideal clinical model to deliver palliative care to patients with advanced kidney disease is currently unknown. Internationally, ambulatory kidney palliative care clinics have emerged with positive outcomes, yet there is limited data from the United States (US). In this exploratory study we report perceptions of a US-based ambulatory kidney palliative care clinic from the perspective of patient and caregiver attendees. The objective of this study was to inform further improvement of our clinical program. METHODS/UNASSIGNED:Semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit the patient and caregiver experience. Eleven interviews (8 patients with chronic kidney disease stage IV or V and 3 caregivers) were analyzed using qualitative description design. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:We identified 2 themes: "Communication addressing the emotional and physical aspects of disease" and "Filling gaps in care"; Subthemes include perceived value in symptom management, assistance with coping with disease, engagement in advance care planning, program satisfaction and patient activation. SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:Qualitative analysis showed that attendees of an ambulatory kidney palliative care clinic found the clinic enhanced the management of their kidney disease and provided services that filled current gaps in their care. Shared experiences highlight the significant challenges of life with kidney disease and the possible benefits of palliative care for this population. Further study to determine the optimal model of care for kidney palliative care is needed. Inclusion of the patient and caregiver perspective will be essential in this development.
PMID: 33438435
ISSN: 1938-2715
CID: 4746812

Conservative kidney management practice patterns in The United States: A ckdopps analysis [Meeting Abstract]

Scherer, J S; Muenz, D G; Bieber, B; Stengel, B; Masud, T; Robinson, B M; Pecoits-Filho, R; Goldfeld, K S; Chodosh, J; Charytan, D M
Background: Conservative kidney management (CKM) of kidney failure is an important treatment option for many patients. However, its availability in the United States (US) is not well described. We describe CKM resources and provider practice patterns in US Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) clinics.
Method(s): Cross sectional analysis of provider surveys (n=22) from unique clinics in the US from the CKD Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (CKDopps) collected between 2014-2017.
Result(s): Only eight (36%) providers reported involving palliative care in planning for and educating patients about kidney failure. A majority (59%) were extremely comfortable discussing CKM and nearly 100% typically discussed CKM as a treatment option. Nearly all (95%) reported their clinics had the ability to routinely deliver CKM, but only one had a CKM protocol or guideline, and none offered a specific CKM clinic. Most providers said their clinics used the word conservative to describe CKM, with 24% choosing palliative or supportive terminology. Regardless of involvement of PC, most providers estimated that 5% of their patients with or approaching kidney failure were managed with CKM. Patient preference, functional status, frailty, and comorbidities were the most important factors influencing provider decisions in contemplating the suitability of CKM for patients. (Figure 1)
Conclusion(s): Most providers report feeling comfortable discussing CKM, yet almost no clinics report resources or dedicated infrastructure for CKM delivery. Despite reported high frequency of discussing CKM, few patients were described as choosing this treatment pathway. Factors that influence consideration of CKM are consistent with elements that generally influence well-informed geriatric and end-of-life care. Efforts to improve assessment of those elements may allow for more informed recommendations of CKM
ISSN: 1533-3450
CID: 5179742

Acute Peritoneal Dialysis During the COVID-19 Pandemic at Bellevue Hospital in New York City

Caplin, Nina J; Zhadanova, Olga; Tandon, Manish; Thompson, Nathan; Patel, Dhwanil; Soomro, Qandeel; Ranjeeta, Fnu; Joseph, Leian; Scherer, Jennifer; Joshi, Shivam; Dyal, Betty; Chawla, Harminder; Iyer, Sitalakshmi; Bails, Douglas; Benstein, Judith; Goldfarb, David S; Gelb, Bruce; Amerling, Richard; Charytan, David M
ISSN: n/a
CID: 4874982

Acute Peritoneal Dialysis During the COVID-19 Pandemic at Bellevue Hospital in New York City

Caplin, Nina J; Zhdanova, Olga; Tandon, Manish; Thompson, Nathan; Patel, Dhwanil; Soomro, Qandeel; Ranjeeta, Fnu; Joseph, Leian; Scherer, Jennifer; Joshi, Shivam; Dyal, Betty; Chawla, Harminder; Iyer, Sitalakshmi; Bails, Douglas; Benstein, Judith; Goldfarb, David S; Gelb, Bruce; Amerling, Richard; Charytan, David M
Background:The COVID-19 pandemic strained hospital resources in New York City, including those for providing dialysis. New York University Medical Center and affiliations, including New York City Health and Hospitals/Bellevue, developed a plan to offset the increased needs for KRT. We established acute peritoneal dialysis (PD) capability, as usual dialysis modalities were overwhelmed by COVID-19 AKI. Methods:Observational study of patients requiring KRT admitted to Bellevue Hospital during the COVID surge. Bellevue Hospital is one of the largest public hospitals in the United States, providing medical care to an underserved population. There were substantial staff, supplies, and equipment shortages. Adult patients admitted with AKI who required KRT were considered for PD. We rapidly established an acute PD program. A surgery team placed catheters at the bedside in the intensive care unit; a nephrology team delivered treatment. We provided an alternative to hemodialysis and continuous venovenous hemofiltration for treating patients in the intensive-care unit, demonstrating efficacy with outcomes comparable to standard care. Results:From April 8, 2020 to May 8, 2020, 39 catheters were placed into ten women and 29 men. By June 10, 39% of the patients started on PD recovered kidney function (average ages 56 years for men and 59.5 years for women); men and women who expired were an average 71.8 and 66.2 years old. No episodes of peritonitis were observed; there were nine incidents of minor leaking. Some patients were treated while ventilated in the prone position. Conclusions:Demand compelled us to utilize acute PD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our experience is one of the largest recently reported in the United States of which we are aware. Acute PD provided lifesaving care to acutely ill patients when expanding current resources was impossible. Our experience may help other programs to avoid rationing dialysis treatments in health crises.
PMID: 35372895
ISSN: 2641-7650
CID: 5219412

Moving the Science of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Forward: Measuring Fatigue in Hemodialysis Patients [Comment]

Ramer, Sarah J; Scherer, Jennifer S
PMID: 33174861
ISSN: 1555-905x
CID: 4667362