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The impact of the inpatient practice of continuous deep sedation until death on healthcare professionals' emotional well-being: a systematic review


Ziegler, Sarah; Merker, Hannes; Schmid, Margareta; Puhan, Milo A (2017). The impact of the inpatient practice of continuous deep sedation until death on healthcare professionals' emotional well-being: a systematic review. BMC Palliative Care, 16(1):30.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The practice of continuous deep sedation is a challenging clinical intervention with demanding clinical and ethical decision-making. Though current research indicates that healthcare professionals' involvement in such decisions is associated with emotional stress, little is known about sedation-related emotional burden. This study aims to systematically review the evidence on the impact of the inpatient practice of continuous deep sedation until death on healthcare professionals' emotional well-being.
METHODS: A systematic review of literature published between January 1990 and October 2016 was performed following a predefined protocol. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Scopus, and PsycINFO were searched using search terms within "end-of-life care", "sedation", and "emotional well-being". Dissertations and reference lists were screened by hand. Two independent reviewers conducted study selection, data extraction and quality assessment. We abstracted measures of psychological outcomes, which were related to the practice of continuous deep sedation until death, including emotional well-being, stress and exhaustion. We used the GRADE approach to rate the quality of evidence.
RESULTS: Three studies remained out of 528 publications identified. A total of 3'900 healthcare professionals (82% nurses, 18% physicians) from Japan (n = 3384) and the Netherlands (n = 16) were included. The prevalence of sedation-related burden in nurses varied from 11 to 26%, depending on outcome measure. Physicians showed medium levels of emotional exhaustion and low levels of depersonalization. Common clinical concerns contributing to professionals' burden were diagnosing refractory symptoms and sedation in the context of possibly life-shortening decisions. Non-clinical challenges included conflicting wishes between patients and families, disagreements within the care team, and insufficient professionals' skills and coping. Due to the limited results and heterogeneity in outcome measure, the GRADE ratings for the quality of evidence were low.
CONCLUSIONS: Current evidence does not suggest that practicing continuous deep sedation is generally associated with lower emotional well-being of healthcare professionals. Higher emotional burden seems more likely when professionals struggled with clinical and ethical justifications for continuous deep sedation. This appeared to be in part a function of clinical experience. Further research is needed to strengthen this evidence, as it is likely that additional studies will change the current evidence base.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The practice of continuous deep sedation is a challenging clinical intervention with demanding clinical and ethical decision-making. Though current research indicates that healthcare professionals' involvement in such decisions is associated with emotional stress, little is known about sedation-related emotional burden. This study aims to systematically review the evidence on the impact of the inpatient practice of continuous deep sedation until death on healthcare professionals' emotional well-being.
METHODS: A systematic review of literature published between January 1990 and October 2016 was performed following a predefined protocol. MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Scopus, and PsycINFO were searched using search terms within "end-of-life care", "sedation", and "emotional well-being". Dissertations and reference lists were screened by hand. Two independent reviewers conducted study selection, data extraction and quality assessment. We abstracted measures of psychological outcomes, which were related to the practice of continuous deep sedation until death, including emotional well-being, stress and exhaustion. We used the GRADE approach to rate the quality of evidence.
RESULTS: Three studies remained out of 528 publications identified. A total of 3'900 healthcare professionals (82% nurses, 18% physicians) from Japan (n = 3384) and the Netherlands (n = 16) were included. The prevalence of sedation-related burden in nurses varied from 11 to 26%, depending on outcome measure. Physicians showed medium levels of emotional exhaustion and low levels of depersonalization. Common clinical concerns contributing to professionals' burden were diagnosing refractory symptoms and sedation in the context of possibly life-shortening decisions. Non-clinical challenges included conflicting wishes between patients and families, disagreements within the care team, and insufficient professionals' skills and coping. Due to the limited results and heterogeneity in outcome measure, the GRADE ratings for the quality of evidence were low.
CONCLUSIONS: Current evidence does not suggest that practicing continuous deep sedation is generally associated with lower emotional well-being of healthcare professionals. Higher emotional burden seems more likely when professionals struggled with clinical and ethical justifications for continuous deep sedation. This appeared to be in part a function of clinical experience. Further research is needed to strengthen this evidence, as it is likely that additional studies will change the current evidence base.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:8 May 2017
Deposited On:29 Jan 2018 21:01
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:55
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-684X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-017-0205-0
PubMed ID:28482856

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