Demonstrating the impact of POLST forms on hospital care requires information not contained in state registries

Alison Turnbull, Xuejuan Ning, Anirudh Rao, Jessica J. Tao, Dale Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs have expanded rapidly, but evaluating their impact on hospital care is challenging. Objectives To demonstrate how careful study design can reveal POLST’s impact at hospital admission and why analyses of state registry data are unlikely to capture POLST’s effects. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting and participants Adult in-patients with Do Not Intubate and/or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR/I) orders in the electronic medical record at the time of discharge from Johns Hopkins Hospital over 18 months. For patients with unplanned readmissions within 30 days, records were reviewed to determine if a Maryland Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form was presented and for the time from readmission to a DNR/I order in the EMR. Analyses were stratified by whether patients could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission. Results Among 1,507 patients with DNR/I orders at discharge, 124 (8%) had unplanned readmissions, 112 (90%) could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission, and 12 (10%) could not communicate and were unaccompanied. For patients who were unaccompanied and could not communicate, MOLST significantly decreased the median time from readmission to DNR/I order (1.2 vs 27.1 hours, P = .001), but this association was greatly attenuated among patients who could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy (16.4 vs 25.4 hours P = .10). Conclusion Among patients who wanted to avoid intubation and/or CPR, MOLST forms were protective when the patient was unaccompanied by a healthcare proxy at admission and could not communicate. Fewer than 10% of patients met these criteria during unplanned readmissions, and state registry data does not allow this sub-population to be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0217113
JournalPloS one
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

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physicians
Registries
Physicians
Resuscitation Orders
Proxy
Electronic medical equipment
Therapeutics
Electronic Health Records
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
cohort studies
Intubation
health services
electronics
Cohort Studies
experimental design
Prospective Studies
Delivery of Health Care
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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Demonstrating the impact of POLST forms on hospital care requires information not contained in state registries. / Turnbull, Alison; Ning, Xuejuan; Rao, Anirudh; Tao, Jessica J.; Needham, Dale.

In: PloS one, Vol. 14, No. 6, e0217113, 01.06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs have expanded rapidly, but evaluating their impact on hospital care is challenging. Objectives To demonstrate how careful study design can reveal POLST’s impact at hospital admission and why analyses of state registry data are unlikely to capture POLST’s effects. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting and participants Adult in-patients with Do Not Intubate and/or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR/I) orders in the electronic medical record at the time of discharge from Johns Hopkins Hospital over 18 months. For patients with unplanned readmissions within 30 days, records were reviewed to determine if a Maryland Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form was presented and for the time from readmission to a DNR/I order in the EMR. Analyses were stratified by whether patients could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission. Results Among 1,507 patients with DNR/I orders at discharge, 124 (8{\%}) had unplanned readmissions, 112 (90{\%}) could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission, and 12 (10{\%}) could not communicate and were unaccompanied. For patients who were unaccompanied and could not communicate, MOLST significantly decreased the median time from readmission to DNR/I order (1.2 vs 27.1 hours, P = .001), but this association was greatly attenuated among patients who could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy (16.4 vs 25.4 hours P = .10). Conclusion Among patients who wanted to avoid intubation and/or CPR, MOLST forms were protective when the patient was unaccompanied by a healthcare proxy at admission and could not communicate. Fewer than 10{\%} of patients met these criteria during unplanned readmissions, and state registry data does not allow this sub-population to be identified.",
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N2 - Background Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs have expanded rapidly, but evaluating their impact on hospital care is challenging. Objectives To demonstrate how careful study design can reveal POLST’s impact at hospital admission and why analyses of state registry data are unlikely to capture POLST’s effects. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting and participants Adult in-patients with Do Not Intubate and/or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR/I) orders in the electronic medical record at the time of discharge from Johns Hopkins Hospital over 18 months. For patients with unplanned readmissions within 30 days, records were reviewed to determine if a Maryland Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form was presented and for the time from readmission to a DNR/I order in the EMR. Analyses were stratified by whether patients could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission. Results Among 1,507 patients with DNR/I orders at discharge, 124 (8%) had unplanned readmissions, 112 (90%) could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission, and 12 (10%) could not communicate and were unaccompanied. For patients who were unaccompanied and could not communicate, MOLST significantly decreased the median time from readmission to DNR/I order (1.2 vs 27.1 hours, P = .001), but this association was greatly attenuated among patients who could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy (16.4 vs 25.4 hours P = .10). Conclusion Among patients who wanted to avoid intubation and/or CPR, MOLST forms were protective when the patient was unaccompanied by a healthcare proxy at admission and could not communicate. Fewer than 10% of patients met these criteria during unplanned readmissions, and state registry data does not allow this sub-population to be identified.

AB - Background Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) programs have expanded rapidly, but evaluating their impact on hospital care is challenging. Objectives To demonstrate how careful study design can reveal POLST’s impact at hospital admission and why analyses of state registry data are unlikely to capture POLST’s effects. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting and participants Adult in-patients with Do Not Intubate and/or Do Not Resuscitate (DNR/I) orders in the electronic medical record at the time of discharge from Johns Hopkins Hospital over 18 months. For patients with unplanned readmissions within 30 days, records were reviewed to determine if a Maryland Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form was presented and for the time from readmission to a DNR/I order in the EMR. Analyses were stratified by whether patients could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission. Results Among 1,507 patients with DNR/I orders at discharge, 124 (8%) had unplanned readmissions, 112 (90%) could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy at readmission, and 12 (10%) could not communicate and were unaccompanied. For patients who were unaccompanied and could not communicate, MOLST significantly decreased the median time from readmission to DNR/I order (1.2 vs 27.1 hours, P = .001), but this association was greatly attenuated among patients who could communicate or were accompanied by a proxy (16.4 vs 25.4 hours P = .10). Conclusion Among patients who wanted to avoid intubation and/or CPR, MOLST forms were protective when the patient was unaccompanied by a healthcare proxy at admission and could not communicate. Fewer than 10% of patients met these criteria during unplanned readmissions, and state registry data does not allow this sub-population to be identified.

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