A tertiary hospital audit of opioids and sedatives administered in the last 24h of life

Douglas, C., Clarke, M., Alexander, S. and Khatun, M. (2016) A tertiary hospital audit of opioids and sedatives administered in the last 24h of life. Internal Medicine Journal, 46 3: 325-331. doi:10.1111/imj.12985

Author Douglas, C.
Clarke, M.
Alexander, S.
Khatun, M.
Title A tertiary hospital audit of opioids and sedatives administered in the last 24h of life
Journal name Internal Medicine Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-5994
Publication date 2016-03-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/imj.12985
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 46
Issue 3
Start page 325
End page 331
Total pages 7
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background/Aim: To audit the doses of opioids and sedatives administered to patients in the last 24h of life in an Australian tertiary hospital and compare results with doses published in New Zealand (NZ) benchmarking studies and to examine the effect of caring for dying patients using a modified version of the Liverpool Care Pathway (mLCP) in respect to doses of opioids and sedatives.

Methods: A retrospective chart audit of 102 patients who died in a tertiary hospital was carried out over a 3-month period in 2011. Diagnosis, demographic patient characteristics, use of the mLCP, use of subcutaneous infusions and key symptoms were identified. Chi-squared and the non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests were applied to compare the group differences for categorical and continuous variables as appropriate. Parenteral morphine-equivalent daily dose (pMEDD) was calculated. A t-test assessed the variable mean doses of medication and patient characteristics.

Results: Of the audited patients, 76.5% died of non-malignant disease. The overall mean dose of midazolam was significantly lower compared with that of the NZ study pMEDD (6.0 vs 20.7mg). The overall mean dose of morphine benchmarked closely with the NZ study (56.5mg Australian study vs 47.8mg NZ study). A total of 83% of patients with a malignant diagnosis was supported with the mLCP compared with 51% of patients with a non-malignant diagnosis.

Conclusion: The significance of the lower midazolam doses was postulated, including the possibility of inadequate symptom control for patients with a non-malignant diagnosis. The use of the mLCP did not lead to the provision of higher doses of medications.
Keyword Benchmark
Tertiary hospital
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Public Health Publications
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