Hospice use by eligible Medicare patients was 2.55% in 2015, compared with 2.59% in 2014 and 2.67% in 2013, according to a report from Healthcare Market Resources. Eleven states saw increased hospice use from 2014 to 2015, down from 17 that recorded increases from 2013 to 2014.
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Clinical interpretation and application of living wills and Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment documents raises a patient safety issue that has no oversight, according to researchers who were part of a study about using patient videos to inform clinicians about end-of-life wishes. "With patient video clarification, we can now hear from patients, in their voice and expressions, when they are critically ill and receive their guidance rather than providers guessing after reviewing a form that may or may not have been completed correctly," according to this article.
Cardiologists may not always feel prepared to talk about palliative care with patients at the end of life, but the practice is gaining momentum and study data show it can improve outcomes. Dr. Daniel Hoefer at Sharp HealthCare said palliative care is about patients' quality of life and keeping patients from suffering.
Research in the journal Cancer showed younger cancer survivors participate in fewer social activities than the general population and may feel isolated from their peers. Data showed that during the first year of a cancer diagnosis, patient social functioning improved, but it then declined over time.
The State of Cancer Care in America: 2017 report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology outlines the achievements and challenges in cancer care in the US. ASCO Chair-Elect Dr. Melissa Dillmon said that the current system does not provide adequate health care to all patients and that physicians have a responsibility to address disparities.
Israeli researchers found that individuals with insulin resistance experienced a more rapid decline in cognitive functions, including attention, executive function, memory and visual spatial processing. The findings in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease were based on 500 patients with or without diabetes, but with existing cardiovascular disease.
A survey by Merritt Hawkins found it takes 30% longer now than in 2014 to get a new-patient appointment with a physician in 15 major metro areas in the US. Researchers said the survey data, which came from 1,414 physician offices, suggested the longer waits were related to greater demand for services as more people gained insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
A recent Association of American Medical Colleges report predicts that the US physician shortage will get worse and a deficit of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors will occur by 2030. Shortages will affect primary care, surgical specialties and medical specialties including cardiology and infectious disease, but telemedicine, new drugs and other changes in the health care industry could mitigate the impact of those shortages, experts say.
If you attended the Annual Assembly, be sure to complete your evaluations and download your handouts. Evaluations are due April 4. You must complete the evaluations to receive your CE credits. Complete your evaluations.
AAHPM offers its members an opportunity to participate in NPCRC's Kathleen M. Foley Palliative Care Retreat and Research Symposium. This retreat will be held Oct. 24-26, 2017 at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. If you are an AAHPM member and early career researcher, review the requirements and submit your application. Applications close March 31. Learn more.
Bodily vigor is good, and vigor of intellect is even better, but far above both is character.