Baylor's palliative care program helps specialty move forward | Surgeon: Cost and quality of life demand more discussion of end-of-life care | Hospices in 4 Md. counties create community-based model
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August 15, 2014
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

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Baylor's palliative care program helps specialty move forward
Baylor Health Care System is putting more emphasis on palliative care, hiring palliative care child-life specialists to help the young children of patients. Dr. Robert Fine of Baylor said the palliative care specialty is growing but training remains a challenge. Dr. Amy Kelley of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York said billing codes should be created to reflect time-intensive interventions. D Healthcare Daily (Dallas) (8/13)
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Surgeon: Cost and quality of life demand more discussion of end-of-life care
Increasing end-of-life care costs may threaten the solvency of Medicare and highlight the need for appropriate care planning, Dr. John Maa writes in Forbes. The surgeon shares the story of how he reacted when a woman's family asked him to perform surgery without informing her just how poor her prognosis was. At his prodding, the patient's children told her the truth and she chose to spend her remaining time traveling the world rather than in a hospital. Forbes (8/12)
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Hospices in 4 Md. counties create community-based model
Hospices in four Maryland counties have agreed to switch to a community-based model to expand their services. The hospices will coordinate care with other health practitioners and facilities, including nursing homes and senior living communities, to help people receive appropriate care and a smooth transition to hospice. The Star-Democrat (Easton, Md.) (8/11)
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Other News
Patient & Family Perspective
Mont. hearing highlights needs of Alzheimer's patients, caregivers
Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., hosted a field hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging in Billings, where he heard about challenges faced by Alzheimer's patients and caregivers. Dr. Patricia Coon of the Montana Alzheimer's/Dementia Work Group said greater awareness and visibility are needed, along with the creation of dementia-friendly communities that offer coordinated care for patients and families. Billings Gazette (Mont.) (8/13)
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Medical Research
Diabetes patients on metformin at greater risk for cognitive decline
A study in Diabetes Care found type 2 diabetes patients on metformin treatment had a 123% increased risk of cognitive decline compared with nonusers. Researchers also found diabetes patients who took calcium supplements had better cognitive scores. (8/13)
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Many meds commonly taken by elderly tied to greater risk of falls
An analysis of data on more than 64,000 people older than 65 in Sweden found that half of the 20 drugs most commonly prescribed to seniors were associated with a greater risk of falls. The link was strongest for painkillers and antidepressants, researchers said. The findings appeared in the European Journal of Public Health. Reuters (8/12)
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Health Policy & Practice
Federal program tests models for improving patient care
The Affordable Care Act created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which has launched experiments in every state to study whether novel health care reimbursement models and networks can save money and improve public health. The center awards grants to community groups, health systems and clinics, insurance companies, nursing homes, and states through a 10-year, $10 billion budget. Supporters say such research is urgently needed, but critics say the center has been slow to release data on whether the pilot programs have worked and question whether a large federal program is the right course. Kaiser Health News (8/11)
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Trends & Technology
Wireless tech helps Calif. provider cut bedsores among patients
El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., is using a Leaf Patient Monitoring platform to track the movement and position of patients at risk of bedsores. The provider found the wireless technology was linked to an increase in compliance with patient-turning protocols to 98% from 64%. Healthcare IT News (8/11)
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Teen creates wireless sensor to track Alzheimer's patients
Kenneth Shinozuka, 15, of New York City was named a finalist in Google's Global Science Fair for creating a wireless sensor that can send notifications to a smartphone when dementia patients wander. The small, thin, pressure-sensitive sensor can be placed in a sock or on a person's foot, and Shinozuka is making hundreds to donate to nursing homes. Business Insider (8/14)
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Scholarships available for HPM Lectures
The AAHPM Hospice and Palliative Medicine Lecture Series application is open. This scholarship provides support to members who have been accepted to present on palliative care or hospice topics at other medical society meetings. Apply today.
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Primer of Palliative Care, 6th edition
This book is the essential introductory text for those who care for patients with serious illness and their families. Contents include introduction to hospice and palliative care, pain management, dyspnea, gastrointestinal symptoms and special considerations for infants and children. Available as an ebook or soft cover book. Purchase at
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The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost."
-- G.K. Chesterton,
British writer
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