Data showed 47% of end-stage renal disease patients in nursing homes had advance directives, compared with 59% of cancer patients, 61% of those with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 70% of patients with advanced dementia. The study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found ESRD patients with a treatment-limiting directive and a surrogate decision-maker had lower rates of hospitalization, ICU admission and intensive procedures than those without them.
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CancerCare social worker Carly O'Brien said a diagnosis of head and neck cancer can be associated with guilt and self-blame, so patients should seek out professional support and talk with physicians about managing any side effects of treatments. "We recommend reaching out to the multidisciplinary team and getting palliative care involved in managing side effects or symptoms of the disease, and talking about palliative symptom management from day one," O'Brien said.
Nonprofit organizations' funding and education efforts can help improve access to pediatric palliative care, writes Sheela Nimishakavi. Pediatric palliative care often lacks appropriate insurance funding and is held back by a lack of information about palliative care overall, Nimishakavi writes.
Kristina Sheridan's experience trying to get a diagnosis of her daughter's illness left her convinced patients and caregivers can provide important input to health care providers. Sheridan said it took three years and 15 diagnoses to determine her daughter had Lyme disease and comorbidities from it, because the health care establishment had only considered the clinical perspective and did not include patient and caregiver points of view.
Continuing warfarin to treat nonvalvular atrial fibrillation may provide cardiac protection for patients diagnosed with dementia, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study of older veterans found warfarin provided protection against ischemic stroke, major bleeding and mortality.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people with a diet high in cholesterol did not have a higher risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Researchers said the same was true for people with a gene variant that affects cholesterol metabolism and increases the risk of memory problems.
American Cancer Society data showed a 25% decrease in cancer death rates in the US since the early 1990s, driven mainly by declines in deaths from colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancers. Researchers credited decreasing smoking rates and earlier detection and treatment of cancer.
Health care facilities will no longer be allowed to use secure text messaging to send patient care orders, according to the Joint Commission's updated guidelines, developed in collaboration with the CMS and published in the journal Perspectives. The Joint Commission and the CMS recommend the use of a computerized provider order entry system to submit orders and advise facilities to prohibit sharing protected health information through unsecured text messaging from personal mobile devices.
Have you registered for the Annual Assembly? The early bird rate ends Jan. 16 -- sign up now to save $100 on your registration fee. Mark your calendars, get your days off approved, and join over 3,000 hospice and palliative medicine professionals at this one of a kind meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 22-25, 2017. Learn more.
AAHPM's video series called HPMQ, Hospice and Palliative Medicine Question, has released its seventh video. These quick, monthly videos help address difficult topics that you may face in your organization. This month's video asks, "Who makes the decisions? Unbefriended: Medical decision making for the incapacitated and alone," presented by Eric Widera, MD, FAAHPM. Watch the video now.
Do every job you're in like you're going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it.