Nursing homes work to reduce hospital stays for end-of-life patients | Review: Range of drugs used in pediatric palliative care | APRN: Interdisciplinary teams key to palliative care
November 30, 2016
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill
Top Story
Nursing homes work to reduce hospital stays for end-of-life patients
Nursing homes with low hospitalization rates for end-of-life patients avoided using algorithms to help make transfer decisions and did not automatically send people to the hospital when an acute event occurred, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers said staff at these nursing homes also tried to convince family members who wanted a loved one hospitalized that it likely would not be beneficial.
Reuters (11/29) 
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Review: Range of drugs used in pediatric palliative care
Recent research shows the wide range of medications used in pediatric palliative care, writes Marcia Buck of the University of Virginia Health System. "The growing recognition of the benefits of palliative care services for children has led to a number of new papers describing methods for improving pain control and minimizing patient discomfort," Buck writes.
Medscape (free registration) (11/30) 
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APRN: Interdisciplinary teams key to palliative care
Palliative care's goal of comforting patients is not a new concept, but creating inpatient and outpatient interdisciplinary teams to provide palliative services is a more recent health care emphasis, advanced practice registered nurse Judy Gustafson writes. Palliative medicine promotes goal setting, advance care planning and naming surrogates who can act when patients are not able to make their own decisions, Gustafson says.
Missoulian (Missoula, Mont.) (11/29) 
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Other News
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Patient & Family Perspective
Denial of communication devices is red flag for caregiver abuse
Caregiver abuse is a particular danger for elderly cancer patients, an expert warns. Red flags include dismissive comments about the illness or the patient's fatigue and denial of communication devices, said social worker Madison Brock.
Cure Today (11/26) 
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Medical Research
Seniors' falls often preceded by high doses of high-risk drugs
A retrospective study of 328 falls experienced by patients ages 65 years and older at a large urban academic hospital found at least one high-risk medication had been used in the 24 hours before the fall in 62% of cases. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also showed frequent administration of high-risk drugs at higher-than-recommended doses.
Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (11/28) 
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Lilly Alzheimer's drug fails clinical trial
Eli Lilly and Co. halted a large-scale trial of the drug solanezumab after it failed to achieve significant results in slowing cognitive decline in patients with mild Alzheimer's symptoms. Solanezumab is an antibody intended to reduce the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/23),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/23) 
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SPECT sheds light on link between marijuana use, low blood flow in brain
Researchers who used SPECT found that marijuana users had lower blood flow in almost all brain regions, with the largest decline in the hippocampus, which is the first region affected by Alzheimer's disease, compared with those who didn't use marijuana. The findings in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, based on imaging from 92 healthy controls and 982 people with a marijuana use disorder, suggest that marijuana use may increase the risk of AD and significant brain damage, researchers said.
Medical News Today (11/29), release (11/28) 
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Health Policy & Practice
CMS releases list of quality measures for value-based care initiatives
A list of 97 quality measures to be considered for use in various Medicare value-based care purchasing programs has been published by the CMS in conjunction with the National Quality Forum. These measures will be applicable to major Medicare initiatives such as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the EHR Incentive Programs for hospitals and critical access hospitals, as well as to other patient safety and data reporting programs, and quality reporting projects for health, psychiatric, hospice and rehabilitation facilities.
Health IT Analytics (11/23) 
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Trends & Technology
Cloud computing poised for big role in health care
Cloud computing could become an important part of managing health care systems, though the increased need for security makes it likely that providers will work with private cloud or on-premises options. About 47% of providers reported plans to implement cloud options for back-office functions as well as business continuity and disaster recovery, according to a Level 3 and HIMSS Analytics survey.
Forbes (11/27) 
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Dec. 14 webinar on 2017 coding and Medicare changes
As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continue to expand the scope of physician cognitive services covered under Medicare, stay up to date with these important changes. You will learn about the new covered services and about its critical importance as both hospice and palliative care programs transition to a payment system based on value and outcomes. Learn more.
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Review articles from the recent issue of JPSM
The November issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (JPSM) is now available. Read the highlights at
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It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?
Henry David Thoreau,
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