Palliative radiation dose may ease cancer pain, study says | Scenario-planning training helps surgeons communicate with patients | A little humor may be helpful at the end of life
February 10, 2017
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill
Top Story
Palliative radiation dose may ease cancer pain, study says
One session of low-dose radiation therapy led to significant pain relief and better quality of life for about 40% of patients with symptomatic cancer bone metastases, according to a study in JAMA Oncology. Dr. Charles Thomas Jr. of Oregon Health Sciences University wrote in an accompanying editorial that the study observations are metrics that can be used in pain assessment quality indicators for value-based palliative care initiatives.
MedPage Today (free registration) (2/9) 
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Scenario-planning training helps surgeons communicate with patients
Surgeons who completed a two-hour training session were better able to explain best- and worst-case treatment risks to frail, elderly patients than surgeons who did not complete the training, according to a study published in JAMA Surgery. The training included exercises designed to help surgeons consider alternative treatments or no treatment as options to meet patients' goals.
Reuters (2/7) 
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A little humor may be helpful at the end of life
Engaging in some light humor can be important for people at the end of life, said Mary Kay Morrison of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. The association has some guidelines for use of humor with the people at the end of life.
Kaiser Health News (2/6) 
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Hospice patient statements can show readiness for death
Social worker Lizzy Miles writes about what hospice patients have told her over the years to indicate they were ready to die. Miles writes one patient said: "I think it would be nice if every single person in the world had a button to push to say, 'okay I'm ready.'"
Pallimed blog (2/8) 
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Other News
Patient & Family Perspective
Hawaii caregivers show support for voucher bill
Caregivers rallied at Hawaii's Capitol in support of bills to give working family caregivers a voucher for up to $70 per day to pay for additional help. "Seventy dollars a day just gets you a couple of hours, but a couple of hours would have been critical for me," said caregiver Steven Mitchell.
KITV-TV (Honolulu) (2/8) 
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Medical Research
Study: Strict BP control may not worsen elderly mobility
Mean gait-speed declines were the same for elderly patients with hypertension who achieved a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg as they were for those who hit a target of less than 140 mm Hg, according to SPRINT study data published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Some physicians expressed optimism about the data, saying the study suggests intense BP control is not harmful to mobility in older patients, but others were concerned about higher risks of kidney problems, syncope and other issues in the intensive-treatment group.
Medscape (free registration) (2/8) 
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Health Policy & Practice
Senate confirms Price as HHS secretary
Senate confirms Price as HHS secretary.
Price (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Senate voted 52-47 early this morning to confirm Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., as HHS secretary. Price, an orthopedic surgeon who has held a House seat since 2005, has backed repeal of the Affordable Care Act and conversion of Medicaid to a block grant program.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (2/10) 
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Administration signals support for federal "right to try" measure
The White House has indicated support for a federal "right to try" law that would allow terminally ill patients greater access to experimental medications that haven't been approved by the FDA. Similar measures have been approved in 31 states.
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (2/8) 
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Trends & Technology
Study shows cancer survivors benefit from telehealth
UK researchers found that cancer survivors appreciated the convenience and flexibility of using telehealth for follow-up consultations and meetings with their health care providers. Cancer survivors also said telehealth lets them feel more comfortable voicing concerns they would avoid bringing up during face-to-face doctor visits, lowers their sense of vulnerability and helps them return to their daily lives. (2/6) 
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AAHPM's Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
AAHPM strives to be an organization where diverse individuals and communities join together to support one another and deliver the best care possible. We offer a welcoming environment to all and reaffirm our commitment to connecting and collaborating with our diverse group of colleagues. Read our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.
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Annual Assembly 2 weeks away
The Annual Assembly is quickly approaching! You are still able to register for the Annual Assembly in Phoenix, AZ, February 22-25. This meeting brings together all hospice and palliative care professionals to make for a one of a kind conference and learning experience. Learn more!
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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Edith Wharton,
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