Bill seeks to define palliative care exception in opioid law | Interventions help Alzheimer's patients have quality of life | Chaplain says even young adults need advanced directives
April 21, 2017
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
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Bill seeks to define palliative care exception in opioid law
A bill in the Maine Legislature seeks clarification of a state law restricting prescriptions for opioid medications due to language defining exceptions related to palliative care. Rep. Geoffrey Gratwick said the state position is that chronic pain patients are included in the palliative care exception, but the definition of the term is not clear and many physicians associate it with end-of-life care.
Portland Press Herald (Maine) (4/25) 
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Interventions help Alzheimer's patients have quality of life
There is a perception that Alzheimer's disease patients just fade away but research suggests they do retain a sense of self and can have positive quality of life until later stages. Research and experts say there are interventions that can help improve the lives of Alzheimer's patients that address physical health, social connections, autonomy and communication.
Kaiser Health News (4/20) 
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Chaplain says even young adults need advanced directives
The Spiritual Care Team at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, Ill., spent National Healthcare Decisions Day helping people with advanced directives, and chaplain Karla Thornton said these end-of-life care documents should be completed by anyone ages 18 and over, even if the subject is difficult to consider. "It's facing your mortality and the reality that anything can happen at any time -- that's kind of a tough one to face," Thornton said.
Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.) (4/18) 
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Patient & Family Perspective
Choirs comfort patients reaching the threshold of death
Threshold Choirs across the US provide soothing comfort through song for patients reaching the threshold of death. Based in Santa Rose, Calif., the organization provides singers training on end-of-life issues, and songs also are geared toward caregivers.
Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/19) 
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Medical Research
Pembrolizumab shows good response in subset of head and neck cancer patients
Pembrolizumab had a good response rate in patients with metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma who were resistant to platinum and cetuximab, but 64% experienced adverse events, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. One researcher said pembrolizumab's overall response rate of 16% and median response duration of eight months was exciting.
Healio (free registration)/HemOnc Today (4/19) 
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Study: APO may reduce "Off" times in Parkinson's disease
The use of apomorphine subcutaneous infusion may reduce periods of unpredictable fluctuations in motor function or "Off" time in Parkinson's disease patients, according to a placebo-controlled study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting. APO infusion is not approved for this patient group in the US but is used in Europe.
MedPage Today (free registration) (4/19) 
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Addressing unmet needs reduces antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes
Training skilled nursing facility staff to recognize and address the unmet needs of cognitively impaired residents was associated with reduced use of antipsychotic medications, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study, which included almost 100 Massachusetts nursing homes using the OASIS program from 2011 to 2013, showed antipsychotic use dropped from 34% to 27% at facilities that used the program.
McKnight's Long-Term Care News online (4/18) 
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Health Policy & Practice
MACRA expected to slow Medicare spending on physician, hospital services
A RAND study in Health Affairs found the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act could save Medicare $35 billion to $106 billion in spending on physician services, and $32 billion to $250 billion through 2030 on hospital services. Researchers said the impact will depend on participation in the Advanced Alternative Payment Models.
Medscape (free registration) (4/20) 
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Fewer nursing home admissions help ACOs in MSSP cut costs
Accountable care organizations in the Medicare Shared Savings Program posted a 9% decrease in post-acute spending, partly due to fewer skilled nursing home admissions and shorter lengths of stay, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study did not find a reduction in quality of care or a link between MSSP participation and mortality, readmission rates or use of nursing homes with high ratings.
McKnight's Long-Term Care News online (4/20) 
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Trends & Technology
Report examines EHR adoption rates among US states
Wyoming has the highest rate of EHR adoption across the US at 78.6%, followed by South Dakota, Utah, Iowa and North Dakota, according to a report from SK&A. The lowest EHR adoption rates were found in Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Louisiana and New York.
BeckersASC.com (4/19) 
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AAHPM News
Submit an abstract for the 2018 Annual Assembly
Are you interested in presenting at the 2018 Annual Assembly in Boston? AAHPM's call for workshop, concurrent and SIG-endorsed session abstracts is open through May 2. Learn more.
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Check it out -- What's New
Have you visited the AAHPM website lately? Take a look at the What's News section on the home page for timely updates about the Academy and the field. With regular updates, this makes it easy for you to stay involved in hospice and palliative care-related news regarding research, education, patient care and advocacy. Learn more.
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