Frist: U.S. must train more palliative care physicians | End-of-life talks are difficult for families, physicians | Patients benefit from therapy dog visits, study finds
January 23, 2015
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

Top Story
Frist: U.S. must train more palliative care physicians
Former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, a physician, writes in the journal Academic Medicine that training new palliative care doctors is critical to integrating palliative services into U.S. health care. Frist says physicians need to spend time thinking about their own mortality to be able to have effective end-of-life talks with patients, and that should occur in medical school and residency, as well as through formal training. Forbes (1/22)
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How Much Do You Really Need to Make? The Answer May Shock You
Rather than focus on what you can afford to pull out of the business to cover your living expenses, you need to focus on how much you need to earn at your business in order to afford the lifestyle you want to have. This is where the Personal Earnings Goal, or PEG, comes into play. Learn how to calculate your PEG and find out how much you really need to make.

Palliative & Hospice Care Update Sponsored By
End-of-life talks are difficult for families, physicians
Toronto palliative and critical care physician James Downar says physicians need to be able to acknowledge that some diseases cannot be cured. Nurses can be the first to notice that a patient's condition is signaling it is time to discuss end-of-life care with the family. Nurse manager Denise Morris says such decisions are difficult for families, who wrestle with the question of whether treatment is extending life or the process of dying. News (1/22)
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Patients benefit from therapy dog visits, study finds
A small study involving cancer patients found visits by specially trained therapy dogs led to improvements in emotional and social well-being, researchers reported in the Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology. Franciscan St. Elizabeth Hospital in Indiana has a therapy dog program, and palliative care medical director Dr. Cecilia May says the animals can reduce anxiety and are popular with patients. HealthDay News (1/20), WLFI-TV (West Lafayette, Ind.) (1/22)
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Hospice doctor says talking with colleagues helps reduce stress
Hospice medical director Dr. Phillip Olsson of the OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria, Ill., said caring for dying patients can be very stressful, so physicians make time to talk with each other and review how they are dealing with patients. Olsson said his experience during the deaths of his wife and mother are part of why he's comfortable working with hospice patients and their families. WMBD-TV/WYZZ-TV (Peoria, Ill.) (1/21)
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How SDN Makes Campus Networks Better
When should agencies adopt SDN? IDC reports that SDN provides immediate benefits for government campus networks, including modernized IT infrastructures that are more agile, cost-effective, and collaborative.
Read this new IDC paper to learn more.

Patient & Family Perspective
Website creates network for families dealing with Alzheimer's disease
The Alzheimer's Association's is an online support and resource network for families dealing with Alzheimer's disease. Families can share experiences, memories and photos in a more private setting than offered by other social media sites. MarketWatch (1/21)
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Medical Research
Many older patients with diabetes, dementia on tight glycemic control
A study in Diabetes Care revealed about half of older male veterans with type 2 diabetes and dementia had A1C levels lower than 7%. Data also showed 75% of patients on intensive glycemic control also took sulfonylureas and/or insulin, which may increase the risk of hypoglycemia or other adverse events. Medscape (free registration) (1/22)
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Leaky blood vessels may play role in Alzheimer's, study suggests
The brain's protective barrier becomes more prone to leaks as the person ages, starting at the hippocampus, which might promote development of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, according to a study in the journal Neuron that examined images of the brains of 64 people of different ages. "To prevent dementias including Alzheimer's, we may need to come up with ways to reseal the blood-brain barrier and prevent the brain from being flooded with toxic chemicals in the blood," said researcher Berislav Zlokovic. HealthDay News (1/21)
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Researchers explore connection between Alzheimer's, vascular disease
U.S. researchers hope to gain a clearer understanding of the connection between vascular disease and Alzheimer's disease, and they outlined their goals in a paper reported in Alzheimer's & Dementia. Co-author Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer's Association said although researchers know vascular disease is tied to the risk of dementia, the connection has not been defined at a basic molecular level. Medscape (free registration) (1/21)
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Health Policy & Practice
House lawmakers pledge support for repealing SGR
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee indicated at a hearing this week that they want to pass a bill to repeal the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare physician reimbursement, but most want to do so in such a way that it would pay for itself. Former Office of Management and Budget Director Alice Rivlin suggested four ways to offset the $140 billion cost, including incentives for physicians to join accountable care organizations, means-testing of Medicare premiums and the use of competitive bidding. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/21)
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Trends & Technology
Groups ask ONC to overhaul EHR meaningful use program
A group of 35 medical organizations is asking the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to implement major reforms in the EHR meaningful use initiative, arguing the program in its current form could compromise patient safety. Among the coalition's recommendations are to separate the MU program from EHR certification and take another look at software testing alternatives. The Hill (1/21)
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Need to brush up on your knowledge of medication, palliative wound care and more?
AAHPM is proud to offer four CME courses online at Relias Academy. The 4 courses now offered are: Our Double-Edged Sword: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Balancing Symptom Control, Palliative Care "Bucket List Skills" Learned from a Difficult Case, Palliative Wound Care, and Speed Dating with Pharmacists: 50 Practical Medication Tips. View these online courses and enroll in CME.
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Attend the 2015 AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly Feb. 25-28 in Philadelphia
Join the more than 2,400 hospice and palliative care professionals who meet once each year to gain knowledge directly from leaders in the field. Learn the latest scientific advances. Get inspired and invigorated by captivating speakers who will remind you why you chose to work in hospice and palliative care. Share best practices, ask questions and build long-lasting relationships. Register today.
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Associate Medical Director - Part-Time (20 hrs)Snowline Hospice and Supportive CareSacramento, CA
Palliative Medicine Faculty PhysicianEmory University School of MedicineAtlanta, GA
Click here to view more job listings.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."
-- Arthur Conan Doyle,
Scottish writer
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