Study: Patients with heart failure report continued symptoms after hospital stay | Palliative care may lead to better care decisions, physician says | Oncologists may not be following Choosing Wisely recommendations
August 21, 2015
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

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Study: Patients with heart failure report continued symptoms after hospital stay
Patients with heart failure who are discharged from the hospital often continue to have both traditional symptoms and symptoms not typically associated with the condition that physicians may not adequately address, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study found less than 25% of patients said they were familiar with palliative care and many mistakenly equated it with hospice care or thought it was only for cancer patients. Medscape (free registration) (8/19)
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update Sponsored By
Palliative care may lead to better care decisions, physician says
Palliative medicine expert Dr. Sean Morrison says palliative care gets patients more involved with treatment decisions, and it may lead to fewer trips to the emergency department and fewer expensive procedures at the end of life. Morrison, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is co-author of a palliative care review article in The New England Journal of Medicine. American Public Media/Marketplace (8/20)
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Oncologists may not be following Choosing Wisely recommendations
Oncology physicians may be aware of clinical recommendations in the Choosing Wisely initiative but are not always adhering to them, especially in ordering imaging tests, according to physicians and study data. Dr. Dean Gesme of the Minneapolis Clinic said having early end-of-life discussions with patients may help change practice patterns and spare patients from treatments they do not want. Medscape (free registration) (8/19)
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Patient & Family Perspective
N.M. launches statewide family caregiver assistance program
New Mexico officials this week launched the New Mexico State Plan for Family Caregivers to connect an estimated 419,000 family caregivers in the state with information and resources. The program will be run through the Aging and Disability Resource Center, a state call center. Albuquerque Journal (N.M.) (free content) (8/20)
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Medical Research
Chronic disease, frequent ED use raise readmission risk, study says
Belgian researchers found that patients with chronic cardiovascular and pulmonary disease were most likely to be readmitted to the hospital. Predictors of readmission included at least four emergency department visits over six months, Friday discharge and longer length of hospitalization. The researchers, whose work was published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, suggest improving continuity of care following discharge and carefully monitoring patients who exhibit risk factors for readmission. News (8/18)
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Cerebrospinal fluid may have diagnostic value for Parkinson's
Measuring cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers may help clinicians diagnose Parkinsonian disorders and predict the likelihood of dementia among patients with Parkinson's disease, researchers said. The study in JAMA Neurology suggests the biomarkers could be helpful in early diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy. MedWire News (U.K.) (8/19)
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Health Policy & Practice
New Calif. law lets NPs, PAs approve resuscitative care decisions
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill allowing physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the state to approve patient wishes regarding resuscitative measures. Supporters hope the law will expand the use of Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment forms. The law will take effect in 2016. Kitsap Sun (Kitsap Peninsula, Wash.) (free registration)/California Healthline (8/19)
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Rural hospitals band together to stay financially viable
(OLI SCARFF/Getty Images)
Rural hospitals are forming alliances that allow them to negotiate better pricing deals for supplies and services and to work together on recruiting, technology and training issues. Hospitals hope the strategy will keep them financially viable and open so patients do not have to travel to get health care. "In medicine, distance lessens the chances of survival," said Pam Noland, director of nursing at Northern Cochise Community Hospital. Stateline (8/17)
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Trends & Technology
Physician: Videoconferencing for palliative care works well
Palliative care physician Michael Fratkin uses videoconferencing to help patients manage pain and deal with the emotional aspects of their illnesses. He says the technology allows him to expand his practice area and reach people living in remote areas who want to die at home. "As long as our relationships are solid and we have delivered an environment of trust in working with these folks, it works beautifully well," Fratkin said. PBS (8/18)
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Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium
The second annual Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium (Oct. 9-10, 2015 in Boston) will bring together more than 25 faculty who are experts in palliative care in oncology and in end-of-life skills. The Symposium will feature educational sessions and interactive panel discussions, abstract sessions, and a variety of networking events that will allow for increased interaction across specialties. Hotel reservation and early registration deadline: Sept. 2. Learn more.
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How to avoid burnout and sustain the hospice and palliative care workforce
There is a growing demand for hospice and palliative care services, creating a shortage of clinicians with limited providers in the pipeline to deal with this growing need. Learn about the risk factors for burnout along with strategies for building resiliency, improvement of well-being and self-care. This webinar recording (synchronized PowerPoint or audio) is now available for purchase.
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Life isn't worth living unless you're willing to take some big chances and go for broke."
-- Eliot Wigginton,
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