Having children affects cancer treatment, hospice decisions | What makes a good palliative care social worker? | Calif. physician pushes home-based palliative care
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October 17, 2014
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

Top Story
Having children affects cancer treatment, hospice decisions
Whether advanced cancer patients have dependent children is an important factor in their treatment and hospice decisions, researchers reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Quality Care Symposium. Interviews with cancer patients who had children showed 64% wanted aggressive treatment to be able to spend more time with family, 52% were interested in hospice partly because of its family resources and 59% wanted palliative care along with cancer treatments. Healio (free registration) (10/15)
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
What makes a good palliative care social worker?
Social workers in palliative care should be gentle but direct, able to translate complex medical information into easily understood conversations, and flexible enough to adopt new strategies if one approach does not work, pediatric palliative care social worker Allie Shukraft writes. Social workers must take care of their personal needs while advocating and promoting their professional value to other practitioners and to the care team, Shukraft writes. Pallimed blog (10/15)
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Calif. physician pushes home-based palliative care
California palliative care physician Michael Fratkin says he will begin Resolution Care, a program to provide in-home palliative care through personal visits or telehealth. He hopes to take the model statewide and has partnered with Project ECHO, which was originally begun to increase hepatitis care, to create palliative care learning units in primary care and other outpatient practices. Lost Coast Outpost (Ferndale, Calif.) (10/16)
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Other News
Patient & Family Perspective
"15-minute test" may help caregivers make end-of-life decisions
Family or surrogates who must make end-of-life care choices for patients may want to use the "15-minute test" to guide their decision-making, writes registered nurse Susan Dolan. The exercise allows people who know the patient to consider what that person would say if he or she were responsive for 15 minutes and could express their end-of-life care preferences. The Huffington Post (10/14)
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Medical Research
Close to 5% of patients die within a month of cancer surgery
Nearly 53,500 of 1.1 million people diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2011 died within a month of surgical treatment, study data showed. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers, who presented the study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Quality Care Symposium, said disparities in the mortality rate were linked in part to uneven access to quality health care. HealthDay News (10/14)
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Neurotransmitter linked to poor sleep quality, Alzheimer's
Moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease is linked to high levels of orexin in the cerebrospinal fluid, according to a study in JAMA Neurology. Orexin is also associated with diminished sleep quality, and in the new study, cognitive impairment scores also correlated with lower-quality sleep. "This overexpression may result from an imbalance of the neurotransmitter networks regulating the wake-sleep cycle toward the orexinergic system promoting wakefulness," researchers wrote. Medscape (free registration) (10/14)
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Health Policy & Practice
CMS announces changes to nursing home rating system
Beginning in January, nursing homes will be required to file quarterly staffing level reports using a system that can be checked using payroll data and will be subject to quality audits. Ratings will be based in part on bedsore and fall rates and the percentage of residents being given antipsychotic drugs. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (10/6)
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More physicians warming up to health care law
Data from The Medicus Firm's Physician Practice Preference Survey revealed 8.6% of responding doctors gave the Affordable Care Act an "A" rating, an increase from 6.3% in 2013. Researchers also noted a decrease in the number of respondents who expressed unfavorable opinions toward the policy. BeckersHospitalReview.com (10/15)
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Trends & Technology
EHR use linked to fewer adverse events, data show
Advanced EHR use resulted in a 30% decline in adverse events tied to drug errors and a 25% reduction in complications, according to a new study. The findings, drawn from hospitals and physician practices, were presented at the Workshop on Health IT and Economics. BeckersHospitalReview.com (10/14)
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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. Save $100 on the cost of registration when you register by Jan. 19. www.annualassembly.org
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Intensive Board Review Course recordings
The 2014 AAHPM Intensive Board Review Course is now available on a DVD that includes MP3 (audio only) and MP4 (synchronized audio and PowerPoint). Listen to these fast-paced and intensive reviews of best clinical practices on your desktop, tablet or on the go. This recording features a 50 item post-test and up to 18.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits are available. Purchase today.
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Palliative Care Physician/Medical DirectorOSF Healthcare SystemPeoria, IL
PhysicianHospice Care NetworkNassau and Suffolk Counties, NY
Ideal Palliative Care Physician Opportunity - Beautiful Greenville, SCGreenville Health SystemGreenville, SC
Click here to view more job listings.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
-- Mark Twain,
American writer
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