Study questions rate of antibiotic treatment in hospice | CMS raising standards for reporting by hospices | Methylprednisolone doesn't boost opioid's effect against cancer pain
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July 16, 2014
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
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Study questions rate of antibiotic treatment in hospice
Antibiotic use is common for hospice patients despite a lack of evidence for its benefits, according to a study in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Researchers in Oregon found that about 1 in 5 patients discharged to hospice are given antibiotics, but antibiotics may not work near the end of life, lead investigator Jon Furuno said. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (7/15)
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
CMS raising standards for reporting by hospices
The CMS is taking a greater interest in tracking data on hospices as the field has grown. Final rules on reporting are being developed, but the agency has estimated that gathering and submitting data could take 180 hours. Healthcare Finance News (7/11)
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Methylprednisolone doesn't boost opioid's effect against cancer pain
Methylprednisolone does not appear to improve the pain-relieving benefits of opioid therapy for cancer pain, according to a randomized 50-patient study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. No significant differences were seen after seven days in medicine use or pain relief. Patients who received methylprednisolone did report less fatigue and better appetites. News (7/15)
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Patient & Family Perspective
Chaplain: "You don't listen only to people's words"
Visiting Nurse Service of New York spiritual care counselor Kei Okada helps people who are searching for meaning near the end of life. Okada recalls being accosted by the husband of a patient early in his career. "He saw my student chaplain badge and started yelling at me that there was no God. That was a breakthrough moment for me. I realized that at a time like this, you don't listen only to people's words; you listen to their heart," Okada said. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/12)
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Medical Research
Dementia diagnosis rate on the decline, research indicates
The rate of diagnosis for dementia appears to be declining over the short and long term, according to three studies being presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. One study found the diagnosis rate is down 44% from the late 1970s in the U.S., and a second study showed a similar decline based on data from the U.S., England, Sweden and the Netherlands. The greatest gains were seen among people in their 60s. The third study found the risk of dementia declined in Germany from 2004 to 2007. HealthDay News (7/15)
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Diabetes drug might lower dementia risk
Seniors taking the inexpensive diabetes drug pioglitazone had significantly reduced odds of dementia onset with every additional three months the drug was prescribed, German researchers found. The researchers analyzed data involving about 146,000 patients age 60 and older who had not been diagnosed with dementia. The results of the analysis were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. Reuters (7/14)
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Health Policy & Practice
Alzheimer's disease researchers focus on prevention, delaying onset
Research that found diet, exercise and other behavioral changes could delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease symptoms is among a growing number of studies focusing on delaying or preventing symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia. The largest trials involve thousands of participants and are funded by foundations, governments and drugmakers. "Forestalling the appearance of symptoms by five to 10 years would have a tremendous public health impact," Laurie Ryan of the National Institute on Aging said. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/15)
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N.Y. bill would highlight availability of LTCI
New York lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow life insurers to use end-of-life care, such as hospice care, as a trigger for access to accelerated death benefits. Another provision in the bill would allow the state health department to work with both the state office on aging and the tax office on a campaign to raise public awareness of long-term care insurance plans. National Underwriter Life & Health (7/14)
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FDA could soon approve Salix's chronic pain drug
Salix Pharmaceuticals announced that the FDA has shown intent to approve an injectable formulation of its drug Relistor for the treatment of chronic pain in patients without cancer. The agency asked Salix to submit additional data from post-marketing observational studies, and Salix plans to submit the information within the next few weeks. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)/.Biz blog (7/14)
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Trends & Technology
Startup offers tech to help apps follow data-privacy laws
Medable provides an application programming interface and a software development kit in its service platform to help application developers comply with federal health-privacy regulations. "Mobile apps can make it easy for users to communicate with their doctors, nurses and caregivers," Medable co-founder Michelle Longmire notes. VentureBeat (7/14)
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AAHPM Intensive Board Review Course
Designed to help you prepare for the board examination in hospice and palliative medicine and to advance the clinical competence of all practitioners in the field, including physician assistants and nurse practitioners. This course features face-paced didactic sessions with panel discussions. Topics include pain assessment and management, pediatric pain management and care, nonpain symptoms, urgent medical conditions, and much more. Register now!
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Hospice and Palliative Physician, Associate Medical DirectorHospice of YumaYuma, AZ
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