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February 15, 2013
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Palliative project reduces hospitalization of CHF patients
    A pilot project called Better Together provided home-based palliative care in the U.K. and reduced hospital admissions for patients with advanced congestive heart failure and increased the likelihood they would die at home or in hospice. Researchers reported in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care that the team-based program was designed to identify and manage patients who did not respond to treatment. MedWire News (U.K.) (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Byock: Advance directives are counseling tool for families
    Patients and families need help coping with their feelings, hopes and fears along with symptoms of disease, and not just treatment for their illnesses, Dr. Ira Byock told MidMichigan Health's 12th Annual Spiritual Care Conference. A "shift of mindset" is needed for health care professionals because their training is so focused on medical aspects of care, he said. Advance directives help foster communication and counseling for families making stressful decisions, he said. Midland Daily News (Mich.) (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Covinsky: Needless tests may get in way of palliative care
    Indiana University researchers surveyed primary care physicians about colon cancer screening using different patient examples and found 45% would test a 50-year-old with unresectable lung cancer, 37% would test a similar 65-year-old and 25% would test an 80-year-old person with that diagnosis. University of California at San Francisco geriatrics professor Dr. Ken Covinsky in GeriPal writes that it is difficult to envision physicians considering colon cancer tests for these patients "thinking clearly about the extensive range of palliative services their patient really needs." GeriPal blog (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Caring for elderly parent can have financial consequences
    Baby boomers who become caregivers for parents can find it has serious financial consequences, especially if their retirement savings and other investments were reduced by the recession, Elizabeth O'Brien writes in her Retire Well column. Many caregivers do not have a long-term strategy and begin to look ahead only when a parent needs help. The first step is to start a family discussion, she writes. MarketWatch (2/12)
  Medical Research  
  • Neurostimulation may have benefits in early Parkinson's
    Researchers tracked 251 patients with early-stage Parkinson's disease and found that those who received medication plus deep brain stimulation had improved quality of life and mobility compared with those treated with drugs alone. "The data suggest that patients can safely, and with significantly better outcome, receive neurostimulation," said senior author and neurologist Gunther Deuschl. The study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. HealthDay News (2/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Obama vows to contain health spending in State of the Union
    President Barack Obama promised to seek to further reduce health care spending while praising the Affordable Care Act during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. "We'll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors," Obama said. "We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare." The Huffington Post (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Scripps Health seeks to acquire assets of San Diego Hospice
    Scripps Health asked a bankruptcy court for permission to acquire the assets of the San Diego Hospice, which said it would close in the aftermath of a Medicare audit of its enrollment policies. "I think there's a growing understanding of hospice care for society and it makes sense for us to have it within our system," said Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder, who added with court approval the company would be able to offer appropriate care based on patient preferences. HealthLeaders Media (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • Advocacy group releases electronic tools guide for cancer treatment
    The Health IT Cancer Resource Guide has been released by the eHealth Initiative to help patients and providers learn about electronic tools, which include mobile applications and social networks, that they can use for cancer management. The advocacy group breaks 76 tools down into five categories, including decision making, social support, lifestyle, information and treatment management, and education. Health Data Management (2/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • Best of 2012 Annual Assembly Recordings
    We've made it easy for you to hear one or more of the best sessions from the 2012 AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly. Learn about caring for Hispanic patients, how delirium can be prevented in palliative care, practical medication tips, polypharmacy in pediatric patients, and the popular State of the Science session. These and other topics are now available in the AAHPM bookstore. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Looking for a foundational resource in hospice and palliative care?
    This ever-popular, comprehensive study program provides a critical foundation for health care providers who want to incorporate the principles of hospice and palliative medicine into their daily practice. The UNIPAC, 4th edition, is a nine-volume set that has been thoroughly reviewed and updated by experts in the field to include the latest evidence and best practices. New to this edition is the online amplifire™ module. Visit to purchase your copy.
In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it."
--John Ruskin,
British art critic

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