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November 2, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Study finds problems with Medicare rule on hospice
    A Medicare rule that prohibits simultaneous reimbursement for nursing home residents who also get hospice care may lead to more aggressive or unwanted treatments and hospitalization at the end of life, Brown University researchers reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. People who had both skilled nursing facility and hospice care were 87% less likely to die in a hospital compared with patients who did not receive hospice care. Those who entered hospice after receiving care at a skilled nursing facility were 98% less likely to die in a hospital. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Widera: Changes are needed to mesh SNF, hospice care: Skilled nursing facilities are the top choice for hospitals when discharging elderly patients who are not likely to improve with therapy but Medicare does not pay for hospice care given with SNF care. Geriatrics expert Dr. Eric Widera said two ways to ensure these patients have access to hospice and palliative care are passing the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act to increase SNF staff training and opening the question of whether Medicare benefits should continue to be mutually exclusive. GeriPal blog (10/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Inform and Empower
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  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Researchers question prostate cancer treatment near death
    About one-third of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients received treatment during their final three months of life but 25% also suffered side effects that may outweigh any survival benefits, according to a study from the Methodist Hospital in Houston. Continued treatment when death is near can lead to more toxicity than palliation, the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care. MedWire News (U.K.) (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hospice volunteers' work is satisfying, survey finds
    A survey of Canadian hospice and palliative care program volunteers found that most are satisfied with their work and that what matters most are expressions of thanks and appreciation from those they help, researchers from Mount Allison University reported. Sources of frustration include unclear roles and not being able to help patients more. MedWire News (U.K.) (10/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Patients, caregivers struggle after early dementia diagnosis
    British researchers analyzed 102 studies from 14 nations and found an early diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease often was triggered by an event, such as hospitalization. They reported in PLoS-Medicine that patients had emotional problems adjusting after the diagnosis was made and caregivers likewise struggled in their new roles, suggesting better post-diagnosis interventions are needed. Los Angeles Times/Booster Shots blog (tiered subscription model) (10/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Heart failure patients benefit from depression treatment
    Researchers looked at 469 heart failure patients with depressive symptoms and found that those who received treatment for depression had better health outcomes than those without treatment. The findings, based on data from the 2008 Sertraline Against Depression and Heart Disease in Chronic Heart Failure study, will appear in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure. (10/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Nabilone treatment curbs neuropathic pain in diabetes
    University of Calgary researchers found diabetic neuropathy patients who received nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, reported less pain and showed significant improvements in sleep and anxiety compared with those who took a placebo. "This study gives physicians support to consider further options in treating this devastating chronic pain disorder," said Dr. Mark Ware of the McGill University Health Centre. (India)/Asian News International (10/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Reduced risk of dementia is seen with caffeine intake, exercise
    A study published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine found that caffeine consumption may reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease because of its ability to bind to cerebral adenosine receptors. Another study, published in the journal Stroke, showed that regular exercise in seniors can reduce the chance of developing vascular-related dementia by 40% and cognitive impairment by 60%. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.)/Vital Signs blog (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Specialists offer tips for communicating with elderly patients
    Doctors who treat elderly patients must make themselves aware of each patient's limitations while being careful to avoid stereotyping, the Gerontological Society of America says in a new report. The group offers guidelines for improving communication with elderly patients, including minimizing background noise, monitoring and controlling gestures and other nonverbal behavior when talking with patients, facing patients when speaking, and reinforcing verbal information and instructions with easy-to-understand printed materials. American Medical News (free content) (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • Mobile screens too small to enter data in EHRs, clinicians say
    Data from research firm KLAS showed 70% of clinicians use their smartphones or tablets to look up electronic health records but don't enter any information because it is too difficult to do so using a small screen. The report authors said many clinicians are concerned that mobile applications do not display all of the important patient information they need. Medscape (free registration) (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • How can you stay inspired and up to date on the latest advances in hospice and palliative care?
    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. Registration is now open. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Primer of Palliative Care 5th Edition & Primer Workbook
    The Primer of Palliative Care, 5th edition, continues to be the essential introductory text for medical students, residents, practicing physicians, and others who care for patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses. New to this edition is a companion Workbook for users to apply the knowledge gained and for instructors to track progress. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things."
--Ray Bradbury,
American writer

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