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January 30, 2013
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Hospice patients may get more antibiotics than needed, study finds
    An Oregon State University study found 27% of hospice patients were given an antibiotic in their final week of life, even though only 15% of those who got the drugs had a documented infection. Researchers wrote in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management that more work is needed to develop guidelines for antibiotic use in hospice care. MedWire News (U.K.) (1/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Survey shows when elderly patients may want ICD deactivated
    A survey of 95 elderly patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators found 71% would possibly or definitely want the devices turned off under certain circumstances, Yale University researchers said. Their report in the online version of JAMA Internal Medicine found that instances in which patients may want an ICD deactivated included being unable to leave bed, having permanent memory problems, being a burden to family, needing prolonged ventilation and having an advanced untreatable disease. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Family members make sacrifices to become caregivers
    Relatives leave their jobs and even their homes to care for loved ones with serious illnesses or disabilities. Carolyn Lazaris said caring for her father, who has Alzheimer's disease, was too stressful while she was working so she quit and moved back to her parents' home. She wants her old life back but also wants her father to be able to stay in his home. Taunton Daily Gazette (Mass.) (1/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Review backs osmotic laxatives in older patients
    Evidence points to osmotic laxatives, such as polyethylene glycol and lactulose, as the best treatment for constipation in older patients, according to an analysis by researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto. The researchers didn't find sufficient support for the use of stool softeners, bulking agents, stimulants or prokinetic agents by elderly patients. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Higher diabetes rates seen in Alzheimer's patients
    Patients with Alzheimer's disease showed higher rates of clinically diagnosed and medically treated diabetes compared with the general population, a Finnish study indicated. However, the difference in diabetes rates between the two groups was small, researchers wrote in Diabetes Care. (1/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • CMS aims to make integrated care easier with new codes
    The CMS approved codes 99495 and 99496 for reporting the management of patients recently discharged from a skilled nursing facility or hospital. The codes will help health care professionals working in accountable care organizations and other integrated models to provide transitional care, the American Medical Association said. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Nearly half of hospital-based physicians are overworked, survey finds
    Four in 10 U.S. hospital-based physicians reported being overworked, while 1 in 5 said patient safety may be hurt by schedule issues, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found 20% of responding doctors said caring for too many patients may increase the risk of medical errors, unnecessary lab tests or delayed diagnoses, and 36% said such problems happen more than once a week. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • Online mini-fellowship offers multicultural insights on aging
    Stanford University offers a free, Internet-based mini-fellowship on aging and end-of-life care in a multiculutural context. Dr. V.J. Periyakoil, director of palliative care education and training at Stanford, said the Internet-based Successful Aging, or iSAGE, program can be accessed online at any time and has a multimedia format. He said it will provide professionals with a "deep understanding of the core principles of successful aging." Stanford University School of Medicine (1/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Society & Ethics  
  • Program links attorneys with elderly for legal care planning
    The University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California Hastings College of Law have begun a medical-legal program for seniors. It sends law students and attorneys to a geriatrics primary care clinic to provide free legal advice for patients. Attorney Sarah Hooper writes in GeriPal that the goal is to help older adults with end-of-life care planning and preventive legal services. GeriPal blog (1/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • Time is running out to save on registration fees for annual assembly
    Upcoming deadlines for the AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly: Register by Feb. 1 and save $100 off the regular registration fee. Register now. There are rooms now available at the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center. Book your hotel by Feb. 12 to receive the special hotel rate. 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 9-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. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment."
--Rita Mae Brown,
American writer

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