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November 7, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Why palliative care is for any serious illness, at any age
    Palliative care is an option for patients of any age and at any stage of a serious illness, and it can be integrated with curative therapies, because its goal is to improve quality of life, says Dr. Thomas Smith, director of palliative medicine at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Studies show palliative care helps patients live longer and better lives, he says, and as the specialty has been accepted within the medical field, it has standardized its care by consensus. (11/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Study: Pain control at inpatient palliative centers varies
    A study in the journal Cancer found pain management for terminally ill patients varied among inpatient palliative care centers and was affected by organizational issues, especially the availability of staff. Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea said that 82.8% of cancer patients had adequate pain control a week after admission. News (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Geriatrics expert says Medicare hospice rules need updating
    There is strong evidence that Medicare's hospice eligibility requirements are outdated and need to be revised, Dr. Shaida Talebreza Brandon, a geriatrics expert at the University of Utah, writes in GeriPal. She said concerns about higher costs of hospice care are countered by reduced care costs when families have discussions about end-of-life preferences and patients decide to enter hospice. GeriPal blog (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Byock says U.S. health system provides "brink of death" care
    The U.S. health system provides "brink-of-death" care rather than end-of-life care, and that has to change, Dr. Ira Byock, director of palliative care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, told an audience in Kentucky. He said patients enter hospice too late, even though it improves quality of life and helps people live longer. He says advance directives are one way to help families who may struggle with decisions about a loved one's care. The Gleaner (Henderson, Ky.) (11/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Nov. is time to raise awareness of hospice, palliative care
    Home Hospice in Odessa, Texas, is among the hospice centers recognizing November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to raise awareness about the benefits of end-of-life care. Jan Batson said her father's time in hospice gave her the valuable gift of being able to spend time with him without the stress of also having to act as his caregiver. Odessa American (Texas) (11/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Older breast cancer survivors are more prone to additional cancer
    Researchers looked at data on 110,440 breast cancer survivors in the U.S. and found that older women were more likely to develop additional primary cancers in the long term than those 64 and younger. Female breast cancer survivors ages 70 to 79 faced the greatest risk of multiple primary malignancy. The findings were presented at an International Society of Geriatric Oncology meeting. Family Practice News (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Only a few can access Amyvid PET scans
    The FDA in April approved Amyvid, a PET imaging agent for Alzheimer's disease, but only a few people are getting the scans because the federal government and private insurers are not covering it. In the U.S., only about 300 practices or hospitals are offering the scans or are planning to in the near future, said Morry Smulevitz of Amyvid maker Lilly Bio-Medicines. CMS said it is reviewing potential coverage for the scans. The process could take a year, Smulevitz said. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • HIT use in drug adherence efforts could bend health care cost curve
    The adoption of health IT to boost medication adherence could help reduce global medical care spending by around $500 billion, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The rising use of health information makes this the right time for recommendations that call for using IT to help educate patients at the point of prescription, reduce errors and prevent antibiotic resistance, said Murray Aitken, the IMS Institute's executive director. Healthcare IT News (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • Are you a DO practicing in hospice and palliative medicine?
    The grandfathering period is closing! 2013 is the last year for osteopathic physicians to apply to sit for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) exam based on experience. The exam is Sept. 29, 2013, in Las Vegas. Apply now! 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. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Success is often just an idea away."
--Frank Tyger,
American cartoonist, columnist and humorist

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