Palliative care education is critical during pandemic | The five stages of grief and COVID-19 | Dispassionate AI nudges personal medical conversations
July 8, 2020
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
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Top Story
UVA Health's Dr. Tim Short, a palliative care physician, and Ken White, a palliative care nurse practitioner, write that COVID-19 has changed their work, making palliative care less of a specialty and more of an urgently needed competency. Mentoring, practicing palliative care across specialties, and accessible, fundamental, and easily understood lessons can help bring colleagues up to speed, they write.
Full Story: Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) (7/5) 
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described five stages grief in her book "On Death and Dying," and at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, grief expert David Kessler, who worked on Ross's last book, said the five stages could describe emotional responses to COVID-19. "When people are hurting, they want to know, 'How long is this going to last? What will happen to me?' They want something to hold on to. And the stages model gives them that," says George Bonanno, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University.
Full Story: BBC (7/5) 
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An algorithm that analyzes patients' medical records and flags those likely to die within one year can nudge health care providers to discuss palliative and hospice care options with those patients. Developers have taken care to reduce the risk of alert overload and respect patient and physician autonomy.
Full Story: STAT (tiered subscription model) (7/1) 
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Caregiving is not just a job, but a journey worth taking. Caregiving can be stressful and often thankless, but increases a person's sense of compassion and purpose, makes life better for both the caregiver and the one cared for, and according to studies, can be associated with increased longevity.
Full Story: Cure Today (7/5) 
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Patient & Family Perspective
A survey by Wakefield Research and data solution company Kyruss collected feedback from patients and families about the care they received remotely through telehealth and found that 75% of respondents were satisfied, and almost as many wanted to continue with virtual care on a regular basis. "Overall patient satisfaction with virtual care was high, with half of respondents willing to switch providers for the offering," according to the report.
Full Story: Hospice News (7/2) 
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Medical Research
Researchers found that 27 of 50 youths with confirmed COVID-19 developed pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome symptoms, four of whom had headaches, encephalopathy, reduced reflexes and muscle weakness, as well as brain MRI scans showing central and peripheral nervous system damage and splenial lesions. The findings were published in JAMA Neurology.
Full Story: AuntMinnie (free registration) (7/1) 
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Health Policy & Practice
Legislation in the Senate would make permanent changes that expanded access to virtual substance use treatment during the pandemic. The bill reportedly would expand Medicare coverage to include audio calls and allow health care providers to prescribe controlled substances in certain programs without an in-person exam, among other measures.
Full Story: mHealth Intelligence (7/6) 
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Trends & Technology
CDC report shows decline in COVID-19 mortality
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The CDC's COVIDView report showed the percentage of US fatalities attributed to flu, pneumonia or COVID-19 dropped for the ninth consecutive week to 6.9% for the week ending June 20, compared with 9.5% a week earlier. The overall COVID-19 hospitalization rate climbed to 98.4 per 100,000 people, while emergency and outpatient visits for COVID-19 symptoms remained stable in most regions, but rose in the Southeast, Southwest and South Central US.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (6/29) 
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Nearly 240 scientists from 32 countries sent an open letter urging the World Health Organization to develop new COVID-19 recommendations after presenting evidence that the virus is airborne. The WHO has previously said the novel coronavirus is transmitted primarily by large respiratory droplets that are expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes, but the scientists outlined evidence indicating that smaller particles of the virus can be transmitted through air and can infect people when inhaled.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/6) 
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AAHPM News
The Fellows of the Academy application for the 2020-2021 class is now open. One of the highest honors the Academy can bestow on a physician is recognition as a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (FAAHPM). This honor is achieved by physicians whose professional activity is devoted to the practice of hospice and palliative medicine. Fellows of the Academy are required to be Board-certified, members of AAHPM for 7 years, and active within the Academy. Apply now.
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Have you taken advantage of AAHPM's mentoring program called Mentor Match. Available to only AAHPM members, this program allows participants to either be a mentor or mentee in a variety of topic areas. Join AAHPM today to receive access to Mentor Match and their online private discussion forum, AAHPM Connect.
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