Academy Voices Vital Role of Palliative and Hospice Care in Improving Quality of Health Care

Many health care initiatives launched by the Affordable Care Act focus on improving the quality of health care. The Academy and its members have been participating in these efforts, trying to bring wider visibility to the role that palliative care and hospice care can play in improving the quality of health care for patients with serious, advanced illness.

Every continent except Antarctica

I had the opportunity to represent AAHPM at the 18th International Congress of Palliative Care in Montreal in early October. This was my first time at this Congress and, with the help of AAHPM member and Congress attendee, Dr. Nancy Hutton, we talked with people practicing palliative care from every continent of the world except Antarctica at the opening reception.

Quality and competency: Invisible members of the palliative care team, the Medical Interpreter

We spend a lot of time speaking of physician, nursing, social work, pharmacist expertise in palliative care. We often see and support formal training for volunteers. (www.volunteertrainingonline.com/hospice; www.hospicevolunteertraining.webs.com) We teach the importance of culturally competent care and use of interpreter services to enhance communication with patients and families of other cultures and with limited English. … Read moreQuality and competency: Invisible members of the palliative care team, the Medical Interpreter

Palliative Care Represented at Critical Care Conference

On September 27 and 28 the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) held a conference of stakeholders at their headquarters in Chicago, to discuss the problems patients face after a stay in intensive care. In addition to ICU physicians and nurses, physiatrists, psychiatrists, counselors, and representatives of patients and other groups (including palliative care) were … Read morePalliative Care Represented at Critical Care Conference

Magic Mouthwash–The Last Snake Oil

Mucositis is a frequent problem encountered by hospice and palliative care services. Its treatment remains a major focus of holistic and medical therapy. Mucositis is found among 40-50% of patients receiving standard chemotherapy or head / neck radiation. This percentage is nearly doubled for bone marrow transplant patients. It can occur as a direct consequence of the radiation or chemotherapy or indirectly from infections compounding immunosuppression. Once the offending agent is stopped mucosal integrity gradually returns. In the meantime the inflammatory pain reduces the patient’s quality of life while also decreasing their oral intake leading to dehydration and malnutrition. Magic mouthwash, known by many names and aliases, reduces the pain, the disability of mucositis.

Palliative Care Grand Rounds 2.9

Welcome to the monthly edition of Palliative Care Grand Rounds the monthly review of the best of hospice and palliative care content from blogs. We started in February of 2009 and are almost done with our second full year. To see previous editions of Palliative Care Grand Rounds go the http://palliativecaregr.blogspot.com/. This summer has been … Read morePalliative Care Grand Rounds 2.9

Heads up!! Calling all measure geeks!! Save the date: NQF call for measures planned for November 2010

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is planning to issue a call for measures relevant to hospice and palliative care some time late in 2010, probably November. This is a critical opportunity to advance quality measurement for our field.

Another indication that HPM is becoming more mainstream?

In the category of ‘what goes around comes around,’ a recent event reminded me of the ironies life can bring; but this is a cautionary tale for all. At this time last year, I was immersed in a trial. While there is a general impression that hospice and palliative medicine are relatively immune from issues of tort liability and malpractice, this is proving to be increasingly untrue. In some parts of the country, trial lawyers are exploring new theories of litigation with causes of action against hospice and palliative medicine providers, an untapped and fertile ground for potential malpractice awards. While this clearly isn’t “good news,” ironically it may be another milestone in HPM’s ongoing efforts to integrate into ‘mainstream medicine.’

Day Two of Intensive Review…

The second day was just as intense as the first- fabulous speakers and a review of important information. Here are some pearls from the second day of AAHPM board review course: Dyspnea: (Vincent Jay Vanston) -Total Dyspnea has 4 domains: Physical, Psychological, Interpersonal, Existential -Must address all domains to adequately control Dyspnea -When possible and … Read moreDay Two of Intensive Review…