Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Palliative Care Grand Rounds June 2011

Palliative Care Grand Rounds is back after a brief hiatus.  Thanks to last month's host Tim Cousounis for restarting PCGR with a bang.  Let's jump right into the best of the blogs featuring hospice and palliative care from the last month.

So my family members asked physicians they knew the same question and reported back to me that a cardiologist, a neurologist, and an internist had said that my father should not be experiencing any confusion after surgery and therefore he must have dementia. This came as a complete surprise to me, as I just assumed that all health care professionals, especially those who work with older people, would know what I knew.
  • From this post I found out there is a brand new group looking at this issue in more detail, the American Delirium Society.  Can you believe it?  This is one symptom that needs more attention and I am so glad to hear this. They just finished up their first conference this week.

Empathy or the ability to appreciate someone else’s emotions and express this emotional awareness is a capacity that differs amongst individuals. It’s clear that doctors who can communicate well with patients will be more effective. Communication is an important competence educated during med school. This is mostly about etiquette instead of empathy.

  • And here is a bonus from Dr Shock: the video 'Beards and Bow Ties.'  I'm thinking we might need something like this for hospice and palliative care.  Reading the comments you can see even something like this is controversial.

  • Garr Reynolds is well-known in speaking and presentation circles for his books like Presentation Zen.  (NB: all people who present at conferences can benefit from reading his books.  Please. No more boring slides. Please.) He recently wrote about the importance of Grandmothers in his post "The Eternal Power of Relationships"  There is much in this post any palliative care advocate would like and probably find something to take away with them. And one of them has to do with a Japanese song called "Toilet Goddess." You should read the English lyrics. 

Civil rights IS an issue for organizations that support the grieving. Gay families are families. I challenge organizations that support grieving people to accept love and families of all stripes and to STATE their non-discrimination policies up front. Because sad as it is, you can lose a partner and STILL get turned away from free, peer-based support, and you can make that call without ANY idea how you'll be received.
  • Now here is a post that should spark your imagination for some research studies and maybe feedback to trainees. The Talk-o-Meter iPhone app that measures how much each person in a two-person conversation is talking.(via GOOD magazine) I'm thinking it could be helpful in IDT if it could track multiple voices. Speak up chaplain!
  • What is the role of scientist in explaining research to the public?
  • What are the barriers to communicating this well?
  • How does one read a scientific paper?
  • And why should we all understand statistics a little bit better?
  • Why don't professional media outlets rarely cite the author or journal or title of articles they quote?
  • Why should you never draw your conclusions solely from the tables and figures of a paper? 

I love this quote from Freed:
Now listen: most non-scientists see a table like this and freak out. They take around 3 seconds to decide they can’t understand it, get scared of feeling stupid in the face of all those numbers, and so they calm down by skipping over it and back to the words. Scientists have a huge advantage over their non-scientist friends on this front: they don’t expect to understand this table in three seconds. Or even three minutes. They look at it the way a piano player might look at a Bach score, or an art lover might look at the Mona Lisa.
Thanks for tuning into to another edition of Palliative Care Grand Rounds. Look for us in July on another great hospice and palliative care blog.  For updated schedules and past PCGR see

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