Thursday, April 12, 2012

National Health Care Decisions Day 2012


Yes it is that time of year again. If the weather is starting to get nice and there are a few storms coming through your area it must be Spring and that means Taxes right? Well yes there is April 15th where we have to pay our taxes. But more importantly to the hospice and palliative medicine community is National Healthcare Decisions Day (US) and National Advance Care Planning Day (Canada) on Monday April 16th.

2012 marks the 5th year of NHDD, an initiative spearheaded by Nathan Kottkamp, a partner at McGuire Woods law firm in Virginia.  He is living proof of the famous Margaret Mead quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

 I have had the pleasure of working with Nathan in 2011 on NHDD and I strongly support this great initiative which should be thoroughly embraced by the all of us.  It speaks to our professional values and gives us a day where we can freely talk about advanced care planning without any sense of taboo feeling of the lingering spectre of death.  This is an empowering event that emphasizes "Your Decisions Matter"

 

There are many simple ways you can participate and the NHDD website is a great resource.  If you haven't planned anything for the public you could just focus your efforts on your friends and family.  Or maybe your whole hospice office could make sure everyone has completed their advanced care planning.  Or you can participate in the blog rally on Monday and use your social media platforms to spread the message. And you can have fun with it like these medical students did in their Star Wars themed Advanced Care Planning Video.

Most of all don't be hypocritical.  If you are going to encourage everyone to complete it, take the first step and do it yourself.  If you can't convince yourself to complete your advance care plan then how well will you be able to advocate for others.



Thursday, April 12, 2012 by Christian Sinclair ·

How Not To Get Frozen In Carbonite Against Your Wishes

Some 2nd year medical students from my institution (University of Minnesota Medical School) created this remarkable and hilarious video about, well, a Gundersen-La Crosse-style advance care planning project which takes place in the Star Wars universe. You get to witness the horrors of receiving medical treatments against one's wishes (hint: it's from Episode III).  Hat tip to Dr. Jim Pacala for letting us know about this.  (It's good quality except the sound quality can be fuzzy - it's best viewed with good speakers.)

by Drew Rosielle MD ·

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blogs to Boards: Question 6


This is the fourth in a series of 41 posts from both GeriPal and Pallimed to get our physician readers ready for the hospice and palliative medicine boards. Every week GeriPal and Pallimed will alternate publishing a new question, as well as a discussion of possible answers to the question (click here for the full list of questions).  

We welcome comments about any aspects of the questions or the answers/discussions.  The feedback that we hope to get in the comment sections of the post will help us all learn important aspects for the boards. We also welcome an interdisciplinary viewpoint when answering these questions, so even if you are not taking the medical boards, your input is still very much welcome.

You visit a patient at home receiving hospice care for cancer. Her pain has been well controlled with long acting morphine 60mg BID and occasional PRN doses of short acting liquid morphine (10mg) over the past few weeks: she had been tolerating this well. She has had recent progressive functional decline and is currently at a PPS of 20%. In the last 24 hours the patient has vomited and has been more lethargic and having difficulty swallowing pills. She appears uncomfortable. In your examination you see a very thin patient who appears to be dying with a prognosis in the few days to a week range.

The patient’s son is a respiratory therapist at a hospital and is insisting you change the patient’s opioid to a fentanyl patch because “it is less sedating than morphine.”

The best response is:

a) Because the patient is cachectic, you tell the family that fentanyl transdermal patches are not indicated because the medication will not be absorbed.

b) Agree with the son and convert the patient to a 37.5mcg/hr fentanyl patch with oral morphine liquid 10mg q1 hour PRN

c) Because the fentanyl will not be effective for over 24 hours, continue the long acting morphine sulfate 60mg BID but give it rectally instead of by mouth

d) Suggest starting a morphine infusion via her port at 1.7mg/hr basal with a 3mg q30min bolus PRN after talking with the son about his concerns about sedation.


Discussion:

Monday, April 9, 2012 by Christian Sinclair ·

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blogs to Boards: Question 4


This is the fourth in a series of 41 posts from both GeriPal and Pallimed to get our physician readers ready for the hospice and palliative medicine boards. Every week GeriPal and Pallimed will alternate publishing a new question, as well as a discussion of possible answers to the question (click here for the full list of questions).  

We welcome comments about any aspects of the questions or the answers/discussions.  The feedback that we hope to get in the comment sections of the post will help us all learn important aspects for the boards. We also welcome an interdisciplinary viewpoint when answering these questions, so even if you are not taking the medical boards, your input is still very much welcome.

Mrs Dole, a 68 year old with 20 year history of Diabetes Mellitus Type II is referred to Palliative Care from Oncology with Stage III Nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Nausea is the key concern. For last 3 years she has had early satiety but maintained weight. Since initiating chemotherapy, she has had nausea for the first 2 days of her chemotherapy cycle, which then resolves.

1 week after the last round of chemotherapy she required intravenous fluids for dehydration. Now 2 weeks later is having intermittent severe nausea. It can be provoked by sudden changes in body position. She fell once because she lost her balance. Usually she does not vomit, but occasionally does. She describes a feeling of the room spinning associated with the nausea.

Of the following options, which drug is most targeted to this patient’s specific nausea type:
a) Ondansetron
b) Prochlorperazine
c) Metoclopramide
d) Diazepam
e) Meclizine

Discussion:

Monday, April 2, 2012 by Christian Sinclair ·

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ACGMC Announces New Fellowship Requirements for Hospice, Palliative Medicine & Puppies Training


Leaders of the APRIL-FUL showing good bedside manner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ACGMC and AVMA COE announce new requirements for fellowships in Hospice, Palliative Medicine and Puppies

Chicago, April 1, 2012.

by Abe R Feaulx, Pallimed Special Reporter

In a joint news conference, representatives of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Comedy (ACGMC) and the Alaskan Veterinary Medical Association Accreditation Council on Comedy (AVMA COC) outlined new requirements for accreditation of fellowships in Hospice, Palliative Care and Pupplies (HPCP). As many of you will recall last April 2011, the Association of Palliative Realists Interested in Looking For Unified Language (APRIL-FUL) declared the new name for the field "Hospice, Palliative Care and Puppies."

Explaining the historic cooperation between ACGMC and AVMA COC, ACGMC board chairman Dr. Moe Howard said "the recent change in the specialty's name presented an opportunity for strategic cooperation between our two organizations that we couldn't pass by. Working together, we can fulfill our mission to assure the public that graduates of HPMP training programs are fully competent to carry out all the duties of an HPCP specialist, including finding the right type of puppy to meet a patient and families needs."

The new requirements include:
  • one month rotation at a veterinary hospital accredited by AVMA COC
  • six month continuity clinic at a PetSmart or other similar community-based pet training center
  • inclusion of a pet therapist (the pet, not the person) at all IDT team meetings that the trainee attends
  • a scholarly project documenting impact of puppies on palliative care patients or staff or volunteers
In a coordinated announcement, the National Alliance of Hospice, Palliative Care and Puppies,(NAHPCP) pledged to quickly adapt the competency statements, measurable outcomes, and competency toolkit to these new requirements. "We'll be integrating evidence-based competencies that are applicable to the new training requirements into the competency toolkit. For instance, it will be very important for graduating fellows to be able to train the pet therapists on hospice IDT's in prognostication skills, such as those exemplified by Oscar the Cat," said Dr. Sitt Phydo, chair of the AAHPCP task force to promote evidence based palliative pets. (PEPP)

When asked for comment, the National Association for Cats in Hospice issued a statement declaring, "We would rather work on our own and not be dependent on any other organizations like some sniveling canine."

Happy April Fools Day 2012 from Pallimed

Sunday, April 1, 2012 by Abe R Feaulx ·

Generalissimo Francisco Franco gets an LVAD

Last Saturday night, live, special correspondent to Weekend Update, Chevy Chase, filed this report on a story that he has been covering since 1975. 


To the cheers of supporters, aides to Generalissimo Francisco Franco announced that the Generalissimo has received a left ventricular assist device, also known by the abbreviation, LVAD. The procedure was performed at an undisclosed location. At this time, it is uncertain how this development will ultimately affect the Generalissimo's fate. Aides declined to comment on whether the Generalissimo would be placed on a heart transplant list. 


At this time Generalissimo Francisco Franco is not dead.

Stay tuned for further updates.

by Abe R Feaulx ·

Hospice Doctor Admits This Work is Very Sad

April 1, 2012

by Abe R Feaulx, Pallimed Special Reporter

On a cross-country plane flight, Dr. Arya Kidenmee finally admitted to her seatmate, an unabashedly handsome young shower curtain salesman, what the public has known all this time. "I finally had to tell him that hospice work is very sad. I'm not sure why people in hospice and palliative care always say it is rewarding.  We have meetings every week where we just sit and cry the entire time, it is absolutely emotionally paralyzing to try and help people with advanced illness."

When reached for comment, seatmate Brock Montgomery noted, "I knew it.  I run into people in health care all the time and people who work for hospice always appear so friendly and outgoing, but I knew there could not be anything rewarding in helping people who were in great pain feel better.  I'm glad she finally told the truth."

Dr. Kidenmee noted that she has struggled for years in talking at dinner parties and other social gatherings when asked about what she does for a living.  "If only I could take people with me and show them how utterly sad my everyday job is, then maybe they would understand that research that shows resilience and a strong purpose to work in palliative care was all a bunch of baloney. Yes I said it, baloney."

Update: It was later discovered after this story was published that Dr. Arya Kidenmee is not really a physician and clearly from her comments has no experience in hospice.  She was just trying to get Brock to feel bad for her and ask for her number.

Happy April Fools Day 2012 from Pallimed

by Abe R Feaulx ·

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