Monday, March 21, 2016

Palliative Care in Nephrology - So Many Opportunities!

by Christian Sinclair

If you asked most people to name what types of illness would most likely benefit from palliative care support, cancer is probably at the top of that list, followed by cardiac disease, and possibly neurologic disorders. Nephrology on the other hand is not often seen as a common area for the approaches of palliative care. At most HPC conferences I go to, I may see only one topic exploring the unique palliative issues surrounding renal disease, despite the significant functional and symptom burden of advanced kidney disease.

Thanks to social media I have found a group of nephrologists who are open to the concepts of palliative care both in practice and especially in education. In addition to hosting online book clubs on Atul Gawande's book Being Mortal, particpating in the most popular #hpm chat in 2015, they have now added palliative care topics to their very hip NephMadness tournament.

If you have not heard of NephMadness, then check out the NephMadness for Dummies post for more details. This group of nephrologists have been doing this since 2013 to use this game format nearly everyone in America is familiar with to highlight important topics in Nephrology. Each head-to-head match-up highlights why different educational concepts are more or less important to nephrology practice.

So this year I was thrilled when the team asked me to contribute to a Palliative Care and Nephrology region. We had a phone call in early January after some emails back and forth to hammer out the concepts we would put into the tournament. We had 4 teams (slots) to put into the bracket and we came down to complimentary approaches: Conservative Care in ESRD vs Stopping Dialysis and Palliative Care Consultation vs Primary Palliative Care.

I really hope you check out this novel approach to education, submit your picks (Go Palliative Care!) and maybe if there is enough interest they might teach us how to do Palliative Madness in 2017!

PS Look a the cool cross word puzzle they made about palliative care in nephrology!
PPS Check out what nephrologists are saying on twitter about Palliative Care #PallCareRegion!
PPPS Join us Wednesday night as Dr. Joel Topf (aka @kidney_boy) hosts #hpm Tweetchat!

Christian Sinclair, MD, FAAHPM is a palliative care doctor at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the editor of Pallimed. He was recently inaugurated as the President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. When not reading medical journals, you can find him reading boardgame rules.

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