Social media – health care hashtags

Greetings dear readers,

You may have caught up with past posts such as Twitter 101 and Twitter 102.

But, you may ask, how do I know which hashtags will be interesting for me?

Wonder no more. Here is a list from Symplur of healthcare hashtags.

The ones I look at are #HPMglobal (hospice and palliative medicine global), #HPM (you can work that one out), #HCLDR (health care leaders), #HCSMANZ (health care and social media Australia and New Zealand). There are some patient-centred ones I dip into like #BCSM (breast cancer social media) and #LCSM (lung cancer social media).

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Advance Care Planning Australia Conference Day 1 wrap-up

The inaugural Advance Care Planning Australia conference is underway in Melbourne, hosted by Austin Health.  Day one saw a launch by Hon. David Davis MLC, who reflected on the Victorian Government’s support for advance care planning and acknowledged the specific contribution of work focused on increasing the concordance between patient preferences, and the actual care delivered, as a marker of success in end-of-life care.

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Toast, heat packs, and other banned substances

I recently fell into a twitter conversation that started with an innocent tweet by Dr Ros Taylor (@hospicedoctor):toasttwitter

I was surprised to learn that toast, a humble source of warmth of comfort, is banned in some hospitals. Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – Weekend Reads (featuring zombies)

Here’s some palliative care and research related links to peruse in the week ahead (most found via Twitter):

ABC News interviews Atul Gawande about “modern medicine’s treatment of dying patients.” Dr Gawande is all over social media and the news, even in Australia (and in Legoland)!

Current and former Chairs of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Mortality Sub-Committee write in The Age about the challenges that not for resuscitation orders can pose for anaesthetists.

The ASCO Post reviews a review article from JAMA Internal Medicine, about end-of-life discussions and advanced care planning. In summary, it’s all good.

In Canada’s Globe & Mail, “End-of-life patients aren’t being heard“.

Geriatrician Louise Aronson writes in The Lancet about ageism in medicine, and ageing as “the human life-cycle’s neglected step-child.”

Presenting at a conference? Improve your presentation with zombie apocalypse principles.

Meanwhile, on October 31st, GeriPal explored the unmet palliative care needs of zombies. And check out the zombie pain scale!

Finally, join the weekly (zombie-free) #hpmglobal tweetchat on Monday (17/11/14 at 11pm AEDT) to discuss an article from BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care about support networks of end-of-life carers. #hpmglobal chat is hosted by Aussie ex-pat Dr Jim Cleary (@jfclearywisc), with participants from several continents. For instruction in how to participate in a tweetchat, see Sonia’s post Twitter 102.

I hope you enjoy these and stay safe from zombies!




ANNOUNCEMENT – palliative research scholarship in Victoria AND travel grant

Research Masters or PhD Scholarship
The PCRNV will be offering a Masters or PhD scholarship in 2015 for Victorian students that are able to conduct high quality research into palliative care leading to immediate patient benefit.
The scholarship holder will be supported at his/her full salary for the duration of a full-time PhD (three years) or Masters (two years) to undertake research in palliative care. The successful applicant: will be enrolled as Masters or PhD candidate at a Victorian University; will have the majority of the research funded by the PCRNV completed within Victoria and; whom the Primary supervisor and applicant/student are based at a Victorian University (co-investigators and/or collaborators may work interstate or internationally).
The scholarship scheme is the result of a partnership between the Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) and the PCRNV, and is designed to build research capacity in Victoria.
Stipends for the scholarship will be in line with NHMRC rates and are as followed:

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updated palliative blogs list from Christian Sinclair at Pallimed

The fabulous Pallimed have updated their list of palliative blogs. Featuring Palliverse!

Or at least, mentioning Palliverse.

Some great blogs here!

The Palliverse Team

Palace of Care – Musical Interlude

After a tough fortnight at work I decided to change things up a bit at our Multi-disciplinary team meeting this morning.

We’ve been using an iPad to take notes from the meeting for a while now, and today I tried to make it a more multi-media affair.

As well as recording the patients’ stories I also tried to match each of them to an appropriate piece of music.

The rather diverse playlist and patient list eventually became:

Tammy Wynette – Stand by your man – after discussing a man whose ex-wife had returned to look after him.

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive – the correct pronunciation of a patient’s surname.

Avril Lavigne – Complicated – a patient’s complex family dynamic.

The Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love – a patient’s long-term relationship with their spouse.

Alicia Keys – Falling – a patient who had repeatedly been falling…over.

Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind – a patient with malignant bowel obstruction who had started passing flatus.



How to draw the line between “good” and “bad” reasons to die (from @ConversationEDU)

By Sascha Callaghan, University of Sydney

A Senate inquiry into legalising voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill people has recommended a conscience vote on the proposed bill after technical matters, such as what constitutes a “terminal illness”, are clarified.

While this is an important step forward in grappling with the idea of the “right to die”, drawing a line at terminal illness for this purpose will be difficult. What’s more, restricting the right to die to people who are terminally ill is very different to what most of us think of as justifiable euthanasia.

Research shows more than 82% of Australians support voluntary euthanasia where “a hopelessly ill patient, experiencing unrelievable suffering, with absolutely no chance of recovering” asks for help to end their life. This description covers terminal illnesses as well as other incurable conditions causing great suffering in which death may not be imminent.

Refusing treatment

As the law stands, mentally competent people can reject medical treatment that will keep them alive. This is the case even when a person is not actually terminally ill. As suicide itself is not unlawful, it remains an option even when the person states their sole motivation for refusing treatment is to end their life.

Courts have confirmed that life-support machines can be turned off, feeding tubes can be removed and hunger strikes in hospital may not be forcibly interfered with by hospital staff. These cases involved people suffering extensive paralysis and chronic debilitating illnesses, all of which caused pain and suffering but were not, strictly speaking, terminal conditions.

Indeed, that was part of the problem the people in these cases faced: in their own estimation, their suffering was great but their lives might go on for a very long time. Still, while all competent patients may refuse medical treatment in order to end their lives, they may not be entitled to active euthanasia under a restricted law.

If it’s not exactly terminal illness that Australians have in mind when they think of who might legitimately seek euthanasia, and if we can tolerate and even condone the suicidal wishes of some people, it is perhaps a particular kind of suffering that we wish to restrict euthanasia to.

Perhaps we feel physical suffering is a better reason for ending one’s life than, say, suffering caused by grief, or shame, or hopelessness. Or perhaps it is the quality of “incurability” that we demand; we are more willing to accept physical illness may be beyond help, than psychiatric illness or emotional pain.

The problem is that while many of us may hold these views, they aren’t empirically true, and opinions differ.

In some jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal, it is also legal to be helped to die because of psychiatric illness when there is “unbearable emotional suffering”. While this has been controversial, groping for objective reasons why only some forms of death decision are all right is doomed to fail because the lines we draw between acceptable and unacceptable death decisions are cultural and arbitrary.

But that doesn’t make such line-drawing invalid.

The right line

To achieve defensible policy, we need to understand what’s really going on when we struggle with legalising assisted suicide. And it is simply this: the decision to die is not an ordinary choice.

Deciding to end one’s life has the quality of tragedy – and not only for people who love you, as not everyone has loved ones. Rather, all our deaths are important because, as the English poet and cleric John Donne wrote, we are all “involved in mankind”.

Death remains tragic no matter how inevitable it is or what causes it. And in a very deep place, human societies have always considered death itself to be bad, in a moral sense.

Death is punishment; in many cultures, it is what separates us from ancient gods. The inevitability of death is the ultimate source of existential suffering because all of us know we will die, as will everyone we love.

So even if we can bring ourselves to accept that a life can be so full of suffering that death is preferable, we still remain deeply anguished about it.

If society is going to be involved in death decisions by giving legal permission for doctors to bring about death, it is important to specify some conditions. But there will be few bright lines to discern between “good” and “bad” reasons for choosing death.

We do need to decide which deaths we are prepared to countenance. We may each decide quite differently. But all of us must think long and hard about where and why we draw those lines.

Editor’s note: Sascha will be on hand to answer questions at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon (November 12). Post any questions about “good” and “bad” reasons to die in the comments below.

The Conversation

Sascha Callaghan received a PhD scholarship from the NHMRC.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

10 days to go and more reasons to come to @SoMebythesea!

10 days to go and more reasons to come to @SoMebythesea!.

Atul Gawande’s Pain Control and Palliative Care

A thought provoking article by Torrey Ah-Tye about one of my personal heroes, Atul Gawande’s new book “Being Mortal, and what really matters in the end”. Have you read it? I need to get my hands on a copy…

The Vishuddha Journal ☼ 维苏达日记

pain_divide_cartogramThe ever affable author, doctor, and notable writer of “The Cost Conundrum,” article in the New Yorker back in 2009 (available here), instigating a movement posing serious questions and critiques of the U.S. healthcare system, has now endorsed Pain Control and Palliative Care.

Topically related to his new book, Being Mortal, and what really matters in the end, in honor of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, which takes place tomorrow, on October 11, he released the following statement:

Dying and death confront every new doctor and nurse. The first times, some cry. Some shut down. Some hardly notice. When I saw my first deaths, I was too guarded to weep. But I had recurring nightmares in which I’d find my patients’ corpses in my house—even in my bed.
I felt as if I’d failed. But death, of course, is not a failure. Death is normal. Death…

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