A resource to assist with Clinical Audit

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For many clinicians (including this one), their first foray into “research” is through clinical audit. The other day I was looking for some help to develop a clinical audit tool so, of course, I asked Twitter. The Clinical Audit Support Centre (@cascleicester) based in Leicester, UK, directed me to their Clinical Audit Tools resources – including some helpful interactive tools to assist you in deciding whether your project is a clinical audit, and whether it is “doable”. There’s also some blank Microsoft Excel templates to use in your own audit, a blog and a discussion board, which I am yet to explore.


Do you know of any other useful Clinical Audit tools? What are your views on the sometimes controversial topic of clinical audit?

Palliverse researchers database update


(Image: University of Michigan Library Card Catalog by dfulmer / CC BY)

The updated version of the Palliverse researchers database now available!

Have you connected, communicated or collaborated with anyone via the database so far? We’d love to hear about it! Please send us an email at: Palliverse@gmail.com

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Palliverse Team

Centre for Palliative Care – lecture on palliative sedation by A. Prof Jenny Philip

The Centre for Palliative Care in Melbourne runs a series of Hot Topics lectures for the field. They have kindly published videos of their recent talks, which we would like to share with you.

The Palliverse team are going to start a collection of resources in free open access medical and nursing education (#FOAMed and #FOANed) relative to Palliative Care, and here’s the first addition to the collection.

A.Prof Jenny Philip is a wonderful speaker and takes us on a journey through the controversial issue of palliative sedation. Starting with definition (variable) and incidence (also variable), she describes for us some European guidelines on palliative sedation and then guides a panel of experienced palliative care professionals through three cases exploring issues in palliative sedation.


Elsewhere in the Palliverse – holiday addition

If you’re lucky enough to have a break over the summer holiday season, I would advise that you to avoid anything work-related. However, if you just can’t pull yourself away from the worlds of palliative care and research, here (in no particular order) are some related links:

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PhD Scholarship opportunity in a novel area (is this your early Christmas present?)

Dear members of the palliverse,

We have been informed of a new funding opportunity by the Improving Palliative Care through Clinical Trials (ImPaCCT) NSW network.  Here are the details that they provided.

Palliative Care (Full-Time, $30,000 per annum for 3 years, Based in Sydney) focusing on sleep disturbance in community palliative care patients.

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Elsewhere in the Palliverse – social media edition

Social media is a broad term that includes all sorts of online platforms and interactions, from the blogs* I follow (and share) via my RSS reader, to Youtube videos, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, slideshare and beyond.  This week’s “Elsewhere in the Palliverse” visits the intersection of social media, palliative care and research.

*including palliverse.com, of course!


Uncovering ethics: To stay or to go (Bob’s story)

“I am done. I am over,” says Bob before failing back to the pillow with quiet momentum.

“It’s like he is rushing down a river, and we have nothing we can do to slow him down,” says his daughter. Her voice is strong and carries the pain of her words in a no nonsense way, like it is not a burden at all. They are both strong like this, a family trait, and their strength fills the room. It almost vibrates with the effort.


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What’s new in research?

New trial published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine provides evidence for early integration of palliative care in patients with advanced disease suffering from breathlessness.

Higginson and colleagues randomised 105 people with advanced disease and refractory breathlessness (MRC dyspnoea scale score >2) to receive a breathlessness support service or usual care. The breathlessness support service involved, sequentially: 1) An outpatient clinic appointment involving assessment and treatment by respiratory medicine and palliative care clinicians, as well as a breathlessness information and management pack;  2) An allied health home assessment and promotion of self-management techniques approximately 2-3 weeks post the clinic; and 3) A final discharge planning outpatient clinic appointment with a palliative care clinician approximately 4 weeks post the clinic.

Mastery of breathlessness symptoms significantly improved for patients attending the breathlessness support service, compared to usual care (16% improvement, p=0.048). For patients with COPD and interstitial lung disease (but not cancer): survival rate from randomisation to 6 months was greater in those who attended the breathlessness support service (94%) versus usual care (75%), as was overall survival (p=0.048). Total health care costs calculated from patient-reported health service use were not significantly different between groups.

Have a read: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(14)70226-7/fulltext

Higginson IJ, Bausewein C, Reilly CC, Gao W, Gysels M, Dzingina M et al. An integrated palliative and respiratory care service for patients with advanced disease and refractory breathlessness: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 2014. 2(12):979-987. DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70226-7


Elsewhere in the Palliverse – weekend reads

Gratuitous holiday snap unrelated to post

Gratuitous holiday snap unrelated to post

I’ll be spending the weekend enjoying the sunshine reminiscing over holiday snaps catching up with tweets from #CancerCongress, #PPCConference, #COSA2014 working on an ethics proposal. If you’re looking for something to do, try this reading list.

Tweets from the afterlife: social networking with the dead – from @ConversationEDU

This is another article from the Death and Dying series on the fantastic website The Conversation. We’ve shared a couple of these articles before and I would recommend reading the rest over at The Conversation.

Tweets from the afterlife: social networking with the dead

By Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne; James Meese, University of Melbourne; Martin Gibbs, University of Melbourne; Michael Arnold, University of Melbourne, and Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne

Media technologies have operated as both a means of communicating news of a death and memorialising the deceased for a significant period of time, moving from traditional epitaphs, eulogies, wakes and inscription in stone to centuries-old obituaries printed and circulated in newspapers. So where are we now? Continue reading