Crazy Socks for Docs – by Dr Eric Levi @DrEricLevi
June 1st. #CrazySocks4Docs. But not just for Docs only. This day is for nurses, dentists, pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists, psychologists, dietitians, speech pathologists, audiologists, respiratory therapists, anaesthesia techs, paramedics, medical students, veterinarians and all other specialties that work in the health care industry for patients. Continue reading →
In healthcare it is important to set clear boundaries in order to care for yourself and your patients in a sustainable fashion. In the practice of palliative care, boundary setting is even more important, as the therapeutic relationship can be very intense and intimate at times. We have to keep in mind that this relationship will likely end soon, with the death of our patient. It can be a difficult balancing act; using your humanity to make important connections with another human being; while at the same time keeping professional distance to protect the both of you.
That being said, it is inevitable that there will be some cases which will hit you harder than others. When a deeper connection has been made, you will feel the loss and grief much more strongly. Informal reflection with your team members and professional supervision have an important role to play in keeping us palliative care providers safe to continue doing the important job that we have to do. We need to remind ourselves that this is a job that not everyone in healthcare can handle. That those of us who chose to work in palliative care, owe it to ourselves and our patients to look after ourselves. We are a precious resource and if we do not take care of ourselves, we will deny our patients and their families the difference that we can make in their lives, and deaths.
After almost ten years of working exclusively in full-time palliative care practice I would like to share a case that reminded me of just how human I am, and how much value I obtain from professional supervision and from sharing with my team members.
I learned a few new euphemisms for dying in this Conversation article. Confession time – it’s kind of my job to use the “D” word but even I, as a palliative care doctor, can find it awkward. But if we hide behind phrases like “passed away”, “gone” or “lost”, we contribute to confusion in some and participate in death denying.
If health professionals use euphemisms, they need to consider whether patients really understand what they’re trying to say. The article concludes that “Euphemisms have their place. But being able to talk openly (and clearly) about death and dying is important as it helps normalise death and avoids confusion.”
“You matter, your care matters,” was the key message from his Excellency Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia in declaring National Palliative Care Week 2017 open today. Palliverse was lucky enough to be in attendance for the event held on a stunning Canberra Autumn morning at Government House.
Embarrassingly, I didn’t know about this until I heard it at a RACP conference last week. EVOLVE is a physician led initiative to ensure the highest quality patient care through the identification and reduction of low-value practices and interventions. Many specialties have created their own lists.
ANZSPM, the Australian and New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine, have nominated 5 interventions which they recommend against in palliative care.
Chaired by @Meera_Agar – the lead author of the seminal paper examining the role of antipsychotics in the management of delirium symptoms in the palliative care setting, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this year – the session will feature presentations from Professor Agar, as well as:
Dr Simon Allan, palliative care physician, Director of Palliative Care at Arohanui Hospice in New Zealand and the current President of the Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians,
Dr Chris Moran, geriatrician from Alfred Health and research fellow at Monash University, and
Dr Justin Dwyer, psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Psychosocial Cancer Care service at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne.
After the presentations, a panel discussion involving the speakers will offer the audience plenty of opportunities to further explore this hot topic in palliative care.