Difficulties accessing medications which carers need to look after someone dying at home can mean that the person needs to be sent in by ambulance to hospital to die. Having been on the hospital end of this transaction many times, I know how sad it is for the patient and family when something as simple as access to medicines gets in the way of care at home.
A study carried out by Paul Tait and a team from South Australia has shown that the proportion of community pharmacies stocking a list of medications needed for end of life care at home has nearly tripled from 2012 to 2015.
Significantly more SA community pharmacies carried all five core medicines following the delivery of a range of multidisciplinary education strategies.
This indicates that the likelihood of South Australians being able to access items from the List through community pharmacies in 2015 has significantly improved.
They concluded that “These results suggest that there is value in developing and promoting a standardised list of medicines, ensuring that community palliative patients have timely access to medicines in the terminal phase.”
Tait P, et al. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2017;0:1–8. doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2016-001191
If if you live in Victoria you might have to get your head around some new advance care planning legislation which was passed last year and comes into force in March 2018.
Whether you are a consumer, or a health professional, you may be interested in these webinars run by the Cancer Council Victoria and the McCabe centre for law and cancer.
For more details see here
Palliverse’s very own Dr Craig Sinclair will be hosting this free webinar for Decision Assist concerning advance care planning in the aged care setting.
“George wants resuscitation”. This webinar explores some of the decision-making dilemmas experienced by aged care staff, health professionals and the clients and families they support.
The webinar will be broadcast live on Thursday 23 February 2017
1.30 pm till 2.15 pm AEDT but can be viewed afterwards.
See here for more information
How can we improve communication about medical treatment and future care?
The Journal of Clinical Oncology has published a paper about how we can have conversations about treatment decisions better. They found that patient coaching and question prompt lists were effective in improving communication.
Patients who had the one hour coaching session were three times as likely to ask about prognosis…. but discussions about prognosis were still rare and patients were often overly optimistic about their prognosis.
The intervention improved communication between oncologists and patients.
Most patients with advanced cancer say they want honest, sensitive communication about end-of-life issues. These conversations help patients and their families prepare, make informed decisions, and avoid potentially burdensome aggressive medical treatments near death.
Yet, patients are often misinformed about cancer survival and curability.
Those with over-optimistic prognosis estimates are more likely to die in a hospital and receive burdensome aggressive care that does not help the person.
Doctors often do not know their patients’ preferences about end-of-life issues.
The paper suggests that an intervention to improve communication around these issues was partly successful.
Looking for some holiday reading?
J Pall Med is open access until 23 Jan, check it out!
You can also sign up for free email briefings to keep your eye on what’s being published in real time
Decision Assist is running a series of free webinars on advance care planning and palliative care.
For those of you new to webinars, you can watch the presentation live on the internet and interact with the presenters, or just watch the presentation later. Some health services and aged care facilities are watching them together as part of their continuing professional development or education programs.
Here is a link to register. The next one is presented by Ilsa Hampton, CEO, Meaningful Ageing Australia
Decision Assist Aged Care Webinar Series – Grief, trauma and loss
Tuesday 6 December 2016 | 1.30 pm – 2.15 pm AEDT
Regards, Sonia (who also works for Decision Assist!)
We all struggle to live a good life but what about a good death? Can we ever be truly prepared for the inevitable?
Molly Carlile is a ‘death talker’ who is committed to helping Australians ‘die well’. She talks about physician-assisted dying, planning for death, and the need for a cultural shift in the way we think about death and dying.
Here is a link from the ABCs Radio National to an interview with Molly Carlile, palliative care activist and author.
Cannabis is a plant which produces a large number of potentially useful chemical compounds. Patients have figured this out and are far ahead of the medical establishment in their understanding of how to use the plant. Palliative care and other health providers have to rapidly catch up with the necessary research, and in the meantime work with patients as partners as we learn.
If you want to learn more about the basic physiology and pharmacology of cannabinoids, the therapeutic evidence for cannabinoids, or hear about the international experience with prescription cannabinoids – join the Australia and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine Conference to be held in Perth on the 8th -11th September 2016.
#ANZSPM16 will feature two presenters on medical cannabis including International Keynote Dr Pippa Hawley from British Colombia Cancer Agency’s Pain & Symptom Management/Palliative Care Program and Dr Maureen Mitchell.
For some good bedtime reading on this topic ahead of #ANZSPM16, check out this recent review of cannabinoids for medical use & please share below if you’re aware of other good literature on this topic!
The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) will be holding its biennial scientific meeting in Perth between 8-11th September, 2016. The theme of ANZSPM 2016 Conference (#ANZSPM16) is “The Changing Landscape of Palliative Care”.
Palliverse is excited to announce that we will be working with ANZSPM to enhance the overall Conference experience by harnessing the power of social media. We will be facilitating the sharing of knowledge from the Conference, encouraging discussion and debate within and beyond the Conference halls, and providing hands-on social media support before, during and after the event.
If you haven’t registered yet and you are keen to come, why wait? You can find out more about the event and register for it here. And – if you register by the 30th of June you will be eligible for an early-bird discount! Continue reading
Taken from my hospital room on a good day
I’ve been in hospital for the last three weeks, and have just returned back home (finally!). It has been both a very difficult physical experience dealing with pain management and a wound, but also a mental journey for me.
A lot of what I read about palliative care, and my own experiences as well, have been about control; the control that palliation gives you over the time you, as an individual, have left, rather than the often more passive involvement of care when engaging in active treatment.
Throughout my treatment, I’ve been eager – possibly to my own mental and emotional detriment – to remain highly active with what has been going on. I make guesses as to what might be causing pain or discomfort or other symptoms, explaining to my doctor what it must mean as he compassionately and respectfully listens to my ideas that I’ve gotten from my half-hearted reading of an abstract from a medical journal. Continue reading