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.
Why do palliative care people bang on about advance care planning all the time?
Well, when you break it all down, advance care planning is all about respect. Respecting the values, goals and preferences of the person making the plan. And palliative care is really big on respecting people’s preferences and values, especially when it comes to their end-of-life care.
Unfortunately, when it comes to respecting people’s choices around their health care, the law has been lagging behind. Existing laws around advance care plans and medical decision making are often confusing for patients and families, as well as their treating clinicians. Fortunately, this is all about to change in Victoria. Continue reading →
Palliverse has heard about two PhD scholarships in the area of improving psychosocial support and education for people with cancer and their carers, at Curtin University in Perth, WA. Scholarships are available to health professionals (particularly nurses and radiation therapists). For more details see the Curtin University website.