Palace of Care – In his arms

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Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

It had been a great game of football, they had managed to successfully complete a number of moves that they had been practising for weeks. He was proud of the fact that the ball was always safe, in his arms.

The post-match party was a happy and raucous affair, a swirl of colours and noise, but everything seemed to stop, when she walked into the room.

Their eyes met across the crowded space, everyone else became invisible and they instantly fell in love. Soon she was, in his arms.

Fast-forward 23 years to an admission into our family room. Again a swirl of colours and noise as they settled into the room with their seven children, and their children’s children.

Early on in their relationship they had reflected on their own upbringing, having being raised by their grandparents, they made a pact that they would raise their own kids themselves.

And they did so over the next 22 years which were filled with joy.

She had become unwell over the past year, needing many trips to clinics and hospital for many treatments and even more disappointments. Always supported by their family  who stayed strong around them.

It had taken a lot of convincing to allow Hospice into their lives – he was scared of them – but the fears were soon allayed by the visiting staff.

Barely three weeks ago she had organised a family trip up North, just them and their four youngest children. “She knew that her time was short, and that was her preparing me.”

During the weekend, he had shared, “Thank you for providing this large room for us, it has allowed me to be the husband again, and the father to my kids, we can be ourselves again.”

There were many visitors over the weekend and into the new week.

On the very last night the couple were together, peacefully in bed, surrounded by the love from all their kids sleeping on the floor around them.

Coming back from the bathroom on the final morning, held up in his arms, “I think it’s my time to go.”

Gently back to bed, still in his arms.

Feeling safe, surrounded by the best things in the world, their kids and grand-kids.

She leaned back, in his arms, and then quietly left the room.

“She was looking after us all, right until the very end, giving us the strength to carry on walking tall.”

Hot topics – Melbourne 27th March

Keen to learn more? Here is the page you need

 

PaCCSC survey for health professionals on cancer cachexia anorexia syndrome

EXPERIENCES OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS DEALING WITH CANCER ANOREXIA CACHEXIA SYNDROME (CACS) (UTS HREC ETH18-2870)

As a health care professional seeing advanced cancer patients who have CACS in your daily practice, you are invited to take part in this online survey. The research will identify barriers, knowledge and management gaps in clinical practice. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and participation is voluntary and anonymous.
The project is supported by the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC) located at the University of Technology Sydney. For more information, please feel free to contact Ms Linda Brown, National Manager, PaCCSC on PaCCSC@uts.edu.au.

Thank you for your time.

link: https://redcap.research.uts.edu.au/surveys/?s=Y984LHMD3Y

Please note: if you have previously completed the survey, please ignore the request.

Sertraline in symptomatic chronic breathlessness: a double blind, randomised trial

It’s a Thing, that we tend to publish and read studies that show that new medications or interventions improve things, rather than that a possible treatment or intervention does not help. But both are important, right? If a treatment that is being given to people is shown to not work, we need to know about that too.

The prolific team at PaCCCS including Professors Currow and Agar have published a trial of sertraline (an antidepressant) in breathlessness and found it did not improve breathlessness scores compared with those taking a placebo tablet. Quality of life improved slightly in those taking the sertraline, however. Overall, they felt that sertraline did not provide benefit.  Continue reading

Conversations with patients in palliative care by Dr Matthew Grant

Dr Matthew Grant, a palliative care specialist, has published this article in The Conversation describing normal conversations in the course of his daily work.

I love the way he sensitively maneuvers through difficult conversations, allowing the patient to control the content of prognostic information given.

   “Not everyone will feel comfortable talking about their future treatment plans like Keith. It’s important I allow Sharon to decide whether or not she wants to talk about a future where she dies, just as I shouldn’t necessarily dissuade Christos from smoking if it gives him pleasure.”

Continue reading

Kimika Lee wins leadership and innovation award

Kimberley Palliative Care Aboriginal Health Worker, Kimika Lee, has been recognised for her tireless work in the community by winning the Leadership and Innovation Award at the Western Australia Regional Achievement and Community Awards this month.

The local Yawuru Broome woman and mother of six said winning the award was a remarkable moment and one she never thought would happen.

See the article in Palliative Matters, thanks Palliative Care Australia

Asia Pacific hospice network presents webinar on dyspnoea 29th October

In conjunction with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018, the APHN will be holding the second APHN Webinar 2018.  Partners all over the region will be screening this webinar at various venues.

AHPN posts, “We are honoured to have Dr Neo Han Yee speaking on the topic of “Management of Dyspnea”. Dr Neo is currently a Consultant at the Department of Palliative Medicine at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

“Join us! This webinar is FREE for all palliative care colleagues, so SIGN UP NOW at this link. Registration closes when slots have been filled up.

“We would like to thank all participating organisations for hosting this event and supporting this APHN initiative.

“For more information contact Joyce at aphn@aphn.org or call +65 6235 5166. ”

From the website I am not sure whether health professionals who are not in the listed locations are able to participate in the webinar. Palliverse will find out and get back to you.

webinar – palliative care in hospitals 17th October 2PM AEST

Interested in palliative care in hospitals? I certainly am. In my work as a palliative care consultant in the consultation service in an acute hospital, I see a LOT of unmet need, late referrals, and treatment being undertaken without good conversations about the patient’s goals and needs.

We at Palliverse are very keen to promote improvements at a systems level to improve access to palliative care in the acute setting.

On 17th October, Safer Care Victoria is holding a free webinar on palliative care in hospitals. Our host is Claudia Virdun, who has worked in palliative care within a clinical, project management or education position for over 18 years. Claudia has completed an Honours degree (Nursing), Masters degree in Advancing Professional Healthcare Practice and is currently a Phd Candidate with her research focusing on supporting system-level improvements for palliative care within the hospital setting.

Pre-reading for the webinar include Ms. Virdun’s review and meta-synthesis on what is important to patients and families in end of life care in hospitals.

The webinar takes place at 2PM on 17th October AEDT. For those outside of eastern Australia, here’s a time zone converter.

deprescribing at end of life

My pen poised over the drug chart, I hesitate.

Mr Jones* is a 58-year-old patient that my consultation palliative care team is seeing while he’s in hospital with complications of chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer. I am reviewing his discharge medications before he returns home to the care of the community palliative care team.

He is a very optimistic person, not keen to discuss the possibility of his cancer not getting better. An overweight hypertensive smoker, he’s on a full hand of antihypertensives, anti cholesterol medications, vitamin D supplements, a multi-vitamin, and antiplatelet therapy.

His prognosis is likely less than a year in my mind. Does he need all these medications?

A retrospective cohort study by Todd et al examined this question in groups of people with advanced lung cancer in the United States and the UK. The patients had died and been admitted to hospital then discharged at least once in their last 6 months of life.  Continue reading

#ANZSPM18 Conference – New Frontiers

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The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine 2018 Conference #ANZSPM18 is off the a great start, with many excellent plenaries & proffered papers presented on day 1 – following an excellent Trainee Day & pre-Conference workshop on thought leadership.

Day 2 promises to be even more awesome, starting off with keynote speaker Tom Le Blanc sharing his insights on collaboration & integration between palliative care & haematology. The rest of the day will feature a variety of plenaries & concurrent sessions on the new frontiers of palliative medicine – the theme of the conference. I’m also looking forward to the conference dinner tonight!

You can find the sides for my presentation on Palliative Care in Heart & Lung Transplantation here: HLTX PC ANZSPM18 Chi Li

Enjoy!