Raise awareness for World #Delirium Day 15 March 2017

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Delirium is a favourite topic of ours at Palliverse – it is experienced by many people with palliative care needs, including at the end of life, and is often distressing to the person, their loved ones and health professionals providing care. Despite this, it remains poorly recognised, underdiagnosed and poorly treated – not least because the evidence base is still growing.

iDelirium, a federation of the Australasian Delirium Association, European Delirium Association and American Delirium Association, has launched World Delirium Day (#WDD2017) in an attempt to raise awareness of delirium and improve its management.

They have suggested some Actions to Take on #WDD2017. I’ve listed them below & with some thoughts on how to take action.

  • Commit to using the term ‘delirium’

If you hear someone using terms like “agitated”, “restless”, “aggressive” or “pleasantly confused”, think – could this be delirium? I use the term delirium, document it and make sure it’s communicated in the medical record and letters. Recognising and diagnosing delirium allows us to educate patients and their loved ones, as well as providing the best delirium care possible.

  • Screen your patients for delirium

People at risk of delirium, who should be screened, include those with serious illness, those aged over 65 years and those with underlying cognitive impairment. This includes many of the people cared for by palliative care services! The diagnosis of delirium may be missed, delayed or misdiagnosed without screening, as signs may be subtle (especially in hypoactive delirium).  There are multiple simple bedside screening tests for delirium, and although not all these have been validated in the specialist palliative care setting, they are still useful. The 4AT is a freely available screening tool that can be administered by any health professional and does not require training.

  • Listen to patient and family stories about the experience of delirium

What may seem “pleasantly confused” to staff members can be very distressing for the delirious person and their families. Being agitated, aggressive or “just not themselves” can be distressing for patients and families to witness – it is important to acknowledge these emotions and provide education about delirium. (See “Michael’s Story: the fear on his face was palpable” for a wife’s experience of her husband’s undiagnosed delirium.)

  • Engage your leadership in a discussion of delirium

If the above isn’t enough to convince your leadership to take note, delirium also increases the risk of health care complications like falls, pressure injuries, prolonged length of stay, and mortality. For those in Australia, World Delirium Day is a great time to introduce your leadership to the recently released Delirium Clinical Care Standard (which we’ve covered here before).

  • Educate health professionals about delirium

Delirium does not “belong” to just one group of health professionals or one specialty. It’s common, especially in palliative care, and important for us all to know about it.  Some of my favourite educational resources are freely available at the Scottish Delirium Association, plus this 5-minute video from UK-based  Delirium Champion Dr MS Krishnan. (I’ve shared this before but it’s worth sharing again!)

As a final bid to raise awareness, you can participate in a #WDD2017 Thunderclap via your Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account, to alert your friends and followers to the importance of delirium.

Upcoming #PEDPC #PallANZ Tweetchat

Palliative Care Needs of Children & Adolescents

This month, we are excited to explore how palliative care can help to support young people in our community living with serious illness! Our upcoming #PALLANZ tweetchat to be held at 7pm (AEST) on Thursday 30th June will discuss topics related to the palliative care needs of children and adolescents and their families. We will also be featuring some guest blogs from new Palliverse Contributors working with young people in Paediatric Palliative Care (#pedpc).

During our #PALLANZ tweetchat, we hope to bring together those interested to talk about how a kid’s #pedpc service can help young people with serious illness to live well; when a young person might meet the #pedpc team; and where they might like to receive care. We’ll also imagine we have a magic wand able to do anything we want to improve the available supports and share these ideas and other helpful resources!

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Continue reading

Planning care for people with dementia

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Two new resources are now available to help with planning care for people with dementia. Palliverse talked to driving force Prof Meera Agar about the ‘whys’, ‘hows’ and ‘whats’.

Q: Why develop care planning resources just for dementia?

A: People with dementia face unique challenges and decisions related to their care and health care needs as their illness progresses; and supporting their choices is made more complex as they become less able to communicate their needs and articulate decisions about what they want from care. While good intentioned, many health professionals in aged care and other settings may not understand the course of dementia, and there may not always be good communication, involving the person with dementia whenever possible and their families,  and also between the different health professional involved in the persons care.

Q: So how do the new resources help?

A: The two new resources are a website offering practical support for family case conferencing and a report providing guidance on critical recommendations to improve advance care planning. Continue reading

3 online events in the Palliverse this week!

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Here at Palliverse, we love online communities of practice. The monthly #PallANZ tweet chat, co-hosted by Palliverse and Palliative Care Australia, is not the only online educational opportunity that may be of interest this week. While we hope you join us for Thursday evening’s #PallANZ discussion of advance care planning, you might also like to check out the following exciting events: Continue reading

#PallANZ tweet chat

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Grief and loss is something we will all face at different times throughout our lives. Whether it is the death of our pets, our friends, our children, siblings or parents; the experience and expression of grief in response to these losses can be a very personal and individual thing. Grief can also arise in anticipation of loss. For those living with life-limiting illness, living with the loss of social role and professional identity can be especially challenging.

Thoughts about old, new and future losses can be particularly common during the festive season. For some of us, it may represent an anniversary of the death of a loved one, and bring with it painful memories of loss. Some might be facing their first Christmas ‘alone’, while others may be grappling with the possibility of celebrating their ‘last Christmas’.

While living with grief and loss is a personal experience, we don’t have to endure it on our own. As a community, there are many ways that we can support each other. Join us to talk openly about living with grief and loss.

TOPIC                    Living with grief and loss

DATE / TIME       10th December, 2015 @ 1900 AEDT

MODERATOR     @Elissa_Campbell

T1 Have you experienced grief and loss? How would you describe it? And what did you need from those around you?

T2 How do children live with grief and loss? How are they different from adults?

T3 What kinds of support are there for people living with grief and loss in your community?

T4 As a community and as individuals, how can we better support those living with grief and loss during the festive season?

Palliverse takes over @WePublicHealth – for one week only!

FullSizeRenderThis week, Palliverse will be hosting the @WePublicHealth rocur (“rotating curation”) Twitter account. You can read more about @WePublicHealth, “an experiment in citizen journalism meets public health”, over at Croakey blog.

This week, Palliverse will discuss a number of public health palliative care topics such as equitable access to palliative care in Australia/New Zealand and globally, access to essential pain medicines, Compassionate Communities, advance care planning, and more. Continue reading

Social media activity during the 13th Australian Palliative Care Conference

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With a theme of ‘Fit for the Future’, the 13th Australian Palliative Care Conference utilised a coordinated and multifaceted social media strategy to enhance the delegates’ experience and reach new audiences globally. This was achieved through the concerted efforts of team Palliverse (@Palliverse) and other key individuals, including Christian Sinclair (@ctsinclair).  Continue reading

Get Twitter-ready for the 13th Australian Palliative Care Conference #13APCC

Attending the 13th Australian Palliative Care Conference in two weeks? If you don’t have one already, now’s a great time to create a Twitter account and check out these handy tips about using Twitter at health conferences.

If you’re not attending the conference, then you can follow the #13APCC hashtag to see what conference attendees (including @palliverse) are sharing. You do not need a Twitter account to follow the hashtag, just follow this link for up to date conference tweets.

We will also be updating the Palliverse Facebook page during the conference.

Will you or your organisation be posting to social media from the #13APCC? If so, please share your details below so we can follow you!

Elissa (find me on Twitter @Elissa_Campbell)

Shifting the focus of care from disease to people – heartfelt article about dying in acute hospitals

This article is going a bit viral on social media. Does it mirror your experiences? It certain does mine, having worked for a long time in consultation services in acute hospitals. There have been a number of comments and letters to the Age supporting the message of the article, written by a senior doctor about the death of his father. http://www.theage.com.au/comment/hospitals-must-shift-focus-of-endoflife-care-from-disease-to-people-20150707-gi6joz

MyPal Podcasts

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Do you like technology? Innovation? Palliative care? Research? Why, these things are what @palliverse is all about – and why you/we are here in the first place!

Guess what? These things are exactly what the #MyPal podcasts from @amaranwosu are all about as well. How about that!

Check it out here and also on iTunes. Be amazed. Happy listening!