Palliative care for all – Conference podcasts & interviews

Dr Scott Murray addressing attendees at the ‘Palliative care for all; bridging the gap for all those with life limiting conditions’ conference on September 14th

‘Palliative care for all; bridging the gap for those with life limiting illness’ took place on Friday September 14th in the Royal College of Physicians.

The conference was the first of its kind in Ireland and brought together the findings of the Irish Hospice Foundation action research projects which examined palliative care pathways for patients with advanced respiratory disease, end stage heart failure and dementia.

Speaking at the conference, which drew a crowd of over 170 delegates,  Professor Scott Murray of the Primary Palliative Care Research Group which is based in the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh  said that General Practitioners need to stop treating the disease and take a holistic approach to caring for patients with life limiting conditions.

Conference presentations, workshop details and podcast interviews with presenters are available on the Irish Hospice Foundation website HERE   

New list of essential practices in Palliative care developed

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care has just released its newly developed list of essential practices in palliative care.

The list was developed following a three year process consisting of three Delphi surveys and input from 410 individuals including 49 pain and palliative care organisations. Irish input to the Delphi rounds was provided by Professor Philip J Larkin of UCD School of Nursing & Midwifery and Dr Karen Ryan, HSE Clinical lead for palliative care.

The finalised list comprises 23 practices covering different interventions within areas of care including; Physical care; Psychological,emotional & spiritual care; care planning, coordination and communications. The list of essential practices aims to ease definition of appropriate palliative care and improve the overall understanding, quality and delivery of palliative care internationally.

The detailed project document care be accessed HERE and the essential practices list is accessible HERE

New study links bereavement and heart attack risk

It is well accepted that the mental health impact of bereavement can be significant and far-reaching.

Evidence of the physical effect of recent bereavement is also being increasingly built up. Research published last year by Buckley et al in the journal Heart, Lung & Circulation took the evidence further, highlighting changes in blood pressure post bereavement which could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

New research published last week by Mostofsky et al in the journal Circulation presents findings of a study surveying 1,985 people following hospital admission for heart attack. Of the cohort 270 had experienced the loss of a significant person within six months of their heart attack with 19 experiencing a cardiac incident within 24 hours of the loss of their loved one.

While the findings do not suggest that grief presents an acute or common risk for cardiac incident it does highlight an increased need for vigilance in the initial weeks and months following a bereavement and the need for sustained physical and emotional support for the grieving.

New publication builds on ethical framework for end-of-life care

A new book due to be launched by Cork University Press on November 16th develops and expands on the Ethical framework on end-of-life care produced by the Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme last year (more details HERE)

End-of-life Care ethics and lawwritten by Joan McCarthy, Mary Donnelly, Dolores Dooley, David Smith & Louise Campbell takes the eight modules of the ethical framework as its foundation.

The book draws on the body of research on the ethical issues in caring for patients at the end-of-life. It pulls together guidelines, codes of conduct, legal positions and bioethical perspectives to act as a multidisciplinary reference source for healthcare and legal professionals seeking clarification on these complex issues. Further details and context on the publication are available HERE.

Europe-wide survey reveals priorities for end-of-life care

Europe-wide survey reveals priorities for end-of-life care.

A new study of end-of-life care preferences in the UK, the Netherlands, Belguim, Portugal, Spain and Italy conducted by Kings College London has revealed that for many the quality of their remaining time outweighs quantity of remaining years.

The study, conducted by EU funded PRISMA consortium (based in KCL) addressed peoples attitudes to issues around end-of-life care like dealing with pain, the buden of being cared for by a loved one and the value of extending life in cases of serious illness.

71% of the 9339 people surveyed indicated they would rather improve the quality of the life they had left with only 4% of respondents stating they would wish to extend life.  Professor Irene Higginson, head of PRISMA sees the findings as an indication that more emphasis needs to be placed on patients priorities for care at end-of-life.

 

Smart research – Smart phone apps in palliative care & bereavement

Continuing the theme of smart libraries and smart research tools here are just a few smart phone apps to make keeping up to date with new research in palliative care and bereavement even easier.

PubMed Apps – If you regularly conduct searches for medical literature online you are likely to be familiar with PubMed the National Library of Medicines Medline citation database. PubMed has several smart phone apps both free and fee based.

PubMed on Tap – This app has both a free and a paid version. Pubmed on Tap is the paid version and costs €2.39 while on tap lite is the free version. Both allow for PubMed searching and include reference storage, PDF retrieval from the web, links to full text articles will open in your phone’s browser and both apps integrate the advanced search features of the PubMed database. Of the free PubMed apps  PubMed lite is probably the best though search results are limited to ten items so if you plan on making extensive use of PubMed on your phone it may be worth opting for the full version of PubMed on Tap.

British Medical Journal Logo Like PubMed, The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has a number of apps catering to different specialities from disease specific apps (diabetes, depression) to apps for medical students and a doctors toolkit. Of the BMJ apps, the Best Practice Decision support app is relevant to all allied health professionals. It provides a searchable database of guidelines, evidence and symptom details and facilitates quick access to expert opinion and best practice guides across medical disciplines.

Journal RSS – This is a really useful free app which enables RSS feeds from selected journal publications direct to your phone. You can select journal titles from a range of publishers like Elsevier, Oxford and Nature and  receive RSS updates and table of content alerts.

PalliMed Blog app

PalliMed is a blog dedicated to providing information, research reviews and commentary on Palliative, End-of-Life and hospice care. Its contributors are palliative care physicians and the blog is a valuable resource for new publications and insight on end-of-life issues. The Pallimed app is free  and is available for both iphone and andriod.

Similarly the GeriPal blog aims to provide up to date insight and research reviews on palliative care and geriatrics. The Geripal app is free and provides mobile access to the blog. This is a particularly useful app for anyone with a particular interest in eldercare.