Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Great News! Palliative Care Becoming More Accessible.

UPI reports that a new study shows a marked increase in the accessibility of palliative care programs in hospitals. From the story:

Dr. Diane E. Meier, director of the non-profit Center to Advance Palliative Care, said the number of palliative programs in U.S. hospitals with 50 or more beds increased from 658, or 24.5 percent, to 1,486, or 58.5 percent, a 125.8 percent increase from 2000-2008.

"Palliative care programs are transforming care of the seriously ill in hospitals," Meier says in a statement. "It addresses the fragmentation of the healthcare system and puts the focus back on communication with the patient and family. Hospitals today recognize that the cost of not providing this type of care is just too high."

The analysis was conducted in conjunction with the National Palliative Care Research Center using hospital data from the American Hospital Association annual survey database.

Large hospitals and not-for-profit hospitals were more likely than other types of hospitals to have a palliative program, Meier says.

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April 13 Teleconference on Advance Directives.

Thaddeus Pope at Medical Futility Blog reports on a conference that will be held on April 13:


Sponsored by the ABA Health Law Section, the Senior Lawyers Division and the ABA Commission on Law and Aging
Tuesday, April 13 at 2:00-3:30pm Central
This complementary teleconference (and podcast will be posted here afterwards) will address the five biggest myths that plague advance care planning and how to steer clear of them and make advance care planning more effective.
  1. People should use their state’s official advance directive form(s).
  2. Your advance directive should include as specific instructions as possible.
  3. Advance Directives are legally binding so doctors have to follow them.
  4. Doing everything possible for dad means keeping dad alive at all costs.
  5. A written advance directive is better than talk.
Since the mid-1970s, health care advance directives have become the central legal tool to make sure one’s health care wishes are known in a formal way and, it is hoped, followed. However, clinical realities and the medical-social sciences literature over the last 30 years cast doubt on the effectiveness of advance directives. The reality is that directives are just a part of a process of advance care planning that requires more than just a form and a signature. Sometimes forms get in the way.
  • Richard Payne, MD, Professor of Medicine and Divinity, Esther Colliflower Director, Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, Duke University Divinity School
  • Charles P. Sabatino, J.D., Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging

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