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palliative care

Care Demands by Families and Family Healthcare Proxies: A Dilemma for Palliative Care and Hospice Care Staff

Care Demands by Families and Family Healthcare Proxies: A Dilemma for Palliative Care and Hospice Care Staff

Teaser: 

Dr.Michael Gordon Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Abstract
The end of one's life is always a challenge for all involved; the patient reaching what may be recognized as the last stages of life, family members who in general only want the best for their loved one, and health care professionals who are professionally, legally, and ethically dedicated to provide the best care possible. For health care providers who combine the philosophy of palliative and hospice care with the care of elders, even greater challenges commonly occur because of the complex nature of family dynamics, relationships, and belief systems, that often influence family expectations and thus patient care. The challenge to healthcare providers is to navigate the many potential minefields when such challenges exist. When successful, the satisfaction that result from achieving a clinically compassionate, caring, and comfortable death for the patient and give solace to the family are well worth the effort.
Key Words:Hospice care, palliative care, end-of-life care, family conflicts, ethical and legal duties of staff, palliative sedation, client-centered care, patient-centered care.

End-stage Dementia and Death: Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence

End-stage Dementia and Death: Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence

Members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada may claim one non-certified credit per hour for this non-certified educational program.

www.cfpc.ca/mainpro-manual
Teaser: 

Michael Gordon, MD, MSc, FRCPC, FRCP Edin, Medical Program Director, Palliative Care, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System; Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Natalie Baker, MSc, Project Coordinator, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System, Toronto, On.

Abstract
Physicians and other health care providers have learned to approach end-of-life care issues in individuals suffering from malignant disease quite effectively. Palliative approaches are widely accepted for this population. In contrast, individuals suffering from end-stage dementia may also benefit from suitably tailored palliative care which is much less often considered or provided. It is incumbent on health care professionals responsible for treating those with end-stage dementia to offer palliative care. This must be preceded by proper discussions between afflicted individuals, their families and their health care providers to assure that they understand the progress and prognosis of end-stage dementia.
Keywords: dementia, palliative care, end-of-life care.

Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment in Advanced Dementia: How and When to Make These Difficult Decisions

Withholding and Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Treatment in Advanced Dementia: How and When to Make These Difficult Decisions

Teaser: 

Dylan Harris, MBBCh(Hons), MRCP, DipPallMed, Specialist Registrar in Palliative Medicine, Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, UK.

Dementia is a progressive incurable illness. In the advanced stages of the disease, decisions need to be made whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. This article reviews the principles of deciding a patient’s best interests when he or she lacks mental capacity, the role of advance statements, and principles for the practising physician to consider in common withholding/withdrawing treatment scenarios that arise in clinical practice, such as artificial feeding, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and antibiotics for pneumonia.
Key words: dementia, palliative care, withholding and withdrawing treatment, artificial feeding, resuscitation, antibiotics.

Palliative Care in the Primary Care Setting

Palliative Care in the Primary Care Setting

Teaser: 

Sandy Buchman, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON; and McMaster University, Hamilton,ON; Palliative Care Physician, The Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care and The Baycrest Geriatric Health System, Toronto, ON.
Anthony Hung, MD, FRCPC, Fellow in Palliative Care, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Hershl Berman, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; Staff Physician, Department of Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, ON; Associated Medical Services Fellow in End of Life Care Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

The principle of “cradle-to-grave” care is fundamental to the discipline of family medicine. This includes palliative care. However, many physicians are not comfortable providing care at the end of life. Challenges include logistical support and proficiency and comfort in the specific skills required, such as pain and other symptom management. The following case presents an example of successful palliative care, provided in the primary care setting, from diagnosis of a life-threatening illness to death in a palliative care unit.
Key words: palliative care, end of life, primary care, family medicine, longitudinal care.

Effective Physician-Patient Communication at The End of Life: What Patients Want to Hear and How to Say It

Effective Physician-Patient Communication at The End of Life: What Patients Want to Hear and How to Say It

Teaser: 


Wendy Duggleby, DSN, RN, AOCN, Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.
David Popkin, BSc, MD, CM, FRCSC, FSOGC, FACOG, Executive Director, Saskatoon Cancer Center; Head, Division of Oncology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan; Head, Department of Oncology, Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatoon, SK.

What is it that patients at the end of life want to know? What is the best way to provide the information? A review of the scientific literature was conducted to answer these two questions. The findings suggested that, regardless of age or culture, patients at the end of life wanted information about their illness and prognosis. The expertise of the physician, his/her relationship with the patient, and the use of hopeful communication styles were important factors in how patients understood the information provided. Honest and factual communication fostered hope and quality of life at the end of life.
Key words: physician-patient communication, end of life, literature review, palliative care.

Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting in the Older Palliative Care Patient

Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting in the Older Palliative Care Patient

Teaser: 

Hannah I. Lipman, MD, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Diane E. Meier, MD,
Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Nausea and vomiting are common problems in the care of the older palliative care patient. Depending on the population studied, incidence is as high as 60%. Distress associated with nausea and vomiting may be relieved in the majority of cases by careful determination of the underlying cause and selection of one or more antiemetic agents. Pathophysiology of nausea and vomiting involves complex interactions among multiple neurotransmitter systems. Antiemetic agents work via modulation of neurotransmitter signalling. Pharmacologic agents are reviewed and geriatric dosing recommendations are made.

Key words: palliative, end of life, geriatric, nausea, vomiting

Primary Brain Tumours in the Elderly

Primary Brain Tumours in the Elderly

Teaser: 

Tara Morrison, MD and James R. Perry, MD, Crolla Family Brain Tumour Research Unit, Division of Neurology, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre; University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.

Primary brain tumours are most commonly diagnosed in elderly individuals and the incidence of these uniformly fatal malignancies is on the rise. Recent studies have shown that the most common of these tumours, the glioblastoma multiforme, is genetically different in elderly compared to younger patients. Current research studies exploiting the genetic differences of these tumours as anti-cancer targets hold promise for the immediate future. At present the focus of brain tumour treatment is excellent supportive care. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy are being actively revisited to maximize quality of life. In addition, complications such as venous thromboembolism, seizures and therapy-induced adverse effects have received much attention and are reviewed in this article.
Key words: brain neoplasms, glioblastoma multiforme, palliative care, chemotherapy.

Principles of Geriatric Palliative Care

Principles of Geriatric Palliative Care

Teaser: 

Albert J. Kirshen, MD, MSc, FRCPC, FACP,
Certificate of Special Competence in Geriatric Medicine Assistant Professor--
Geriatric Medicine, University of Toronto, ON
Program Director--Palliative Care, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto, ON, Academic Program Coordinator--The Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON.

 

Introduction
Imagine a 92-year-old cognitively impaired woman tied into a chair with a lap belt. This woman lives in her own home and is assisted with all activities of daily living by her devoted daughter. To her daughter, this woman looks as if she is in pain and has trouble with breathing and constipation. Her daughter can't convince the physician, who never visits, the nurse, who visits once a month, or her own husband that mum has problems and she can't get any effective help in dealing with these issues.

Over a period of three months mum's appetite declines. She loses interest in playing rummy, listening to her grandchild sing, or watching the roses grow outside her window. Eventually she dies a withered death, impaled on her own feces.

This case could equally and as easily apply to someone younger, someone institutionalized, or even your relative. As we all know, significant parts of this situation--at the very least in keeping this senior comfortable--can be remedied.