Hiatus over. Welcome to the May edition of Palliative Care Grand Rounds (PCGR), a monthly (now appearing the second Wednesday of each month) summary, or mash-up, of interesting, thought-provoking, timely, relevant, humane, and exceptionally well-written postings from the blogosphere.
Several topics dominated the news, and thus the blogs, covering palliative care. Prescription opioid abuse is one, and Drew “Feeling Grumpy” Rosielle addressed this subject in his post on the blog Pallimed.
Also, on the 16th of last month bloggers united around the 2011 Blog Rally for National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). Nathan Kottkamp founded NHDD back in 2008 as a nationwide advance care planning awareness initiative. Larry Beresford, accomplished hospice journalist, took up the torch in posting a personal story about completing his own advance directive. In the blog Hospice Doctor, a palliative medicine specialist muses about the decision-making process (for clinicians and family) behind the care of an 88-year woman whose death in a hospital followed 11 days there with considerable (some futile?) treatment.
Which leads me to the third subject in the April palliative care news stream. The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care has released a new report, "Trends and Variation in End-of-Life Care for Medicare Beneficiaries with Severe Chronic Illness," documenting trends in the care of chronically ill patients in the last six months of life. This report was covered extensively in the mainstream media, less so in the blogosphere. You can check the PBS NewsHour coverage of this story in this post on its blog.
Then see the comments this blogger posted regarding the huge and persistent variations across hospitals, communities, regions, and states. If you agree that these variations in late-life care practice appear intractable, share with us your thoughts—what do you think can be done?
GeriPal bloggers Drs. Eric Widera and Alex Smith were themselves featured in a New York Times blog post. Together with colleague Dr. Sei Lee, they are developing a Web site that offers individual prognoses based on 18-20 different geriatric prognostic indices. When you visit the blog post, be sure to spend a few minutes reviewing the comments. Here’s a topic that apparently resonated with many readers.
And speaking of the blog GeriPal, congratulations on being chosen as the Best Clinical Weblog of 2010. In one of its April posts, it looks more closely at the results of a study on nurse practitioner models of palliative care. And Geripal blogger Alex Smith jumped over to another blog, Kevin MD, to comment on
the hospice and palliative care community’s unrelenting yet fruitless search for a simple and consistent message. Speaking about a message that benefits from consistency, and also at the blog KevinMD (its tag line is “social media’s leading physician voice”), a geriatric psychiatry fellow posts that palliative care and medical interventions are not mutually exclusive.
Many thanks to Christian Sinclair for originating Palliative Care Grand Rounds several years ago, and for sustaining it since. But to state the obvious, PCGR’s continued publication depends upon fellow bloggers…like you. Do let Christian know of your interest in adding your incisive post.
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