What you need to know this week
The Promise of Palliative Care: Translating Clinical Trials to Clinical Care
Eric Widera, MD and Preeti N. Maini, MD, have penned an important piece on the future of palliative care. While evidence continues to mount that shows the efficacy of palliative care helping seriously ill patients live better lives, and as palliative care programs continue to sprout up in big numbers across the country, the authors say there is much more to be done to ensure that patients are receiving proper care.
“Despite this growth in palliative care programs, access to palliative care specialists remains limited for many people living with serous illness,” says the authors. One of the potential reasons for this contrast addressed in the piece is that palliative care interventions are not uniform due to the specialty’s multidimensional nature. The authors propose that if palliative care was viewed as a philosophy rather than a specific model of care, it could be delivered more broadly. Click here to read the full story.
Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life, Lessens Symptoms
People living with serious illness who receive palliative care have better quality of life and fewer symptoms than those who don’t receive palliative care, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the study is the first meta-analysis of the effect of palliative care as it relates to patients’ quality of life, symptom burden and survival. Click here to read more.
Outreach Nurses ‘Significantly Enhancing’ Children’s Palliative Care
In Ireland, there are about 3,840 children with life-limiting conditions who could benefit from palliative care. According to a recent evaluation study, initiatives such as the provision of outreach nurses are “significantly enhancing” the quality of palliative care delivered to children across Ireland.
These results come since a significant foundation for these services was laid seven years ago. In 2009, the Department of Health published a national policy on palliative care to provide a framework for improving services. Under the policy, Ireland’s first consultant pediatrician with a special interest in palliative medicine was appointed, as were eight outreach nurses to coordinate care for children at home. The evaluation found that the new services improved quality of life for children and their families, and improved coordination of services. It also led to increased education on children’s palliative care and increased awareness of the service. Click here to read more.