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Health Policy

Give me liberty or give me death (via aggressive medical care)

An NPR story last week described Americans as more willing to support policies if they’re framed in the language of individual liberty instead of benefiting the common good. This was discussed in the context of gun control. But it has ramifications for end-of-life policies as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Palliative Care New Year’s Resolution & Health Reform

Let's make a New Year resolution to make sure that palliative care teams are at the table in 2012 to make sure that important improvements in care of patients living with life-limiting illness are considered as these new models are implemented! Read the rest of this entry »

Palliative Care in LA Times

LA Times columnist Steve Lopez profiles a gentleman with end-stage cancer who, along with his family, is receiving palliative care support at home–“Not Ready To Die, But Prepared”. In this December 4th piece, Mr. Lopez also references some palliative care research, health care policy implications and questions why palliative care and hospice are often not positively represented in political discourse on these subjects.

While at the LA times site, its also worth reading Mr. Lopez’s other, more personal piece, “When Death is Certain, but Dignity is Not.”  In response to his story, many readers have responded with their own.

Lessons From Across the Pond: England’s Approach to Improving End-of-Life Care

About half of the 16,000 complaints within the UK National Health Service (NHS) from July 2004 to July 2006 pertained to care given in acute hospitals, and within that fraction 54 percent related to end-of-life care. This may come as a surprise to many, given that the UK is the place of birth of the modern Hospice movement. However, the success of hospices had a paradoxical effect of end of life care provided in the UK hospitals. Hospices came to be seen as providing Britain’s standard of excellence for care of the dying, but this led to feelings of inadequacy in the hospital settings where most patients die Read the rest of this entry »

Palliative Care & Sausage Making ..AKA Healthcare Reform

The often used policy quote that one shouldn’t watch sausage making or the crafting of legislation …could easily apply to the role of palliative care in health reform. Certainly the intent of healthcare reform should be applauded… but it is interesting to watch the movement toward patient-centered care ignore decades of research and best practices developed for helping to care for people who are seriously ill and frail elders in the long-term care and palliative and hospice care fields. Read the rest of this entry »

Call for Preventive Palliative Care

HHS Secretary Sebelius & U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin unveiled the first ever National Prevention Strategy outlines the ways that public and private partners can help Americans stay healthy and fit and improve our nation’s prosperity. I applaud this seminal national effort. I would also like to call attention to the fact that there is currently no information about "preventive palliative care" in this important national document. Read the rest of this entry »

New York’s Palliative Care Information Act

The State of New York passed the Palliative Care Information Act in 2010, and it went into effect this past February. The intent of this law is to inform individuals with limited life expectancy about palliative care and other options at the end of life. While the intent of this law is only to provide information about care, it has sparked debate among professional societies, journalists, and advocacy organizations about the role of legislation in doctor-patient communication. Read the rest of this entry »
Can We Talk?
Watch and share this five minute video about the need for prophylactic end-of-life conversations. Laura Heldebrand, an ICU nurse tells her mother's story.
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