Palliative care issues explored on the Health Report

This week's episode of ABC Radio National's The Health Report looked at some very interesting aspects of palliative care and you can read the transcripts or listen to the audio from the links below. The topics presented were:

1. Most doctors do not choose aggressive treatment at the end of their life . An interview with VJ Periyakoil from Stanford University who authored an open access study published in PLoS last year showing that doctors continue to provide high-intensity care for terminally ill patients but personally forego such care for themselves at the end of life, most choosing do-not-resuscitate orders.

2. Early palliative care can cut hospital re-admissions for cancer patients. Richard Riedel, an Oncologist at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina discusses the development of a collaborative model with palliative care specialists to alleviate symptoms in people with advanced cancer. The result has been a reduction in the rates at which patients were sent to intensive care or re-admitted to hospital.

3. The AMEN tool to help health professionals talk to dying patients. The Reverend Rhonda Cooper has developed this tool to help health professionals respond to the spiritual needs of dying patients and their families, even if they are not religious themselves. The tool is called AMEN (Affirm, Meet, Educate, No matter what).

4. Advance care planning and end of life care. The Australian & New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) has recently released its Statement on Care and Decision Making at the End-of-Life for the Critically Ill as a response to the need for intensive care unit staff helping families make very difficult decisions. More information on this can be found at the Advance Care Planning Australia website.

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