Ep. 44 June End of Month Update on the End-of-Life with Dr. Karen Wyatt

As the month of June comes to an end Dr. Wyatt offers a summary of some of the interesting articles and posts on the end-0f-life that have been published during the month. The discussion includes:

  • A study from UNC showed that 3/4 of younger cancer patients (<65 years of age) with incurable disease receive  high rates of hospitalization and aggressive treatment during the last 30 days of life.
  • Dr. Ira Byock wrote an article “Why Do We Pay for Bad Healthcare” that was published online in STAT News. He questions why we continue to offer care with unproven benefits like feeding tubes in dementia patients and multiple-dose radiation for bone mets (rather than single-dose).
  • A survey of ICU nurses showed that very few are likely to be included in palliative care conversations with patients and their families. Obstacles mentioned are lack of training, not being asked for input by doctors, emotional toll of these discussions.
  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions report that spending on people who die in a hospital is about 7 times greater than spending on patients who die at home.
  • Measure introduced in Congress by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham to create a national “Care Corps” (similar to Peace Corps) that would train young volunteer caregivers to meet the pending caregiver shortage.
  • Results of recent caregiver survey discussed which shows demographics of current family caregivers.
  • UK Survey reveals concerns of LGBT patients about accessing quality EOL care including fears of discrimination, concerns about getting spiritual needs met, unique family and support network structure, difficulty obtaining grief and bereavement support.
  • Reminder not to post “RIP” on social media sites after a death unless you are certain that family members and loved ones have been notified of the death.
  • Essay by Eric Weiner on his discover that in Bhutanese culture people contemplate their own death 5 times per day (and Bhutan has been named one of the happiest countries on the planet.)
  • Notable deaths in June: Muhammad Ali;  Dr.Dennis McCullough, founder of the Slow Medicine movement; mass shooting on June 12th in Orlando.
  • Tribute to Julianna Snow, 5 y.o. with progressive neurological disease who chose heaven rather than continuing painful treatments for her terminal disease.

Thanks for tuning in to the EOLU Podcast! I’m so honored to be able to share these thoughts and observations about the end-of-life with you.

If you are interested in offering your support to EOLU go to Patreon.com/eolu and contribute just $1 or $2 per month. You’ll receive some special bonuses if you offer your support! Also you can help out by going to iTunes and leaving a review, sharing this podcast with others, and sending me your comments!

Author: kwyattmd

Karen Wyatt MD is a family physician who has spent much of her 25 year medical career working with patients in challenging settings, such as hospice, nursing homes and indigent clinics. She is interested in a spiritual approach to medicine, illness, death and dying and is the author of two books. Check out her website at www.karenwyattmd.com

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