Media Watch 511

Noted in the current issue:

Editorial on end-of-life care in the U.S.

Are we making progress?

JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE | Online – 28 April 2017 – Measuring the quality of what we do is of paramount importance as we move forward, not just about ourselves, but about the larger healthcare systems in which we work. We have moved beyond, “the nurse who trained me did it this way” to a series of quality measures. The major objection has been the burden of the measurement – to patients, families, and staff. Of interest is to move beyond process measures to patient-centered measures that are not burdensome. To that end, the report in this issue of evidence for the validity of a single item approach is of real interest (Conrad et al).1 Although more work needs to be done, I take heart that this takes work from the research realm to something that could be of utility in daily practice. One of my pet peeves is the report by a healthcare provider that the patient “wants everything done” versus “comfort care only” as if there were just two flavors of ice cream: vanilla and chocolate. The report that preferences for aggressive medical treatment are not associated with healthcare utilization in the very old is heartening (Albert et al).2 It suggests that patients, families, and their healthcare professionals are able and willing to engage in nuanced discussion and planning to achieve the right treatments for the patient at the time. In other words, we can move away from slogans toward patient-centered care with confidence.

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