Media Watch 559

Attached is the current issue of Media Watch (#559).

Of particular interest in this week's issue:

Sharing is caring: Minimizing the disruption with palliative care CUREUS JOURNAL OF MEDICAL SCIENCE | Online – Accessed 12 April 2018 – When patients approach the end of life, they are often faced with a challenging multidimensional burden while navigating a complex health care system. Patients and families/caregivers are faced with daily decisions, often with little or no frame of reference or medical knowledge. The “what, how, when, and where” puzzle during this challenging time can be overwhelming for patients and their families, and when clinicians do not contemplate this, associated workload’s impact on patients and caregivers’ capacity for self-care, patients and caregivers scramble to find compensatory solutions, often putting their health care at lower priority. This consequently warrants the underlying importance of palliative care (PC) and integrating it into the patients’ health care plans earlier. There is increasing evidence from recent trials that supported implementing national policies regarding the early integration of PC and its role in improving the quality of life, increasing survival, and supporting patients’ and caregivers’ values when making decisions about their health care while possibly minimizing the burden of illness. 

Raise the bar, not the threshold value: Meeting patient preferences for palliative and end-of-life care PHARMACOECONOMICS | Online – Accessed 8 April 2018 – Despite increasing interest in economic evaluation of palliative and end-of-life care (P&EoLC), research on patients’ preferences and values to robustly inform such analysis in this setting is relatively scarce. In a special issue of Palliative Medicine on the economics of P&EoLC just one article focused on this controversial topic.1 In large part this may be due to the complexities of palliative care (PC), which aims to improve “the quality of life of patients and families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” Clearly, PC is multidimensional and people value domains above and beyond health status. There is utility from the dying process; people have preferences for their place of care and place of death along the dying trajectory and derive benefit from preparing themselves and others for their impending death. Further, reducing families’ and carers’ distress and improving their well-being are integral aspects of care. People also value aspects such as not being a burden on family and friends, and receiving high-quality healthcare as much as, or even more than, improvements in health status or extension of life when receiving PC. Yet, clinicians and decision makers don’t always accord the same value to these patient preferences.