Media Watch 562

Attached is the current issue of Media Watch (#562).

Of particular interest in this week's issue:

Impact of a six-year project to enhance the awareness of community-based palliative care on the place of death


JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE | Online – 3 May 2018 – This study examined the clinical outcomes of a six-year project to enhance the awareness of palliative care (PC), consisting of three intervention approaches: performing outreach, providing PC education for community-based medical professionals, and effectively using a newly developed information-sharing tool, Regional Referral Clinical Pathway for Home-based Palliative Care. These approaches were effective to time-dependently increase the home death rate as a clinical outcome. In previous studies, difficulty in appropriately performing procedures not covered by home care physicians, such as catheter management and expensive drug administration, tended to be a barrier to home care. Based on this, the outreach approach provided in this study may have contributed to the increase in the home death rate. Furthermore, it has been reported that once patients are hospitalized due to deterioration, the probability of discharge decreases, consequently increasing hospital deaths. Prompt consultation and management provided by PC specialists are needed to prevent such situations. The outreach approach may have contributed to this. 

Cannabis in end-of-life care: Examining attitudes and practices of palliative care providers

JOURNAL OF PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS | Online – 1 May 2018 – Medical cannabis research has become quite extensive, with indications ranging from glaucoma to chemotherapy-induced nausea. Despite increased interest in cannabis’ potential medical uses, research barriers, cannabis legislation, stigma, and lack of dissemination of data contribute to low adoption for some medical populations. Of interest, cannabis use appears low in palliative care (PC) settings, with few guidelines available to PC providers. The authors sought to examine the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of PC providers regarding the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients. Results [of an online survey] demonstrated that PC providers endorse cannabis for a wide range of symptoms, end-of-life care generally, and as an adjuvant medication. Nevertheless, the gap between these beliefs and actual recommendation or prescription appears vast. Many who support the use of cannabis in PC do not recommend it as a treatment. These data suggest recommendations for healthcare providers and PC organizations.

Religious preference and hospice choice

OMEGA – JOURNAL OF DEATH & DYING | Online – 3 May 2018 – The authors employed a database from a large hospice provider with offices in 16 states to examine the impact of religious preference on hospice choice. Little work has been done on this issue, even though religion is the only social institution that specifically addresses the end of life (EoL). Hospice work, in particular, has drawn little attention despite it effecting millions of patients and their families. Of all the medical sub-specialties, hospice is one of the most effected by society’s views on death and religious views of dying. It is also the only government-funded medical service that requires religious support be made available to patients. The authors’ hypothesis is that certain religious groups have a predisposition against EoL interventions and will be less likely to utilize hospice. This impacts a multi-billion dollar a year industry that supplies hospice service to millions of patients, and this research points to one major religious group not accessing their hospice benefit at the same rate as other denominations.