January 2024 Digest of News for Palliative Care Specialists

Categories: Research.

Every month, the PACED team prepares a digest of international materials and news about palliative care. You can subscribe to the newsletter on their website.

Neonatal palliative care as an integral component of the national healthcare system: the experience of Greece

Serious illness and the loss of a newborn can be a devastating event, causing a profound family crisis. In such moments, palliative care specialists support parents and siblings, providing emotional, psychosocial, spiritual, and financial support, assisting with practical matters, and ensuring full information about the condition of the young patient, treatment options, and prognosis.

Many countries around the world have recognized the importance of developing and implementing national protocols for palliative care for newborns, taking into account the country’s medical equipment, workforce, cultural aspects, and legislation, always considering international recommendations and developing evidence-based policies.

The authors of the article assert that such protocols have not yet been officially developed in Greece and examine the conditions necessary for the successful integration of neonatal palliative care into the country’s national healthcare system.

The effective implementation of palliative care in home care for patients living with dementia
The provision of medical care at home, often initiated post-hospitaliszation, is a primary source of assistance for frail elderly individuals, particularly those living with dementia. One strategy that has the potential to enhance the quality of life and satisfaction of such patients is the integration of palliative care into home care.

The aim of the research was to consider the perspectives of healthcare professionals, the needs of individuals living with dementia, and the experiences of caregivers at the time of transitioning a patient from the hospital to home. As a result, three factors were identified, termed “Living in the Whirlwind” (the multitude of simultaneous tasks placed on caregivers and the associated sense of loss of control), “Thinking Ahead” (the importance of thinking beyond daily life for future task planning), and “Pathways Forward” (integrating palliative care into home care to provide enhanced support to patients and caregivers). For more details on making the integration process more effective, refer to the research.

Conversation Project — professional tool to assist patients in end-of-life planning
Over the years of practising palliative care, almost every professional has witnessed the struggles and sorrows of families forced to make end-of-life decisions without knowing the wishes of their dying loved ones. Unfortunately, conversations about end-of-life are taboo in many cultures, but that doesn’t make them any less important. The Conversation Project is an initiative with a simultaneously simple and revolutionary goal: to help everyone articulate their desires regarding end-of-life care so that these wishes can be understood and fulfilled. The project provides free tools, recommendations, and resources to initiate conversations with those who matter most to patients. We encourage practising professionals to explore the guides and use them in their work.

How to “sell” palliative care to healthcare system partners
Palliative care is one of the emerging fields, which means there are still many steps ahead to integrate it into existing healthcare systems. The author of the article acknowledges the growing recognition of the potential of palliative care by healthcare systems but believes that service providers must demonstrate the value of their services to leverage this trend and gain full recognition. She has compiled observations and recommendations from several American experts to help representatives of palliative care institutions negotiate with all stakeholders.

How to stop needle pain for kids?
Doctor Stefan Friedrichsdorf, MD, one of the world’s leading experts in paediatric pain management, recalls being held down during a medical procedure in his childhood while he cried in pain. As an adult, he decided to do everything possible to minimise painful procedures for children.

Today, he calls on all doctors to join the “Ouchless Jab Challenge” to eliminate pain, trauma, and anxiety associated with needle injections for young patients. Read the article to discover the practical steps proposed by the “Ouchless Jab Challenge” initiative to soothe and distract children before any needle procedure.

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