Interactive Videos Address End-of-Life Care
A comprehensive, web-based learning tool that features a series of interactive video vignettes to help health care professionals better understand end-of-life care and prepare them for difficult conversations with patients and families is now available online. The program, called “eDoctoring,” is available at http://edoc.ucdavis.edu. With funding from the National Cancer Institute to create a high-quality, multidisciplinary curriculum on end-of-life care, a consortium of University of California (UC) faculty, in collaboration with San Diego Hospice experts, developed the website. It represents the first standardized educational training for medical professionals to be developed and implemented by all five UC campuses, and it has been tested by more than 2,000 students and physicians.
The program offers engaging patient scenarios, informative tutorials, and practical learning materials that address the challenges of providing appropriate and compassionate care at the end of life. Topics include pain management, improving communication with patients and family members, and ethical issues. The program focuses on enabling caregivers to shift from disease-directed therapy, or therapy with curative intent, to being able to provide patients with relief from physical, emotional, social, and spiritual distress.
The online training curriculum is available at no cost and includes a series of 16 broadcast-quality videos that illustrate core concepts in patient-provider interactions and end-of-life care. The website offers educational tools to reinforce learning and promote self-reflection and interactivity. The curriculum is integrated with a special online portfolio system, which enables participants to track their progress and create a plan of study. The tool also provides a format for discussion groups, blogging, and connections between learners in different locations.
For more information about eDoctoring or to register online, visit http://edoc.ucdavis.edu.
Source.“Innovative Education Program for End-of-Life Care Now Online.” (2012, January 18). Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/6134.
Documentary Highlights Sporty Seniors
With the Summer Olympics just months away, the world’s attention is turning toward sports and fitness—older adults included. In fact, a new film produced by the Sacramento-based nonprofit production company The Documentary Foundation features the hard work, sweat, and determination of a group of older adults preparing to compete in the National Senior Games.
Age of Champions follows the lives of a 100-year-old tennis champion, an 86-year-old pole vaulter, octogenarian swimmers, and a team of basketball grandmothers as they go for the gold medal. According to director Christopher Rufo, “What unites [the athletes] is an unwavering conviction that the best in life still lies ahead of them. Despite the tolls of age, they are continuously striving to participate in the next competition or break the next record.”
The film was screened in January at C.C. Young, a residential care, assisted living, skilled nursing, and related services facility in Dallas. Organizations nationwide are invited to purchase the film for screening, which can be done online at http://ageofchampions.org. The $149 screening kit includes the DVD, a discussion guide, “active aging” bracelets, promotional postcards, a full-size poster, and discounts on Age of Champions merchandise, such as T-shirts and headbands. For $25, individuals can also purchase the DVD for home use.
Source.C.C. Young. (2012). C.C. Young’s Presents a Complimentary, Exclusive Screening of Age of Champions, the Inspiring Documentary that Proves It’s Never Too Late to Become a Champion! [Press release]. Dallas, TX: Author.
Patient Safety Hinges on Timely Discharge Summaries
Sending thorough and timely reports to nursing homes when a patient is discharged from the hospital could help promote patient safety during the early days after a hospitalization, yet such discharge summaries are frequently incomplete and delayed. These findings, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, determined that reports regularly lacked necessary information on diet, activity level, therapy, and pending laboratory tests of nursing home patients after departure from the hospital.
The study involved 489 Medicare patients treated for strokes and hip fractures. All were sent to nursing homes after discharge from the hospital between 2003 and 2005. Discharge summaries were often completed many days after the patient had already been discharged to the nursing home, some more than 30 days. In addition, as the time grew longer, the quality of the information within the summaries became more poor or incomplete.
According to a requirement from The Joint Commission, hospitals must submit discharge summaries within 30 days after a patient is discharged from the hospital. However, the study’s lead author argues that this standard is “outdated.”
According to the study, nearly one third of discharge summaries did not include information on the patient’s dietary needs, which could be a problem if the patient had a stroke and has trouble swallowing. In addition, instructions on therapy and activity needs were excluded on more than 40% of discharge summaries, and less than 10% included information on pending studies and laboratory tests.
According to the authors, the Rehospitalization Reduction Act, which is part of the health care reform legislation approved by Congress in 2010, may be a positive step in getting hospitals to provide patient health care information to nursing homes more quickly and reliably. The act would penalize hospitals if their rehospitalization rates for patients with congestive heart failure, heart attacks, and pneumonia are above a certain level, starting in 2013.
Source.“Discharge Summaries Play Key Role in Keeping Nursing Home Patients Safe.” (2011, December 21). Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://www.newswise.com/articles/discharge-summaries-play-key-role-in-keeping-nursing-home-patients-safe.
Height Loss Could Indicate Serious Health Concerns
Older women who have lost more than 2 inches in height face an increased risk of breaking bones and dying, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The study found that women 65 and older who lost more than 2 inches over 15 years were 50% more likely to both fracture a bone and to die in the subsequent 5 years, compared with women who lost less than 2 inches in height.
Prior studies have reported that significant height loss puts men at higher risk for heart disease and death, but this is the first study to find an association between height loss and death in women. Another study to be published in the same issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that men older than 70 who lost 2 inches or more were at greater risk for fracturing a hip, compared with men who lost less height.
The main analysis for the current study involved 3,124 women who were 65 and older during the mid-1980s, when they were recruited for the landmark Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF). The study has been going on for more than 2 decades and includes women from across the country.
Height loss was determined by comparing height measurements taken during an initial clinic visit with measurements taken during a clinic visit 15 years later. A standard stadiometer was used to measure height. Spine fractures were detected through x-rays, and bone density was measured using a standard bone scan.
In addition to the clinic visits, women filled out health questionnaires every 4 months and were asked if they had broken a hip or other bone. Those who did not fill out the mailed questionnaires were contacted by telephone. Public death records were used to confirm mortality.
In addition to the main analysis, researchers also conducted a sensitivity analysis among all 9,704 women in the SOF study and looked at the significance of height loss that had occurred before the women entered the study at age 65 and older. At the beginning of the study, women were asked to recall how tall they were at age 25, and that height was compared to their actual height. Researchers found that women who reported losing more than 2 inches in the previous 40 years were also at higher risk for fractures and death.
Source.“Height Loss Increases Risk for Fractures and Death in Older Women.” (2012, January 10). Retrieved January 30, 2012, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/height-loss-increases-risk-for-fractures-and-death-in-older-women-137007428.html.