Tag Archives: end of life

#AHCJ18 panelists urge earlier conversations about a palliative approach to end-of-life care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: George Bush Presidential Library via FlickrFormer First Lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday, announced two days earlier that she had ended curative treatment for life-threatening health issues in favor of what was described as “comfort care.”

Death may be the price we pay for life. But many physicians still regard death as a kind of failure. For families and patients, decisions about the management of serious illness and death can seem forbidding and difficult.

Even so, timely discussion of options such as palliative care and hospice care can offer deeply meaningful choices to people navigating life-threatening and terminal illnesses, according to experts on “The Increasing Demand for Palliative Care,” panel last week during Health Journalism 2018 in Phoenix.

“The model I am trying to promote … is earlier conversation,” said Robert Shannon, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and palliative medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Fla. Continue reading

#AHCJ18 panel looks at the increasing demand for palliative care

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Palliative care has come a long way since it emerged onto the U.S. health care scene in the late 1980s. The number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals with more than 50 beds tripled between 2000 and 2015, skyrocketing from 25 percent to 75 percent, according to this Health Affairs article.

The authors define palliative care as “team-based care that focuses on providing relief from the pain, symptom, and stress of serious illness.” New York Presbyterian Hospital goes a step further, explaining, that it is “interdisciplinary care that aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life while simultaneously administering other appropriate treatments for patients with advanced, chronic, or life threatening illness.” Continue reading

Hospice tip sheet offers pointers on data analysis, story ideas

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: PJ Johnson via Flickr

Updated hospice compare data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) had been slated for release on Nov. 21 but was delayed due to what CMS has described as “technical problems.”

Whether you use previous data or analyze forthcoming statistics, what these federal quality measures do not show is just as important as what they do, according to a new AHCJ tip sheet by journalist Cheryl Clark. Continue reading

End-of-life project brings insights – and healing – for broadcast reporter and her listeners

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Vee via Flickr

Reporting on end of life can pose surprising challenges and opportunities.

If you haven’t yet listened to JoAnn Mar’s remarkable radio series on end-of-life issues, add it to your playlist right now. An AHCJ reporting fellowship allowed Mar to take a deeper dive into how people prepare for their last phase of life, and why good conversations with loved ones on the topic can be so important. The entire series, aired on KALW FM, San Francisco in January. Continue reading

Why ACOs have potential for improving end-of-life care

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: Beverly Yuen Thompson via Flickr

Accountable Care Organizations, which were created by the Affordable Care Act as one way to improve the delivery of health care, may become an important want to reduce the wide variation in end-of-life (EOL) care, two academic researchers suggest in a recent Health Affairs blog post.

As we have pointed out repeatedly, while the political and fiscal battles have been over the coverage provisions in the ACA, much of the law also contains incentives and programs to improve both care quality and efficiency. And there are ample opportunities to do so toward the end of life, including in hospice. Continue reading

Report shares ideas for improved end-of-life care

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Zach McCormick via Flickr

The inaugural Aspen Health Strategy Group (AHSG) report on improving end-of-life care pulls few punches in calling for significant changes in care design, delivery, financing, quality measurement and care provision.

The conclusions from the year-long study, which included input from dozens of health care leaders and experts, appealed for a serious overhaul by health systems, payers, academia, and policymakers of palliative and hospice care. Continue reading