Media Watch

2014; Volume 15, No 12, December

Media Watch: an annotated list of recent articles about palliative care in the news media and the literature

Choosing care homes as the least preferred place to die: A cross-national survey of public preferences in seven European countries

BMC PALLIATIVE CARE | Online – 23 October 2014 – Care homes are increasingly becoming places where people spend the final stages of their lives and eventually die. This trend is expected to continue due to population aging, yet little is known about public preferences regarding this setting. As part of a larger study examining preferences and priorities for end of life care, the authors investigated the extent to which care homes are chosen as the least preferred place of death, and the factors associated with this negative preference. Their results suggest it might be difficult to promote care homes as a good place to die. This is an urgent research area in order to meet needs and preferences of a growing number of older people with chronic, debilitating conditions across Europe.

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Resilience and death: The nursing professional in the care of children and adolescents with life-limiting illnesses

CIÊNCIA & SAÚDE COLETIVA, 2013;19(12):4829-4878. The participants of this qualitative research were nursing professionals working in the pediatric ward of a hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The data collection was obtained by applying the resilience scale, by returning the scales in groups, and by semi-structured interviews. The relationship between professional resilience and coping with the process of children and adolescents’ deaths stood out in the analysis based on data obtained from group and individual interviews. The care given to children and adolescents with life-limiting illnesses triggers resilience-related answers concerning alternatives that oscillate between individual reactions (religious and psychological support), and the search for an incipient collective support based on personal relationships. This study points out that this subject must be strategically handled to train this professional, who must be able to rely on support from the collective environment, presumed within the professional healthcare training and in the management of humanization at the hospital.

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N.B. English language article.

Physician-related barriers to communication and patient and family-centred decision-making towards the end of life in intensive care: A systematic review

CRITICAL CARE | Online – 18 November 2014 – The aim of this review was to describe physician-related barriers to adequate communication within the team and with patients and families, and to patient and family-centred decision-making, towards the end of life in ICU, according to the quality indicators developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's critical care end-of-life peer workgroup. The authors determined 90 barriers, of which 46 related to physician attitudes, 24 to physician knowledge and 20 to physician practice. Stronger evidence was found for physicians' lack of communication training and skills, their attitudes towards death in the ICU and their focus on clinical parameters and lack of confidence in their own judgment of the patient's true condition.

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Health and care development: An exploration of factors that hamper better palliative care in sub-Saharan Africa

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY & MEDICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH, 2014;2(4):1-16. Palliative care remains significant in health care but its recognition in most sub-Saharan African countries is low. Therefore, to help widen and sustain the scope of palliative care, this article aims to identify the factors that are impeding its development in Ghana. The research employed the use of interviews and questionnaires to retrieve information from a cross-section of health practitioners and general public across the country. The data showed that many respondents from the general public had little or no knowledge about palliative care even though a similar method of care is provided for terminally ill relatives mostly in their homes. Respondents indicated factors such as; religio-cultural attitudes towards death and dying, high cost of healthcare services and lack of funds for the provision of special care, as hampering palliative care in Ghana. As a result, this article prompts that palliative care must be a public health priority and there must be a merger of the general (Western) palliative care concept into that practiced in sub-Saharan Africa (which must adapt to the needs and context of care in Africa).

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Medical humanities in Nepal: Present scenario

JOURNAL OF THE NEPAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, 2014; 52(193): 746-9 Humanities have an essential role in medical education. The current gap between the humanities and medicine has to be bridged and there should be continuous and vigorous debate about the theory and practice of medical humanities. Medical humanities is a relatively new concept even in developed countries, and is at infancy stage in developing countries. In Nepal, modules on medical humanities have been initiated in certain medical schools by enthusiastic faculties and it requires further debates for inclusion in the curriculum.

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Media Watch is intended as an advocacy and research tool. The weekly report, published by Barry R. Ashpole, a Canadian communications consultant and educator, monitors the literature and the lay press on issues specific to the quality of end-of-life care. It is international in scope and distribution. Each month, this section of the IAHPC will publish an abstract or summary of an article or report of special interest noted in a recent issue of Media Watch (see below).

The current and back issues of the weekly report.

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