Wednesday, June 26, 2013

eNewsletter from Canadian Virtual Hospice Summer 2013

SPOTLIGHT ON
FOOD AND FLUIDS AT THE END OF LIFE
Family and friends of someone nearing the end of life often are troubled by the person’s lack of appetite, inability to eat or drink, and weight loss. It is a natural instinct to encourage the person to eat and drink more, thinking this will help. Concerns related to food and fluids are common, and Virtual Hospice has many resources that may help. Here are some of the latest.


For Everyone
SWALLOWING PROBLEMS WITH DEGENERATIVE BRAIN DISEASES
People who have a degenerative brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s or other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), often develop swallowing problems when the disease reaches an advanced, life-threatening stage. A new Topics article by Dr. Romayne Gallagherexplains the seriousness of swallowing problems, and the pros and cons of feeding tubes and hand feeding.

Resources
IMPROVING DECISION-MAKING ABOUT FEEDING OPTIONS IN DEMENTIA
This video from the University of North Carolina website will be of help to family caregivers when making decisions about feeding options for their loved ones with advanced dementia.

For Everyone
UPDATED ARTICLE "WHEN DEATH IS NEAR"
One of the most popular articles on Virtual Hospice has been updated and expanded. The Topics article When Death Is Near covers the changes that are common in the final days and hours of life. It includes this section: Decreased food and fluids.

For Professionals
ARTIFICIAL NUTRITION AND HYDRATION: IS IT REALLY WHAT YOU WANT?
A new article in The Exchange, by Dr. Michael Gordon, Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System and University of Toronto, raises important clinical and ethical questions for both families and health care providers.

NEWS

SPIRITUALITY, ETHICS, AND END-OF-LIFE CARE
New in Virtual Hospice’s Gallery is the biennial Paul Henteleff Lecture delivered by Sister Nuala Kenny, M.D., FRCP (52:45). Dr. Kenny examines the relationship between spirituality and ethics. She also challenges professionals to consider the spirituality of our health care teams and how the value and meaning of hospice palliative care could be diminished by physician-assisted suicide.

DR. LARRY LIBRACH TAKES MANY BOWS
One of Canada's palliative care leaders, Dr. Larry Librach, is receiving recognition for a lifetime of dedication to patients, families and fellow professionals, as he himself faces advanced cancer. Read tributes from Larry's colleagues in our Take a Bow. Larry has been honoured with the Balfour Mount Champion Award by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association to recognize his continuous work to improve hospice palliative care in Canada. He also has been honoured with the 2013 EduardoBruera Award in Palliative Medicine. It is given to a physician recognized for excellence by peers in the field, and it was presented in May by Dr. Doris Barwich, president of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. Larry has been a contributor to Virtual Hospice as a past member of the National Advisory Committee and as the author of an important and thought-provoking essay on patient safety.

QUEBEC MOVES ON TWO FRONTS IN END OF LIFE ISSUES
The Quebec government is funding more palliative care, even as it looks to allow facilitate some assisted suicides. In May, the Province announced $15 million in new palliative funding. Of that, $4 million is for new palliative care beds, and $11 million is for home-based palliative care. Then in June new legislation was introduced in the Quebec National Assembly to allow some medical help in the act of dying.

NEW VIDEOS IN "THE TRUTH OF IT" SERIES
New videos have been added to the popular series hosted at cancerview.ca. The Truth of It videos are stories from people who receive or give care at the end of life. The series is developed jointly by Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

VIRTUAL HOSPICE BLOGS AT PROSTATE CANCER CANADA
Dr. Glen Horst, Spiritual Care Advisor at Virtual Hospice, has written a series of posts called Conversations That Count to help support visitors to Prostate Cancer Canada’s website. Glen's empathy and wisdom brings light to a range of topics, including cancer shock and talk, and bucket lists.

YOUR IDEAS IN ACTION - UPDATED DISCUSSIONS
Just over a year ago Virtual Hospice launched Discussion Forums. As part of the anniversary earlier this year, Community Moderator Colleen Young asked community members for ideas for improvements. Colleen explains how Virtual Hospice has used the ideas and expanded the number of threads to make it easier to navigate more than 2300 posts!

HONOURS FOR STORY OF CARE'S JIM MULCAHY
St. Francis Xavier University has recognized an outstanding volunteer in palliative and cancer care. The university awarded Jim Mulcahy an honourary doctorate at its convocation in Antigonish in May. In November, Jim will anchor a plenary session at the annual conference of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, in Ottawa. Watch and listen to Jim in the viral video The Story of Care.

SHARON CARSTAIRS RECEIVES HONOURARY DEGREE FROM DALHOUSIE
The Hon. Sharon Carstairs, life-long palliative care champion is officially retired from Canada's senate, but she continues to speak and act on behalf of the vulnerable among us, including people approaching the end of life. In May, Nova Scotia-born Carstairs was recognized for this work with an honourary degree from her alma mater, Dalhousie University.

FAREWELL TO DR. PIERRE ALLARD, MENTOR AND FRIEND TO MANY PALLIATIVE CARE PROFESSIONALS
Canada lost a health care leader in May. Dr. Pierre Allard launched and led many initiatives in palliative and multidisciplinary care and research. He taught and mentored hundreds of physicians and researchers. That role culminated with a lecture in the week before his death, to students and colleagues at the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital in Ottawa, using himself as a case study. He died on May 13Read Dr. Jose Pereira’s tribute.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR VIRTUAL HOSPICE ETHICISTS
Health care ethicists Pat Murphy and George Webster have received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada. The award honours people who have inspired and mentored others in Catholic health care. For 16 years, Pat and George have offered a unique team approach to helping families at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg navigate complex health care decisions. Pat and George also offer insight and support as Virtual Hospice team members.

NEW HOSPICE PALLIATIVE CARE DIRECTOR FOR BC
Innovative community administrator Lorraine Gerard now heads the British Columbia Hospice Palliative Care Association. Lorraine has managed many programs that support vulnerable people. Most recently, she developed a support program for living kidney donors that is a model for similar programs across Canada. Lorraine has also taught and mentored many, and will bring that wealth of experience to the needs of those facing end-of-life issues.

WANTED: PEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE MEDICAL DIRECTOR
The Pediatric Palliative Care Service of Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax is looking for medical director. Contact the IWK Centre for more information on this multi-faceted position.

THANKS TO AN AMAZING NETWORK OF COLLEAGUES
We at Virtual Hospice want to thank all the people and organizations who collaborated with us on our Knowledge Tools and the Prescription Project proposals for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s PEOLC Initiative. We have strong proposals thanks to the expertise, enthusiasm, and support from colleagues across Canada.

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